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Faculty of Community Services

About the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing

The Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing is a dynamic learning space that promotes socially responsive, evidence-informed nursing. Graduates are prepared to address global health needs and provide high quality care for future generations.

Our mission and vision

Our vision:

Our innovative approach to nursing scholarship creates a dynamic learning space that promotes socially responsive, evidence-informed nursing. Graduates are prepared to address global health needs and provide high quality health care for future generations.

Our history

A few highlights:

  • 1964: Ryerson became the first post-secondary general education institution in Canada to launch a nursing diploma program. Nursing education was typically offered in hospital settings at the time.

  • 1973: This year, Ryerson partnered with Wellesley Hospital, Women’s College Hospital and the Hospital for Sick Children to offer a nursing diploma program.

  • 1980: Ryerson began to offer a bachelor of applied arts in Nursing, enabling registered nurses with a diploma to develop an analytical approach to their nursing practice.

  • 2000: Recognizing the depth of knowledge necessary to meet the needs of a changing health care landscape, the province established new educational requirements for nursing. As of 2000, nursing students were required to attend degree-granting institutions.

  • 2001: In anticipation of the new degree requirements, Ryerson formed an innovative partnership with Centennial College and George Brown College to offer a Collaborative Nursing Degree Program. In 2001, our first students entered this remarkable joint program.

  • 2005: This year, nursing graduates were required to have a bachelor’s degree to practice in most of Canada. Our first cohort of Collaborative Degree students graduated in 2005 — ready to practice. We also introduced a Master of Nursing program, offering professional nurses rewarding opportunities for advanced practice, education and research.

  • 2006: We introduced a post-master’s Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner (PHCNP) Certificate, an intensive program that prepares nursing professionals to write the College of Nurses of Ontario’s NP – Primary Health Care (Ontario) exam.

  • 2008: In honour of Daphne Cockwell and in recognition of her family’s ongoing support for Ryerson, we became the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing. We are proud to be the first university nursing school in Canada to be named for a nurse.

In the last 20 years, the extent and complexity of community health care has grown rapidly, and this shift has challenged nurses to acquire new levels of leadership and expertise. We are ready to take on the challenge.

What is nursing?

Nurses provide care for patients and clients working in partnership to support health and well-being. Beyond the critical role they play in facilitating acute treatment and recovery, registered nurses are involved in health promotion and illness prevention for individuals, families and communities.


Nursing is a field of continual change and evolving knowledge. An evidence-based approach to health care requires a strong foundation in critical thinking, clinical experience, and a commitment to ongoing professional development. Nurses at every level are expert practitioners, researchers and learners.


Empathy and understanding are essential in patient-centered nursing. A deep appreciation of humanity, an encouraging attitude and an ability to connect with all members of the community are hallmarks of skilled health care providers.


As health care advocates, nurses are leaders in the community. They are socially progressive in promoting health and personally responsive in meeting client needs. Whether collaborating with other professionals, coordinating levels of service, or advocating for patients, nurses inspire individuals and communities toward better health.

Our people

Ryerson’s Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing attracts top faculty and staff who, working together, empower our students to achieve their goals

Our teaching community is made up of award-winning researchers, clinicians, policy makers, and educators with roots in clinical practice, community health, policy, research and academia.

Our faculty and staff are engaged, caring and committed — helping to create unique, hands-on learning opportunities for our students.

Our partnerships

We work with partners across Canada and around the world to create outstanding learning, research and placement opportunities for students.

Inter-institutional collaboration

The Ryerson-Centennial-George Brown Collaborative Nursing Degree Program is a leading-edge learning and clinical environment built on a foundation of productive relationships. We capitalize on the strengths of each other to provide students with the knowledge, skills and personal attributes that can only be achieved through a comprehensive nursing education.

Partnerships between Ryerson's Post Diploma Degree Completion Program, Centennial College's Bridging to University Nursing program and George Brown College's Academic Pathway for Internationally Educated Nurses (IEN) Graduate Certificate support diploma-prepared registered practical nurses and internationally educated nurses to earn a degree at Ryerson.

Our partnership with the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson allows part-time students to balance professional development with their career through the part-time Post-Diploma Degree Completion Program.

Placement opportunities

Through a strong network of partners, students have access to hundreds of placement sites that reflect the many roles of nursing in today’s complex health care system.

Undergraduate placements enable students to immerse themselves in real-life situations where they translate theory into practice and solidify technical, communication, care-giving and teamwork skills.

Master of Nursing practicum placements provide an important opportunity for students to prepare for advanced professional practice.  

Through Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate clinical placements, students participate in clinical placements with an emphasis on community and primary health care settings, such as community health centres and GP offices.