York and UHN team up to create new nursing academy

York University and University Health Network (UHN) have signed a memorandum of understanding to create a joint nursing academy. The signing took place on Friday, May 15 at UHN. The York University-UHN Nursing Academy will advance the health and quality of life of patients by advancing the knowledge and practice of nursing.

Above: Mary Ferguson-Paré, vice-president, professional affairs & chief nurse executive, UHN, and York Faculty of Health Dean Harvey Skinner sign the memorandum of understanding to create the York-UHN Nursing Academy

"Our objective is to focus on programs of research that will improve quality of care, patient safety, and help patients and families to direct their health care decisions," says the academy’s newly appointed director, Gail Mitchell, professor in the School of Nursing in York’s Faculty of Health.

"The academy will mirror the mission of the School of Nursing at York University by creating a culture of caring that fosters learning and the development of human science-based nursing knowledge, research and practice," says Mitchell. The mission also aligns with UHN’s mission of exemplary patient care, research and education.

"This partnership is a dream come true for nurses at UHN. Our nurses highly value opportunities for developing new knowledge, testing innovations and advancing patient-centred practice. These will all be enhanced by the presence of the York-UHN Academy at our Toronto General Hospital site," says Mary Ferguson-Paré, vice-president, professional affairs & chief nurse executive, UHN.

The academy will also focus on professional education, jointly delivering York University programs at UHN, including bachelor of science in nursing clinical placements and its master of science in nursing, as well as continuing education and professional development initiatives under York’s Health Leadership & Learning Network.

Right: Gail Mitchell

Mitchell notes these new programs will be evaluated and possibly provide models for other university-hospital partnerships. "Helping to create an exciting and inspiring place to work is an important aspect of the York-UHN Academy," she says.

The new academy with provide mutual benefits by bringing University faculty and students together with expert practitioners, leaders and researchers in health care settings. It will also offer creative opportunities to harness the power of the arts in research and education.

The York-UHN Academy will be jointly governed by Harvey Skinner, dean of York’s Faculty of Health, and by Ferguson-Paré.

Skinner says the partnership is a significant step for York University and the School of Nursing. "UHN is the flagship academic hospital in Canada and internationally," says Skinner. "We look forward to working with UHN in being a global leader in research and education on patient-centred care, with major impact on improving the quality of patient care and health outcomes."

York University’s School of Nursing focuses on the theoretical, scientific and philosophical knowledge of human caring. Its innovative person-centred approach to teaching develops the future leaders in Canada’s health care systems, preparing them for careers as nurses in hospitals, community health and other organizations, public health and policy leaders, nursing practice leaders and educators.

The UHN consists of Toronto General, Toronto Western and Princess Margaret Hospitals. It has the largest hospital-based research program in Canada, with major research in transplantation, cardiology, neurosciences, oncology, surgical innovation, infectious diseases and genomic medicine. UHN is also a research hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto.