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Gold star finish

Nurse practitioner program scores top marks, earns full seven-year approval

Campus and Community

By Marcia Porter

Memorial University’s nurse practitioner (NP) program has received a gold-star review and a full seven-year approval from the College of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador (CRNNL).

The final score – following a lengthy and intensive process that began in 2019, involved numerous meetings, the gathering of hundreds of data, and the hard work of faculty, administration and administrative staff – is an impressive 98 per cent.

In a letter to the Faculty of Nursing on behalf of the CRNNL council, Executive Director Lynn Power called the exceptional showing an “outstanding accomplishment.”

“The program deserves this recognition,” said Martha North (BN’19). “The faculty were encouraging and motivating through the entire program, and I’m a proud NP and graduate.”

Martha North graduated from the nurse practitioner program in 2019 and works as a regional NP in Labrador.
Photo: Submitted photo

Approval is a rigorous external review process that nursing programs are required to undergo periodically by their provincial regulatory bodies.

The NP program was noted for several outstanding components, including dedicated faculty and staff, wrote Ms. Power.

“We acknowledge your continued commitment to the delivery of a quality program.”

Hard work, team effort

It’s news that couldn’t come at a better time, during a year of challenges for the delivery of nursing education created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These are exceptional achievements and reflect the high quality of our program and our graduates,” said Dr. Alice Gaudine, dean, Faculty of Nursing. “It’s like winning a gold medal.”

That gold medal analogy is fitting; achieving such a standard is hard work, and requires a team effort.

“The program gave me a solid foundation, and I gained the confidence I needed to begin practising as an autonomous practitioner.”  — Martha North

Dr. Gaudine acknowledged the work of Dr. Jill Bruneau, co-ordinator of the NP program, who led the approval process; Dr. Donna Moralejo, associate dean (graduate programs); and faculty members who developed courses and taught in the program.

Dr. Jill Bruneau
Photo: Jennifer Armstrong

“Faculty are dedicated and committed to providing current course content based on evidence and learning opportunities and that’s very important,” said Dr. Bruneau.”Our clinical preceptors, many of whom are previous graduates, are totally committed to providing excellent clinical experiences for the students and are fundamental to the program.”

“The program gave me a solid foundation, and I gained the confidence I needed to begin practising as an autonomous practitioner,” said Ms. North, who is also a graduate of the faculty’s bachelor or nursing program.

Suite of programs

Memorial University offers a master of science in nursing (M.Sc.N), NP program and a post-master’s NP graduate diploma program.

It’s highly competitive, with more than 100 applicants from across the province and country. A maximum of 20 students are accepted each year – almost 90 per cent of whom are Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

“Our graduates are experienced registered nurses who are dedicated and highly motivated from the start of the program,” said Dr. Bruneau, who has a background as an NP in cardiac care. “This is critical for their success, because many of the students are working as nurses throughout the program with family responsibilities, as well.”

Top marks for the NP program is just the latest in gold-standard achievements for the faculty, which offers nursing programs at the undergraduate and graduate level, including a PhD in nursing.

Back in 2015, the bachelor of nursing (collaborative) program, offered by the Faculty of Nursing, the Centre for Nursing Studies and Western Regional School of Nursing, was granted a full seven-year accreditation, for the third consecutive time, from the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing.

The NP graduate program was built on the high-quality NP education offered at the Centre of Nursing Studies beginning in 1997, and through the Faculty of Nursing’s midwifery and outpost nursing diploma offered at Memorial University in the 1970s. The NP program was launched at the master’s level, consistent with programs across the country, in 2013.

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