On this International Nurses Day, the Alliance for the Future of Nursing in Quebec, a group of more than 20 nursing associations and experts, wants to highlight the contribution of our profession to health care in order to meet the needs of the population. . We also want to demonstrate our ambitions for the next generations of nurses.

In light of the aging of the population, the COVID-19 pandemic and the needs of patients and the network, enhancing the initial training of future members of our profession is a means of meeting these challenges. By having all the knowledge required to provide care in all areas of care, the next generations who will join our profession will be able to contribute fully to the necessary reorganization of the Quebec health care system.

In 2022, there is a consensus that access to health care can only rely on doctors. Other health professionals, including nurses, can help. The knowledge of university-trained nurses is already put to good use in front-line access counters (GAP) by directing orphan patients to the right healthcare professional. In many healthcare settings, they can also carry out a complete assessment of their patients’ condition and prescribe treatments, in addition to performing technical procedures that are often essential to respond to cases that do not require medical intervention.

The development of the role of family nurse capable of care in the clinic or at home, the deployment of nursing clinics made up of baccalaureate holders and specialized nurse practitioners, and care services in rural areas requiring great autonomy of practice become possible. The next generation of nurses will also be able to contribute to the inevitable evolution towards telehealth and the management of communities.

Contrary to popular belief, the increase in training requirements makes it possible to envisage a sharp increase in the number of graduates following its entry into force. Ontario, which requires a baccalaureate, increased its number of new nurses by 197% between 2005 and 2018 following such a reform. Similar scenarios repeated themselves in British Columbia and French-speaking Switzerland, which increased their number of female graduates by 86% and 231% respectively over a similar period of time. These three jurisdictions largely outperformed Quebec, which saw its rate of female graduates increase by only about 10% during these same years.

Positive impacts are also observable within the health network. Indeed, a level of education is positively associated with better retention of the workforce, a lower rate of absenteeism and turnover among nurses. Additionally, it is a predictor of job satisfaction due to reduced role ambiguity and increased ability to play a role within care teams.

Changing the standard for entry to the nursing profession is a necessary development based on major trends in the profession. With 52% of baccalaureate nurses in Quebec, the profession now has a majority of clinicians. They make a real contribution in emergency rooms, intensive care units, in gerontology and mental health, in home care and in many other care settings reserved for them.

The next generation of nurses also recognizes the contribution of a university education to their practice with their patients. In 2020-2021, nearly 60% of new CEGEP graduates, i.e. more than 1,300 people, continued their studies at university as part of the DEC-BAC gateway. In some regions, such as Bas-Saint-Laurent and Chaudière-Appalaches, the DEC-BAC prosecution rate even reaches 75%.

Let’s be clear, the Alliance supports the maintenance of the two training paths to obtain the title of nurse, namely the initial training in nursing sciences at the university and the integrated DEC-BAC program. College and university courses are now offered throughout Quebec and DEC-BAC gateways already exist. Future nurses will be able to choose a path that suits them to begin their training, but they will arrive on the job market with the same background of knowledge.

Quebec has all the levers to make this shift successfully and we can draw inspiration from examples from elsewhere to make our own transition a success. The evidence on the effects of comprehensive nursing education on health outcomes, the attractiveness of the profession and access to care is well established. Action is needed now to build the nursing care of tomorrow.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here