Selkirk College’s New Practical Nursing Program Begins in January
Addressing frontline health care needs and providing opportunities for learners to enter a rewarding career will coalesce at Selkirk College’s Trail Campus when the new Practical Nursing Diploma Program welcomes its first cohort in January 2023.
Spurred by staff shortages across the health care sector, the Provincial Government has provided funding for new seats at post-secondary institutions across British Columbia, including a class of 24 at Selkirk College. With only weeks until the two-year diploma program begins, a few spots remain open and those interested are encouraged to apply.
“Graduates of this program will enter fulfilling in-demand careers that place a premium on hands-on care,” says Sarah Lechthaler, the college’s Allied Health Programs Coordinator. “This is an important step in improving care across the sector and the college is pleased to have the chance to actively participate in solutions through this type of education and training.”
Falling under the Provincial Practical Nursing Program, the college’s program is designed to provide learners with the knowledge, skills, judgements and attitudes to perform to the full range of competencies as identified by the British Columbia College of Nurses & Midwives. Once students graduate from the two-year program and pass the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination, they become a licenced practical nurse (LPN).
Essential to the continuity of care, LPNs scope of practice is geared towards stable patients and predictable outcomes. Generally working in a team that includes registered nurses and doctors, LPNs work in a variety of settings that includes hospitals, long-term care homes, doctor’s offices, clinics, extended care facilities, acute care centres, community hospices and private homes.
Since the funding announcement, Lechthaler and her team have been busy with education development that is guided by provincial curriculum. The full-time program will be delivered in-person on the Trail Campus which has bolstered its learning lab with new equipment over the last few months. The program includes several practicum opportunities in facilities across the region. Students who begin the program in January 2023 will graduate in October 2024.
“Across all Selkirk College programs, the one constant is a supportive learning environment,” says Lechthaler, whose own formal education includes the LPN credential. “Our program will focus on student success and outcomes through a cohort-based model that places emphasis on making sure that all learners get to where they want to be. Having the program based in Trail strengthens this approach and we are excited to get started.”
Unlike Selkirk College’s four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Program, the Practical Nursing Program operates on non-competitive entry which means that those who meet the qualifications are accepted on a first-come basis. At this stage of the program’s development, the college will only offer the program every second year which means the next intake will be January 2025.