Ontario Expanding Choices for Prospective Nursing Students
*Georgian College Launches Independent Degree
OWEN SOUND — The Ontario government is providing a new pathway for nursing education with the launch of Georgian College’s new stand-alone four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at the Owen Sound and Barrie campuses.
Details were shared today by Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities who was joined by Bill Walker, MPP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes, President and CEO, Georgian College, and Selwyn Hicks, Grey County Warden.
“I’m here today to highlight an important milestone for postsecondary education in Ontario. Georgian College is among the first of Ontario’s publicly-assisted colleges to offer a stand-alone nursing degree independent of a university partner, including the campus in Owen Sound,” said Minister Dunlop. “By allowing colleges and universities to both offer stand-alone nursing degrees, our government is increasing choices and reducing barriers to high-quality, local education for Ontario’s students.”
The new program builds on Ontario’s recent changes allowing both publicly-assisted colleges and universities to offer a baccalaureate degree in nursing to increase opportunities for students to access a high-quality education. This includes stand-alone Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs offered at universities, colleges, and through collaborative university-college partnerships.
“This is terrific news for Georgian College, students in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound and across the province and for our local health care providers,” said Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker. “I’m absolutely thrilled that Georgian College’s new Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program is giving our local students a chance to pursue their dreams closer to home, which ultimately will result in more care to people of our community.”
“Ontario’s nurses go above and beyond to provide exceptional care to patients and we are grateful for their continued efforts throughout the pandemic,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Georgian College’s new Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program will provide students with more choices for nursing education, further strengthening our health care workforce as more Ontarians pursue this important career.”
Georgian College will welcome the first cohort of new nursing students starting in September 2022.
“This is a bold, progressive move by the Ontario government, that will provide our students the opportunity to complete a highly sought-after degree – right here in our community,” said Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes, Georgian College President and CEO. “Georgian is well-positioned to offer all four years of a truly exceptional Honours Bachelor of Science and with the incredible support of the local community, we’ll deliver this program in our future state-of-the-art Nursing and Wellness wing in Owen Sound.”
“Educating home-grown nurses will directly support our local hospitals and other health care services and we understand just how vital that is,” said Grey County Warden, Selwyn Hicks. “As an operator of three long term care homes, Grey County can see first-hand the significant challenges in recruiting and retaining nursing staff. Training staff locally, with opportunities for local placements will go some way toward alleviating the tremendous need for nurses in the community.”
As part of the government’s recently announced $35 million investment to increase enrolment in nursing education programs in publicly-assisted colleges and universities across the province, the province is also providing up to $564,308 to help increase enrolment in nursing education programs at Georgian College, supporting the training of 62 new practical nursing students.
To become a registered nurse in Ontario (and be registered with the College of Nurses of Ontario), individuals must obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
Investing in nursing education supports the government’s Long-Term Care Staffing Plan that was launched last year. At the centre of this plan, the hours of direct care for residents in long-term care will be increasing to an average of four hours per day over four years. To implement this initiative, the government will be making overall investments of $1.9 billion annually by 2024-2025.
To strengthen the health and long-term care workforce, Ontario is investing $342 million, beginning in 2021–22, to add over 5,000 new and upskilled registered nurses and registered practical nurses as well as 8,000 personal support workers. In addition, Ontario is investing $57.6 million, beginning in 2022–23, to hire 225 nurse practitioners in the long-term care sector.