Practical Nursing

Practical nursing (PN) is the second largest nursing group in Canada. PNs combine nursing knowledge, skill and judgment to treat health conditions, promote health, prevent illness, and assist clients to achieve optimal levels of health and wellness. Practical nurses use the nursing process to assess, plan, implement and evaluate the outcomes of holistic care provided to diverse clients and their families throughout their lifespan, as disease progresses, as well as through palliative stages.
As a regulated nursing profession, PNs practise within the provincially established scope of practice, competency standards, and code of ethics.
The objective of the Practical Nursing program is to train high caliber, knowledgeable, competent and accountable practical nurses that will be able to work in collaboration with members of a healthcare team in order to efficiently deliver client-centred, culturally safe care to individuals, families and groups of all ages. Care must be delivered to patients from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds in various practice settings in BC.
The curriculum provides learners with multiple learning opportunities to develop, integrate, and demonstrate knowledge, skills and judgment that are translated into superior reflective practice and meets all CLPNBC (College of Licensed Practical Nursing British Columbia) competencies and standards.

Admissions Requirements

Students must meet all of the pre-requisites listed below, meet their financial obligations with the college, and acknowledge their understanding of the college’s policies and procedures provided in the student handbook, prior to starting classes.

  • High school graduation or equivalent.
  • Pass college's admissions test.
  • Criminal record check (in accordance with the Criminal Records Review Act).
  • Immunization report (form provided by college) as required by clinical partner sites and recommended by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (2009): diphtheria and tetanus, polio, hepatitis B, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), varicella, and influenza. Students who fail to comply with immunization requirements may be prohibited from attending practice education experiences by the health authority and clinical partner site policy.
  • Negative TB skin test or chest x-ray.
  • English 12 with a grade of C+ or Technical Communications 12 with a grade of B+.
  • Math 11 Principles with a grade of C (current B.C. curriculum) or Math 11 Foundations with a grade of C (commencing 2012).
  • Biology 12 (Human Biology) with a grade of C.
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology for Practical Nurses with a minimum grade of C+ or equivalent must be completed by start of specified courses.

English as an Additional Language

Applicants with English as an additional language must meet the language requirements set by the CLPNBC (2011), and be successful in one of the following:

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) – Academic Version with minimum scores of:

  • Overall band score: 7.0
  • Speaking: 7.0
  • Listening: 7.5
  • Reading: 6.5
  • Writing: 7.0

Canadian English Language Benchmarks Assessment for Nurses (CELBAN) with minimum scores of:

  • Speaking: 8
  • Listening: 10
  • Reading: 8
  • Writing: 7

NOTE: Please view the CLPNBC current English requirements at the following site: iency%20Requirements%20for%20Registration_July%201.2011.pdf

Where applicable, submission of an international credential evaluation service report (e.g. ICES).
Successful interview with the PN program coordinator.
Signing of the PN Statement of Understanding.

Additional Requirement

  • CPR Level ‘C’ training is a requirement of this program and will be provided during the first semester.

Job Opportunities

  • Acute Care Hospitals     
  • Long-Term Care Settings     
  • Group Homes     
  • Public Schools     
  • Alzheimer Units     
  • Home Care
"I had a great instructor. She had worked in the field for many years and had been nursing her entire life. She taught us practical things and answered any question that we had, even if she had to do a little research.” - Mallory Y., Vancouver Career College Graduate

