Practical Nursing Diploma

Develop the knowledge, skills and abilities to become a Licensed Practical Nurse. You’ll take part in over 650 hours of hands-on clinical practice hours in communities across the region as you prepare to meet the ever expanding role of LPNs in British Columbia. You’ll be a valuable member of a multi-disciplinary health care team in acute, complex or residential care and community settings.


Applications for Fall 2021 start will open Thurs, Oct 1, 2020

 This program is currently not available to international applicants.
Where: Campbell River, Comox Valley, Port Alberni
Starts: September
Length: 2 years
Delivery: On-campus and Digital (Blended)

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We get lots of one-on-one support from our teachers, one-on-one time in the lab and it's more personal. The teachers actually know us and we can text them and ask them questions. Even when we're in practicum, we're really well directed. You can tell that the teachers trust us.

Marissa Hunter, NIC Practical Nursing grad

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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 C in each course (except pharmacology)*, maintain a cumulative grade point average of C+ (2.33 GPA), 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% 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 BCCNP Standards of Practice for LPNs. Failure to adhere to these standards may result in the student being required to leave the program.
  • If a student is unsuccessful in the Practical Nursing Program, they have one opportunity to re-enter the program.  If a student is unsuccessful in the program a second time, they 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. 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.
  • Students have a maximum of 5 years to complete the program.
  • These regulations are important to the profession to ensure that graduates have the required skills and knowledge and are therefore deemed safe to practice.

Admission Requirements

  1. Grade 12 graduation, or equivalent.
  2. Minimum C in Foundations of Math 11 or Pre-calculus 11 or NIC MAT-053 or NIC MAT-055 or successful assessment testing.
  3. Minimum C+ in English Studies 12 or Provincial English 12 or English First Peoples 12 or ENG-096 or ENG-098 or in both ESL-092 and ESL-095 or successful assessment testing
  4. Minimum C in Anatomy and Physiology 12 or Biology 12 or NIC BIO-060 completed within 10 years.
  5. Minimum C+ in BIO-159, Human Anatomy and Physiology for Practical Nursing, completed within 10 years, or equivalent. Students will be required to register in and successfully complete BIO-159 by specified dates.
  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, 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 certification (BLS CPR – FAC-019) 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 certification (BLS CPR – FAC-019) 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.


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:

  • Become familiar with the British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals Entry-to-Practice Competencies for Licensed Practical Nurses.
  • 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
    • a laptop, or similar electronic device, is recommended, but not required
  • 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.

Accessible Learning

Making education accessible for those with a documented disability is a key priority for NIC. We offer a wide range of services, supports and resources for students. For more information visit: Accessible Learning Services.

Barb McPherson

Barb McPherson

Department Chair, Faculty

Practical Nursing Program

B.Sc., Nursing

Subjects: Practical Nursing Diploma
Campbell River Campus 250-923-9766 | Location DWG - 203A

Rachel Goodliffe

Rachel Goodliffe



Masters in Nursing, Teaching Focus (Athabasca University, 2015)

B.Sc. in Nursing (University of Victoria, 2009)

Subjects: Nursing
Campbell River Campus 250-923-9700 ext. 7847 | Location DWG - 203

Faith Richardson

Faith Richardson


Practical Nursing Program

Doctor of Nursing Practice (Western University of Health Sciences, 2010)

Subjects: Practical Nursing Diploma
Port Alberni Campus 250-724-8723 | Location NOR - 121

Lisa Sparling-White

Lisa Sparling-White


Practical Nursing Program

Graduated Practical Nursing Program (North Island College, 2008)



Subjects: Practical Nursing Diploma

Leslie Stuart

Leslie Stuart


Practical Nursing Program

Registered Nurse(RN)

Subjects: Practical Nursing Diploma
Campbell River Campus 250-923-9767 | Location DWG - 203
Comox Valley Campus 250-334-5000
Port Alberni Campus 250-724-8767

Program Highlights

Under a new 2011 provincial curriculum, the Practical Nursing diploma prepares graduates to deliver nursing care that meets the LPN practice standards and entry-level competencies of the British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals. The program emphasizes the concepts of caring, holism, nursing collaboration, self-reflection, lifespan, leadership and safety as well as diversity and Indigenous 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 ageing 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. BIO-159 Human Anatomy & Physiology, a prerequisite for the Practical Nursing Diploma, is offered online beginning each February. Students begin the Practical Nursing Program in the fall, with 10 students at the Campbell River campus and 10 students at the Port Alberni campus. These 20 students make up one cohort.
The program is delivered via a blend of Interactive Television (ITV) and face-to-face classes. You will attend the majority of your classes at your home campus, however, classes or special events may occasionally be scheduled at other NIC campuses throughout the program. In these situations, you will be given advance notice and must arrange your own transportation and assume related costs.
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 LPN standards and competencies of the British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals.
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 six 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-centred 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. Practitioners are regulated by the British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals and are also 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. Residential care facilities provide 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.

Tuition & Costs Estimate

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 our tuition page.

Domestic Fees

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Grand Total
Tuition $2,535 $2,932 $2,219 $3,407
NISU Fees $70 $80 $60 $95
Lab Fees $120 $120 $120 $120
Books $1,000 $1,000 $0 $0
Learner Resource $87 $102 $76 $118
Health and Dental $275 $0 $275 $0
Total $4,087 $4,234 $2,750 $3,740 $14,811

Fees are subject to change for Levels beginning after August 15, 2021.

Students are automatically enrolled in the mandatory Health and Dental Benefit plan ($275/year).

Find out if this program is eligible for Student Aid BC funding.

This program is tuition refund Category 1.