FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2020
Belleville - Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, believes Loyalist College and the Quinte region will benefit from Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano’s announcement this morning the Province is planning changes to allow colleges to offer standalone nursing degree programs.
Romano announced that pending a regulatory amendment under the Nursing Act, 1991, all colleges and universities would be able to apply to offer standalone degree nursing programs subject to receiving necessary approvals from the College of Nurses of Ontario and the government. Previously, colleges were required to partner with universities to be able to grant degrees.
“These proposed changes will allow colleges — including Loyalist — increased autonomy and a chance to deliver excellent nursing education in one location,” said Smith. “That will lead to improved access for students who don’t have to leave their community to pursue their education.”
Smith noted Loyalist College has been a keen advocate for the proposed changes. Currently, students in its collaborative nursing degree program spend two years in Belleville, then complete their bachelor’s degree with two years at Brock University in St. Catharines. The college’s President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan said the distance between communities is not only a barrier to program participation, but it also may be having an impact on health services in the area.
“Fewer than five per cent of our collaborative nursing degree graduates return to work in the Bay of Quinte region where we really need them,” said Vaughan. “Providing students with the option to complete their nursing degree at Loyalist will improve health care delivery in our communities by attracting more individuals into nursing professions here.”
Vaughan said Loyalist believes it is positioned well to develop a sustainable, in-demand program due to its demonstrated faculty expertise and academic excellence in health-related programs as well as its state-of-the-art integrated health and human studies learning environment on the third floor of the Northumberland Wing. The Province supported the redevelopment of that wing.
Carol Smith Romeril, the Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Quinte Health Care said the local hospital corporation is “delighted with this great news for Loyalist College and our community. We look forward to welcoming students and graduates into our care environments.”
The policy changes may also allow for laddering pathways that could see personal support workers and registered practical nurses stay in their communities and train to qualify as registered practical nurses and registered nurses, which are both in need in the region.
Smith believes there is a clear benefit for the Quinte region in allowing students to complete their training here.
“Students completing their courses and practical placements in one community have a chance to develop professional and personal connections there,” he said. “Upon graduation, it is only natural for them to build on those ties as they start their careers.”
Romano said changes like the provision of standalone nursing programs show Ontario remains responsive to the needs of its people.
“Safeguarding Ontario’s competitiveness and building Ontario’s economy means ensuring our postsecondary institutions are training students for the jobs of today and the future. That is why Ontario is introducing a new pathway for nursing education, to offer greater choice for students.”
- To become a registered nurse in Ontario (and a member of the College of Nurses of Ontario), students must obtain a baccalaureate degree in nursing.
- Except for Queen’s University and the University of Toronto, which have independent nursing programs, all other institutions in Ontario offer nursing programs for future registered nurses through a collaborative partnership.
- Since the collaborative nursing education model was implemented in 2000, postsecondary education and health systems have grown and evolved. Many colleges now have experience in delivering and managing degree programs.
- Successful implementation of this new policy is dependent on the Ministry of Health working with the College of Nurses of Ontario to amend a regulation made under the Nursing Act, 1991.
- Providing institutions with the option to continue a collaborative partnership or offer a stand-alone program for future registered nurses allows greater flexibility in meeting particular needs in local communities, while continuing to equip students with the skills and training necessary to meet the standards of care Ontarians deserve from our healthcare professionals.