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Practical Nursing Diploma

Two-year diploma

Where: Campbell River, Port Alberni
Starts: September 2018 Campbell River
  • Aquire the knowledge, skills and abilities to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in British Columbia.
  • With over 650 hours of hands-on clinical practice hours, you will graduate ready to meet the ever expanding role of Licensed Practical Nurses in British Columbia.
  • From practical skills to industry connections, you will graduate well-positioned to be a valuable member of a multi-disciplinary health care team.
Career possibilities: Graduates are eligible to write the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration exam and become LPNs in acute care, complex or residential care and community settings. Opportunities for post-basic education are available in a variety of areas.


  • Diverse experience. During your practice experience, your first-hand interaction with patients, clients and agencies in the Central and/or North Island region will prove invaluable. You’ll be given the opportunity to pursue your practice experience in communities across Vancouver Island, from Port Alberni to Port Hardy. You’ll meet people and help patients from a broad range of areas and demographics, giving you a variety of experiences.
  • A close-knit community of support. With only 20 students in each class, you’ll enjoy better access to teacher assistance and services than in larger institutions. Plus, you’ll have a team of supportive, highly qualified instructors to help you achieve success.
  • High rate of success. You will be well-prepared for writing the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN). NIC graduates have a high success rate on the exam.
  • Former students tell us. "This program not only effectively sets you up to become a practical nurse; it surrounds you with great instructors. And students that become your mentors, colleagues and friends.


Under a new 2011 provincial curriculum, the Practical Nursing diploma prepares graduates to deliver nursing care that meets the practice standards and entry-level competencies of the College of LPNs of BC (CLPNBC). The program emphasizes the concepts of caring, holism, nursing collaboration, self-reflection, lifespan, leadership and safety as well as diversity and Aboriginal health.
The curriculum is divided into four levels:
  1. Foundations and development of nursing practice.
    Level 1 provides the foundation for the development of nursing practice and introduces the learner to the healthy adult.
  2. Adults with chronic illness in various settings.
    Level 2 explores the older adult and concepts related to aging and chronic illness in various settings.
  3. Community health; mental health, maternal and child health.
    Level 3 examines a continuum of care in community care and applies concepts from Level 1, 2 and 3 in the management of stable clients across the lifespan.
  4. Medical/surgical nursing practice in acute care.
    Level 4 integrates knowledge from previous levels and examines concepts related to the care of the client with acute presentation or exacerbation of chronic illness.
The Practical Nursing diploma is held over 24 months (four semesters), and classes may be scheduled during the day, in the evening and on weekends. You will begin in September with BIO-159 Human Anatomy & Physiology, a six-week course and program admission requirement. Upon successful completion, you then continue into the Practical Nursing program curriculum in October.
During the program, you will participate in a range of activities, working with each other and with the instructor to master essential skills. Through concept-based, case-based, skill-based, and integrated learning experiences, you will achieve a strong sense of professionalism. The classroom emulates the workplace, where you learn skills, behaviours and attitudes that will carry you effectively into the workforce. You are guided by NIC policies as well as the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of BC (CLPNBC).
Each of the four levels ends in a consolidated practice experience. At the end of the acute care practice experience, you will work through a 30-hour course that prepares you for the transition to your final practice experience or preceptorship. You will then complete a final preceptorship, which is approximately seven weeks, or 180 hours, in length. During this experience, you will be partnered with LPNs and consolidate your learning as you gradually assume 100 per cent of the LPN's workload.
As a successful graduate you will be an effective, responsible practitioner using critical thinking and a holistic, client-centered approach to plan and implement care for your clients; moreover, you will possess the communication and leadership skills needed to be a collaborative member of a health care team.

Career Opportunities

LPNs are integral members of the health care team, providing nursing care for families and individuals of all ages.  LPN practice is governed by the Health Professions Act and practitioners are regulated by the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of British Columbia (CLPNBC) and are responsible and accountable for their own nursing practice.

LPNs practice in a variety of settings including acute care hospitals, complex care facilities, community settings, rehabilitation centers, doctors' offices, clinics and correctional facilities. LPNs have a broad scope of practice with many responsibilities and assume a leadership role in residential care facilities. The complexity of client care is increasing for all nurses and there are many post-basic educational opportunities for LPNs. There continues to be a strong demand for LPNs in the province.

