The Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College has received long-term accreditation from the British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals (BCCNP), which regulates nurse training in the province.
The program has been approved for the next seven years with no terms or conditions. That’s great news for current and future students, and for health care employers and patients, says Prof. Marie Tarrant, Director of the School of Nursing in the Faculty of Health and Social Development at UBC Okanagan.
“Receiving long-term accreditation with no restrictions strongly acknowledges the innovative, high-quality education we are providing,” says Tarrant. “The BSN curriculum is excellent, and our collaboration with Okanagan College that started in 2011 has expanded opportunities for students to pursue an education in nursing.”
Each year, 24 students are admitted to OC for the first two years of study then transfer to UBCO, joining approximately 130 nursing students at the university to complete years three and four. Graduates earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from UBC and are prepared for professional licensure as registered nurses. The first OC cohort transferred to UBCO in 2013 and graduated in June 2015. To date, more than 150 students have gone on from OC to UBC through the pathway.
“This recognition affirms the brilliant work that nursing faculty at both institutions have undertaken together to align and continually improve the program at every opportunity,” says Yvonne Moritz, Dean of Science, Technology and Health at Okanagan College.
The collaboration has sparked new ways of thinking and doing when it comes to training registered nurses.
“Over the past few years, nursing faculty at UBC and Okanagan College have implemented innovative updates to the curriculum, to ensure the learning experience continues to match the ever-changing realities faced by today’s nurses,” says Sheila Epp, Associate Director of the School of Nursing at UBC Okanagan, and leader of the undergraduate curriculum change initiative that has shaped the BSN program.
“Our program truly prepares graduates with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes for effective interprofessional collaboration and to deliver professional nursing, health-education programs, and consultative nursing services that promote, maintain, and restore patient health.”
“The changes to the curriculum were very much driven by changes to practice,” notes Monique Powell, Chair of the BSN program at the College. “We listened to a lot of feedback from our students, grads, instructors and employers. When we noticed students struggling with applying their critical thinking skills in some instances, then we looked for innovative ways to provide more practice time to students in that area.”
The feedback on the changes has been extremely positive, Powell points out.
“Our students say they feel even stronger in their skills, they are more confident, they are ready to practice, which is what we want to hear,” says Powell.
Recent labour market data lists nursing as a high-demand profession, predicting as many as 25,000 nurses will be needed to staff BC’s health care system over the next 10 years to fill new nurse positions and replace retiring nurses.