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 terrific news for students and health-care professionals in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent," said St. Clair College President Patti France.
Since 2000, the province has required any college wishing to offer a nursing degree program to partner with a university. Research has shown that this has created unnecessary costs and other bureaucratic hurdles for some, discouraging students from going into the nursing profession.
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.
College nursing degree programs will offer the best of both worlds; a solid foundation of theoretical knowledge and the practical skills to apply this knowledge in the real world. 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 their home community reduces the costs for students, making nursing programs more attractive to students who wish to study and pursue careers in our local communities and Ontario.
President France stated "we have enjoyed a collaborative partnership with the University of Windsor and we are committed to ensuring a smooth transition for our existing students in the St. Clair College/University of Windsor Collaborative Nursing program."
"Any policy that creates greater accessibility, convenience and affordability for our students is to be commended and this decision on the Ministry's part does just that," France added. "We also believe it will help to achieve the government's ultimate goal: namely, to train more nurses for the health-care system which is calling out for them."
Students enrolled in the current collaborative program will not be impacted. That program will continue to run on a status quo basis and we will continue to keep students informed as new information becomes available.