Brock Nursing experiencing unprecedented growth

For more than two decades, Brock University has been educating future health-care workers through its renowned Nursing program.

With National Nurses Week starting today, Monday, May 9, and International Nurses Day to be held Thursday, May 12, Brock Nursing is acknowledging the contributions of its faculty, staff, students and alumni while also celebrating a significant expansion of the 21-year-old department.

“We have grown exponentially this year,” says Department of Nursing Chair Karyn Taplay. “Everyone connected to our program stepped up immensely to help make this year of transition a success; all are to be congratulated.”

The 2022 International Nurses Day theme is ‘Nurses: A Voice to Lead’ and in response, the International Council of Nurses, which represents more than 27 million nurses worldwide, has issued a call to action to invest in nursing and respect rights to secure global health.

With demand soaring, Brock has increased undergraduate intake from 80 to 180 students starting this fall. The increase in enrolment led to the addition of 11 full- and part-time faculty and staff positions, as well as 23 part-time clinical instructors to help teach students.

“The important contributions and leadership Brock Nursing students and graduates provide to the health of citizens in Niagara, the Province of Ontario and beyond, help to address systemic gaps and improve quality of care for patients,” says Faculty of Applied Health Sciences Dean Peter Tiidus. “More broadly, the growth of our Nursing program and the learning opportunities we provide enables our graduates to embark on career paths that respond to the changing health needs of Canadians.”

To accommodate the rapid growth of Brock’s Nursing program, a third Nursing simulation lab was recently constructed.

“Brock’s Nursing simulation labs are safe learning environments that allow students to learn to proficiently care for their patients,” Taplay says. “Practising in the lab prepares students to learn basic skills they will use with every patient on every shift.

“They also become skilled in high stakes, low frequency events they may not encounter during their academic career.”

While the official opening of this new space will not take place until September, the lab is now being used to teach Brock’s first cohort of accelerated concurrent Bachelor of Nursing/Master of Nursing students. This 20-month, one-of-a-kind program was approved by the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities in January and the first cohort of 23 students began classes last week.

“The expansion of Brock’s nationally recognized Nursing program responds to the growing need for health-care professionals,” said Interim University President Lynn Wells. “Brock is proud to support the health-care system in Niagara and beyond with our talented faculty educating future nurses in modern on-campus learning spaces.”

As part of the National Nurses Week celebrations, Brock has resumed its annual in-person Pinning Ceremony, an important right of passage for Nursing grads.

“The tradition of pinning nurses is more than 100 years old and is the result of Florence Nightingale’s efforts to have nurses’ training recognized and formal programs developed,” Taplay says. “Every school of nursing has its own customized pin which symbolizes excellence in nursing and a commitment that each grad is prepared to serve the health needs of our communities.”

The event will take place on Wednesday, May 11 in the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre beginning at 1 p.m. Visit the Department of Nursing website for more information.

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