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First sonography program coming to Vancouver Island

First sonography program coming to Vancouver Island

October 17, 2019 at 2:40 pm  BC, News, Politics

Vancouver Island’s first diagnostic medical sonography (DMS) program at Camosun College means reduced waitlists for students and patients on southern Vancouver Island.

It also means better access for patients and easier access for students to train closer to home for in-demand jobs.

“Students, health care workers and patients have been calling on government to expand sonography training across the province for years — and we are listening to their call to action by opening doors and removing barriers for students pursuing a dynamic career in health care,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “The new program, a first on Vancouver Island, will empower more professionals to study, work and thrive closer to home.”

Diagnostic medical sonographers are in demand in B.C. These health care professionals take images of and assess unborn babies, organs, tissues, and blood flow inside the body, providing key diagnostic information to doctors about a patient’s medical condition.  

“Our government is committed to improving the health care services people count on, and by adding more sonography graduates throughout the province, we’re working to ensure people can get the care they need in a timely fashion,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “More sonography graduates mean more sonographers who are workforce ready and more access to the services that people need to thrive.”

The Province is investing $1.4 million to support the development, launch and delivery of the DMS program at Camosun College’s Interurban campus. The first intake of 16 students will take place in May 2020. The next intake in 2021 will double the number of students to 32 in the two-year program. Government also provided $4 million in capital funding for equipment and to create lab and classroom space to accommodate the new program in the recently opened Alex & Jo Campbell Centre for Health and Wellness.

“Camosun College is continuing to offer programs that are responsive, relevant and what local communities need,” said Sherri Bell, president, Camosun College. “Previously, students who wanted to become sonographers had to leave Vancouver Island for their education. Soon, they will be able to study close to home.”

Until this year, sonography was only offered at BCIT’s Burnaby campus. In January 2019, government announced a sonography program expansion at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George. Combined with this announcement, government has doubled the number of sonography seats in the province. 

Quotes:

Lana Popham, MLA for Saanich South –

“This programming is great news for Vancouver Island. I believe in the importance of training specialized health care professionals close to home because it means graduates are more likely to stay on the Island where we have people in need of their expertise.”

Leah Hollins, board chair, Island Health –

“This new program will help improve patient care on Vancouver Island. Ultrasound is in high demand, and training sonographers in our community means we’ll have more skilled professionals in the workforce, giving patients more timely access to care when and where they need it.”

Cynthia Smith, dean, School of Health and Human Services, Camosun College –

“Sonography is a growing and dynamic profession that is in high demand in hospitals and community settings throughout the Island. The college has worked closely with Island Health to ensure the program supports the health care needs of residents. Our goal is to not only deliver high-quality education that students deserve, but also work with our partners to offer an innovative approach to learning to help alleviate some of the demand.”

Quick Facts:

  • With this announcement, diagnostic medical sonography will be available at three public post-secondary institutions in B.C. The program is not offered at any private institutions in the province. 
  • According to the B.C. Labour Market Outlook 2018, sonographers are a high-demand occupation.
  • In 2018, B.C. had approximately 740 sonographers, and there are an estimated 370 sonography job openings expected between 2018 and 2028.
  • The median wage rate for sonographers is $37.11 an hour. The top 10% of sonographers earn $48.56 per hour.
  • The 8,826 square-metre (95,000 square-foot) Alex & Jo Campbell Centre for Health and Wellness at Camosun College’s Interurban campus was officially opened in September 2019 and features state-of-the-art learning and educational facilities.

Learn More:

For more information about the program, visit: camosun.ca/sonography

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