Celebrating 50 years of care at Mount Royal
MRU nursing program celebrates 50-year anniversary
By Mason Benning, Contributor
Founded in 1910, Mount Royal has since grown from a junior college into a university that offers a total of 12 degrees from 31 different programs. This year, one of those programs is celebrating a big milestone of being a big part of the school for half a century.
The nursing program at Mount Royal was first introduced 50 years ago in 1967 with a total of 25 students enrolled into, what was then, a two-year diploma program.
The nursing program has had a long history at Mount Royal which involved teaming up with the University of Calgary to offer a conjoint program, and later with Athabasca University to offer a degree through the Mount Royal program.
Just a few years before becoming a university in 2009, nursing blazed a trail at Mount Royal in 2006 by becoming the first program to offer a degree directly through the school.
Throughout its history, the program has worked hard to prepare its students to become registered nurses. Aliya Karmali, a third-year nursing student and president of the Student Nursing Society at MRU, says the program does a great job of this.
“We’re pushed into our clinical practicum in our first and second year so we’re kind of very well prepared for clinical experience when we start working as full time registered nurses,” says Karmali.
Karmali also attributes much of how well they are prepared to the faculty of the program.
“Most [professors] are nurses so they’re very caring and passionate people. They’re understanding, they have a huge depth of knowledge that they share with us and they’re just awesome, amazing people.”
Maggie Quance, the chair of the nursing department at MRU, says that this preparedness of students definitely shows when she talks to employers of Mount Royal’s nursing graduates.
“We hear again and again,” says Quance, “how ready our students are to actually walk onto a nursing unit, onto a ward, and to actually begin that practice as a registered nurse. And I think that speaks volumes.”
Something that the nursing program is looking to for the future of the program is how the use of health informatics and technology is being used more and more in health care. They are also looking at the continuing changes in policy — such as the debate surrounding medically assisted death — that they always need to keep up with to incorporate into the program.
Quance says that based on the history of the program, they are well prepared to meet this challenge.
“I think that’s been something that this program, over the 50 years, can be super proud of. It is always looking forward and looking to the next challenge to support students in their aspirations of this ever-changing profession of nursing.”
For the more immediate future, an enduring scholarship has been set up to mark the anniversary. It will support nursing students who show excellence in their academic work. The Nursing Excellence Scholarship is hoping to fundraise $25,000 by the end of December.
There will also be a semi-formal gala held on Sept. 28, in the Ross Glen Hall at MRU to give the opportunity for past and present nursing students and faculty to come together to celebrate the milestone.