Access to Practical Nursing


Apply your previous training and experience as a Health Care Assistant (HCA) or Resident Care Attendant (RCA) to accelerate your practical nursing training.

Tuition: 13443*
Credential: Diploma
Hours: Full-time
Delivery: Class-based
Program Flyer: Download
Campus: Broadway Broadway
Start Dates: Sep

What you will learn

Upon successful completion of this program, graduates will be able to:

  • Apply the Entry Level Competencies for Licensed Practical Nurses (2021) to provide safe, competent, culturally safe and ethical care.
  • Practice within relevant legislation, BCCNM Standards of Practice Framework for LPNs: Scope of Practice Standards; Professional Standards; and Practice Standards as set out by the Health Professions Act of British Columbia and the BCCNM.
  • Value and engage in continuous learning to maintain and enhance competence.
  • Practice in collaboration with other members of the health care team to meet the collective needs of their clients.
  • Participate in interprofessional problem solving and decision making processes.
  • Advocate for and facilitate change reflecting evidence-informed practice.
  • Make systematic practice decisions that are client specific and consider client acuity, complexity, variability, and available resources.
  • Use critical thinking, clinical judgment and knowledge of assessment to plan, implement, and evaluate the agreed upon plan of care.
  • Develop a collaborative relationship with clients by connecting, sharing and exploring with them in a caring environment.
  • Provide culturally safe, person-centered care across the lifespan that recognizes and respects the uniqueness of each individual and is sensitive to cultural safety, cultural humility and diversity.
  • Provide leadership, direction, assignment, and supervision of unregulated care providers as appropriate.
  • Identify one’s own values, biases, and assumptions on interactions with clients and other members of the health care team.

What to expect

This diploma program is offered on a full time basis and is divided into three levels. Each level must be successfully completed before the next one can be started. A major emphasis of this program is active student participation. Throughout the program the instructors will encourage the students to become increasingly more self-directed and responsible for their own learning. Students are expected to come to class well prepared for active participation in classroom, nursing lab and clinical activities.

Course guides provide direction of learning in preparation, in course activities and reflection of the content. The instructor acts as facilitator and expert to promote an environment conducive for learning through activities such as guided discussion, debate, audio-visual presentation, group activities, skill building exercises and simulation.  Some courses may be offered in a blended delivery mode. 

Level Access provides the foundation for the development of nursing practice and introduces the learner to the healthy adult, the older adult and concepts related to aging and chronic illness in various settings.

Level three examines a continuum of care in the community health setting and applies concepts from level one, two and three in the management of stable clients across the lifespan.

Level four integrates knowledge from previous levels and examines concepts related to the care of the medical/surgical client.

Each level is supported by a Consolidated Practice Experience (CPE) which reinforces the learning that has taken place within each level.

Eligibility to enter the Consolidated Practice Experience at the end of each level is dependent upon the successful completion of all of the other courses within that level. Each level must be successfully completed before the next one can be attempted.

A final practice experience or preceptorship prepares the learner for the role and expectations of the graduate. 

Admission requirements


NB: Core minimum standards for admission requirements, including English as an Additional Language standard have been established by the Provincial Practical Nursing Program Curriculum. VCC admission requirements for this program are in addition to those Provincial expectations. 

All of these requirements must be met.

  • Grade 12 graduation or equivalent

  • English Studies 12 with a minimum 'B' grade, or equivalent

  • A BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry number (registration confirmation letter must be provided)
  • HCA, RCA, or HS/RCA certificate, or equivalent, from a BC Care Aide and Community Health Worker Registry recognized educational institution (if applicable)
  • Foundations of Math 11 with a minimum 'C' grade, or equivalent

  • VCC Health Sciences Math Assessment with 80% or completion of Math for Health Sciences (Math 1054) with 80%

  • BIOL 1602 Human Anatomy and Physiology with a grade of 68% or equivalent within the last 3 years

  • 600 Hours of work experience, within the last two years, in a care facility where care is provided to a group of Gerontology clients. Work experience must be verified by an official employer letter. Individualized home care experience is not acceptable. 

