The art of nursing

May 13, 2016


University welcomes the Faculty of Nursing

Nurses are an integral part of every health care system, and they’re being celebrated as part of National Nursing Week in Canada. MacEwan University is celebrating the profession in its own way—in July, the university welcomes its sixth faculty/school, the Faculty of Nursing.

The new faculty will encompass two academic departments (the Department of Nursing Science and the Department of Psychiatric Nursing), as well as the Centre for Professional Nursing Education and the Clinical Simulation Centre. For years, nursing at MacEwan has been large and diverse enough to necessitate its own faculty.

A separate Faculty of Nursing has several important advantages, which will appeal to future and current students, including greater recognition from graduate schools, opportunities nationally and internationally for research, student and faculty member exchanges, and gives the university more credibility in the healthcare industry.

“We’re really excited to become the Faculty of Nursing,” says Assistant Professor Catherine (Kate) Bowman, interim chair of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) program. “We really enjoyed being a part of the Faculty of Health and Community Studies, but we’re really excited to become our own faculty.”

Kate cites the faculty members as contributing to the programs’ success. “They do an amazing job in their teaching and learning pedagogy and in making sure our students receive not only a high-quality education, but one that’s student-centred and in a safe learning environment.”

“Nursing is a wonderful profession to go into,” says Janelle Krabben, who graduates from the BScN program in June. “If you choose this career, say it loud and proud that you’re a nurse. It’s a very respectable career and you have a lot of responsibility. It’s an honour to be a nurse.”

What draws people to the nursing profession?

“Our students are interested in medical knowledge, but also want that art of nursing to go along with it—communication, caring and compassion,” says Kate. “They want to help families and individuals be resilient and overcome the challenges that they might face. Our graduates will be working in ambiguous and complex healthcare environments, and the ability to think at systems level is paramount.”

Assistant Professor Brian Parker, interim chair of the Psychiatric Nursing programs, including the Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing (BPN) program, says the same things that drew him into this area are attracting students. “The draw for me was being able to work with people and the human mind, which is the most complex, intricate, fascinating piece of machinery one can imagine.”

The psychiatric nursing profession is attracting more students as government and Alberta Health Services give more attention to mental health issues.

“The idea of advocating for the health of the most vulnerable people among our communities pulled me to psychiatric nursing,” says Dana Blackwell. In June, Dana will be the first graduate of the BPN program—and not a moment too soon for her future patients. “We are making change, but there is still significant stigma surrounding mental illness, addictions, trauma and treatment.”

The creation of the Faculty of Nursing will certainly help the programs advocate for nursing in the province, so that nursing grads can advocate for the health of their patients and their communities.

“Our new Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing program has been growing, and BScN and the Psychiatric Nursing diploma are certainly very vibrant and strong,” says Brian. “There was a feeling that if we could separate into a Faculty of Nursing, it would help us further enhance our already strong reputation in the world of academia and in the profession of nursing. Although we loved our time in the Faculty of Health and Community Studies, a lot of people are seeing the new faculty as having the potential for positive change, continued collaborations and empowerment in nursing education at MacEwan.”

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