By Eric Martyn
In a move to meet tougher provincial nursing requirements in Ontario, Ryerson University, George Brown College and Centennial College have announced a joint effort that will see a huge influx of nurses studying at Ryerson.
Ryerson president Claude Lajeunesse and his counterparts from the two colleges made the announcement last Friday in a nursing classroom in Jorgenson Hall.
They were joined by Dianne Cunningham, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, and Elizabeth Witmer, Minister of Health, who announced an extra $49 million to help schools meet the new standards.
The changes come as a result of a provincial nursing task force, set up in 1998, which recommended nurses have at least a bachelor of science in nursing to ensure better care for patients.
“It’s wonderful for Ryerson,” said Kileen Tucker Scott, director of Ryerson University’s nursing program. “We’ve always prided ourselves in being leaders in the profession and we are working with the colleges, who have leaders in the profession as well, so it’s the best of all possible worlds. We’re very happy.”
Nursing students enrolled in their first-year at Ryerson next September will spend their full four-year term here, said Scott.
George Brown and Centennial College’s nursing students will spend their first two years studying at their own campuses but will spend their third and fourth years at Ryerson.
Ryerson president Claude Lajeunesse said the schools have been planning the collaboration for the last three years.
The extra students means Ryerson will graduate 440 students in 2005 — the first year graduate nurses earn their new degree — up from the 120 students Ryerson currently graduates.
The province will also direct funding toward hospitals to ensure more full-time nursing positions will be available for the extra students, Witmer said.
Scott said Ryerson is anticipating an enrolment increase in its post-diploma degree program, a fast-track program for nurses who have already graduated from college and would like to upgrade their skills.