Dr. Carole Orchard
After five years, Dr. Carole Orchard is leaving as director
of Memorial’s School of Nursing to take up a new position
as director of the School of Nursing at the University of
Western Ontario. She leaves a legacy of strong leadership
and innovation. “We’ve turned the whole school
around from where it was to where it needs to be, and now
it’s positioned for the future.”
Dr. Orchard said she was frustrated when she started as
director by the lack of a provincial vision for health and
nursing. Now those are in place, and she sees the School
of Nursing as the established leader of nursing in Newfoundland
and Labrador. An important part of that leadership is strong
links with government, the Association of Registered Nurses
of Newfoundland and Labrador and hospital boards.
Dr. Orchard is particularly proud of the work done to provide
nursing education for the Labrador Inuit. “That project
is my favourite because it allowed me to look at the research
and see that the way we normally teach in course-dependent
programs just doesn’t work for the Inuit.” A
new approach was developed with support from the provincial
government, the Labrador Institute and the Labrador Inuit
Association, in cooperation with the College of the North
Atlantic (CONA). The program, scheduled to start in January,
will allow the Inuit in the 16 designated seats to complete
their high school and take first-year university courses
together in modules at the CONA site in Happy Valley/Goose
Bay. They’ll stay in Labrador for second-year nursing
studies before coming to the island for the final two years
of the program.
Dr. Orchard has seen a lot of positive change during her
tenure, but she is quick to point out that these successes
are not due to her alone but to a strong commitment from
the faculty in the school. The Web-based master’s
in nursing has been comprehensively revised, now offering
a thesis track and practicum track; this popular program
is operating at full capacity. The school is also moving
ahead with a master’s for nurse-practitioners at specialty
advanced practice levels like cardiology, oncology and nephrology.
During her time as director, the school has established
a Center for International Nursing and relationships are
being developed with a United Kingdom university so Memorial’s
nursing students can gain international experience. Dr.
Orchard has also been involved with negotiations to develop
post-RN and graduate degrees in Malaysia. Other innovations
include establishing the Nursing Research Unit and holding
the first Nursing Research Day, a collaborative event sponsored
by the three sites offering the BN program.
Never afraid of a challenge, last November Dr. Orchard became
president of the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing.
She has been outspoken on the need for government to support
nursing schools in light of Canada’s impending drastic
shortage of nurses. She also chairs the Accreditation Taskforce
which is developing new accreditation standards for Canadian
Schools of Nursing.