Practical Nursing

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This full time sixteen (16) month diploma program is designed to provide learners with the knowledge, skills, judgments and attitudes to perform to the full range of competencies as identified by the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of British Columbia. The program provides a learning experience that is integrated, professional, collaborative, and culturally sensitive with an aim to prepare graduates to care for individuals and families at multiple life stages and in a variety of practice settings in partnership with other health care professionals Upon successful completion of the program, learners will possess the competencies to successfully complete the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Exam (CPNRE). Graduates will be able to care for selected clients chosen on the basis of acuity and complexity in a variety of settings.

For information about being a practical nurse, please review Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in Canada: Requisite Skills and Abilities.

Program Hours: The Practical Nursing program runs Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm with the exception of Clinical/practicum experiences. Students will be advised of their clinical/practicum hours once registered and attending the program.

Program Status:
Accepting applications Please note new Admissions Requirements

Program one-pager
Start Length Credentials Campus Part- or Full-time
Jan, Sep 16 months or longer depending on schedule Diploma Broadway Full-time

Apply Now

Apply Now

Seats are offered to applicants who have met all admission requirements on a first-qualified, first-served basis.

The first step, apply early. Students who have officially applied and met all admission requirements are sent a letter of acceptance approximately four to five months in advance of the next available start date. A first payment is required to reserve a space in the program.

If you have a resident care certificate and have been employed as an RCA in a care facility for at least six months, you may wish to apply to the access to practical nursing program.

Note: The College of Licensed Practical Nurses of British Columbia 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.

Online Mail In Person
If you're ready and know the program you want, apply now. Download and complete the (PDF) application/registration form and mail it to VCC Registrar's Office Visit us at one of our campus locations.

After you apply, you can check application status to see if all of the requirements have been met or to update contact information. Please use the temporary login ID and Personal Identification Number (PIN) that you used to complete your original online application.

Program Description

Program Description

Graduates of this diploma program will have acquired the knowledge and abilities to:

  • Apply the Entry to Practice Competencies for Licensed Practical Nurses (2013) to provide safe, competent, culturally safe and ethical care
  • Practice within relevant legislation, Standards of Practice Framework: Scope of Practice Standards; Professional Standards; and Practice Standards (2014) as set out by the Health Professions Act of British Columbia and the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of British Columbia.
  • 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
  • Facilitate and 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
  • Provide a caring environment for clients by connecting, sharing and exploring with them in a collaborative relationship
  • Provide person-centered care across the lifespan that recognizes and respects the uniqueness of each individual and is sensitive to culture 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

Instructional Activities and Design

This diploma program is offered on a full time basis and is divided into four 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. Several courses are offered in a mixed delivery mode including in-class as well as online activities.

Level one provides the foundation for the development of nursing practice and introduces the learner to the healthy adult.

Level two explores the older adult and concepts related to ageing and chronic illness in various settings.

Level three examines a continuum of care in the community health setting and applies concepts form 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.

Program Duration

The Practical Nursing Diploma is sixteen (16) months in length. Students must complete the diploma within three (3) years from the initial start date to the completion date.

Evaluation of Student Learning

Students’ progress in the classroom, nursing lab and clinical setting will be evaluated. Theoretical concepts may be evaluated through multiple choice exams, case studies and written assignments. Assessment of clinical practice will be based on mid-term and final evaluations.

The passing grade for all courses is 68% with exception of Pharmacology Theory at 80%; Math at 100%, and Integrated Nursing Practice at 75%.

If a student fails a course, there is an opportunity to write a comprehensive supplemental exam for a passing grade of 68%. Students are only eligible to write a supplemental exam if they are within 4% of the passing grade i.e. If the passing grade is 68% then failing grades between 64-67% are eligible to write a supplemental. No supplemental exam is allowed for a grade of lower than 64%. A total of two supplemental exams are permitted.

If a course is not completed satisfactorily, a student may apply to repeat the course the next time it is offered, providing there is space available and the Department Head's approval is granted. Prior to returning, the student may be required by the PN Progressions Committee to complete one of the Success in the PN Program courses.

