Montreal Gazette

Educating tomorrow’s nurses


Since 1998, a baccalaure- ate degree in nursing has been the entry-to-practice standard in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundla­nd and Labrador, and Nova Scotia. The same is true since 2005 in Ontario and since 2010 in the Northwest Territorie­s and Nunavut. In fact, all provinces in Canada require a degree as a minimum standard for entry to the nursing profession, except Quebec.

Bangladesh is even moving to baccalaure­ate nursing practice.

In Quebec, social workers must have a baccalaure­ate degree to practice; physical therapists and occupation­al therapists require a master’s degree to enter their profession­s; and medical curricula are being redesigned to improve the educationa­l standard for doctors. When parents send their child to Grade 1, they expect that the teacher will have at least a baccalaure­ate degree in education (some would even argue the teacher should have a master’s degree!) — why would these parents not expect that the nurse looking after their child in the intensive care unit have the same level of preparatio­n?

As the knowledge and complexiti­es related to caring for people in health and illness increase, why shouldn’t the standard of nursing education? As nurses are pivotal members of the interprofe­ssional health care team, why shouldn’t they “at least” have the same minimum level of preparatio­n as their colleagues?

Increasing standards for the nurses of tomorrow is in no way meant to minimize the quality of education of nurses currently graduating without a degree — it is simply time that Quebec nursing catches up with the rest of the country and the world. Is Quebec really that different?

Madeleine Buck


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