If you're a caring, empathetic individual who enjoys working with people and you want to make quality patient care your focus, the Practical Nursing program could jumpstart your career in health care.

 

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Overview

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Practical nurses are key players in today’s health-care teams, focusing on patient safety, quality care and lifelong learning. Your compassion and desire to care for others will make you a perfect fit for this profession.

In our Practical Nursing program, you’ll gain the knowledge, skills and experience you need to succeed.

In the classroom, you’ll learn nursing theory from experienced instructors and get hands-on training during simulated practice experiences. With considerable clinical involvement in continuing care, assisted-living facilities, acute care, home care and other community settings as well as a two-month practicum, you can be sure you’ll be more than prepared to write the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration exam upon completion.

In fact, our program is focused on educating you to the full scope of practice as identified by the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta, ensuring your transition from nursing student to licensed practical nurse is seamless.

A meaningful career in health care is waiting for you. Apply to the Practical Nursing program today!

Career opportunities

Upon graduation, you’ll be eligible to write the national Practical Nursing exam. After you pass, career opportunities will be available to you in:

  • acute care facilities
  • community health agencies
  • continuing care facilities
  • primary care clinics
  • physician offices
  • educational institutions
  • assisted living centres
  • occupational health departments
Starts In: September
Status: Now accepting applications.
Next Intake: Fall (September) 2018
Application Deadlines:

  • Domestic for Fall 2018: September 4, 2018
  • International for Fall 2018: June 1, 2018

For a full list of dates and deadlines, click here.

Duration: 2 years
Credential: Diploma
Transfers:

  • Thompson Rivers University
  • University of Calgary
  • University of Lethbridge

Delivery Format
Blended (classroom + online)
Learning Environment

General Requirements

All specialized courses in one term must be successfully completed to advance to the next term’s specialty courses.

To remain in good standing, students must attain a minimum term grade point average (GPA) of 1.7 in all Arts and Science courses and a minimum term GPA of 2.3 in all nursing related courses.

A final minimum grade of C is required in all PNG (nursing) courses to pass the course. A student who receives a grade of C- or lower must repeat the course prior to proceeding in the program.

Students who have a gap in Practical Nursing studies must provide four months’ written notice to the program chair prior to the term they desire to continue in or return to for completion.

Students required to repeat any PNG (nursing) course must meet with the program chair to discuss a progress plan.

Students who are unsuccessful in passing any course must successfully complete COL-1130 (Achieving College Success).

Year 1 Term I
Course Code Course Name Credits
BIO-1156
3.00
BIO-1160
3.00
ENG-1150
3.00
COM-1162
3.00
PNG-1145
3.00
PNG-1146
3.00
PNG-1147
1.50

The following courses are also available through online learning:

  • BIO-1156 Wellness and Health Issues
  • BIO-1160 Anatomy and Physiology I
  • ENG-1150 Composition
  • COM-1162 Interpersonal Relationships and Communic.
Year 1 Term II
Course Code Course Name Credits
BIO-1161
3.00
PNG-1148
3.00
PNG-1149
3.00
PNG-1154
3.00
PNG-1159
3.00
PNG-1167
3.00

The following courses are also available through online learning:

  • BIO-1161 Anatomy and Physiology II
Year 2 Term I
Course Code Course Name Credits
PNG-2251
3.00
PNG-2252
3.00
PNG-2253
3.00
PNG-2254
3.00
PNG-2256
3.00
PSY-1170
3.00

The following courses are also available through online learning:

  • PSY-1170 Human Development Across the Lifespan
Year 2 Term II
Course Code Course Name Credits
PNG-2255
3.00
PNG-2257
3.00
PNG-2260
3.00
PNG-2259
6.00
PNG-2267
3.00
SOC-1167
3.00

The following courses are also available through online learning:

  • SOC-1167 Sociology of Aging
Year 2 Term III
Course Code Course Name Credits
PNG-2277
6.00

Admissions

New intakes are in September of each year.

General admission requirements

All applicants must meet the general admission requirements for Lethbridge College programs as indicated in the Admissions section of this calendar.

