Practical Nurses perform nursing assessments, provide nursing care and implement prescribed medical treatments. You will participate in classroom instruction, skills development in the lab, and practicum experience in continuing care and acute care settings.
Upon successful completion of the program and the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Exam (CPNRE), you are eligible for licensure with the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta (CLPNA). This is a Nationally Accredited program. When you graduate from our program, you will be eligible to be licensed in any province in Canada.
Columbia College’s Practical Nurse Professional Program is licensed through Alberta Government Private Vocational Training Branch and is approved by the College of Licensed Practical Nurses (CLPNA).
Learn more about becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse in Canada by viewing the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta’s document: Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse in Canada – Requisite Skills and Abilities.
Columbia’s Practical Nurse Professional Program students have consistently achieved some of the best results in Canada. Our reputation for graduating highly competent professionals is something we are very proud of. This program is one of the few in North America that follows a Mastery Learning Model.
- This is a full-time, 2 year diploma program that is completed in 80 weeks (approximately 20 months).
- Classes are normally scheduled to run between 7:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday to Friday. During the program, students should be prepared to attend classes that may be scheduled in the evenings and on weekends.
- Designed to give students Practical Nursing theory and clinical experience in continuing care and acute care
- Practicums (clinical) will be scheduled according to the co-operating health care employer’s availability of clinical practicum placements. This means that the 722 hours of practical experience may be scheduled during the day, evening, night and/or weekends.
- Clinical placements will need to be scheduled in alternative locations. The College may be required to delay the date of completion until a clinical placement can be arranged.
- In the lab, the facilitator to student ratio is 1:12. In the practicum, the facilitator to student ratio is 1:8. In the classroom, the class sizes may be up to 27 students.
Mastery Learning in the Practical Nurse Program
Columbia’s Practical Nurse Diploma Program students have consistently achieved some of the best results in Canada. Our reputation for graduating highly competent professionals is something we are very proud of. This program is the only one we have found in Canada that follows a Mastery Learning Model.
Columbia’s Mastery Learning Model provides students with up to 500 additional hours of free Mastery Learning tutorials over the course of the 20 month program. The tutorials provide learners with support from faculty, who work with them on strengthening competencies and skills and working towards mastery. Our free tutorials have proven to be an excellent resource for the students.
Practical Nurse Olympic Games
Columbia College follows an Olympic Games approach in the delivery of 4 hour Gamification sessions once a week when required. The sessions are delivered using a fun-based approach to support student learning, by using a series of nursing-related activities to build and consolidate the knowledge and skills they have acquired in their regular courses throughout the preceding week.
The Olympic Games sessions were added to the nursing program to help ensure that students moving into field-based practicums are able to recall information learned earlier in the program. This strategy and delivery is aimed to greatly increase their confidence, ability to perform in a nursing role, and successfully complete the program.
For a full list of courses and course descriptions for this program, please click here.
Students will be required to travel to various locations in order to complete their clinical and practicum placements. Clinical and practicum placements will be provided as available. Every effort is made to accommodate students in clinical placements within the time frame of the program, however in rare instances there may be a delay in program completion until a clinical placement can be arranged.
Preparing for Clinical Placements
According to the Protection for Persons in Care Act, our clinical sites require that students obtain a Police Information Check (PIC) including Vulnerable Sector Search (VSS) Check prior to going on practicum. Any criminal code offence for which a pardon has not been received may be a deterrent to a student’s entry into practicum or even the program.
Note: In cases where a PIC or VSS is not clear, the Office of the Registrar will conduct a formal assessment to determine whether the student would be permitted to enter the program.
Information on how to apply for your PIC can be found here.
Your Police Information Check (PIC) with Vulnerable Sector Search (VSS) should be applied for at the start of your program.
Copy of Official PIC and VSS must be received prior to start of first clinical placement.
Most practicum sites require students to demonstrate updated immunization status prior to attending practicum. Failure to do so could jeopardize a student’s ability to complete the practicum portion of their program which would require the student to withdraw. The receiving practicum site has the right to refuse students who cannot prove they have met all the required immunizations.
The Practical Nurse Professional program requires an up-to-date Rubella vaccination as one of the program requirements. All other immunizations are strongly recommended.
