The Centralized Teaching Program

In the 1940s, many institutions did not have sufficient staff to teach the basic sciences to their nursing students. The programs suffered because of it. Staff shortages made it difficult for nurses to teach in addition to their ward duties. This shortage prompted the Saskatchewan government to establish a Health Survey Committee. The committee recognized this nursing shortage and recommended that nursing education be centralized and largely de-linked from nursing practice. Fully centralizing nursing training would not have been feasible, but centralizing the learning of basic sciences was a viable option. The Saskatchewan Registered Nurses' Association (SRNA) approached the government and suggested a program which centralized the teaching of basic sciences as "each year it was becoming recognized in Saskatchewan that the teaching of the basic sciences was the weakest point in nursing education programs" (Steering Committee, 10). Several hospitals were having difficulty securing teaching staff for the basic sciences and the idea of centralizing these courses seemed an appropriate solution to the problem.

"In September of 1952, a request for financial support to initiate a plan of centralized nursing education was submitted to the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. The request was granted and a sum of money was provided on a three-year commitment to establish, at Regina College and the University of Saskatchewan, a sixteen weeks' introductory program for basic nursing students" (Schmitt, 2). The money from the Kellogg foundation could not be used for books or desks or any other supplies, so nurses pulled together and donated either money or equipment for the new schools.

The program was inaugurated in 1953. "The new pattern represented a provisional step in the planned improvement of the total curriculum in basic nursing education. It demonstrated a means of sharing much needed facility personnel and thus provided a measure of assistance to the strengthening of existing schools" (Schmitt, 2).

Hospital schools retained control over their students, however. The various schools in the province still practiced their own recruiting and admitting. If the faculty in the centralized teaching program felt that a student should not continue training, a recommendation to remove the student would be made to the home school of nursing. The home school of nursing would then make the decision as to whether the student would continue.

The program was a precursor to the centralized programs that Saskatchewan provides presently for its nursing students.