The Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario expresses solidarity with the impacted first to third year Nursing Students in the Collaborative BScN program at Canadore College and Nipissing University. On Monday, May 3rd, Nipissing University Student Union Local 20 of the Federation, was informed that nearly 200 students of the Collaborative Nursing program (Nipissing University and Canadore College) received a mark of either unsatisfactory or in progress in their clinical courses, due to the lack of clinical practice opportunities because of necessary restrictions related to the ongoing pandemic. This measure by Canadore College, the lead of these courses, is simply unacceptable. While the grades have been adjusted to reflect the year of work these students have put in, no accountability has been taken. Nurses and nursing students are essential to the public health system and the COVID-19 pandemic response to get us through these challenging times. They are selfless students who have chosen to learn and practice life-saving work, which Ontario desperately needs.
It is National Nursing Week, and we hear time and time again how nurses are heroes, putting themselves in harm’s way, and undertaking physically and mentally exhausting work to keep us safe. While this week should be a time for celebration for nursing students, they are feeling undervalued, disrespected and uncertain about their future.
This decision had left many students unable to progress, and potentially having to repeat this academic year. Students who received an ‘In Progress’ mark had been left wondering what this meant for the completion of their courses and progression, as the semester had finished and no other assignments had been scheduled for completion. The assumption from Local 20 and the Nipissing University Nursing Society is that this is due to students’ inability to attend clinical hours at the hospital because of necessary pandemic restrictions. The assumption continues that Canadore College must see virtual simulation and alternative deliveries as insufficient, even though nursing programs at other institutions similarly adapted their training and found those to be sufficient. Access to completing their clinical placement is simply outside of students’ control, and they should not be penalized for it. A delay in students’ years of studies would burden students with additional tuition and living costs.
We are pleased to see that Nipissing University and Canadore College have acted in the spirit of the Collaborative Program, and that both institutions have made this decision collegially. However, while the grades have been rightfully adjusted, many students are left concerned about actions like these recurring and still have heard no rationale or response from Canadore College Instructors as to why this occurred at all.
The Federation reiterates the right of NUSU to continue to advocate for those Nipissing University students at Canadore College as their autonomous and recognized student representatives.
The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario support and reiterate the following calls to action for Canadore College;
- We call on Canadore College to immediately apologize to impacted students for the stress, and unprofessional behaviour demonstrated by Canadore Clinical Instructors, and Administration.
- We call on Canadore College to implement sensitivity and professionalism training for all of their Clinical Instructors and Administrators.
- We call on Canadore College to publicly stand against unprofessional, and uncollegial commentary about their collaborative partners to students, and demonstrate the professionalism and respect for colleagues and students that is expected of nursing students in their education and future professional careers.
Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario