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The End of an Era

Continuing Education and Development for Nurses Celebrates Almost 50 Years

After almost fifty years of offering professional development for nurses and other health professionals, College of Nursing’s Continuing Education and Development for Nurses (CEDN) unit will close its doors at the end of April 2020. CEDN focused on providing conferences, workshops, distance learning and skills training for nurses and health professionals in Saskatchewan and beyond.

The Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) program, which it was originally known, was established in 1971 by Dr. Lucy Willis. The program was positioned in the School of Nursing, within the College of Medicine. Dr. Willis was Director of the School of Nursing at the time and based on the knowledge she gained through her studies in adult education, the idea of CNE was born.

Throughout the decades that followed, CNE would work closely with Continuing Medical Education (CME) to develop a number of joint programs, including coronary care funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Saskatchewan Government, a respiratory program funded by the Lung Association and a cancer program funded by the Canadian Cancer Society and the Saskatchewan Cancer Foundation. CNE and CME also worked closely together on the creation of a perinatal education program, a program which still exists today.

The need for continuing education in nursing continued to grow over the years, requiring CNE to constantly expand their offerings. They developed workshops in areas including Indigenous healing, caregiver stress, diabetes management, IV therapy, pain management, perinatal loss, COPD and smoking cessation, infection control, stroke management and more. Programs were developed based on need and offered throughout the province of Saskatchewan.

CNE underwent a major change in May 2012 when they announced their official name change to Continuing Education and Development for Nurses (CEDN), with tag line Be A Lifelong LeaRNer. The change to the name reflected the contributions of the program to date, but aligned with new vision and mission statements of the University of Saskatchewan and College of Nursing.

Not only did CEDN offer workshops, over the years they coordinated and planned a number of major provincial and international conferences including POGO (Pediatrics, Obstetrics, and Gynecology), an annual Medicine/Surgery Conference, an annual Regional Nursing Workshop for nurses working in First Nations communities and large events focused on cancer and respiratory care. The Custody and Caring Conference, a biennial international conference focusing on health care professionals practicing at the interface of health and the criminal justice system, was coordinated by CEDN and continues to run today, with the most recent gathering taking place in October 2019.  

As learning needs changed, CEDN adapted. The realization that it’s often difficult for practicing nurses to take time off work and travel from their home community for continuing education, led to the development of e-learning events. Spearheaded by former CEDN Director, Cathy Jeffery and Clinical Education Coordinator Cheryl Cummings, a successful series of Telehealth events were offered from 2008 – 2010 and in 2014, CEDN explored the opportunity to use Remote Presence technology (think robots) to deliver continuing education to nurses in Northern Saskatchewan. After that worked well, in 2015, CEDN was asked to help out with a unique opportunity of providing continuing nursing education in Siberia. Sessions on heart attack and stroke care were delivered from CEDN’s office in Saskatoon to nurses in Yakutsk who were isolated, with little opportunity to connect with other colleagues for continuing education.

Over the last number of years, the need for continuing education for nurses and other health professionals has evolved. CEDN created specialized workshops for Nurse Practitioners, as well as tailor-made ones arranged for Home Care Nurses working in First Nations communities. CEDN has offered regular program workshops on suturing and surgical skills, cardiology, physical assessment, foot care for older adults and skin and wound care. While in-person workshops were often requested, the demand for online courses increased. Using the expertise of former Instructional Designer Valerie Moore, CEDN created and offered online courses including basic ECG interpretation, delirium in older adults, dementia awareness and person-centered care and skin and wound care, as well as a clinical instructor course.  

“When I came to Saskatchewan as a new nurse in the mid 1970’s, I learned quickly the value of Continuing Nursing Education programming opportunities to support my growth in nursing practice,” said College of Nursing Interim Dean Dr. Lois Berry. “Later, when I came to know Professor Norma Fulton, the Director of CNE at the time, I understood why this program was so useful and so important. Professor Fulton and the staff at the College of Nursing understood the learning needs of practicing nurses in the province at the time, and worked hard to provide timely and relevant programming.”

Although CEDN continued to offer well attended workshops and conferences and adapt to the learning needs of nurses around the province, both healthcare and education have undergone an enormous amount of change since CEDN’s inception in 1971. The changes in both environments have had a direct impact on continuing nursing education. After much deliberation, the College of Nursing decided it was in the best interest to close the unit. The majority of workshops will be complete by the end of December 2019 and the College is committed to ensuring all contracts with CEDN are honoured until completion – approximately April 2020.

“CEDN has delivered tremendous and committed work over many years in Saskatchewan and beyond to bring various forms of professional development to nurses and other health professionals,” said Dr. Phil Woods, Interim Director CEDN. “The staff and educators have always ensured partners and participants received the best possible experience and education at all events, in a landscape of nursing and professional development that continues to evolve.”

CEDN would like to recognize their partners for the support received over the last number of years. The unit could not have delivered the quality of continuing nursing education without the support of their partners.  

  • First Nations and Inuit Health Branch/Indigenous Services Canada
  • Continuing Medical Education
  • Continuing Professional Development for Pharmacy Professionals
  • Continuing Education in Rehabilitation Science
  • Saskatchewan Health Information Resources Program
  • Saskatchewan Registered Nurses’ Association
  • Saskatchewan Association of Licensed Practical Nurses
  • Registered Psychiatric Nurses Association of Saskatchewan
  • Canadian Nurses Association

CEDN would also like to thank all the nurses and health care professionals who have participated in workshops and attended conferences. You are the reason CEDN was able to offer professional development opportunities for almost fifty years.

The College of Nursing would like to thank current CEDN staff members Selene Daniel-Whyte, Katie McBride, Leane King and Karen Marcinkiw for their commitment to the College of Nursing and for the excellent work they did with CEDN. We would also like to thank all the instructors who delivered the continuing nursing education programs over the years.

For inquiries related to the closure of CEDN, please contact Dr. Phil Woods.

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