Faculty of Nursing
Past Influences and Present Perspectives

Nursing education at the University of New Brunswick, in Fredericton, began in 1958 with the establishment of the School of Nursing which enrolled its first class of 14 students in the fall of 1959. In 1969, the School of Nursing became the Faculty of Nursing.

In the 1980s, several changes occurred in health and education. In 1982, the recommendation that the baccalaureate degree be the entry requirement to the practice of professional nursing was ratified by the membership at the Canadian Nurses' Association (CNA) biennial meeting held in St. John's, Newfoundland.

In the years following, the Nurses' Association of New Brunswick (NANB) developed strategies to involve its membership in studying the need for baccalaureate education in nursing and in developing a plan to implement changes in nursing education.The recommendation to endorse the baccalaureate degree as entry into practice was ratified by the membership of NANB in May 1989.

Even before that ratification in New Brunswick, it was evident that the UNB curriculum was ready for updating. Em Bevis, a well known nurse educator, acted as consultant and made several on-site visits to work with faculty. In 1992, the Faculty of Nursing introduced a program with major curriculum changes.

Early in 1995, the government of New Brunswick determined that all nursing education in the province would occur at the baccalaureate level. To accomplish this, plans were made to close the diploma schools of nursing and to offer BN education in each of those original diploma school sites.

In the fall of 1995, UNB Saint John began to offer the BN on that campus, although faculty in Saint John had been involved in BN/RN education for a number of years. That same fall, the BN program was begun on new, small campuses in Moncton and Bathurst administered from Fredericton.

In the fall of 2000, by contractual arrangement with Humber College in Toronto, the BN program expanded again to enroll students there, as the UNB-Humber Collaborative BN Program.

That same fall, a curriculum revision was implemented across the now five UNB sites. Participation from faculty in all sites ensured the integrity and consistency of this new curriculum.

In June 2006, with the guidance Dr. Carroll Iwasiw and Dr. Mary-Anne Andrusyszyn from the Faculty of Health Sciences University of Western Ontario, participants from all sites reviewed the curriculum, as well as the philosophy, mission, goals and guiding values which had directed it. The group endorsed the values and beliefs which formed the underpinning of the current philosophy and curriculum. With this validation and support, ongoing development of the curriculum for the enhancement of the program continues. The organization of nursing theory and clinical courses and their intersections in the curriculum remain relatively unchanged in recent years. However, the learning outcomes and teaching objectives in the curriculum are continuously assessed and updated for their relevance to emerging trends and entry level competencies in nursing practice.

Historically, nursing education and research have been influenced by many philosophical trends. These include positivist and empiricist orientations in quantitative research methods used to scientifically explain and predict nursing phenomena. In other paradigms an orientation that focuses on holism, subjectivity, intuition, inter-subjective understanding, and diverse human experience is found in qualitative and interpretive - research. Still other perspectives in nursing research emphasize community based participatory action methods of inquiry and their contribution to knowledge that empowers communities (Chinn & Kramer, 2011).

Currently, nursing programs at UNB embrace many philosophical orientations and paradigms in knowledge production and transfer. These are consistent with societal trends and trends in health care reform, trends influencing higher education and nursing practice locally and globally.