Program Courses

Code Course description
BC-NSG-CL301 Consolidated Practice Experience III
This clinical experience will introduce learners to community practice and an opportunity to apply and adapt knowledge gained in Terms I, II, and III within a continuum of care for clients across the lifespan. Students may gain experience through simulation and in a variety of community and residential care agencies and settings. These hours may be offered as CPE III or integrated into the Integrated Nursing Practice III course as practice hours.
BC-NSG-HP301 Health Promotion III
This course is focused on health promotion as it relates to the continuum of care across the lifespan. Health promotion in the context of mental illness, physical and developmental disabilities and Maternal/Child health is highlighted. Normal growth and development from conception to middle adulthood is addressed.
BC-NSG-SKC301 Integrated Nursing Practice III
This practical course builds on the theory and practice from Terms I and II. Through classroom, laboratory, simulation, and other practice experiences, learners will continue to develop and practice comprehensive nursing assessment, planning and develop knowledge and interventions for clients experiencing multiple health challenges.
BC-NSG-COM301 Professional Communication III
This course focuses on specific professional communication skills used with clients and care providers across the lifespan requiring care in the community.
BC-NSG-FD301 Professional Practice III
This course integrates the concepts from previous professional practice courses and introduces the learner to practice in the community. The role of the practical nurse as leader is emphasized in interactions with clients, families and other healthcare providers.
BC-ILMNG-301 Variations in Health III
This course focuses on the continuum of care and the development of knowledge related to health challenges managed in the community setting. Patho-physiology and nursing management of clients requiring home healthcare, rehabilitation, and supportive services such as community living and disabilities will be explored. Cultural diversity in healing approaches will be explored as well as the incorporation of evidence informed research and practice.
BC-NSG-PRD100 Academic Success Strategies
This course is designed to inform learners about the knowledge, skills, behaviours and expectations that are required to succeed in the Provincial Practical Nursing program. Emphasis is on study skills, time management. A math boot camp for two days introduces the learners to the use of the College Interactive Math Portal.
BC-NSG-CL101 Consolidated Practice Experience I
This first clinical experience provides the learner with an opportunity to integrate theory from Term I coursework into practice. Learners will gain experience in various settings with a focus on the healthy client. Learning the role of the practical nurse, personal care skills, organization of care, focused assessment, beginning medication administration and professional communication are emphasized in this course.
BC-NSG-HP101 Health Promotion I
Health promotion by definition includes: health enhancement, health protection, disease prevention, health restoration/recovery, care, and support. Health promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health. It moves beyond a focus on individual behaviour towards a wide range of social and environmental interventions. (World Health Organization, 2010). This course introduces the learner to the concepts of health promotion, discusses the determinants of health, health inequities and develops a beginning knowledge of normal growth and development.
BC-NSG-SKC101 Integrated Nursing Practice I
This course emphasizes the art and science of nursing, focusing on the development of basic nursing care and assessment. Learners will apply nursing knowledge through the practice of clinical decision making, nursing assessment skills, and nursing interventions aimed at the promotion of health, independence, and comfort. Classroom, laboratory, simulation, and other practice experiences will assist learners to integrate theory from other Term I courses.
BC-NSG-PHAR101 Pharamacology I
This introductory course examines the principles of pharmacology required to administer medications in a safe and professional manner. Medication administration requires the application of the nursing process for clinical decision-making. Various routes of medication administration are introduced and complementary, indigenous, alternative remedies, and poly-pharmacy across the lifespan are also explored.
BC-NSG-COM101 Professional Communication I
This course provides learners with the foundational knowledge for caring and professional communication in nursing. It uses an experiential and self-reflective approach to develop self-awareness and interpersonal communication skills in the context of safe, competent, and collaborative nursing practice. Communication theory, the nurse-client relationship, therapeutic communication, cross-cultural communication, and effective teamwork will be covered.
BC-NSG-FD101 Professional Practice I
This theory course provides an introduction to the profession of practical nursing. Legislation that informs PN practice within British Columbia will be introduced. The history of nursing and specifically, the evolution of practical nursing within the Canadian healthcare system will be discussed. The philosophy and foundational concepts of the provincial Practical Nursing program are explored.
BC-ILMNG-101 Variations in Health I
This introductory course provides the learner with the foundations of disease and illness across the lifespan. Learners will gain an understanding of pathophysiological alterations of body systems. Nursing management of disease and illness across the lifespan with an emphasis on interventions and treatment is also discussed. Cultural diversity in healing practices will be explored as well as the incorporation of evidenced informed practice.
BC-NSG-CL201 Consolidated Practice Experience II
This clinical experience provides students with the opportunity to integrate theory from Term I and II courses into practice. Students will practice with aging clients and/or those with chronic illness in residential care settings. Medication administration, nursing care, organization, comprehensive health assessment, wound care and introduction to leadership are emphasized in this course.
BC-NSG-HP201 Health Promotion II
