Hamilton’s Mohawk College launches first-of-its kind course for nurses

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Published May 13, 2022 at 11:24 am

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Mohawk College in Hamilton has launched a new first-of-its-kind program that will help fortify public health units across the country for years to come.

The new Public Health Nursing Ontario College Graduate Certificate Program welcomed the first class of students this week, during International Nursing Week.


The program is geared toward recent nursing graduates and those who have been working in the field and are looking to enter public health nursing.

“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.”

Students in the program will learn concepts, theories and practices in the field, including social and ecological determinants of health and health equity.

Studies will also focus on epidemiology, learning to work with priority populations, setting-based approaches to public health, strengthening and supporting families, communication, and infectious disease prevention and control.

Programming is delivered online and features asynchronous learning and admissions available every semester. Students will be required to complete 10 courses, which can be done in two years, and a clinical placement at the end of the course.

While the course is being offered through Mohawk, faculty from seven Canadian universities and colleges are working to help develop the program. The goal is to ultimately make the course a nationally recognized certification 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.”

With the program’s first students already getting underway with the Foundations of Public Health Nursing introductory course, the college expects 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.

“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.”

More information about the course can be found on the college’s website.

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