Academic requirements

In addition to meeting the general admission requirements indicated in the Admissions section of this calendar, applicants to this program must also satisfy the following specific course requirements (or equivalencies):

  • 60 per cent minimum in English Language Arts (ELA) 30-1 or 70 per cent in ELA 30-2
  • 60 per cent minimum in Math 20-1 or a higher level math
  • 60 per cent minimum in Biology 30 or C- in BIO-1160 (Anatomy and Physiology I) at Lethbridge College, or equivalent

Note: Admission is competitive and is based on a point system for percentages in biology, math and English. More points will be awarded for higher grades and for the higher levels of math and English (i.e. 30-1). The points are then cumulative to determine placement for competitive entry. To calculate your point value use this guide:

English language proficiency requirements for Practical Nursing program

In addition to the academic requirements, if English is not your first language, English Language Proficiency (ELP) must be demonstrated within the last two (2) years prior to the application. Acceptable evidence of ELP may be one of the following:

  • IELTS Academic with a minimum band score of 6.5 in speaking, 6.5 in listening, 6.0 in reading and 6.5 in writing
  • TOEFL internet-based test score with a minimum score of 22 in speaking, 23 in listening, 21 in reading and 25 in writing
  • Transcripts demonstrating successful completion of three (3) years of full-time secondary education at a school where English was the principal language of instruction
  • Transcripts demonstrating successful completion of one (1) year of full-time post-secondary education at a school where English was the principal language of instruction

Note: Meeting the English Language Proficiency requirement does NOT exempt the applicant from meeting the English academic admission requirement for entry to this program.

Health Care Aide pathway

The Health Care Aide pathway is designed to recognize prior learning of individuals who have successfully completed a recognized Health Care Aide certificate program. Applicants will be granted prior learning credit for PNG-1146 and PNG-1147 based on the following requirements:

  • successful completion of a recognized Alberta provincial standard Health Care Aide certificate program within the last five (5) years
  • documented evidence of a minimum of 1000 hours working as a paid Health Care Aide within the last two (2) years in a health care facility

Note: Applicants must still meet admission and competitive academic requirements.

Practice-based experience (PBE) requirements

This program has a required practice-based experience (PBE) component coordinated by the Placement Office. The college dictates the legal terms and conditions governing the PBE.

Students must meet and maintain certain requirements to participate in the PBE setting as determined by programs, practice agencies and/or legislated by government bodies. These may include health (e.g. immunizations, screening tests, etc.), privacy and security (e.g. police information check, IT access, etc.), and OHS requirements (e.g. CPR certification, fire safety, WHMIS, mask fit-testing, etc.).

As a post-secondary health-care program in Alberta, provincial immunization standards apply to students in this program. As per the provincial “Standard for Immunization of Post-Secondary Health Care Students and Students in Other High-Risk Occupational Programs,” all post-secondary institutions have the responsibility of assessing the immunization status of each health care student at the time of initial enrolment and to ensure all health care students are fully immunized before leaving post-secondary programs. There is an administrative fee for this assessment and vaccinations required to become fully immunized.

Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) coverage: PBE placement agencies and employers usually require WCB coverage on behalf of the student. Students enrolled in post-secondary institutions in Alberta are deemed to be employees of the Province of Alberta and, as such, provided WCB coverage. In certain instances, for students outside of Alberta, WCB coverage may not be provided (e.g. non-Alberta residents taking a course solely through distance learning with a PBE placement outside of Alberta). These students are advised to contact the program prior to application.

PBE sites will include Lethbridge and may include surrounding rural communities. PBEs may include day, evening and/or weekend schedules. Students will be expected to travel to assigned sites and will be responsible for arranging travel and any associated costs.

Find out more about pre-placement requirements for your program.

Prior learning assessment (PLA)

If you have experience working in this field of study, you may be eligible for prior learning assessment. Review our Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition Candidate Guide for information on requirements for PLA for the Practical Nursing program.


Applicants who lack the required academic admission requirements can apply to the College and University Preparation program to upgrade their academic skills.

Academic Year Tuition Fees Books & Supplies
Year 1 $3,827.00 $1,204.00 $2,970.00
Year 2 $4,614.00 $1,366.00 $1,290.00

Our Budget Wizard is a free self-service tool that can help you make sense of your finances and the cost of your education. Give it a try!

Budget Wizard

  • Practical Nursing students are charged for their CNPNE exams after program completion at a cost of approximately $725 these costs are not included as they are not a part of the college program.
  • Students will be charged a medical/dental benefit fee unless they opt out by demonstrating alternative coverage prior to the end of the first week of class.
  • International students are charged three times the tuition fee of their particular program and the same (other) fees as domestic students.
  • Costs for supplies may vary considerably depending on what students already have or where they purchased their supplies; cost provided is on the moderately high end.

Committed to your success

2016 CPNRE pass rate

Just look at our Canadian Practical Nursing Registration Exam (CPNRE) results from the fall of 2016 – our grads scored three per cent better than the provincial rate and 1.5 per cent better than the national rate!