It is advised to start the immunization process as soon as you start the program.
Information will be provided to you at your program orientation.
Evidence that you have applied for your Rubella Vaccination must be received by the Office of the Registrar prior to completing your enrollment contract and attending orientation.
Copy of Official Rubella vaccination record must be received prior to start of first clinical placement.
Candidates are required to obtain up-to-date annual influenza vaccinations as a requirement to be eligible to participate in clinical placements in the Practical Nurse Professional program. Evidence of the vaccination must be provided to the Clinical Practicum coordinator prior to attending practicum.
Evidence that you have obtained your annual influenza vaccination must be provided to the Clinical Coordinator prior to beginning your practicum placement.
Current Heart and Stroke Foundation Health Care Provider Level (C) CPR
A current Heart and Strong Foundation Health Care Provider Level (C) CPR must active and renewed every academic year of study. Columbia College offers the required CPR course on a continuous basis (CPRS 212 Health Care Provider). Please note that only Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada CPR certification will be accepted.
Evidence that you have obtained your annual CPR certification must be provided to the Clinical Coordinator prior to beginning your practicum placement.
Health and Wellness Status
Due to the demanding nature of the work in the health care field and Occupational Health and Safety requirements, the health care field has a strong focus on health and wellness. Students with a medical condition or disability that may impact them in a practicum setting are strongly advised to discuss concerns with the program academic chair and/or the College’s Accommodations Advisor as soon as possible upon acceptance into the program. For more information on Accommodations, click here.
N95 Mask Fitting
You will have an opportunity to get an N95 mask fitting before you begin your first clinical placement.
Further details on mask fitting will be provided during orientation.
To be completed prior to first clinical placement.
Transfer opportunities may be available at a variety of degree granting institutions across Alberta, Canada, and the world. Transfer opportunities allow graduates to receive credit for some or all of their completed courses towards a bachelor degree.
Note: The institution you wish to transfer to makes the final determination on the transfer credits they will accept. Before commencing your studies at Columbia College, please consult with the institution you are planning on transferring to.
Transferring credit into Columbia College’s Practical Nurse Professional Program
More information on how to apply for transfer credits can be found by contacting your admission advisor.
Columbia College has been listed as an accepted education provider for the Bethany Care Society Scholarships & Awards Program. Scholarships and awards are available for health care aide, nursing & allied health students pursuing a career in continuing care between September 2022 and August 2023.
How to Apply?
- Applications are closed at this time. For information about future Bethany Care Scholarships click here.
Do your academic skills need to be upgraded to meet admission entry requirements?
After applying to your program, if your academic skills need to be improved in one or more areas, you may be offered Columbia College’s Academic Preparation – College Prep courses for FREE. See Continuing Education – Academic Preparation – College Prep.
Columbia College’s tuition and general fees come into effect August 1 of each year.
Please note, this program is completed over 3 Terms. For a student to graduate from this program all three Terms must be completed.
For more information about tuition and the Columbia College Tuition chart, please see the Tuition and Fees page.
A student may incur additional fees that are not part of the tuition or the book fees for this program. These fees are an approximation.
Uniforms and duty shoes: $300
Current Heart & Stroke Foundation Health Care Provider Level (C) CPR: $85
Refund of Tuition Fees
Please refer to the Student Contract of Tuition form for details of tuition refund policy. This form is available from this program’s Student Admission Advisor.
Tutoring is available for students. If you require tutoring, please contact your Program Chair or Coordinator.
To graduate from this program, students must successfully complete all 26 Practical Nurse Courses with a G.P.A. of 2.3.
Graduates of this program work in a variety of settings which include: acute care centres, continuing care facilities, assisted living facilities, doctors’ offices and in the community providing home care. The starting salary for Practical Nurses can be up to $62,000 per year.
The following is a list of organizations that have hired graduates of this program:
- Alberta Health Services
- Foothills Medical Centre
- Alberta Children’s Hospital
- Rockyview General Hospital
- Peter Lougheed Hospital
- Wing Kei Centre
- Brylu Staffing
- Nurse Next Door
- The Brenda Strafford Trust
- Lectures 1
- Quizzes 0
- Duration 50 hours
- Skill level All levels
- Language English
- Students 0
- Assessments Yes