Want to know more about the proposed program partnering Laurentian University with Campus Saint-Jean to deliver a midwifery education program? Read on.
Q: Would students in this program have to be fully bilingual?
A: Yes. Students would have to be able to complete university-level course-work (e.g. exams, essays) in both French and English. No exceptions.
Q: Are there enough bilingual wannabe midwives in Edmonton to make this program feasible?
A: Yes. We believe that if we build it, they will come. Campus Saint-Jean already has a similar training program for bilingual nurses. The proposed midwifery program would hopefully also draw bilingual candidates from across Western Canada.
Q: Will all of the courses be offered at Campus Saint-Jean?
A: No. Campus Saint-Jean and U of A already offer many required introductory level science and health professional courses; students would take those here, some in English, some in French. Midwifery courses would be taken by distance learning (e.g. online). There would be 1 or 2 semesters of the 4-year program that would require the student to be on-site at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario.
Q: Do preceptors/supervisors have to be bilingual?
A: No. Laurentian recognizes that it is not realistic for practicum placements to happen in French in most communities.
Q: Why does this French piece come into play anyway?
A: This is a bit harder to answer. A consortium has been formed of French-language universities outside of Quebec, that run health profession training programs. It is called the Consortium National de Formation en Santé (CNFS). I think there was some money coming from somewhere, encouraging members of the consortium to export their existing French-language health programs. Laurentian University is bilingual; it offers a midwifery training program in French. The director of that midwifery program thought she would put her program forward as one worthy of export.
Q: Would graduates of the CSJ program only be able to practice in French?
No! Midwives graduating from this program would be able to practice in either French or English. There is a strong francophone community in Edmonton and area, but they are a minority of our population. Midwives from the CSJ program would likely draw many francophone clients -- how wonderful for francophone women to be offered this choice in maternity care! But these midwives would likely also have many anglophone clients as well.
Q: Why isn't ASAC pursuing an English-language faculty at U of A, or MacEwan University, or Athabasca University, to get a midwifery program started?
A: We know that this CSJ program would exclude local wanna-be midwives who are not fluent in French. However, this initiative is something that has already been started. The Laurentian program exists already, and Laurentian is actively seeking to partner with CSJ. English-language faculties at U of A have been approached several times over the years about offering a midwifery program, and the reception has never been positive. Macewan University and Athabasca University are fine schools, but approaching them would be much more of an on-spec, from-scratch prospect.
One benefit of CSJ being a potential home to this program, is that it is part of the U of A. And the U of A is a long-standing university that offers graduate level programs of study and research. Midwifery, in order to grow as a profession, needs to be generating its own research. Over time, this midwifery program could develop into the graduate level, allowing for that research to take place.
Q: Are there enough practicing midwives in Edmonton to provide for all the practicum needs of students?
This is a valid question. Ideally we would have more practicing midwives to provide for the practicum needs of students. Nevertheless, we believe it can still work.
Q: Where is this proposal at? How close to fruition is this?
A: This proposal is at its very infancy. Laurentian University has approached Campus Saint-Jean, and CSJ finds the proposal interesting. But they are too short of funds to even look into the feasibility of the program. Unofficially, ASAC is being encouraged to continue "knocking on doors," to encourage the powers that be to talk to each other, to make noise, etc. etc.
Q: What might convince CSJ to pursue setting up this program?
A: CSJ wants to know that there is a need for more midwives in the community, and the government has to provide CSJ with the funding it needs. Even exploring the feasibility of the program would cost money for CSJ, and they won't explore feasibility unless the government offers funds. Consumers need to contact the government and CSJ administration to indicate their support for this initiative. Click here for more about how you can help.
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