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UOIT, Durham College and Georgian College work together to create pathways for nursing students

New agreement aimed at addressing Canada's impending nursing shortage

As part of a shared commitment to creating educational pathways that enable students to obtain both a college diploma and a university degree in less than the traditional amount of time, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), Durham College and Georgian College have partnered together to create a new articulation agreement that will enable Practical Nursing graduates to obtain a UOIT Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) degree in only three years if studying on a full-time basis and within five years if studying part-time.

The Registered Practical Nursing-Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RPN-BScN) Degree Completion Collaborative program will be available to applicants who have completed their Practical Nursing diploma from an accredited Ontario college with a minimum cumulative average of 70 per cent and possess a Certificate of Competence from the College of Nurses of Ontario.

"This new agreement will allow us to further our dedication to cultivating strong partnerships with other educational institutions in Ontario and solidify our commitment to meeting the agenda established by the provincial government to address the growing needs of the health-care sector," said Dr. Ronald Bordessa, president of UOIT. "Through our innovative curriculum, this new pathway option with Georgian College and our existing pathway with Durham College, we will tackle the approaching nursing shortage by providing Ontario with well-educated and qualified graduates."

Officially signed at UOIT and Durham College's shared Oshawa campus on June 26, the agreement for the RPN-BScN Degree Completion Collaborative program comes on the heels of the Canadian Nurses Association's prediction that Canada is facing a shortage of approximately 60,000 registered nurses by 2022.

Designed to address the need for a solution that will ensure all Canadians have access to nurses when they need them, the agreement will provide RPN graduates with an opportunity to develop and enhance their nursing skills. Students will study various sciences and nursing practices in numerous health-care sectors including hospitals, nursing homes, community service organizations and health centres.

As part of the program, students will have the option to complete bridging courses at Georgian College's Barrie, Ontario campus. Once they have completed each course with a minimum average of 60 per cent, they will be eligible to continue the collaborative BScN program in Barrie or online. The same bridging courses and the remainder of the BScN program may also be completed at Durham College and UOIT's shared Oshawa, Ontario campus.

The program will also provide innovative education to nurses already working in the healthcare field. Upon completion of the bridging courses which can be taken on a full or part-time basis, nurses can then enrol in the program full-time during the day or part-time through a combination of online, weekend and evening modules they can take at their convenience, allowing them to continue working while earning their degree. The program is designed to recognize their previous education and experience and allow them to stay up-to-date with the latest and future health-care technologies and practices.

"This is truly a great day for UOIT, Durham College and Georgian College and each institution's esteemed nursing programs," said Judy Robinson, vice-president, Academic of Durham College. "Durham College is committed to ensuring our students gain the best possible skills during their time with us and we are 100 per cent committed to the creation of pathways that will enable our students to succeed in the nursing profession and meet the demands of today's health-care sector. In addition, we are also excited to work collaboratively with our academic partners to help ensure the continued functionality of the nursing profession by creating new opportunities for current nurses to pursue further education while updating and enhancing their skills."

"This new collaborative agreement recognizes years of dedication and commitment from the three partners to bring BScN degree-completion education to all RPNs in our province," said Dr. Cassandra Thompson, dean of the School of Health and Wellness, Georgian College. "As partners, we have taken the time to build our relationship and we are confident that we share common values, beliefs and goals and most importantly, a vision of providing access and opportunity for learners to higher education. This agreement celebrates the hard work of many and recognizes three institutions that are committed to the profession and education of nursing."

In addition to the RPN-BScN Degree Completion Collaborative Program between all three institutions, a collaborative BScN program has been offered to Durham College students since 2003. The addition of Georgian College will enable all three post-secondary institutions to work together to deliver a program that is governed and administered equally by staff and faculty from all three institutions.

UOIT's BScN program provides students with enriched knowledge in the sciences, nursing and other disciplines while utilizing the latest learning technologies including a state-of-the-art simulation lab that replicates typical and atypical medical conditions while enabling students to experience virtual clinical excursions. Courses include Anatomy and Physiology; Health and Healing; and Information and Communication Technology in Health Care.

Durham College's Practical Nursing program allows students to develop knowledge, skills and judgment in assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating nursing care for all age groups. Through work placement opportunities, students are offered the opportunity to apply their learning in a variety of high-touch, high-tech practicum settings including acute surgical, complex medical and long-term care.

Georgian College's Practical Nursing program incorporates and utilizes the concepts of caring as the basis of nursing practice. Students work through learning activities and focus on the experiences of individuals, families and groups. Practicum placements are available at a variety of local agencies and through unique opportunities outside of Barrie.

The RPN-BScN Degree Completion Collaborative Program is available for this September. For more information please visit

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