Important Practice Placement Information

Student practice experiences in health agencies are essential to the Practical Nursing program. You will be placed in a variety of community agencies that have services and resources to support the health of different age groups. Complex care facilities provide residential care and support for a primarily older adult population and acute care hospitals offer care to clients with episodic health events. While the majority of practice placements are located in NIC campus communities, it may be necessary to utilize agencies in other Vancouver Island communities. You may be scheduled to attend practice experiences in other communities and must arrange your own transportation and assume related costs. During the final preceptorship component you may be required to work eight and/or 12 hour shifts, including days, evenings, nights, weekends and holidays.

Admission Requirements

  1. Grade 12 graduation or equivalent.
  2. Minimum C+ in Provincial English 12, English 12 First Peoples, NIC ENG-060, ENG-096, ENG-098, ESL-090 or equivalent, or a B+ in Communications 12, or successful assessment testing.
  3. Minimum C in Principles of Math 11, or Foundations 11, or Pre-calculus 11, or Applications of Math 12, or Apprenticeship and Workplace Math 12, or NIC MAT-053, or successful assessment testing.
  4. Minimum C in Biology 12 (Human Biology), or NIC BIO-060, or equivalent completed within 10 years.
  5. *Student must also complete BIO-159 Human Anatomy and Physiology for Practical Nursing or equivalent with a C+ or better prior to beginning the full time program.
    *Students meeting all requirements with the exception of BIO-159 may be conditionally invited to the program prior to registering in BIO 159. Students will however be required to successfully complete BIO-159 prior to starting the full time program. 
  6. Declaration of English Language Competency Requirements for Practical Nursing form signed and dated.
  7. Requisite Skills and Abilities and Program Bulletin signed and dated. These documents provide prospective students with information that may be helpful in deciding if the program is suited to them.  Prospective students who have questions or concerns should contact an educational advisor. 

Priority Admission for Aboriginal Applicants

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has provided Special Program approval to allow priority admission for a selected number of self-declared Aboriginal applicants to this program beginning in September 2013. For more information please refer to NIC's Aboriginal Education Services program page (/services/aboriginalservices/programs.aspx), or contact an Aboriginal educational advisor at your local campus.

Upgrade with us to meet prerequisites

Upgrade your English, math and science courses for entry into the program of your choice. Succeed with the help of NIC’s supportive instructors. Courses are flexible and start several times a year so you can learn at your own pace. We offer daytime and evening options. Learn more

Before Classes Begin

  1. Submit a Criminal Record Check permission form so that the college can get your criminal record check done. This form will be sent to you when you are offered a seat in the program.
  2. Hold a current CPR Health Care provider (HRT-015) certificate or equivalent and have completed a Workplace Hazardous Material Information System (WHMIS) course. A photocopy of these certificates must be presented to the faculty on the first day of classes. It is the responsibility of the students to maintain their CPR Level HCP certification throughout the program.
  3. Submit a completed immunization form. This immunization form should be validated by the public health nurse at your local health unit. This form must be presented to the faculty on the first day of class.
  4. Attend a group information session. This mandatory session is designed to assist students in making an informed decision about pursuing a career as a licensed practical nurse. The admissions department will send you an invitation with details regarding the date and time of the information session.
  5. Some prospective students may be required to have an interview at the discretion of the department chair or designate.

Transfer Credit & Credit For Prior Learning

Students with previous course work from another accredited institution may apply to transfer course credits to NIC. For more information refer to Steps to University Transfer or contact Student Services.

Your previous life, work, or study experience, unassociated with formal education, may qualify for Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR). Your knowledge and skills will be evaluated to determine if you meet the objectives for selected courses up to a maximum of 50 per cent of the program. To qualify for PLAR, you must apply to the program, meet all the program requirements, and complete the PLAR before entering the program or one term before the scheduled course(s). The fee for each PLAR course is 75 per cent of the regular course fee. Refer to NIC policy #4-10: Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition. For information about which courses qualify for PLAR please contact the program department chair.

If you meet some, but not all, learning objectives in a course(s) the assessment process may result in an exemption from some portion of the course(s). You will be required to register in the course and pay full tuition but your workload would be reduced. Note that eligibility for this process will be granted on an individual basis by the department. You must apply one semester in advance of the course start date. For more information please contact the program department chair.

