North Island College launches new access to practical nursing program

Practical nursing student Desmond Rutherford learns about the proper care and assessment of an IV with a patient simulator in NIC’s practical nursing labs. || Photo courtesy of NIC
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North Island Collage (NIC) is introducing a new nursing program to provide a bridging opportunity for people working as health care assistants to enter the second year of its practical nursing program.

The new access to practical nursing program combines content from level one and two of the practical nursing diploma program that is not covered in the health care assistant curriculum, according to the college.

“We’re so excited to be able to offer this opportunity to health care assistants in the region,” said Laurie Michaud, associate dean, health and human services. “We’ve heard from both our grads and community partners that there is a strong demand from health care assistants who are interested in continuing their education in the health care field by becoming licensed practical nurses.”

Students who complete the program will be able to move into level three of NIC’s practical nursing diploma.

“The access to practical nursing program acknowledges and honours the experience and knowledge that working health care assistants bring with them to the classroom,” Michaud said.

NIC practical nursing student Haley Anderson started her health career as a health care assistant. “My mom was a care aide and I saw the home support we received for my grandmother when I was young,” she said. “It really showed me the value of that kind of care and support for both clients and their families.”

After finishing her health care assistant program, she worked in both long-term care and acute care and found she enjoyed the fast pace of the hospital setting. Anderson found being a working health care assistant was a benefit as she started her program.

“I felt comfortable and confident in the lab settings because I’m used to being in those environments,” she said. “It made the transition back to school very smooth. I’ve also kept working through my first year, so I’ve been able to ask questions of the LPNs (licensed practical nurse) I work with and see how the knowledge and skills I was learning were applied in practice before I did my practicums.”

The new program will start in November. Applications are open now and are expected to fill quickly, according to the college.

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