For National Nursing Week, Ontario’s universities celebrate contributions of 4,500 nurses who graduate each year

National Nursing Week is a perfect opportunity for Ontario’s universities and their 14 nursing schools to celebrate the nurses who are achieving excellence for patients, families and their communities, today and into the future.

The health needs of Ontarians and our health-care system are evolving as new technologies, new drugs and new processes emerge. As we think about the new frontiers for health care and the challenges of an increasingly diverse and aging population, it is clear that Ontario will need sophisticated, dedicated, and most of all, compassionate and caring professionals.

Ontario’s universities are committed to educating and training the highly skilled nurses who are essential in providing the best possible care for patients and their families in this dynamic and increasingly complex world.

Nurses comprise the largest single regulated health profession in Ontario, with more than 105,000 registered nurses, 51,000 registered practical nurses, and 3,100 nurse practitioners contributing to the well-being of patients and our health-care system.

And Ontario’s universities are integral to the renewal of our nursing workforce. Our 14 university schools of nursing graduate almost 4,500 students from Bachelor of Nursing, Master of Nursing and Doctoral programs each year.

These nurses are in high demand. Almost all graduates from Ontario’s nursing schools are employed within six months of leaving school.

And the demand for good, caring nurses will only continue at a time when there are more seniors than children living in Canada.

From providing care at the bedside and in clinics, to leading teams, advocating for patients and families, developing health policy, educating the next generation of nurses, and conducting vital research, today’s nurses are a vital part of a health-care system that is finding new approaches to promoting good health and new ways to treat disease.

Ontario’s universities want to be good partners in meeting the opportunities and challenges that face the modern health-care system.

We are working hard to prepare new graduates to care for the aging population and to promote healthy aging at home. Nearly all university programs provide graduates with specialized knowledge and experience in care of older adults, including clinical placements in long-term care homes and in the community.

There is an increased emphasis on experiential learning, with about half of all learning taking place on the job.

Nursing students are arriving into the workplace job-ready and in the best possible position to help patients, in part thanks to new technologies such as high-fidelity simulation equipment that allows them to work through the proper procedures in dozens of high-risk scenarios played out in learning labs.

Universities understand the importance of working together to meet the needs of patients, their communities and the health-care system as a whole.

  • Universities and colleges partner to prepare nurses at the baccalaureate level.
  • Nine universities are part of a consortium that prepares about 200 primary health-care nurse practitioners each year.
  • Hundreds of health and social service agencies partner with universities to provide clinical placements for students.
  • University nursing schools recently stepped forward to help integrate internationally educated nurses into the health-care system by developing specialized courses for these unique learners who are critical to renewing our workforce and reflecting and responding to Ontario’s diverse population.
  • University nursing faculty take a collaborative approach to research that develops nursing as an evidence-informed science that contributes to ongoing improvements in patient care.
  • Each year, Ontario’s university nursing schools celebrate excellence in nursing education and scholarship through the Council of Ontario University Programs in Nursing (COUPN) Awards.

Ontario’s universities are proud to work with our partners to support a robust health-care system, and are pleased to recognize and celebrate Ontario’s nursing students, faculty, preceptors and partners for their accomplishments and dedication to the health-care system. We know these individuals will continue to achieve excellence for Ontario’s patients, families and communities today, and into the future.