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 supplied

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 supplied

North Island College launches Access to Practical Nursing program

North Island College is introducing a new program to help health care assistants take the next step in their career.

The Access to Practical Nursing program provides a bridging opportunity for those working as health care assistants to enter the second year of the Practical Nursing program.

“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 HCAs who are interested in continuing their education in the health care field by becoming licensed practical nurses.”

The Access to Practical Nursing program combines content from levels one and two of the Practical Nursing Diploma Program that is not covered in the health care assistant curriculum. Students who complete the access 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,” said Michaud.

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,” said Anderson. “It really showed me the value of that kind of care and support for both clients and their families.”

After finishing her HCA program, she worked in both long-term care and acute care settings and found she enjoyed the fast pace of the hospital setting.

“I found I was really drawn to the work that LPN’s do and wanted to learn more,” she said.

Anderson found being a working HCA 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 I work with and see how the knowledge and skills I was learning were applied in practice before I did my practicums.”

The new Access to Practical Nursing program will start in November. Applications are open now and are expected to fill quickly.

For more information, visit www.nic.bc.ca/health

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