On December 10th, 1998, based on recommendations from an expert working group, the Council of the College of Nurses of Ontario approved the following motions:
- “That the educational component of the College of Nurses’ RN entry to practice requirements identifies graduation from an Ontario nursing program that.....confers a baccalaureate nursing degree, effective January 1, 2005".
- That... “ the college and university systems collaborate as partners in effecting the educational reforms necessary to support these recommendations...”
- “That the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities develop and implement measures that support changes to the RN educational system that are necessary for the achievement of baccalaureate entry by January 2005”.
In February 2000, the regulation amendment necessary to implement these recommendations was passed by the government of Ontario and came into effect.
In southern Ontario, there were three institutions offering nursing education programs: Lambton College of Applied Arts and Technology in Sarnia; St. Clair College of Applied Arts and Technology in Windsor and Chatham; and the University of Windsor. A nursing collaboration Steering Committee comprised of representatives from all three educational institutions was established and began meeting regarding this project in January 1999. Members of the Steering Committee were Bob Henry and Judy Oliver from Lambton, Pat McMahon and JoAn Dale from St. Clair, and Drs. Beth Horsburgh, Anna Temple and Barbara Thomas from the University of Windsor.
The Steering Committee agreed on a common goal - to provide leadership in the development of a collaborative baccalaureate nursing program that would be offered by the three partner schools, utilizing both college and university resources. Following a review of models of collaboration developed in other provinces, various position papers, and discussion of internal and external issues and forces pertaining to the project, a plan of action was developed.
A second group of representative faculty members from the three institutions were appointed to a Collaborative Curriculum Committee. They began meeting to set the direction for the curriculum design, taking into consideration CNO professional and registration requirements, suggestions for change made by the accrediting body that had approved the University’s program in 1998, and the preparation that would be required to meet future practice expectations. The goal was to produce graduates who would serve the needs of society in the 21st century through health promotion, health maintenance, prevention of disease, and care of the sick and dying. Members of the Collaborative Curriculum Committee were Lillian French (Windsor campus) and Elizabeth Green (Thames campus) from St. Clair College, Drs. Kaye Fawdry, Anne Snowdon and Lynnette Stamler from the University of Windsor, and Judy Oliver from Lambton College.
Over the next several months, a contract outlining the terms of the partnership between the three institutions was worked out and passed by each institution’s Board of Governors. A two-day workshop was arranged to assist faculty members adapt to the new requirements by the CNO that nursing ability would be measured in terms of competencies (i.e., what the nurse needs to be able to do) rather than merely by demonstrating knowledge. A small team of faculty members was identified to develop specific content for the first nursing course to be taught in the new curriculum. Faculty members from the Science and Arts and Social Sciences departments in the three institutions made contact to discuss ways of standardizing content in courses required of nursing students. The Steering Committee put together and received approval for a proposal applying for start-up funding available from the government. On April 5, 2001, the formal agreement between the three institutions was signed by their respective Vice-Presidents in a public ceremony intended to celebrate the event.
The first class of students was admitted to the Collaborative Baccalaureate Nursing Program in September 2001. Students began their classes at either Lambton College (Sarnia), the University of Windsor, or St. Clair College (Windsor campus). In September 2002, the St. Clair College Thames campus in Chatham also became a site for this Collaborative Program. The curriculum model provides for the first two years of the program to be offered on all four sites. All students then move to the University of Windsor campus for their third year courses and the first semester of fourth year. They conclude their program by registering at their original home campus for the second semester of the fourth year. The first class of this new program received their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in June 2005 at the University of Windsor convocation.