As we celebrate Nursing Week in Ontario, it’s the ideal time for the provincial government to show its commitment to the future of nursing education.
In our community, nursing students would benefit tremendously from a government decision to allow Lambton College to offer its own stand-alone nursing degree programs.
Currently, any college in Ontario that wants to offer a nursing degree program must deliver it in partnership with a university. At our college, that means nursing degree students must complete their third year at the University of Windsor.
The excessive cost and travel associated with finishing the program in Windsor has discouraged some qualified students from pursuing nursing degrees, as increasing numbers of applicants are mature students or students pursuing a second career.
In addition to the cost, students who have to complete their program in Windsor face other challenges:
- Students who are commuting that long distance can face harrowing weather conditions.
- The time lost in the commute means time spent away from family.
- Students transferring from one institution to the other lose out on important mentoring opportunities with faculty they get to know.
Furthermore, none of this is necessary. Lambton is one of a number of colleges that is qualified and ready to deliver the full nursing degree program at the college.
This whole issue about the partnerships dates back to the year 2000, when nursing degree programs were first created. At that time, colleges had to partner with universities because they weren’t offering degree programs the way they are now.
In many cases, the partnership arrangements continue to make sense. Many partnerships are working well and the students benefit from the collaborative nature of the programs.
But there are other cases where it no longer makes sense to force colleges to partner with universities.
Lambton College is one of the colleges that no longer need this forced partnership.
We are more than ready to deliver the complete program and award the degree credential at the college. We already meet the Canadian Association Schools of Nursing Accreditation standards, including those for research and scholarship, as required by the College of Nurses of Ontario. And, we are completely aware of and prepared for additional quality standards.
Furthermore, the government knows that colleges can deliver high-quality degree programs. An independent study of the four-year degree programs at colleges in other areas confirmed for the government that degree programs at colleges are effective.
Students should have the opportunity to complete high-quality nursing degree programs within their own communities, without unneeded stress and financial burden.
It’s time that Ontario allows Lambton and other colleges to offer stand-alone nursing degrees.
Judith Morris is the President and CEO of Lambton College