This course focuses on health promotion as it relates to the aging process. Health promotion activities are aimed at supporting clients in maintaining their health. The concepts of health promotion, physical and mental wellness, normal aging changes and continued independence are examined.
BC-NSG-SKC201 Integrated Nursing Practice II
This practical course builds on the foundation of Term I and emphasizes the development of clinical decision making, nursing assessments, and interventions to promote the health of older adults. Classroom, laboratory, simulation, and other practice experiences will help learners to integrate theory from Term I and II courses to provide safe, competent, and ethical nursing care with older adults. This course introduces you to e-portfolio philosophy and software. Create and maintain an e-portfolio that emphasizes your personal, educational, and career goals.
BC-NSG-PHAR201 Pharmacology II
Knowledge gained from Pharmacology I and other courses in Term I is combined with this course to increase learners understanding of application of pharmaco-therapeutics on illness across the lifespan. Emphasis will be on drug classification, drug interaction, and drug resistance. Complementary, indigenous and herbal preparations will also be covered.
BC-NSG-FD201 Professional Practice II
This course examines the legislation influencing PN practice with clients experiencing chronic illness and those in residential care settings. Specific professional issues such as responsibility, accountability, ethical practice, and leadership relevant to the PN role in residential care will be explored. Critical thinking and decision making specific to the care of the chronically ill and inter-professional practice will also be addressed and the principles and actions of medications, the rationale for medication use and expected results. This course emphasizes critical thinking and nursing principles to assess the need for, and response to medications.
BC-ILMNG-201 Variations in Health II
This course will increase the learners understanding of patho-physiology as it relates to the aging process and selected chronic illness. The main focus of this course is on the care of the older adult experiencing health challenges. Cultural diversity in healing practices will be explored as well as evidence informed research and practice.
BC-NSG-COM201 Professional Communication II
This course provides the learner with an opportunity to develop professional communication skills with the older adult, and clients requiring end of life care. Inter-professional communication is further developed.
BC-NSG-CL405B Academic Review, Flex Days, and CPNRE Prep
Academic Review, Flex Days, and CPNRE Prep
BC-NSG-CL401 Consolidated Practice Experience IV
This clinical experience provides learners with the opportunity to integrate theory from all semesters into the role of the practical nurse in the acute care setting and other clinical areas as appropriate. Learners will focus on clients with exacerbations of chronic illness and/or acute illness across the lifespan and will consolidate knowledge and skills such as: post operative care, surgical wound management, IV therapy, focused assessment, and clinical decision-making in acute care settings.
BC-NSG-HP401 Health Promotion IV
This course focuses on health promotion for the client experiencing an acute exacerbation of chronic illness or an acute episode of illness. Relevant health promoting strategies during hospitalization may improve or help maintain their health status after discharge. Learners will focus on preparing clients for discharge, through teaching and learning of health promoting strategies.
BC-NSG-SKC401 Integrated Nursing Practice IV
This practical course emphasizes the development of nursing skills aimed at promoting health and healing with individuals experiencing acute health challenges across the lifespan. Classroom, laboratory, simulation, and integrated practice experiences will help learners build on theory and practice from Terms I, II, and III to integrate new knowledge and skills relevant to the acute care setting.
BC-NSG-CL601 Preceptorship
This final practice experience provides an opportunity for the learner to demonstrate integration and consolidation of knowledge, skills and abilities within the realities of the workplace, and become practice ready. This faculty monitored experience may occur through a variety of practice experience models, including the preceptorship model, under the immediate supervision of a single, fully qualified and experienced LPN or RN or RPN and/or within the context of a collaborative learning environment as a participating team member.
BC-NSG-COM401 Professional Communications IV
The focus of this course will be on the advancement of professional communication within the acute care setting across the lifespan. The practice of collaboration with healthcare team members and clients will be further developed.
BC-NSG-FD401 Professional Practice IV
This course is intended to prepare the learner for the role of the practical nurse in managing clients with acute presentation of illness. Legislation influencing PN practice, specific professional practice issues and ethical practice pertinent to PN practice in acute care environments will be explored. Practice issues that occur across the lifespan will be considered. Collaborative practice with other healthcare team members and specifically the working partnership with RN’s in the acute care setting will be explored.
BC-NSG-CL405A Review, Practicum Prep and Job Search Seminar
Review, Practicum Prep and Job Search Seminar
BC-NSG-CL501 Transition to Preceptorship
This course will prepare the learner for the final practice experience. A combination of faculty led simulation experiences and self directed learning will provide the learner with increased competence and confidence in their final practice experience.
BC-ILMNG-401 Variations in Health IV
This course will increase the learners understanding of patho-physiology as it relates to acute disease and illness for clients across the lifespan. The focus is on the care of the client experiencing acute illness including, nursing interventions and treatment options. Acute disease and illness often occurs in individuals with existing chronic illnesses – the implications of these complexities will be addressed. Cultural diversity in healing practices will be explored as well as evidenced informed research and practice.
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