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What’s in a name?

School of Nursing becomes Memorial University's newest faculty

Teaching and Learning

By Marcia Porter

New year, new name.

When nursing students return to classes in early January, they’ll open the doors to Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Faculty of Nursing.

Old black and white photo of four female nursing students in cpas with dressed and white uniforms, and two nursing instructors
The SoN opened in 1966.
Photo: archival photo

There won’t be new signage quite yet, but the name change from School of Nursing to Faculty of Nursing is a big deal for the faculty that was established in 1966, with a student population of just 38.

And it is a nice way to close out 2018.

Approved by Memorial’s Board of Regents at their most recent meeting, the name change represents more than just a stroke of the pen: it reflects the school’s growth during the past half a century.

“This is good news for us because it reflects how we have grown from having an undergraduate program more than 50 years ago to offering numerous undergraduate and graduate programs today,” said Dr. Alice Gaudine, dean of Memorial’s newest faculty.

“It also reflects how we have grown in research and in public engagement.”

Numerous programs on offer

Once housed in the former-Faculty of Arts in the Arts and Administration building, the program began with just three faculty members offering classes to bachelor and post-registered nursing students.

These days undergraduate and graduate programs include a bachelor of nursing with four-year, fast-track and accelerated options, a master of nursing with practicum and nurse practitioner options, a post-master’s nurse practitioner diploma, and a PhD in nursing.

Eighty-five undergraduate students and 36 master’s students are admitted every year; PhD students are admitted every two years.

“We are ending 2018 on a high note.” — Dr. Alice Gaudine

Since 1996 the School of Nursing has partnered with two provincial health authorities, Eastern Health and Western Health, to form a consortium enabling the Centre for Nursing Studies and the Western Regional School of Nursing to offer Memorial’s undergraduate nursing program.

Head and shoulders image of Dean of Nursing, Alice Gaudine
Dr. Alice Gaudine
Photo: Submitted

“We are ending 2018 on a high note,” said Dr. Gaudine. “We’ve grown from a school where courses were offered solely on campus to becoming leaders in online education, and we continue to be active in the scholarship of teaching so that we keep our students engaged and active in their learning.

“Our students and faculty members are earning awards, the school is growing its research capacity and our PhD students are accelerating that growth,” she continued.

Top performance

Excellence and accessibility have long been hallmarks of the School of Nursing.

For more than 20 years, the school and its consortium partners have consistently achieved the gold standard in accreditation awarded by the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing, the governing body for nursing education in the country.

In the year 2000, its classroom-based master of nursing program transitioned to online delivery.

Dressed in white uniform tops with burgandy pants, a group of Nursing students stand with their professor in the hallway at Memorials Faculty of Nursing.
After 52 years, the School of Nursing’s name change reflects the complexity, breadth and depth of its undergraduate and graduate programs.
Photo: Submitted

It was a game-changer for the school and the nursing profession. Suddenly, a master’s degree was within reach of busy nurses juggling work and home.

During the school’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2016, the Cahill Nursing Simulation Room and the Collaboration for Evidence-Based Nursing and Primary Health Care, a Joanna Briggs Affiliated Group, opened to expand simulation activities for students and to increase research capacity.

Female nursing student in white uniform administers IV medication on mannequin in nursing simulation room
The opening of the Cahill Nursing Simulation Room in 2016 means that nursing students practice and develop nursing skills and knowledge in regular simulation activities.
Photo: Marcia Porter

And just this year, along with the Centre for Nursing Studies and Western Regional School of Nursing, the faculty began implementing a concept-based curriculum.

The new curriculum focuses on integration of Indigenous knowledge and wisdom, emphasizes experiential learning, brings real-life situations to the classroom and introduces a new three-year accelerated option of the bachelor of nursing program beginning September 2019.

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