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New Program: Access to Practical Nursing

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Healthcare has been a critical and newsworthy industry over the last few years, and will continue to be as the population continues to age. The need for nurses is just going to keep on growing, so now is the time to get in on the ground floor. 

Northern Lights College (NLC) has a new pathway for health care assistants to get their practical nursing credentials that much sooner. The new Access to Practical Nursing program (APN) is designed for those that have already completed the health care assistant program and want to take it further.  

“There is a vast nursing shortage in BC, for Registered Nurses as well as Licensed Practical Nurses,” says Nicole Dahlen, Associate Dean of Academic and Vocational Programs. “One of our mandates at NLC is to support industries in our communities, and the healthcare industry in our community is very important to everybody. . .we’re all going to have to access healthcare services and it’s definitely one way we can give back and support our community.” 

The Ministry offered more seats for practical nursing programs around the province to address the ongoing shortage of nurses. 

“It’s exciting to have an accelerated program that recognizes prior learning and contributes to improving the much-needed healthcare services in the area of our province,” said Tracy Vipond, Chair of the Faculty of Health Sciences for NLC. 

The program is fully recognized by the BC College of Nurses and Midwives, and runs for 16 months as opposed to 22 months for the traditional practical nursing path. This will get graduates into the healthcare system working as nurses that much sooner, which is a huge benefit to everyone. 

Rayna Dewar, one of the instructors for the APN program, is looking forward to the new year when the program officially kicks off. 

“I am excited to see some great health care assistants further their education and become amazing practical nurses,” she says. “These future nurses will continue to do wonderful things for our healthcare system.” 

Students will be well prepared to take their regulatory exam to become a Licensed Practical Nurse once they complete the APN program. 

Dahlen strongly encourages those interested to apply — the government is offering a $10,000 bursary for APN applicants to help pay for their schooling, so it’s a win-win for everyone. 

The very first intake is coming in February, but students need to take the anatomy and physiology prerequisite in January before they begin APN.  

To learn more about Access to Practical Nursing, click here>> 


Title Image: Michelle Taylor, PN/APN Program Chair and Instructor; Rayna Dewar, Instructor; Tracy Vipond,  APN/HCA Program Chair and Instructor, along with their boney friend, are ready for the Access to Practical Nursing Program to start up in February. NLC photo