In the Practical Nursing Diploma program, a student may repeat only two courses throughout the entire program. If a student fails two courses, he/she will exit the program. If there are extenuating circumstances, a nursing student may appeal to have this policy waived to allow for a third registration.

Note: All of the above is monitored by the Practical Nursing Department.

Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements


This program welcomes applications from Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Program options for international students can be found at VCC International.

As Vancouver Community College is a post-secondary institution committed to educating adult learners, applicants should be 16 years of age or older or a graduate of a secondary school.

Please note that you must submit official transcripts and educational documents to support your application; unfortunately, we cannot accept photocopies or fax versions.

Program Specific

Missing prerequisites? VCC offers courses in Adult Upgrading and English as an Additional Language to help you meet your goals.
** Notice: 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 12 with a minimum grade of B or equivalent
  • Proof of English Language Proficiency Requirements:

    As English is the language of study in BC, students must meet English language proficiency (ELP) at an appropriate level to be accepted into the provincial Practical Nursing program. These requirements can be satisfied through one of the following:

    1. Three years of full-time, face-to-face secondary or post-secondary education at an accredited institution where English is the medium of instruction and is also one of the country's official languages. English as a Second Language/Additional Language (ESL/AL) courses are not included in this three-year calculation.
    2. Academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with minimum scores of:
      • Speaking: 7.0
      • Listening: 7.5
      • Reading 6.5
      • Writing 7.0
      • Overall Band Score 7.0
    3. Canadian English Language Benchmarks Assessment for Nurses (CELBAN) with minimum scores of:
      • Speaking: 8.0
      • Listening 10.0
      • Reading 8.0
      • Writing 7.0

      * CELBAN is only suitable for those who have studied Nursing in a country other than Canada

  • Pre-Calculus 11 with a minimum grade of C or equivalent or Foundations of Math 11 with a minimum grade of C or equivalent
  • VCC Health Sciences Math Assessment with 80% or completion of Math for Health Sciences (Math 1054) with 80%
  • Biology 12 with a minimum grade of C or equivalent
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology (NURS 1602) with a minimum grade of 68% or equivalent within the last 3 years

Note: If your educational documents are not from a Canadian or American institution, contact the International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES).

Upon acceptance

  • A Criminal Record Check (CRC) is required in accordance with the Criminal Records Review Act. All individuals who work with vulnerable adults and/or children must complete a Criminal Records Check through the Ministry of Justice. Applicants to this program should be aware that some practicum placement in hospitals and schools may require completion of a Criminal Records Check indicating no relevant criminal record. After submitting an admissions application, applicants will receive by email a web link and unique college access code to apply and pay for a Criminal Record Check online.

    Applicants to the program are responsible for any costs incurred in the Criminal Record Check.

  • Current CPR certificate (basic life support Level C) including:
    • 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: CPR certification expires one year from the date of issue. Current status is required for all clinical and practicum experiences

  • Submission of a negative TB skin test. If the skin test is positive, proof of a negative TB chest x-ray is required
  • VCC School of Health Sciences Immunization Record must be completed.

    Immunizations in the following are strongly recommended:

    • Diphtheria/Tetanus
    • Polio
    • Measles, Mumps, and Rubella
    • Hepatitis B
    • Influenza (on an annual basis)
    • Chicken Pox
    • Pertussis

    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.

  • 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. Please view online list of approved fit test service providers.

All requests for transfer credits or course exemptions for all courses in the program must be submitted with application to the program. Download a Request for Transfer Credit PDF form. PLAR is not available for Practical Nursing Courses.

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.
  • Good command of English comprehension, verbal and writing skills essential.
  • Basic computer skills – email, word processing, 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 more information, please review Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse in Canada: Requisite Skills and Abilities. This document has been approved nationally by the Canadian Council for Practical Nurse Regulators and provincially by the College of Practical Nurses of BC.

Please review Important Health Requirements for VCC health sciences students.

