posted on Dec. 5: Signing ceremony officially recognizes new collaborative nursing program


[img_inline align=”right” src=””]After 17 drafts, an agreement creating a new collaborative nursing program for McMaster University, Mohawk College and Conestoga College is now final and official.

The presidents of the three post-secondary institutions signed the document Monday at the Faculty Club before faculty, administrators and support staff who have worked tirelessly and intensively over the past year to establish the new program.

Launched in September at all three institutions, the new Collaborative Bachelor of Science Nursing Program fully integrates college and university students through all four years of study. There are now 226 first-year students enrolled in McMaster's BScN Program — 68 at the Mohawk site, 36 at Conestoga College in Kitchener, and 100 at the McMaster site — who will spend the next four years studying for their bachelor of science degree in nursing. Students earn a McMaster degree while attending a community college.

The collaboration will help to meet new provincial government and nursing college requirements that all graduating nurses will need a baccaulareate degree in nursing to become licensed to practise as a registered nurse. The requirement will also ensure that nurses are better equipped to address the increasing complexities of the health care system.

University President Peter George, who co-chaired the provincial Nursing Education Implementation Committee in 1999, described the program as a new direction in the delivery of educational programs and an extraordinary achievement in the profession of nursing.

The program, said George, serves as a “hallmark of collaborative nursing education not just in Ontario, but in this country.” It will also help the province to address its future nursing human resource needs.

Cal Haddad, president of Mohawk College, said both students and area hospitals will become beneficiaries of the new initiative.

Conestoga College president John Tibbits spoke about the program's successful implementation this fall and credited faculty and administrators at all institutions for its initial success. “Last year at this time we didn't have a partnership.”

For Conestoga's nursing students, the program is value-added, will increase the quality of nursing and will bring benefits to the community of Kitchener-Waterloo. Tibbits spoke highly of his college's new educational partner. “We have three fine universities (in the Kitchener-Waterloo area), but the McMaster names carries a lot of weight in our town.”

Environment Minister Elizabeth Witmer, who was health minister when the partnership was announced, sent along her personal greetings and congratulatory remarks.

Barbara Gough, senior policy advisor with the universities branch of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, thanked the institutions for their co-operation and support in establishing the new collaborative program as well as other new directions in nursing education. “The health care system in this region of Ontario stands to benefit from it.”

“The initiative brings together the best of the diploma and degree nursing programs to produce the 'ideal nurse' of the future,” said John Kelton, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences. “…The impact is one of the most profound things I've been aware of in many years.”

Ward I councillor Marvin Caplan attended on behalf of Hamilton mayor Bob Wade. His remarks focused on the benefits of the McMaster model of education, which comprises problem-based, self-directed and small-group learning.

“The way that you are going to be teaching students was started here…you are teaching them how to learn,” Caplan said. “Why isn't everyone doing this? It's an important thing and you are leaders in the world.”

Andrea Baumann, director of the McMaster-Mohawk-Conestoga Nursing Education consortium and associate dean of health sciences nursing, said the program will be one of the largest in the province. Some 2,000 students are expected to be enrolled by 2005.

Collaboration at work: (L-R, seated) Presidents John Tibbits, Peter George and Cal Haddad sign articles of the agreement. Looking on are senior administrators from all three institutions.

Photo by Ron Scheffler