Nursing Education Programs in Ontario

Project Manager: Janette W.

Editor: Deborah P. and Joanne P.

Multimedia Lead: Angelica D.

Design Lead: Elena P.

University of Ontario Institute of Technology

HLSC 1300U

Professor Nancy Slawsky, MA

August 4, 2009.

external image nursing_refresher_lrg.jpg

Nursing Education History:
The history of Nursing Education Programs in Ontario started 135 years ago. The first school for nursing was opened in St. Catharines in 1874, under the umbrella of the hospital (Bates, Dodd and Rousseau, 2005). The school offered a two-year educational and practical program. In 1912, Ontario’s Hospital Act gave the educated nurses the right to use the title “Registered Nurse”. The first public health nursing program was established at the University of Toronto in 1920,it provided opportunity for nurses to obtain their education away from the hospital setting. In 1946, the Ontario Department of Health and the Department of Education offered a nine-month program for nursing assistants. In 1993, nursing assistants received the right to use the title “Registered Practical Nurse”. Since 2005, a minimum requirement for RPN increased from a certificate to a two-year diploma. Subsequently, the requirement for RN designation increased from a diploma to a four-year baccalaureate degree.
(Elena P.)

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. (2009). A History of Nursing in Ontario. Retrieved from

Provincial Incentives:
The province of Ontario provides funding for various sectors of nursing. Health Force Ontario Canada was developed to provide useful information regarding programs that the province offers. Tuition reimbursement is offered to new nurses who are willing to work in underserviced areas, who have recently graduated and currently registered with the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO). The aim of this program is to attract nurses to work in underserviced areas. Nurses who wish to join the program will get tuition reimbursement plus additional support for relocation. The Nursing Graduate Guarantee is another program offered by the Ontario government to support new graduate nurses in finding full-time job opportunities. The Ministry of Health and Long Term care provides additional funding for both the RPN and RN to widen their knowledge by offering $1500 in tuiton reimbursment per year to offset the cost of continuing education.
(Angelica D.)

Trends in Nursing:

Bi-annual surveys are conducted by the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) to monitor Canadian nursing schools and follow the patterns of nursing students and enrolment in these programs. (CNA, 2007). Researchers have been alerted to the drastic fall in nursing students and have been closely following this shift, paying attention to new nursing trends and the changing focus of healthcare. Nursing education in Canada has needed to shift its curricula to a Primary Health Care (PHC) focus in order to meet the changing needs and to fit the crisis of its busting healthcare system. (Nursing Health Services Research Unit [NHSU], 2009). In response to this there is a strong push to admit and graduate more nursing students. “Technology adoption, innovative program delivery methods and new approaches to learning are being embraced by educators and welcomed by students.” (CNA, 2007). Innovative programs such as fast-track, distance education, and continuing education make nursing more appealing to obtain.The Canadian Nurse Practitioner Initiative(CNPI) is a project funded by Health Canada. (NHSRU, 2009). Ontario has taken the lead in supporting the development of nurse practitioner run clinics.

Nursing Education in Ontario Links:
The CNSA video, “Nursing: Opportunities for Life.”
(Deborah P.)

Canadian Nurse Practitioner Education:
All registered nursing professionals in Ontario are regulated by the College of Nurses of Ontario.The college regulates the nurse practitioner practice and sets the requirements for registration (Nurse Practitioners' Association of Ontario, 2006). The role of nurse practitioner was first introduced in 1965 at the University of Colorado and became available in Ontario in 1971 (NPAO, 2006). The program itself and the number of Nurse Practitioners have steadily grown and are a much needed addition to our health care system. In Ontario, the Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner Program is offered by the following universities: Ryerson, York, Toronto, Laurentian, Queen`s, Ottawa, Windsor, McMaster, Western and Lakehead (NPAO, 2006). The program options are NP certificate or MSN/NP (Masters in Nursing/Nurse Practitioner Certificate), depending on the chosen university (NPAO, 2006). Being a Nurse Practitioner is a challenging and equally rewarding career. With the shortage of doctor`s in Ontario the NP provides health services to individuals who would otherwise be waiting in the ER or in line ups at walk-in clinics. For additional information on NP programs offered in Ontario please visit
(Joanne P.)


Many people choose second careers later in life. Educating yourself in nursing will open up opportunities and career choices. As nursing is a people oriented business, many of the skill sets, and life experiences gained in other fields are transferable. Nursing Education in Ontario will offer a variety of educational, and training programs to meet the College of Nurses of Ontario's Standards. This diversity will allow students to either enroll in full or part-time studies, and continue to maintain their current employment and lifestyle. In conclusion Nursing Education in Ontario will afford students the ability to specialize in a large diversity of careers in the healthcare sector. The system also allows for life long learning and development.
(Janette W.)

Bates, C., Dodd,D., & Rousseau, N.(Eds.). (2005). On all frontiers: Four Centuries of Canadian
Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press.

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. (2009). A History of Nursing in Ontario. Retrieved

Nurse Practitioners' Association of Ontario. (2006). Education Programs. Retrieved from:

Nursing Education in Ontario. (n.d.). Online. Retrieved from

Online Publication.(2007). Nursing Education Statistics 2006-2007. (p.7-10). Retrieved from

Primary Health Care and Nursing Education in the 21st Century: A Discussion Paper, 2009.

(March 2009). Nursing Health Services Research Unit – A Report for the Ontario

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Retrieved from

The Canadian Nursing Student`s Association. (n.d.). (online publication). The CNSA Video,
“Nursing Opportunities for Life.” Retrieved from