Fanshawe continues joint nursing degree program with Western

Header image for the article Fanshawe continues joint nursing degree program with Western Credit: DYLAN CHARETTE
Ontario colleges can now offer stand-alone nursing degrees.

Colleges across Ontario can now offer stand-alone degrees in nursing, but so far, Fanshawe College will not be offering one.

A Feb. 11 press release from Fanshawe College’s corporate communications team said the Ontario government now allows colleges to offer stand-alone nursing degree programs. Up until the announcement, the province required colleges to partner with universities to offer nursing degrees and had since 2000.

Fanshawe will keep its partnership with Western University to offer the four-year collaborative nursing degree program. Right now, the Fanshawe nursing students spend the first two years at the College before moving to Western for third year and the first semester of fourth year. Fanshawe and Western share the final semester of fourth year, which is an integrated practicum.

“We’re in close proximity and we work well together, Western and Fanshawe, so we decided that we’d stay for now,” said Dr. Sandy DeLuca, the associate dean for Fanshawe’s School of Nursing. The partnership will continue for about two and a half more years through the memorandum of understanding.

“After that, we will reassess the situation and just see where we’re at.”

The College has the program approval and accreditation standards needed for a stand-alone degree, should they offer one.

DeLuca added that it’s the second time Ontario Colleges asked for a stand-alone nursing degree offer, the first being about five years ago. Keeping nurses within the communities of which they studied was a major player in why colleges across Ontario wanted stand-alone nursing degrees.

Although Western and Fanshawe are both in London, that’s not the case for other Ontario post-secondary institutions. Humber College, for example, has a partnership with the University of New Brunswick for their nursing program. Humber takes on the bulk of the fouryear program, so DeLuca said that they are likely to be one of the first Ontario colleges to launch a standalone degree program.

For other programs across the province, like those offered at Northern Ontario colleges, students who do two years at the college will then have to move on to the university to complete the program and might not be nearby the college.

“Even if you look at some of the Southwestern Ontario collaborations, those students have to transfer and it’s not near home, and so it’s financially a burden and it disrupts — they’ve gotten used to the college faculty,” DeLuca said. “This, hopefully, will solve that issue.”

She noted that there is more demand for a college-based standalone nursing degree program than there was in the past. Colleges across the province are different than what they were a decade ago.

“Colleges have their own research agendas now,” she said. “This is a large college. We are accredited exactly the same way as the university and my faculty is all master’s and PhD prepared.”

Fanshawe and Western are also part of the London Nurse Leaders Collaborative, where representatives from both schools meet the vice-president and chief nurse executives of the regional hospitals to discuss their graduates.

“We share our issues so they’re right there at the table talking about how excellent our graduates are and for us, it’s also our practical nursing graduates,” she said. “It really helps with the hiring of our grads and if there’s any issues they will inform us. If they think they need more assessment or simulation or something like that, they’ll inform us.”

Fanshawe and Western have had their partnership since around 2001.