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UNB nurse practitioner student wins award of excellence for New Brunswick

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Mar 31, 2023

Category: UNB Fredericton

The Nurse Practitioner Association of Canada recently awarded the University of New Brunswick (UNB) nurse practitioner student (NPS) Jennifer Elliott the Student Provincial and Territorial Award of Excellence for New Brunswick.

This award recognizes NPSs who have shown excellence as leaders and advocates in practice, research or education.

Elliott gained significant recognition among her peers at UNB for her ability to balance a full-time course load while working as a graduate student teaching assistant and bachelor of nursing (BN) undergraduate student clinical instructor. Most notably, she advocated for all NPSs in her program to receive Training and Skills Development (TSD) funding.

The TSD funding helps students with their tuition, childcare and living expenses so folks can gain meaningful employment.

“I had been talking with an employment counsellor and asked if I could receive that funding as well,” said Elliott. “I’m a registered nurse, and I have a family, but they told me it wasn’t available for NPSs, so I decided to dedicate myself to finding a way to receive the funding.”

After meeting with the employment counsellor, Elliott wrote a letter to the minister of post-secondary education, training and labour in New Brunswick, the Honourable Trevor Holder.

“We have a huge nursing shortage in New Brunswick,” said Elliott. “I just want health care to be better for our people. The province would benefit from giving registered nurses this funding so they could become NPSs and give more people in New Brunswick a primary care provider and access to healthcare.”

There are around 1,000 vacant nursing jobs in New Brunswick and 56,000 people without access to a primary care provider.

About a month after her email to the Minister, she received a call from her employment counsellor, who told her she was approved for the funding. However, that wasn’t enough for Elliott, who wanted her classmates to benefit from the funding as well.

“When I heard the news that I was approved, I was excited and grateful, but the matter was not resolved,” said Elliott. “The rest of my classmates need the funding too. They're in the exact same boat as me. So, I emailed him again and a month later, our director told us everyone was approved.”

“It is my hope that this funding will be extended to the incoming cohorts,” added Elliott. “NPSs play a vital role in providing access to primary care in the province and extending this funding will provide RNs with the support they need to become NPs and ultimately improve our healthcare system.”

Elliott is in her second year of UNB’s nurse practitioner program on the Fredericton campus. Before joining UNB, Elliott was a registered nurse for 12 years, working mainly in long-term care, geriatric end-of-life care and hospice care.

UNB extends its sincerest congratulations to Jennifer for receiving this recognition for her hard work and passion for helping others.