There’s just something about our Practical Nursing program that seems to set our grads up for success. Maybe it’s the small class sizes. Perhaps it’s the experienced instructors who are committed to helping you succeed. Or it could be the amount of hands-on learning built into the program. Whatever the reasons, the results are clear: choosing to take the Practical Nursing program at Lethbridge College will set you up for success.

Historically, our grads have scored higher than the provincial and national averages on the Canadian Practical Nursing Registration Exam (CPNRE).

Not all practical nursing programs are created equal. Choose the one committed to your success.

Hands-on, immersive learning

SPHERE
SPHERE: A learning environment like no other

Experience realistic health training made possible by on-campus and industry collaboration.

SPHERE: A learning environment like no other

When textbooks and lectures can’t teach you everything, the Simulated Patient Health Environment for Research and Education (SPHERE) fills in the gaps. What can you expect in SPHERE? Well, the simple answer is: anything you might encounter on the job.

All the theory in the world can’t prepare you for the reality of dealing with an acute stroke and subsequent end-of-life incident. But SPHERE can. For example, the creation of this new scenario involved working closely with Alberta Health Services Stroke Committee and Cornerstone Funeral Homes Ltd. Best evidence-based practices and inter-professional perspectives were used to shape a realistic scenario.

Imagine encountering a real-patient actor who has been stabbed in the chest and has a history of untreated bipolar disorder and substance use disorder. As you care for this individual, she begins going through alcohol withdrawal, becoming increasingly aggressive to the point where she’s fighting back and resisting treatment. How do you respond? Find out during a high-fidelity scenario.

Simulated Patient Health Environment for Research and Education

The Simulated Patient Health Environment for Research and Education (SPHERE) is an evolving learning facility primarily for students in the Centre for Health and Wellness. Using high-tech manikins and human simulation, SPHERE provides a comprehensive range of health-related scenarios to enhance your education and better prepare you for your job. SPHERE features:

  • six SPHERE/nursing labs
  • two high-fidelity patient rooms with control and debrief rooms
  • one massage lab
  • one EMT/TRG lab

SPHERE is heavily focused on creating collaborative opportunities within the Centre for Health and Wellness as well as for other campus departments and industry stakeholders. It’s an aspect that makes SPHERE unique from other institutions where the norm is to have the simulation centre support only the Health programs. And it means more realistic experiences for you.

High-fidelity patient rooms

It’s like walking into a hospital room – without leaving campus. Two high-fidelity patient rooms provide the highest level of simulation before a real-life environment. It’s controlled chaos without the real-life consequences.

Created in collaboration with programs to meet their specific needs, scenarios either use high-tech manikins or actual people to role-play the patient and family members. This level of simulation encourages students to treat a patient just as they would during a clinical experience, with a few exceptions:

  • you are allowed to take physicians’ orders as though you were a practising licenced nurse, which is not permitted for students during a clinical experience
  • you can “pause” the scenario as needed to gather your thoughts, collaborate with your peers on the treatment plan or find information required to move forward with the scenario

Typically, scenarios are conducted in groups of six or eight. Half the group cares for the patient while the other half observes through a real-time video feed in the debrief room.

A student’s perspective

“You can thrive in here no matter what.”

From here to there: alumni updates

Lethbridge College isn’t just a place to go to school – we’re a community that is here to support you from your initial interest in our program through to the moment you cross the stage at Convocation and beyond. Just take a look at where an LC education has taken some of our grads.

Nicole Martin

“The LPN program has been designed brilliantly. The classes are seamless and each lends support to the others. The material is challenging; however, no student is left unsupported. I graduated from Lethbridge College in 2011, and since then my career has blossomed. The LPN program gave me the knowledge and tools required to make the transition from student to Licensed Practical Nurse proficiently. And I am thriving in a career I love. Without a doubt, Lethbridge College and the LPN program changed my life.”

Steven Brockbank and Sachiko Nakayama

“I have worked at the Peter Lougheed since graduating in 2012 as a vascular nurse and work to the full scope of the LPN practice. As a vascular unit we recently moved into a new unit within the Peter Lougheed to expand the level of care we provide. I work with great people who are excellent nurses and doctors and am challenged and grow as a nurse constantly. On a personal note I married my wife and fellow LPN graduate of 2012 Sachiko Nakayama on Sept. 7, 2012, and we welcomed our baby boy Kai Lawson Brockbank on Jan. 22, 2016."

– From Fall 2016 Wider Horizons

Chantal A. Lortie

“My passion is teaching and so this year I’ve enrolled myself into Vancouver Community College to begin working towards my provincial instructor diploma.”

– From Spring 2016 Wider Horizons

Virtual tour

Explore the SPHERE Lab through the Virtual Tour. Click to walk around and get an inside look at it and the other great spaces on campus.