The Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN)’s mission is, and has always been, to promote high-quality nursing education in Canada, and to advance nursing knowledge in the interest of healthier Canadians. That mission was the vision of the small band of university nurse educators who met for 3 days at the Windsor Hotel in Montreal in June of 1942 to “take counsel” with one another. They went home having formed the Provisional Council of University Schools and Departments of Nursing (PCUSDN), which would become the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing, as we know it today.
Thanks to the vision and passion of the 11 founding schools of CASN, the association has grown to represent 95 schools, and continues to push forward the mandate they set – to advance nursing knowledge and nursing education in the interest of healthier Canadians.
The Evolution of CASN
1919 – 1920: First University Programs in Nursing established at UBC and University of Alberta.
1940: By 1940, only 8 University Programs in Nursing existed in Canada.
Decades to organize
“The crisis of the nursing shortage during the Second World War provided the impetus that finally brought university nursing educators together.” (from Take Counsel with One Another: A beginning History of the Canadian Association of University Schools of Nursing 1942-1992 by R. Kirkwood and J. Bouchard)
1942: Formation of Provisional Council of University Schools and Departments of Nursing.
1953: First Constitution and Bylaws ratified
1967: Re-organization into 4 regions: Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Western
Decades to develop a base of programs
1968: First publication of Nursing Papers (later Journal of Canadian Nursing Research)
- First National Research Conference on Nursing held in Montreal
- The Association becomes the Canadian Association of University Schools of Nursing (CAUSN)
1972: CAUSN becomes the accrediting organization for University Schools of Nursing
1980: Council adopts a strong position in favor of the baccalaureate degree; the entry-to-practice minimum
Focus on education programs
1982: Collaboration with CNA on policy to establish baccalaureate degree as entry to practice by 2000
1983: CAUSN’s first Accreditation Program is published
1984: CAUSN’s logo is adopted: 3 chevrons representing baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral education going forward
1985: CAUSN National Secretariat opens in Ottawa
- Publication of monograph: CAUSN Accreditation Program
- The first undergraduate program accredited at University of Montreal
1988: Ethel Johns Award established
1992: 50th Anniversary of CAUSN
Focus on data and communications
1994: First National Database of all university nursing programs
1995: First revision of Accreditation Program
- CAUSN officially becomes bilingual
- First National Database of international expertise
- Université de Québec joins, and CAUSN becomes representative of all university Schools of Nursing
- First National Database of nursing research
- A history of CASN and nursing education for the first 50 years is documented by Lynn Kirkwood and Jeannette Bouchard in Take Counsel with One Another: A beginning History of the Canadian Association of University Schools of Nursing 1942-1992
1999: Canadian International Nurse Researcher Database established. First CAUSN Web site.
- First National Database of nursing research funding
- First CAUSN National Nurse Educators Conference is held in Vancouver, BC
- National CAUSN Awards of Excellence established (Research, Academic, Administration, Education)
- Begin revision of Accreditation Program (3rd version)
Major changes and more expansion
- 60th Anniversary of CAUSN
- CAUSN becomes the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN)
- New Organizational Structure (5 Standing committees and 5 Task Forces)
- Election of New 15-member Board of Directors
- Expansion of National Office staff to 5
2003 – 2004:
- 2nd CASN National Nurse Educators Conference is held in Halifax, NS from April 24-26, 2003. Theme: Educating nurses in Canada – The Future is Now
- Additional Task Forces: Accreditation, Databases, Doctoral, Primary Health Care (PHC)/ Nurse Practitioner (NP), Defining Scholarship, Public Health, Patient Safety, Palliative and EOL Care
- National Projects: Canadian Nursing Advisory Committee (CNAC), First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB), Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (CHSRF), Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC)
- Completion of new Accreditation Program Policies and Procedures
- Negotiation of Mutual Recognition Agreement with USA
- Expansion of National Office staff to 7
2006: 1st CASN National Nursing Research Conference is held in Victoria, BC from November 15-18, 2006
2007: 3rd CASN National Nurse Educators Conference is held in Kingston, ON from November 21-24, 2007
- 1st international Global Alliance on Nursing Education and Scholarship is held in Toronto, ON from October 1-3, 2008. Theme: Educating the Future Nursing and Health Workforce: a Global Challenge.
- 1st CASN Nursing Academic Leadership Conference is held in Toronto, ON from May 8-11, 2008. Theme: Nursing Academic Leadership in Action: Strategies for Success
- 4th CASN National Nurse Educators Conference is held in Winnipeg, MB from May 3-6, 2009. Theme: Traditions and Transitions: The Evolving Legacy of Nursing Education Scholarship
- 2nd CASN National Nursing Research Conference is held in Moncton, NB from May 4-7, 2009. Theme: Interrelationships between Theory, Research, and Practice: A Systemic Approach in Nursing
2011: 2nd CASN Nursing Academic Leadership Conference is held in Quebec City, QC from May 2-5, 2011. Theme: Transforming Nursing Education for Evolving Leadership in Practice
- CASN celebrates its 70th Anniversary.
- As part of the activities marking its anniversary, CASN developed a history of nursing education in Canada. Ties That Bind: The Evolution of Education for Professional Nursing in Canada from the 17th to 21st Century takes readers through the historic, political, and social events that influenced the health care system and education of Registered Nurses in Canada that led to the development and evolution of the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing.
- 3rd CASN National Nursing Research Conference is held in Toronto, ON from May 7-10, 2012. Theme: Innovation in Research and Knowledge Exchange
2013: 5th CASN National Nurse Educators Conference is held in Vancouver, BC from June 24-26, 2013. Theme: Collaborative Synergy: Teams, Scholarship and Capacity Building in Nursing Research
2014: 6th CASN National Nurse Educators Conference is held in Halifax, NS from May 26-28, 2014. Theme: Anticipating and Shaping the Future of Nursing Education
2016: 7th CASN National Nurse Educators Conference is held in Toronto, ON from May 30-31, 2016. Theme: Expanding Horizons in Nursing Education
2017: CASN launches a new accreditation program: Internationally Educated Nurse (IEN) Bridging Program Accreditation
2018: 8th CASN National Nurse Educators Conference held in Montreal, QC
2021: 9th CASN National Biennial Nursing Education Conference held virtually
- CASN celebrates its 80th Anniversary by creating the CASN Milestones 1942-2022 video.
- CASN launches a new accreditation program: Nurse Practitioner (NP) Program Accreditation
- Expansion of National Office staff to 19
- 10th CASN National Biennial Nurse Educators Conference held in St. John’s NF. Theme: Anti-discriminatory pedagogy in nursing education
- CASN launches a new accreditation program: Practical Nurse (PN) Program Accreditation
Advancing Nursing Education for over 80 years
Thanks to the vision and passion of the 11 founding schools of CASN, the association has grown to represent 95 schools, and continues to push forward in a variety of ways the mandate they set – to advance nursing knowledge and nursing education in the interest of healthier Canadians .
There have been new directions within this original mandate as society and health care evolve, including: