If you already read Four Steps to Become a Registered Nurse, you will know that nursing associations across Canada set a goal of having a baccalaureate requirement for entry to nursing. There are a few reasons for this. For starters, evidence supports the fact that baccalaureate-prepared nurses are most able to provide safe, ethical, cost-effective and high quality nursing care for Canadians.
Also, nurses need a well-rounded baccalaureate education (and to continually expand their competencies) in order to adapt within a system where: patients are increasingly informed and knowledgeable; nurses are responsible for managing if not leading collaborative relationships with a team of health-care members; and nurses are relied upon to promote preventive health care in communities.
The trend toward a university education for Registered Nurses (RNs) is here. With the exception of Quebec, all students must choose to obtain a baccalaureate degree in nursing in order to prepare for a RN career.
How long will it take?
Bachelor programs are between two and four years. Most regions have accelerated, condensed and advanced entry options.
What will my education entail?
Nursing education is about so much more than classroom learning, although that’s never been more important as nursing has increasingly become evidence-based. To prepare for practice, today’s nursing students gain knowledge and skills in research, advocacy, and leadership as well as participate in a wide range of clinical and community placements.
Educators teach nursing students that nursing is about more than just performing skills at the bedside. It’s also about considering why the skills they’ve learned are important, and examining how the challenges of today’s health-care environment impact on the kind of care they can provide to patients. Plus, nursing students participate in clinical placements that extend from community care to hospital care and from health promotion and disease prevention to emergency and critical care.
If you’re in high school
Check each nursing program for admission prerequisites, as they vary by college and university and province. Most educational institutions require a sound academic standing in high school English, math, chemistry, and biology. TIP: Volunteering at a health-care facility where there are nurses on site is an excellent way to discover more about a career in nursing.
If you need distance education
Don’t let location or lack of time hold you back from a nursing education, or enhancing the knowledge you already have. Many Canadian nursing degree programs (and several master’s programs) offer education by distance. In some cases you may be able to study from home, in other cases you may need to travel to a nearby “host” university.
If you’re considering nursing as a second career
If you have a degree, there are a variety of accelerated (or post-baccalaureate or second degree) nursing programs. Check individually with schools. They are intense but worth the effort – they enable you to become a nurse within two years of studies. Many programs are also part-time to accommodate you if you need to work during your studies.
If you’re interested in a graduate degree
Canada has 32 master's programs available all across Canada. And 15 doctoral programs in nursing are available in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. Advanced preparation in nursing is in demand: nurses with graduate degrees go on to act as leaders in advanced or extended practice in nursing specialties, researchers, management or educators.
If you’re continuing your education
On a national level, all nursing regulatory bodies in Canada have made continuing competence a priority by establishing quality assurance programs within their regulatory system. Not only does continuing education ensure professional excellence, it will support your labour mobility within Canada.
Ontario’s Approved Nursing Educator Providers
The College of Nurses of Ontario is the regulatory body for nursing in the province. The following is a list of universities and colleges in Ontario that offer Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing Accredited Programs. (Contact the Canadian Nurses Association for a complete list of nursing schools across Canada.)
Universities are the only institutions in Ontario authorized to issue baccalaureate degrees in nursing, but colleges and universities work together to offer collaborative nursing programs. Contact these individually to learn more.
Brock University, St. Catharines
Lakehead University, Thunder Bay
Laurentian University, Sudbury
McMaster University, Hamilton
Nispissing University, North Bay
Queen’s University, Kingston
Ryerson University, Toronto
Trent University, Peterborough
University of New Brunswick Frederiction, Fredericton
University of New Brunswick Saint John, Saint John
University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa
University of Ottawa, Ottawa
University of Toronto, Toronto
University of Western Ontario, London
University of Windsor, Windsor
York University, Toronto
Algonquin College, Nepean
Centennial College, Toronto
Conestoga College, Kitchener
Durham College, Oshawa
Fanshawe College, London
Fleming College, Peterborough
George Brown College, Toronto
Georgian College, Barrie
Humber College, Toronto
La Cite Collegiale, Ottawa
Lambton College, Sarnia
Loyalist College, Belleville
Mohawk College, Hamilton
Seneca College, King City
St. Clair College, Windsor
St. Lawrence College, Kingston
Cambrian College, Sudbury
Canadore College, North Bay
College Boreal, Sudbury
Confederation College, Thunder Bay
Northern College, Timmins
Sault College, Sault Ste. Marie