June 13th, 2002: “Nursing Education Is Fundamental To The Canadian Health Care System,” Nursing Schools Tell Roy Romanow


Attention: Health care reporters and editors; members of the parliamentary press gallery; assignment editors

( 13 June 2002 – Ottawa )

The President of the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN), Dr. Marianne Lamb has submitted recommendations to the Romanow Commission with strategies for strengthening nursing education and the role of well-educated nurses in the health care system.

“Canada is facing a great shortage of nurses, nursing students and nurse educators”, states Lamb. “An adequate, well-educated, professional nursing workforce is fundamental to promote and maintain the health of Canadians within a publicly-funded health care system.”

Without an adequate, well-educated and well-prepared supply of nurses, the current and future health care system in Canada will fail to meet the needs of Canadians. In order to develop and maintain the supply, several areas within the educational system need to be addressed and improved: an increase in the number of seats in nursing schools to accommodate interested and qualified applicants, adequate levels of funding to ensure good quality nursing education programs and support for the growth and renewal of nursing faculty.

In light of the growing complexity of health care, the level of clinical knowledge and judgement required of Registered Nurses and the importance of evidence-based practice in health care, higher levels of nursing education are essential to quality health care. “The potential contributions of registered nurses to enhance timely and affordable access to the appropriate care provider remains untapped”, says Lamb. “This is an issue of underutilization of skills and knowledge of the largest human resource within the health care system.”

Educators in the 85 nursing schools, which are members of CASN, support the following strategic areas that require support from the federal and provincial governments.

Increase the number of nursing education seats in nursing schools

  • the federal government must create incentives for the provincial governments to increase the number of nursing seats in baccalaureate programs, and provide financial support (e.g. bursaries and scholarships) for students who wish to study nursing;

Provide adequate funding support for nursing education

  • the federal and provincial governments must examine funding formulae for nursing education to reflect the real costs of providing quality clinical education in nursing.

Increase the supply of nurse educators

  • the federal and provincial governments should take measures to increase the supply of nurse educators (e.g. supports for faculty renewal, including scholarships for Master’s and PhD study, post-doctoral fellowships, expansion of graduate programs in nursing and mentorship programs in nursing education).

Bachelor-prepared nurses are the Primary Health Care Providers

  • the federal government, in partnership with the provincial governments, should ensure full utilization of the clinical skills, abilities, and knowledge of registered nurses within the Canadian health care system.

Nurse educators must contribute to the development of the health care system

  • the federal and provincial governments must include nurse educators in the planning and development of a health care system founded on Primary Health Care principles, including an adequate supply of appropriately educated registered nurses.

    CASN and member schools are prepared to work with provincial, territorial and federal governments to increase the supply of well-educated and well-prepared nurses to support the health care system of the future.

    The Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN) is the national voice of nursing education and scholarship.

    Nursing Education and the Future of Health Care in Canada. CASN’s submission to the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada.

    For additional information, please contact:
    CASN Data and Communications
    E-mail: inquire@casn.ca