(TORONTO, Feb. 11, 2020) – The Ontario government’s decision to give colleges the option to deliver stand-alone nursing degree programs will produce more qualified nurses to fill key shortages in many communities.
“This is a tremendous improvement in health-care training in this province,” said Linda Franklin, the president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. “It will attract more students into nursing programs in communities where there is a clear demand for more nurses.”
Since 2000, the province has required any college wishing to offer a nursing degree program to partner with a university. This has created unnecessary costs and other bureaucratic hurdles that often discourage students from going into nursing.
For example, it can often mean students enrolled in a college program have to relocate to a different community to complete their studies at university. That’s despite the fact a number of colleges have the capacity to deliver the full program on their own.
“I am thrilled that the government has announced the ability for Ontario’s colleges to offer stand-alone nursing degrees, a change my association has supported from the beginning,” said Dianne Martin, CEO of WeRPN. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the rural nursing program I was able to take at my local institution, Georgian College,” she added. This is especially exciting for all of the young people who will now have the opportunity to both study nursing and practice their nursing career in their local community.”
A number of colleges already deliver at least 90 per cent of the current curriculum and some colleges currently deliver 100 per cent of the curriculum.
Providing students with the option to complete their nursing degree program in one community reduces the costs for students and government and makes nursing programs more attractive to many students.
It will also create a more diverse nursing workforce that can respond more effectively to patients. The student population at colleges mirrors the general population and college is often the preferred post-secondary destination for first-generation students and many Indigenous students.
Some college-university partnerships are working well for students and will continue. In other cases, it makes more sense for colleges to offer the four-year degree program independent of any university.
“Ontario’s colleges currently deliver many excellent degree programs in a number of specialized areas,” Franklin said. “Expanding the range of degree programs at colleges to include stand-alone nursing degrees highlights the government’s commitment to students and their long-term success.”
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