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Mohawk launches Public Health Nursing graduate certificate program during International Nursing Week

During International Nursing Week, Mohawk College welcomed the first class of students into its new Public Health Nursing Ontario College Graduate Certificate Program – the first program of its kind in Canada.

PH_Photo“Mohawk College is proud to support nurses in their lifelong learning and to provide public health organizations with a source of well-trained future ready employees,” said Janet Shuh, Dean, Continuing Education & Academic Development at Mohawk College. “At a time when the Canadian healthcare system is under great strain and public health organizations are facing acute labour shortages, this program creates an opportunity for more nurses to pursue careers in the important and rewarding field of Public Health.”

Geared towards both new nursing graduates and nurses who have been practicing for several years, the Public Health Nursing program consists of 10 courses and can be completed in two years. The program is completely online and features asynchronous learning, with admissions available every semester, and an applied clinical experience at the end of the program.

“This program is the only one of its kind in Canada,” said instructor Ruth Schofield, who was instrumental in the development of the program. “Many Continuing Education programs are geared towards the local or Ontario workforce but this program is geared for the national workforce in public health organizations.”

Faculty from over seven universities and colleges across Canada are working on the program’s development. The program aims to become a nationally recognized certification for those wishing to enter public health nursing and will be taught by public health nurses from across Canada.

“Nurses who have been practicing for a number of years are so accustomed to practicing in an acute care environment like a hospital,” said Schofield. “For them to move into public health is significantly different, and so they need significant preparation. This program provides it for them.”

Students will learn essential concepts, theories and practices, including social and ecological determinants of health and health equity, epidemiology, working with priority populations, setting-based approaches, strengthening and supporting families, communication and public health, and infectious disease prevention and control. Successful graduates will gain the knowledge and skills required to make decisions at all levels of public health nursing practice for individuals, families, groups, communities, populations and systems.

A cohort of students has begun the program’s Foundations of Public Health Nursing introductory course this week. With these initial student enrollments, the program will be ready to offer several courses following its formal launch in Fall 2022. New courses will become available each semester in 2023, as enrolled students work their way through the program of studies. Interested students can learn more about the program and enrollment by visiting the Public Health Nursing program page.