Lethbridge College is supporting Alberta’s health care system by helping more Practical Nurses return to work. A new requirement means Licensed Practical Nurses in Alberta must work 1,000 hours every four years to maintain their license. Nurses who don’t meet that requirement can now complete a refresher course through Lethbridge College, which will allow them to continue or return to work.
Lethbridge College’s Practical Nurse Refresher certificate program is unique in Alberta, as its online delivery method means students can take it from anywhere and complete their preceptorships in their home communities. Its flexible delivery allows students to complete the course on a schedule that meets their needs, which will keep more Licensed Practical Nurses working in Alberta’s health care system. The first intake will begin classes in September.
“This program was developed to meet a need in the province of ensuring a sustainable supply of Licensed Practical Nurses in the workforce,” says Laura Vogelsang, Associate Dean in the Centre for Health and Wellness. “Our creativity and innovation allowed us to develop a program that can be delivered online, but still teaches the skills our students need.”
The expertise of Lethbridge College’s Practical Nurse faculty allowed the college to develop the program, which has been approved by both the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta (CLPNA) and Alberta’s Ministry of Advanced Education. Lethbridge College has offered its Practical Nurse program since 2000, preparing students for careers focused on patient safety and quality care in continuing care, assisted-living facilities, acute care, home care and other community settings.
“These COVID times have allowed us to envision what an online course like this could look like,” says Loretta Kroker, Chair of the Practical Nurse program. “Our regular programs going online this year showed us how to be flexible and think of course delivery in a different way. And it means nurses who would otherwise have had to come back for the full, two-year program or been no longer been able to work, can now continue to pursue their careers.”
After successfully completing the Practical Nurse Refresher program, graduates will meet the Entry to Practice Competencies required upon entry into the Licensed Practical Nurse profession, as identified by the CLPNA. The program will provide students with an opportunity to acquire the analytical, conceptual and critical thinking skills necessary to care for individuals, families and communities. The focus is on the collaborative partnership approach nursing care model.
Applications are now open for the Practical Nurse Refresher course, which begins in September. The course includes 16 weeks of theory and lab time, followed by a 240-hour preceptorship. To learn more, visit the Lethbridge College website.