Course Schedule

Courses Schedule

Fees and Other costs

Application Fee $35
Tuition Fee $14,588
Student Union Fee $220
College Initiative Fee $163
Student Union Health Plan Fee $292
Student Union Dental Plan Fee $292
U-Pass Fee $779
Other Costs
$40 - Graduation Fees
$584 - Campus Resource Fee
$574 - Lab Kit
$1,800 - Textbooks, Supplies, Uniforms
At the time of acceptance, a $300 non-refundable deposit will be required to hold your seat if accepted more than two months before the start date of the program. Full payment of the first installment will be required within two months before the start date.

For book lists and prices, check Bookstore.

Fees are approximate and subject to change without notice. Students are responsible for any increase in fees if advanced payments are made. The application fee is non-refundable. Fees are refunded according to the refund policy. For further clarification, see withdrawals and refunds information page.

Info Sessions

Info Sessions

This 16 month diploma program teaches students quality nursing care to clients of all ages and how-to succeed in the many challenging opportunities available to practical nurses in B.C. Designed to provide learners with the knowledge, skills, judgments and attitudes to perform to the full range of competencies as identified by the CLPNBC, the practical nursing program will also prepare graduates to care for individuals and families at multiple life stages, in a variety of practice settings.

Join us for an info session to learn more about the practical nursing (PN) program, speak with faculty and academic advisors, tour VCC's renowned health sciences facilities, and get help with the application process.

View all Info Sessions/Tours >>

Contact Us/Request Info

Contact Us/Request Info


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Program Highlights

Program Highlights


Course Schedule

Courses Schedule


Term 1

(NURS 1001) Professional Communication 1
course schedule schedule
1.0 credits  course outline
(NURS 1002) Professional Practice 1
course schedule schedule
1.0 credits  course outline
(NURS 1003) Health Promotion 1
course schedule schedule
1.0 credits  course outline
(NURS 1004) Variations in Health 1
course schedule schedule
1.5 credits  course outline
(NURS 1005) Pharmacology 1
course schedule schedule
1.0 credits  course outline
(NURS 1006) Integrated Nursing Practice 1
course schedule schedule
4.5 credits  course outline
(NURS 1007) Consolidated Practice 1
course schedule schedule
3.0 credits  course outline

Term 2

(NURS 2001) Professional Communication 2
course schedule schedule
1.0 credits  course outline
(NURS 2002) Professional Practice 2
course schedule schedule
1.0 credits  course outline
(NURS 2003) Health Promotion 2
course schedule schedule
1.0 credits  course outline
(NURS 2004) Variations in Health 2
course schedule schedule
1.5 credits  course outline
(NURS 2005) Pharmacology 2
course schedule schedule
1.0 credits  course outline
(NURS 2006) Integrated Nursing Practice 2
course schedule schedule
6.0 credits  course outline
(NURS 2007) Consolidated Practice 2
course schedule schedule
4.0 credits  course outline

Term 3

(NURS 3001) Professional Communication 3
course schedule schedule
1.0 credits  course outline
(NURS 3002) Professional Practice 3
course schedule schedule
1.0 credits  course outline
(NURS 3003) Health Promotion 3
course schedule schedule
1.0 credits  course outline
(NURS 3004) Variations in Health 3
course schedule schedule
1.5 credits  course outline
(NURS 3005) Integrated Nursing Practice 3
course schedule schedule
4.0 credits  course outline
(NURS 3006) Consolidated Practice Experience 3
course schedule schedule
2.0 credits  course outline

Term 4

(NURS 4001) Professional Communication 4
course schedule schedule
1.0 credits  course outline
(NURS 4002) Professional Practice 4
course schedule schedule
1.0 credits  course outline
(NURS 4003) Health Promotion 4
course schedule schedule
1.0 credits  course outline
(NURS 4004) Variations in Health 4
course schedule schedule
2.0 credits  course outline
(NURS 4005) Integrated Nursing Practice 4
course schedule schedule
6.0 credits  course outline
(NURS 4006) Consolidated Practice 4
course schedule schedule
6.5 credits  course outline
(NURS 4007) Transition to Preceptorship
course schedule schedule
1.0 credits  course outline
(NURS 4008) Preceptorship
course schedule schedule
6.0 credits  course outline