Off the Charts! The Centre for Nursing Studies Celebrates a 20-year Success Story

The opening of the Centre for Nursing Studies (CNS) on October 29, 1996 marked the beginning of a new era in nursing education in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The transition from three independent Schools of Nursing in St. John’s, the General Hospital, Salvation Army Grace General and St. Clare’s Mercy Schools of Nursing, to the CNS was made possible by the extraordinary vision, commitment and collaborative efforts of nursing leaders, faculty members, and key stakeholders across the province.

2016 marks the 20th Anniversary of the CNS and faculty, staff, administration, students and graduates have much to celebrate. First of all, our graduates are our greatest accomplishment. Since 1996, several thousand nursing graduates have successfully completed one of the many programs offered at the CNS, including:

  • 1,717 graduates from the Bachelor of Nursing (BN) Program,
  • 876 from the Practical Nursing (PN) Program, and
  • thousands of others who have completed programs that are tailored to the educational needs of Registered Nurses (RNs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs).

Consistently, our nursing students maintain a higher than national average on licensure exams!

“The BN program at the Centre provided me with a solid theoretical and clinical foundation that has allowed me to have a successful and rewarding career in multiple domains of practice,” says Bradley Walsh, the Regulatory Officer at the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador (ARNNL), and a member of the first graduating class of the BN Program in 2000. “The program and faculty sparked my desire to be a lifelong learner and helped opened my eyes and mind to everything nursing is today – and can be in the future.”

First year CNS BN students attend the annual Welcome to the Nursing Profession Ceremony, April 2016

First year CNS BN students attend the annual Welcome to the Nursing Profession Ceremony, April 2016

Operated by the Eastern Health, the Centre for Nursing Studies is the largest nursing school in the province and proudly offers the following courses:

CNS graduates make significant contributions to health care in every nursing environment – including education, administration and research. They are highly sought after – in this province, across Canada and around the world.

The development of an International Office at the CNS is especially noteworthy. Since 1999, faculty at the CNS have participated in several projects/programs in many developing countries such as Jamaica, Bangladesh, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Guatemala, to name a few. The delivery of the Practical Nursing Program in Jamaica from 2007-2011, means Eastern Health now has several graduates employed as LPNs.

PN student Tariro Hicks demonstrates gratitude to staff, faculty, administration and students by celebrating Mother's Day, May 2016 with delicious treats and special Mother's Day cards

PN student Tariro Hicks demonstrates gratitude to staff, faculty, administration and students by celebrating Mother’s Day, May 2016 with delicious treats and special Mother’s Day cards

“When I started the Practical Nursing program at the Centre for Nursing Studies, I quickly realized that it was a great fit for me,’ says Tariro Hicks, a 2016 graduate of the PN Program. “The CNS offers an interactive way of learning which is ideal for students completing the PN program. The diversity amongst students is great; the CNS is a place where you not only learn nursing skills and theory, but you also attain new knowledge about life skills, experiences and different cultures”

As part of the ongoing collaboration that CNS has fostered with nursing organizations in Jamaica, 14 third-year BN students, along with two faculty members, will head to Jamaica in June for two weeks of clinical practice. The students will gain valuable insight about the health care system in a developing country.

Another significant accomplishment for the CNS was the development of a Bridging Program for International Educated Nurses (IENs). In partnership with the ARNNL, the CNS developed the Program to facilitate the IEN’s integration into Canadian nursing practice. Since 2011, the Centre has received 45 referrals for competency-based assessments of IENs

To date, the CNS has been accredited by the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing three times; the most recent in February 2015. We are very proud of the fact that with each accreditation, we received the highest possible approval standard of seven years.

We believe that’s due in no small part to the fact we’re responsive to the educational needs of our profession and of the health care system in general. We strive to prepare caring and competent nurse leaders through a commitment to excellence in teaching, research – and practice.

CNS faculty support BN students at the annual Charity Ball, April 2016

CNS faculty support BN students at the annual Charity Ball, April 2016

As we celebrate National Nursing Week, we are mindful of the valuable contributions that nurses make on a daily basis. The Canadian Nurses Association theme – Nurses: With you every step of the way, emphasizes how important nurses are in our lives — at every age, in all health situations, for all Canadians.

“I enjoy the school hours that the Centre for Nursing Studies offers, as it allows time after class for students to spend time with family, friends and/or maintain a healthy lifestyle,” sums up Tariro Hicks. “I love the CNS for the knowledge that the tutors and instructors offer. It makes me view each day in a ‘nursing kind of way.’” ■

To celebrate this milestone, the CNS is having a 20th Anniversary Dinner and Fundraiser on June 16, 2016 at the Holiday Inn in St. John’s. This event is open to all current and former faculty, staff, students, graduates and friends of the CNS. Proceeds from the event will support the Health Care Foundation’s Comfort in Care Program. For further information or to purchase a ticket, please contact Paula Roberts at or (709) 777-8161.

This story was written by Kathy Watkins, director, Denise English and Anne Marie Tracey, associate directors, Centre for Nursing Studies.

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