To Be Successful

A number of abilities and skills are required to be successful in the Practical Nursing program. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Basic computer literacy and internet access are necessary. You must access all course manuals via Blackboard Learn, the college’s on-line learning platform, and use computer skills to access resources during coursework. Electronic documentation is also used in the practice setting. You are expected to have the ability to:
    • navigate the internet and access online resources
    • create word documents
    • attach word documents to emails and submit assignments via email
  • Accurate math calculations are critical for safe nursing practice. You will be required to complete a math evaluation once you are qualified for admission. The evaluation's intent is to assist you in identifying your learning needs early, allowing you to seek remedial assistance in order to position yourself for success in the math components of the nursing program. The goal for the math evaluation is to achieve 90 per cent and opportunities to rewrite will be provided with the intention of helping students improve your marks. You will not be denied admission to the program if you do not achieve the 90 per cent but it is strongly recommended you obtain immediate remedial help.
  • A valid driver's license and access to personal transport is strongly recommended for practice experience components. If you are not able to provide your own transport you may have difficulty meeting the requirements of clinical practice courses.

Program Requirements

Level I

Level II

Level III 

  • PNS-231 Professional Practice III
  • PNS-232 Health Promotion III
  • PNS-233 Variations in Health III
  • PNS-234 Professional Communications III
  • PNS-236 Integrated Nursing Practice III
  • PNS-237 Consolidated Practice Experience III

Level IV 

  • PNS-241 Professional Practice IV
  • PNS-242 Health Promotion IV
  • PNS-243 Variations in Health IV
  • PNS-244 Professional Communications IV
  • PNS-246 Integrated Nursing Practice IV
  • PNS-247 Consolidated Practice Experience IV
  • PNS-248 Transition to Final Practice Experience
  • PNS-249 Final Practice Experience

Completion Requirements

The Practical Nursing student must achieve a minimum of 60% in each course (except pharmacology)*, maintain a cumulative grade point average of 65%, and pass each nursing practice experience. Students who miss more than 10% of a practice experience may be asked to repeat the course.

*In pharmacology courses, students must achieve a 100% average on the math portion and an 80% average on the theory portion.

  • It is an expectation of the Practical Nursing program that students demonstrate responsible, accountable behaviour in terms of maintaining a pattern of regular attendance, and establishing effective working relationships with student colleagues and faculty.
  • Students are required to adhere to the CLPNBC Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. Failure to adhere to these standards may result in the student being required to leave the program.
  • A student who has already failed a course, re-entered the program, repeated it and passed, and then fails another course will be removed entirely from the program and can only re-enter by going through the admission process and beginning at term one.
  • Re-entering the program is dependent on an available seat and at the discretion of the practical nursing department and in consultation with the Dean. Students who fail a required course may be asked to complete a learning assessment and/or skills or written exam prior to being considered for re-admission.
  • These regulations are important to the profession to ensure that graduates have the required skills and knowledge and are therefore deemed safe to practice.

Tuition & Costs Estimate for
Fall 2017, Winter, Spring & Summer 2018

Costs indicated are estimates for a 100% course load per year, unless otherwise noted. Additional fees may also include necessary equipment, supplies, NIC appointed uniforms, or field trips not included in these estimates.

While we do our best to share accurate and timely fee information, changes may occur. For more information, visit tuition page.

Domestic Fees

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Grand Total
Tuition $2,875 $2,765 $2,095 $3,215
NISU Fees $70 $80 $65 $95
Lab Fees $115 $115 $115 $115
Books $765 $765 $0 $0
Learner Resource $80 $95 $70 $110
Total $3,905 $3,820 $2,345 $3,535 $13,605
Fees are subject to change for Levels beginning after August 15, 2018.
Full-time students are automatically enrolled in the mandatory Health and Dental Benefit plan ($275).
Additional Fees may also include necessary equipment, supplies, NIC appointed uniforms, or field trips not included in these estimates.

Barb McPherson

Barb McPherson
Campbell River Campus 250-923-9766 | Location CWG - 225

Denise Sibilleau

Denise Sibilleau
Campbell River Campus 250-923-9765 | Location CWG - 225

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