Thanks to a decision by the provincial government, colleges now have the option to offer stand-alone nursing degree programs.

The announcement was made Tuesday and it means that students can spend all four years at the Belleville campus instead of having to transfer to Brock University after their first two years. Loyalist College says the long distance between the two schools has been a barrier to people entering the program.

“This change in policy addresses the health human resources shortage faced by many communities, including those in the Bay of Quinte region, and positions Loyalist College to graduate more qualified nurses to fill local workplace needs,” Loyalist College says in a statement.

The College’s President and CEO Dr. Ann Marie Vaughn says that fewer than five percent of the school’s nursing graduates return to work in the region. “Providing students with the option to complete their nursing degree at Loyalist will improve health care delivery in our communities by attracting more individuals into nursing professions here,” she says. ” As an international leader in nursing education, Loyalist has the faculty expertise, academic excellence and innovative experiential learning environments to deliver the full program on our own.”

“Quinte Health Care is delighted with this great news for Loyalist College and our community,” QHC’s Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Carol Smith Romeril adds. “We look forward to welcoming students and graduates into our care environments.”