Dean of Nursing Update January 2021

Greetings from Interim Dean Cindy Peternelj-Taylor

Happy New Year! Welcome to the University of Saskatchewan College of Nursing.

When the World Health Organization declared 2020 the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, none of us could have imagined the challenges the year would bring. Like many of you, I was happy to close the door to 2020; it is with great hope and optimism that I look to 2021, with the promise of embracing a post pandemic reality. And while I am not deluding myself of the realities we are currently facing in Saskatchewan, I sincerely hope the year moving forward is less complicated than the past year.

I know I’ve said this in previous months, but I feel the need to repeat it again, as it continues to ring true today. Amongst all the uncertainty the pandemic has created, one thing I know for sure is that nursing is a dynamic profession, always changing to meet the needs of individual clients, their families, and their communities, locally and globally. If there is a group of people who can push through uncertainty, adapt well to change, and think on their feet, it is nurses.

When I look back on 2020, I am especially proud of the way in which the College of Nursing has responded, and continues to respond, to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have worked closely with Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer, the Saskatchewan Health Authority, and adhered to public health orders. In all the decisions we have made, the safety and wellbeing of our students, faculty, and staff have remained our number one priority, and these will continue to be our guideposts, as we move forward in 2021.

Interim Dean Cindy Peternelj-Taylor

We couldn’t have accomplished all that we did through this challenging time without the help of others. I want to extend my most sincere gratitude to our community, research, and administrative partners. Our partners supported us and worked with us to ensure the college could fulfill our teaching and research missions. Countless clinical placements were arranged and rearranged to enable our students to proceed through their programs of study in a timely manner. Research programs pivoted to address the new situations we found ourselves in. Government organizations, partners, and advisors shifted to new ways of working with the college, and our administrative partners remained agile, as they shifted to meet the changing environment. For all of this, I thank you.

To our alumni working on the front-lines of a pandemic, know that we see you and recognize all you are doing. Thank you.

I am incredibly proud of the resilience and dedication of our students, faculty, and staff. In 2020, 294 students completed their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, 45 students completed their Master of Nursing degree (including 19 Nurse Practitioners), and two students completed a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing. Their success is a true testament to the unwavering commitment of so many.

To our students, I know how incredibly hard you are working to progress through your programs of study, and I want each of you to know how proud I am of you. Nursing education encourages you to think about the challenges you see today and apply your knowledge to create a better tomorrow. There is nothing ordinary about anything we are currently doing – yet you have demonstrated resiliency, tenacity, and flexibility, as you have adapted to a constantly changing landscape, where every day seems to present a new reality. Thank you for your patience, understanding, and perseverance.

Over the past ten months, as a College of Nursing, we conscientiously worked to move the delivery of all theory classes from in-person delivery to remote delivery, we restructured in-person labs, and we re-conceptualized clinical experiences. I know countless hours have been invested in these changes, and every day, I am encouraged to hear of the new, innovative ways our faculty are delivering classes, labs, and clinical experiences. It is extremely demanding to plan for the future during these unprecedented times, but I am confident the decisions being made within the College of Nursing reflect the best interests of our students, faculty, and staff.

COVID-19 has certainly changed nursing forever. But even with all the new challenges and risks it has posed for nurses, I am confident the world will get through it. The rollout of the vaccine, albeit slower than we had hoped, is bringing hope across the province. We will however, need to remain ever vigilant in our adherence to public health orders, as we continue to work at bending the curve. Change will be our constant companion as we move through the coming weeks and months, requiring all of us to continue to adapt to the ever present reality in the Saskatchewan context. I want to assure everyone that we will continue to communicate all College of Nursing updates and plans in as timely a manner as possible.   

I know the holidays looked much different this year, but I hope everyone found time to restore, renew, and replenish. I continue to think of each of you during this difficult time. I hope you are well and continue to stay safe as we embark on 2021.


Cindy Peternelj-Taylor
Interim Dean
College of Nursing
University of Saskatchewan


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