Four Hundred and Two Days Later: What We’ve Learned in the Bridge to Canadian Nursing Program

Holly Crowe RN, BScN, MN (2021-04-15)

Four hundred and two is the number of days it has been since I have stood beside one of my esteemed colleagues in the Bridge to Canadian Nursing (BCN) program, a small but tight-knit family who now look more like the Brady Bunch on my zoom screen.

The BCN Faculty Team, April 2021

Four hundred and two days has given us much to reflect on in terms of what we have lost, what we have gained, and what might never be the same.

The greatest loss has been the human connection to the team because we teach in a practise-based and human services profession. We have also lost some of the human connection to our students who are joining us online from overseas and from across the country.

Strangely though, we have benefited from the move to a virtual environment as well. It has helped us to gain access to students who study from afar. And, we have continued to function as a team.  We have come together to share ideas, understandings, and pedagogical strategies.  We’ve helped each other to use innovative technology to deliver our program while striving to maintain integrity, quality assurance, and accountability to the Nursing program and profession. 

We took risks and tried new things to prepare our students for nursing in the Canadian healthcare system. Our program has built stronger relationships with the support teams who make our work possible both on-campus, in the clinical settings, and in the online environment.

We have moved from a blended delivery model to an almost entirely virtual platform and have adapted hands-on clinical and lab-based instruction to meet safety needs in relation to a Covid environment that seems to evolve every day. We have been challenged by constant change, but have managed to adapt to it ourselves while supporting our students throughout.

Despite program delays and the ever-present personal challenges our students experience, our winter cohort is on-schedule and successful in their program requirements. Achieving this feat  would not have been possible without perseverance and flexibility on the part of both students and teachers.

Our program may never be the same and this might be an unexpected benefit of having to adapt in the face of this pandemic.  We may now have the confidence and experience to offer our program in a unique way that meets the needs of our diverse student population while remaining committed to preparing them to be safe, competent, and confident to practice in the Canadian context. I do not believe that we are the only program that will emerge significantly modified for the better in the post-pandemic world.  Our experience has changed us, and, in some ways, this may benefit program delivery across our campus for the foreseeable future.