Community nursing is where it’s at, VON team tells RPN students

VON colleagues presenting to college students

A VON team in the Erie St. Clair region recently presented to students in the Lambton College Practical Nursing program. The outreach event was one in a series of planned classroom recruitment visits to raise awareness of the benefits of community nursing and working for VON.

Jennifer Vickers, Manager, Home and Community Care Nursing Programs, and Tiffany Allen, Clinical Education Manager, represented VON’s Sarnia-Lambton site, providing Lambton College students with information and resources to help them consider a career path in community nursing.
“Jenn and Tiffany have established an excellent rapport with our partners at Lambton College and have been invited right into the classroom to provide education, putting VON at the forefront,” says Paula Vanthournout, Director, Home and Community Care. “I am so proud of this team and all of the hard work they have done.”

At the start of the presentation, Jenn and Tiffany surveyed the students to find out which areas of nursing they were most passionate about. Of the 22 students in attendance, five indicated they were interested in community nursing.

Tiffany reviewed the Community Commitment Program for Nurses (CCPN)  and other incentive programs. Offered through the Government of Ontario, the CCPN helps organizations, including home and community care agencies like VON, to attract nurses, providing $25,000 in grant funding to eligible nurses in exchange for a two-year commitment to an eligible employer. Participating employers in turn receive education grants to fund professional development and training for nurses on staff.

“Many seemed very interested after we worked through some case studies related to the various clinical care currently being delivered in the community,” says Jenn. “We left them with some VON ‘swag’ and received a promise of positive word of mouth about VON.”

Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) are crucial members of the care team, and new grads can contribute meaningfully to VON’s mission. “They are coming out with fresh eyes and minds and have up-to-date knowledge of new products and best practice care,” says Tiffany. “The new grad RPNs we have brought on are eager to learn and help where they can. It’s nice to see them have some excitement towards their fresh nursing career.”

VON provides new grads with fertile ground for nurturing newly learned skills and providing quality care too. “They learn a variety of new skills that help with providing care to clients in their homes, from hands-on to communication and critical thinking,” notes Tiffany.

She adds that Lambton College grads in particular often come with a helpful knowledge of the area. “Lambton College also has a brand new lab space that they have had the ability to practice their skills in during their schooling,” says Tiffany. “The graduates from Lambton that have come through have been wonderful to work with. We recently onboarded a new grad RPN who has been a great asset to our team.”

About Lambton College

Lambton College is a community college in Southwestern Ontario. It ranks first in Canada for paid student research positions at a medium-sized college and has a newly launched Centre for Experiential Learning and Co-operative Education that will ensure all academic programs are imbued with meaningful, work-ready skills. Visit the college website for more information.