Single largest intake of fourth-year nursing students starts this week

Nursing student Adrian Roes primes an IV line for a patient as he begins his final placement.

January 9, 2024

After nearly four grueling years of school, this week Adrian Roes became part of the largest intakes of fourth-year nursing students ever at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC).

The number of nursing students starting their final integrative practicum this week nearly doubled to 217, from an average of 113 in previous years, as a result of a significant increase in spaces at Arthur Labatt School of Nursing at Western University where most of the students placed at LHSC are studying.

Roes, who is in the four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) program which is offered in partnership with Fanshawe College, started his final practicum this week with Victoria Hospital’s Nursing Resource Team (NRT), a team that works in various units whenever there is a shortage of registered nurses (RN) due to illness, for example. “I’m happy to get back into the clinical setting and get more hands-on experience,” Roes says.

Over the last several years, there has been a significant investment in nursing programs by the Government of Ontario, resulting in an increase in students completing their final year at Western this term.

With the increased number of students, unit clinical educators played a critical role in recruiting the preceptors, says Kathy Rylett, manager of Learner Affairs.

“We would never have been able to do it if we did not have educators in the clinical units to help us find preceptors,” she says. Each of the 217 students needs a different preceptor – the registered nurse responsible for teaching the student and working with them one-on-one over the course of the practicum.

“Even with everything going on, they dug deep to find the preceptors needed to teach the next generation of health-care workers,” Rylett says. Grateful for those who chose to be a preceptor, she says, it is a rewarding experience that is critically important.

Roes, who is planning on staying in London after he finishes his degree and would ultimately like to work at LHSC, is thankful for all those RNs who are taking on a student and is looking forward to building a great working relationship with his preceptor.  

“With the nursing shortage that's going on, it's necessary to ramp up the numbers of students going through the program and, of course, it's great that LHSC can accommodate that,” he says.