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Health Programs

Practical Nursing

The Program

This program provides students with the theory and skills required to practice as a Practical Nurse within acute care, extended care, intermediate care, and community care settings. The two-year program includes four consolidated practice experiences and one preceptorship. Students must successfully complete all required courses in each semester before progressing to subsequent semesters and the final preceptorship.

On recommendation of the program faculty, graduates of the Practical Nursing Diploma program may write the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE) to become a Licensed Practical Nurse.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the Practical Nursing Diploma program can seek employment in a diverse range of employment settings, including: hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities, rehabilitation centres, doctors' offices, clinics, companies, private homes, educational institutions, and community health centres.

Admission Requirements

  • General admission requirements apply.
  • English 12 with a grade of "C+" or Technical Professional Communications 12 with a grade of "B+".
  • A grade of "C" in one of Principles of Mathematics 11 or Foundations of Mathematics 11.
  • Biology 12 with a grade of "C".

HHPN 001 - (Human Anatomy and Physiology for Practical Nurses) with a minimum grade of "C+", must be completed before attending any Practical Nursing Diploma courses. Applicants may be granted conditional acceptance into the Practical Nursing Diploma program prior to successful completion of the required HHPN 001 course.
Note: To view and register for current course offerings you can check the following webpages:

Recommendations for Admission

  • Recent course in writing skills.
  • Volunteer experience in health care setting.
  • Influenza immunization may be required by some clinical agencies. These are available in late Fall at no cost to students.

Notes on Admission

  • This program is not currently available to international students.
  • Criminal Record Check. Fieldwork and/or practicums will require a satisfactory criminal record check prior to placement. Criminal Record Checks are requested through VIU. The Registration Centre at VIU will contact prospective students by mail regarding the requirements for a Criminal Record Check. Criminal Record Checks are processed through the Ministry according to the Criminal Records Review Act. A check completed through the RCMP is not sufficient to meet the requirements of the Act.
  • A completed pdf document Immunization Requirements Form is required for the first day of classes. Immunization, as required by practice sites and recommended by BC Centre for Disease Control (2009) includes: tetanus and diptheria; polio; hepatitis B; measles, mumps and rubella (MMR); varicella (chicken pox); and influenza (annual). Applicants must provide evidence of a negative tuberculin test, taken no more than six months prior to the date of application, or evidence of an appropriate follow-up if tuberculin test is positive (e.g., chest x-ray).
    Students who do not meet the immunization requirements may be prohibited from attending practice experiences, in accordance with specific Health Authority, or practice site organization/agency policy.
  • C.P.R. level "C" certificate (presumed to include 1 person, 2 persons, infant CPR and choking victim) is required for the first day of classes.
  • Proof of W.H.M.I.S. training is required for the first day of classes. Note: An online W.H.M.I.S. course can be taken through the Vancouver Island University Powell River Campus.
  • Proof of Nonviolent Crisis Intervention training or approved equivalent is required prior to first practice experience.
  • Applicants with English as an Additional Language (EAL) must meet the language requirements set by CLPNBC (2011), and be successful in one of the following prior to licensing:
    International English Language Testing System (IELTS) - Academic Version with minimum scores of:
    • Overall Band Score: 7.5
    • Speaking: 7.5
    • Listening: 8
    • Reading: 7
    • Writing: 7.5
    Canadian English Language Benchmarks Assessment for Nurses (CELBAN) with minimum scores of:
    • Speaking: 8
    • Listening: 10
    • Reading: 8
    • Writing: 7

Transfer from other institutions

The program will consider accepting transfer students from other recognized Practical Nursing Diploma programs on an individual basis, space permitting. The Program Chair, in collaboration with Registration Services, will determine transfer eligibility based on a review of prerequisites, official transcripts, course outlines, and other supporting documentation. Policies and practices developed by the BC Council on Admissions and Transfer for Practical Nursing programs in the BC Transfer system will be used to guide student transfers.

Start Date and Application Deadline

Nanaimo Campus: The program starts every September at the Nanaimo Campus and applications are accepted between October 3 and March 31. For further information regarding application deadlines and program contacts, check the Program Availability List for the Nanaimo campus.

Cowichan Campus: The program starts in September every other year on even-numbered years (i.e. 2012, 2014) and applications are accepted between October 3 and March 31. For further information regarding application deadlines and program contacts, check the Program Availability List for the Cowichan campus.

Program Outline

Year 1 - Semester 1


PRNU 101 - (Pharmacology I)


PRNU 102 - (Health Promotion I)


PRNU 103 - (Variations in Health I)


PRNU 104 - (Professional Communication I)


PRNU 105 - (Professional Practice I)


PRNU 106 - (Integrated Nursing Practice I)


PRNU 107 - (Consolidated Practice Experience I)


Total Credits


Year 1 - Semester 2


PRNU 111 - (Pharmacology II)


PRNU 112 - (Health Promotion II)


PRNU 113 - (Variations in Health II)


PRNU 114 - (Professional Communication II)


PRNU 115 - (Professional Practice II)


PRNU 116 - (Integrated Nursing Practice II)


PRNU 117 - (Consolidated Practice Experience II)


Total Credits


Year 2 - Semester 1


PRNU 202 - (Health Promotion III)


PRNU 203 - (Variations in Health III)


PRNU 204 - (Professional Communication III)


PRNU 205 - (Professional Practice III)


PRNU 206 - (Integrated Nursing Practice III)


PRNU 207 - (Consolidated Practice Experience III)


Total Credits


Year 2 - Semester 2


PRNU 212 - (Health Promotion IV)


PRNU 213 - (Variations in Health IV)


PRNU 214 - (Professional Communication IV)


PRNU 215 - (Professional Practice IV)


PRNU 216 - (Integrated Nursing Practice IV)


PRNU 217 - (Consolidated Practice Experience IV)


Total Credits


Year 2 - Intersession


PRNU 218 - (Transition to Preceptorship)


PRNU 219 - (Preceptorship)


Total Credits


Total Program Credits


Updated: March 31, 2014