Statement re: Collaborative Nursing Program

Tuesday, May 4th

NUSU has been informed that on Monday, May 3rd nearly 200 students of the Collaborative Nursing program (Nipissing University and Canadore College) were given a mark of either unsatisfactory or in progress in their clinical courses, led by Canadore College. This leaves many students unable to progress, and potentially have to repeat this year of studies. For those deemed ‘In Progress’, these students have been left wondering what this means for the completion of their course and progression, as the semester has finished and no other work or assignments have been scheduled for completion.

From our understanding, this is due to students’ inability to attend clinical hours at the hospital because of the pandemic, and Canadore College’s stance that virtual simulation and alternative deliveries were insufficient.

Whereas, students in the Winter semester did attend in-person labs and in-person simulation, in combination with extensive virtual simulation;

Whereas, students also completed a full semester/year worth of work, including documentation assignments, required lab work (pre-lab, testing), quizzes, skills testing, and online clinical sessions;

Whereas, students were not widely notified of any indication of being unsatisfactory at any point during the term until grades were posted;

Whereas, students have widely completed all assessment requirements outlined in the provided syllabi; 

Whereas, the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (accrediting body) has stated “Creative and appropriately supervised ways of optimizing entry-to-practice competencies in

senior students while supporting the delivery of health care services during this crisis is a priority.”;

Whereas, the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (accrediting body) has further stated “As the accrediting body for nursing education, CASN will accept documented, innovative curricular changes that allow students to avoid delays in graduation and support health service delivery needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.”; 

Whereas, it was communicated to both Deans and Program Managers by both the Provost, Vice-President, Academic and Research (Nipissing University) and the Vice-President, Academic (Canadore College) that alternative delivery should be utilized wherever possible; 

Whereas, students have been given ‘In Progress” grades, halting student ability to progress, and having no clear communication on how students are expected to complete courses;

Whereas, holding students back and not allowing them to progress could mean up to 200 students having to repeat their year of school with no consideration for student accommodations, finances, or academic and placement capacity;

Whereas, students in the Fall semester cohort were passed as satisfactory for year 2 and 3 students and presents inequities across these years of students;

Whereas, student syllabi have included language such as, “Students will complete a series of virtual simulation scenarios in lieu of clinical hours. Weekly scenarios will be assigned along with supplementary learning activities. Scheduled synchronous online pre-briefing and debriefing will take place.”;

Whereas, student syllabi have also included language such as, “Details about clinical placements will be shared once the conditions have been met for the reintegration of students into the clinical settings. This will be dependent on a number of factors including current public health and provincial directives, safety and well-being of students, hospital staff and patients, and resources and capacity.”, and to students knowledge, these conditions have not been met;

Whereas, in one section where the above conditions were met, the Canadore Clinical Instructor declined to place students in the hospital;

Whereas, many other universities and colleges in Ontario have progressed students under similar conditions with primarily or exclusively online education;

Whereas, Nipissing University has (to our knowledge) committed to working with Canadore College to provide voluntary skills practice sessions;

Whereas, students have already faced job insecurity and loss of income this past year to be compliant with health restrictions and parameters;

Whereas, NUSU takes the stance that Canadore College allowing students to pay for, and spend a full academic year in courses that there was no clear plan to successfully progress in, is unethical and irresponsible, especially when the inability to progress is not related to the performance of the students;

Whereas, NUSU takes the stance that the identified students have met requirements outlined in the syllabi, and should not be forced to continue any evaluation outside of the communicated academic semester;

Whereas, there has been no consideration for the impact of an extended semester on students, financially, for job security or residence; 

Whereas, there has been no consideration for the impacts on students regarding OSAP funding, funding for Indigenous students, professional reputation, and the mental wellbeing of nursing students;

Whereas, these issues highlight recurring disregard for collegiality and professionalism in ways that have made students uncomfortable and unsure of their academic standing;

Whereas, NUSU sees these actions as a continuation of the demonstrated lack of consideration and care for nursing students, their quality of education, and their wellbeing over recent years of advocacy;

Whereas, NUSU and NUNS are still waiting on a follow-up from a group student complaint in one of the clinical courses from Winter semester that was presented to the Canadore College Dean of Faculty of Environmental and Health Science on April 1st;

We call on Canadore College and their instructors to immediately change all UNSAT, INP, or INC grades to Satisfactory for students who have been deemed satisfactory in all administered and completed aspects of the identified courses.

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. 

We call on Canadore College to respond to the group student complaint discussed with the Dean of Faculty of Environmental and Health Science discussed on April 1st.

We encourage our students to contact their clinical lead with any questions, comments or concerns they have regarding Canadore College’s grading position. Students should also consider cc’ing the following people: 

  • Vivian Papaiz, Canadore College Director of Nursing and Program Manager
    [email protected]
  • Letitia Nadalin-Penno, Canadore College Dean of Faculty of Environmental and Health Science
    [email protected] 
  • Veronika Williams, Nipissing University Director of Nursing
    [email protected] 
  • John Nadeau, Nipissing University Interim Dean, Faculty of Education and Professional Studies
    [email protected] 

As all students from the Collaborative Nursing Program are members of the Nipissing University Student Union, students are welcome to contact NUSU through the following contact for further support:

Our students remain our number one priority. We understand that this is a stressful time for our students; however, we are dedicated to ensuring that student voices and concerns are heard.

If you are in need of mental health supports, please go to 

In solidarity,
Nipissing University Student Union (NUSU)