Toronto

These York U nursing students are worried strike will scuttle their graduation

Fourth-year nursing students at York University have to complete a number of clinical hours in order to graduate but none have been able to get the hours they need because of the ongoing faculty strike.

Students in their final year have 432 clinical hours to complete but the strike has put a stop to that

Sara Snyder and Shannon Mulhall say they were looking forward to graduating in June but the strike is getting in the way. (CBC)

Fourth-year nursing students at York University are worried they may not be able to graduate this year due to the strike that has shut down classes since March 5.

Students in the program have to complete a number of clinical hours at hospitals and other facilities to graduate but none have been able to get the hours they need because of the ongoing work stoppage by contract staff and teaching assistants. They walked off the job over the university's wages and benefits offer.

York University nursing students like Sara Snyder and Shannon Mulhall were looking forward to graduating in June but they're concerned that might not happen.

"How was this going to affect our [clinical] hours?" asked Snyder.

Contract faculty and teaching assistants at York University went on strike March 5. (CBC)

Mulhall says her biggest fear is whether she can finish her program on time.

"Are we going to be able to take the job opportunities that we were offered with our placement agencies?" she asked.

Students in their final year have 432 clinical hours to complete but the strike put a stop to that.

The women say students only had the opportunity to complete about 50 per cent of the hours they needed.

Now the school is telling them that once classes start they will be required to have 70 per cent of the hours to graduate.

"However, there is no information as to when classes will resume, so the strike continues," said Mulhall.

The walkout by CUPE Local 3903 may also be costing students more than just their graduation ceremony.

"If the semester is extended we will have to put our employment on hold. Our family. Some of us are mothers. Some are international students. Everyone has something," said Snyder.

Both women have already been offered jobs as registered nurses but before they take those jobs they have to graduate first .

Barbara Joy, a spokesperson for York University, told CBC Toronto the school understands the frustration of the students. 

The university says it is working with its clinical partners at hospitals and other facilities to give students options once classes resume. 

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