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   A Memorial University of Newfoundland Publication

July 24, 2003

Dr. Carole Orchard departs
Advancing nursing leadership

Dr. Carole Orchard
Photo by HSIMS
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.




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Next issue: August 7, 2003

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