Ontario colleges argue for stand-alone nursing programs

Ontario colleges argue for stand-alone nursing programs

CORNWALL, Ontario – Ontario’s colleges are urging the provincial government to allow stand-alone nursing degree programs, rather than requiring them to be jointly offered with universities.

St. Lawrence College CEO Glenn Vollebregt said such a move would increase efficiencies for both the colleges, and students.

“This is an opportunity to provide more options to students,” he said. “A number of colleges are ready to offer stand-alone nursing degree programs that will be more efficient for many students.

“In fact, St. Lawrence College delivers all four years of the degree program on its three campuses in Brockville, Cornwall and Kingston.”

The colleges have issued a report which details the reasons for allowing interested colleges to offer stand-alone nursing degree programs. The report says consultants for the provincial government have found some colleges are ready or near-ready to offer stand-alone nursing degrees.

Until about 15 years ago, students could attain their nursing education at stand-alone programs at colleges. For many years, about 70 per cent of registered nurses were educated through college programs.

However, the provincial requirements were changed in 2000 to require new nurses to hold a baccalaureate degree from a university.  At the time, colleges were not delivering degrees. This meant that any student entering nursing programs at college had to enrol in joint college-university programs.

In a statement St. Lawrence College said the post-secondary landscape in Ontario is changing.

“Many colleges are now granting four-year degrees in a variety of disciplines. These degrees have been highly successful and have contributed greatly to the evolution of the Ontario college system,” read the statement.

Allowing stand-alone nursing degrees at Ontario colleges will not require any new government funding. The college sector has already developed a multi-year implementation plan to ensure a smooth transition to stand-alone nursing degrees.

“This proposed change will be a great benefit to students,” Vollebregt said. “It’s an opportunity to improve the opportunities for students to pursue high-quality nursing degree programs.”

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