  • English Language Proficiency as specified for the Practical Nursing or Access to Practical Nursing programs:

Internationally Trained Nurses:

Upon Acceptance into the program:

  • Criminal Record Check (CRC):
    Students in the program are required to complete a CRC. The CRC must be completed according to VCC's Criminal Record Check instructions. Students whose CRC results indicate they pose a risk to vulnerable populations will not be able to complete the requirements of the program (e.g. practicums) or graduate. 
  • Current CPR Level C (CPR):
    CPR Level C includes the following:
    • Adult/Child/Baby CPR – one rescuer
    • Adult/Child CPR –two rescuer
    • Adult/Child/Baby – choking

CPR certificates other than CPR Level C must be accompanied by documentation indicating the certificate includes the above. Please note that in Health Care your CPR expires one year from the date of issue. Current status is required for all clinical and practicum experiences.            

The following immunizations are strongly recommended and in some cases may be required for clinical placements:

  • Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis
  • Polio
  • Measles, Mumps & Rubella
  • Varicella (Chicken pox)
  • Hepatitis B
  • Influenza
  • COVID-19

Clinical facilities may decline individual students for their placement if a student is unable to provide proof of immunizations or satisfactory serum titers and TB screening.

  • N95 mask:

Regulations stipulate that a properly fitted respiratory mask must be used when providing care to patients with suspected, known, or probable cases of acute respiratory infections. The respiratory mask must be a N95 respirator that is individually fitted by a trained and certified person. This individual mask fitting should be done just prior to beginning your program and is good for one year and must be performed annually. The original certificate must be presented to your program during the first week of classes.


  • This program is available to Canadian citizens and permanent residents. See program options for international students at VCC International.
  • Applicants who self-identify as Indigenous are strongly encouraged to connect with VCC’s Indigenous Education and Community Engagement team to learn more about VCC’s Indigenous Enrolment policy, application preparation/completion, program advising, and a range of other individualized services.
  • Applicants must be 16 years of age or older or a graduate of a secondary school. (Some exceptions may apply.)
  • Applicants must submit official transcripts and other documents as required by their course or program. Seats are offered to eligible applicants with completed applications, in order of application completion date (except for programs with competitive admissions). A complete application includes an application form, evidence of educational pre-requisites (e.g. transcripts), any required supporting documents (e.g. language proficiency, audition video), and the required deposit or fee payment. If you do not meet the requirements for the term applied, your application may be cancelled.

Missing prerequisites? Learn more about VCC's tuition-free academic upgrading or English as a Second Language (ESL) courses, or discover which university transfer options are right for you.

Recommended Characteristics

  • A caring attitude.  
  • A sincere interest in people of all ages who require all levels of care. This includes individuals who are: mentally or physically disabled, experiencing life threatening situations, confused or requiring rehabilitation.
  • Proficiency in the English language (reading/writing/listening/speaking) is essential.
  • Basic computer skills: email, word processing and internet searching.
  • Good manual dexterity.
  • Any supportive courses in human biology, psychology, sociology, first aid or previous related work experience or education would be an asset.
  • A basic foundation in mathematical calculations of decimals, fractions, and metric conversions.
  • Flexibility to adjust to early morning and evening practicum shifts, to a variety of clinical settings and locations within the Metro Vancouver area.

For information about being a practical nurse, please review Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse in Canada.

Note: The BCCNM asks each licensure applicant about criminal offences. If you have ever been convicted of a criminal offence (other than a minor traffic violation) you should consider whether your application for licensure would be accepted. Licensing is mandatory in B.C. for Licensed Practical Nurses.

Courses *

This program runs Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm with the exception of clinical and practicum placements. Students will be advised of clinical and practicum placements in the program. Clinical/Practium shifts may include morning and/or evening shifts and may include Saturdays.

Prior learning assessment and recognition

Prior learning assessment and recognition is not available for this program.

Fees and other costs *

Tuition Deposit

0 (0 non-refundable)

Tution deposits are payable usually within two (2) weeks after a Letter of Offer is issued.

Fee descriptionFee AmountNotes
Application fee36
Tuition Tuition 13443
Student union192
College initiative151
Materials0 not including textbooks
Campus resource538
Tools (deposit)0
Coverall (deposit)0
Uniform (deposit)0
Medical and Dental 413
Temporary Medical Insurance 0
U-PASS 575
Program-specific extra fees0
Textbooks or other supplies may be required for this program. For information and prices, visit the VCC Bookstore.

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VCC Registrar's Office
1155 East Broadway
Vancouver, B.C., V5T 4V5

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