CNC launching sonography program

A new medical profession is now on CNC's radar screen.

On Tuesday, the Prince George-based college gave the green light to applications for their first intake into the Northern Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program. Classes in this new program will get underway in January.

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"We are excited to bring diagnostic medical sonography to CNC as it demonstrates our commitment to increase our health science programming by adding another key professional to the healthcare team," said Dr. Glenda Vardy Dell, CNC's Dean of the School of Health Science. "Sonographers must have a strong background in physics, anatomy, physiology and pathology. Therefore, it fits well with our other healthcare programs such as nursing, medical radiography and medical laboratory technology. The graduates from this program will help to address long waitlists for ultrasounds for our northern B.C. residents."

Most people would be familiar with the importance of ultrasounds during pregnancy, said CNC officials, but these ultrasound specialists also help physicians diagnose many acute and chronic conditions.

"They play a critical role by providing key information leading to earlier diagnosis and supports ongoing patient management using ultrasound technology," said Vardy Dell.

Only BCIT in the Lower Mainland offers a publicly funded sonography program. Placing B.C.'s second such course in the north was provincially strategic.

"Sonographers contribute to timely and appropriate care for people in the north, providing important diagnostic imaging services," said Ken Winnig, Northern Health's Regional Director of Diagnostic Services. "Local and regional health care education opportunities are a key component of Northern Health's recruitment strategy, and we look forward to welcoming graduates of the CNC sonography program to our workforce."

"The sonography program at CNC will help produce highly skilled health professionals that will improve the quality of life for patients in the north and throughout B.C.," said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training in a release. "I'm pleased to be part of a government that is committed to funding health sciences education and training that offers the opportunity for northern graduates to succeed and thrive in their communities."

The first cohort will be a small class. Only eight will be accepted this January, with 16 students scheduled for future intakes.

"Admission preference will be given to northern BC candidates to address regional demand by encouraging students who are from the north to study in the north and to continue to work in the north," said program organizers.

The development of the Northern Diagnostic Medical Sonography curriculum at CNC was a collaborative effort supported by BCIT, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), Northern Health and Sonography Canada.

The application deadline for CNC's Northern Diagnostic Medical Sonography program's January 2019 intake is September 14. This is a two-year diploma program. Information on the application process and prerequisites can be found on the CNC website or by contacting the CNC Registrar's office.

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