Practical Nursing - Diploma

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and answers for Practical Nursing program.

Updated: October 18, 2016

  1. Why should I consider the Practical Nursing program?  What sets this program apart from other programs?

    As a student in the Practical Nursing program, you will gain skills in providing nursing care to individuals of all ages under the expert guidance of our faculty. 

    The curriculum is based on principles of primary health care.

    This program also stands out because it is nationally recognized and provides relevant content that prepares graduates to work in a variety of practice environments.

  2. What are the program highlights?  What is the focus in each semester?

    The focus of each semester is as follows:

    Semester 1
    An introduction to the concepts of health promotion and illness prevention with a clinical focus on the older adult.

    Semester 2
    Rehabilitative/supportive care and the concepts of mental health with a clinical focus on individuals with chronic health challenges.

    Semester 3
    Theoretical and clinical experiences associated with curative/restorative care in the acute care setting and the concepts of perinatal nursing, child and adolescent nursing.

    Semester 4
    The transition from student to graduate practical nurse with an additional focus on the nursing of Aboriginal people.

    Each semester contains a clinical experience that will help you put theory into practice.

  3. How is the program structured?

    The program is based on a sequential four-semester approach to course offerings.  The courses are organized into streams that flow across each semester.  They are designed to meet diverse learning styles. 

    Instructional methods include seminars, observational experiences, pre- and post-clinical conferences, small group presentations, lectures, demonstrations, role-playing, storytelling, discussion, reflective thinking and writing, and simulation lab experiences.

    Opportunities for critical reflection about a caring-based practice, development of employability skills and understanding the role and scope of practice of the licensed practical nurse (LPN) are blended into the program’s learning activities.

    The clinical practice courses are integrative in nature and, as such, the evaluation of your performance in the clinical setting involves evaluating the application of the theoretical concepts learned in all the other courses in the care of clients.  This is what ultimately determines your progress toward achieving the competencies of the beginning practical nurse.

  4. So I can prepare and plan appropriately (e.g., child care, employment), what would my schedule look like as a student in the on-campus program?

    Courses are typically scheduled to occur on campus, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.  However, there may be occasional classes/labs that start earlier or end later than these times.

    Clinical experiences commence at a variety of times depending on the specific clinical experience, (i.e., some shifts may begin as early as 6:30 a.m.).  Clinical and practicum shifts may vary and could include days, evenings, nights or weekend experiences.  The length of clinical and practicum shifts may vary as well, including eight-, ten- and twelve-hour shifts.  Learning experiences may also be scheduled on statutory holidays.

  5. If applying to the online delivery mode, is there any time period while enrolled in the program where I would need to be at a Saskatchewan Polytechnic location?

    If applying for the full-time online program, the clinical and practicum components of the program can only be completed in Regina, Saskatoon or Prince Albert.  If you do not live in one of these locations you will need to relocate to complete these elements of the program.  All labs are mandatory at Saskatchewan Polytechnic Regina Campus on designated weekends each semester.  Travel to Regina Campus will also be required at the beginning of the program for a two day mandatory program orientation.

  6. I have never taken online courses before.  How do I know if I have the attributes to be a successful online learner?

    Distance education takes added time and energy, therefore it is suggested that you evaluate your readiness for learning via distance. Self-assessment tools to determine if online learning is right for you are available on the internet and on request from the program.

    Personal attributes of the successful online learner are:

    • ability to assume responsibility for own learning
    • self-directed and motivated
    • persistent and confident
    • ability to problem solve and be active in their learning
    • effective time management skills
    • disciplined to study without external reminders

    Basic technical skills that you need include:

    1. basic computer literacy
    2. word processing
    3. searching on the internet
    4. taking time to complete available online tutorials and use help screens

  7. What kind of supports can I put in place to ensure I am successful as an online learner?

    Saskatchewan Polytechnic has a wealth of tutorials and support tools to ensure your success.  A successful online student searches out these tools and uses them.  Courses are available if you are missing any of the ingredients to promote success.

    Student success is also enhanced through family and employer support.  Families can provide child care or assist with household chores.  When employers allow flexible hours for school obligations or use of a computer at work, success is also enhanced.  Some students have found that having a personal laptop that can be taken with them wherever they go enhances their success. 

  8. I have worked as a Continuing Care Assistant.  Would I get any credit for that training?

    For more information go to Bridging Option to Practical Nursing Program for Continuing Care Assistants.

  9. Can I take the program part time or can I take any of the courses before I start the program on a full-time basis?

    No, however, selected courses from this program are available through continuing education, prior to being enrolled as a student in the full-time program.  These courses are: APHY 162, APHY 262, SOCI 160, SOCI 260 and SOCI 261. For more information on these course offerings, please refer to Continuing Education course offerings.

  10. I am concerned that my high school GPA is too low to be accepted into the program. Is there anything I can do?

    Yes, there are a few options for you to consider:
    • You can complete the following Practical Nursing courses: APHY 162, APHY 262, SOCI 160, SOCI 260, and SOCI 261. Once complete, each course will add 3 percentage points to your GPA; overall this option could add a total of 15 percentage points to your GPA. Note: Additional points are not awarded if the course has been used to meet admission requirements.
    • The GPA from other post-secondary education you have taken may be considered. Your high school average will be compared to any grade point average(s) presented for a minimum of 30 passed post-secondary credits from a recognized post-secondary institution - and the highest average considered for admission. Such applicants must be in good academic standing with the institution.
    • You can upgrade the courses that are used for admission (i.e., English Language Arts A30).

  11. Are there ways for me to complete the program sooner?

    No, we do not have an accelerated option to complete the program.

  12. If English is not my first learned language, do I need to provide proof of English Language Proficiency (ELP) to be accepted into the program?

    Yes.  Applicants must provide evidence of completing a minimum of two (2) years of full-time study in English in Canada or submit English Language Proficiency results from IELTS (Academic) or the CELBAN (CELBAN only an option if an internationally educated nurse).

    • IELTS (Academic): must meet the minimum in each component in addition to meeting an overall of 7.
      • Writing - 7
      • Speaking - 7
      • Listening - 7.5
      • Reading - 6.5
    • CELBAN (only an option if an internationally educated nurse)
      • Writing - 7
      • Speaking - 8
      • Listening - 10
      • Reading - 8

    There are no countries that are considered ELP exempt.

  13. Do I need to get a Criminal Record Check?

    Yes, your clinical practice experience will occur in settings in which you will provide direct client care.  For the protection of clients, the program requires that each student provide the results of a Criminal Record Check, including vulnerable sector query and fingerprinting if required as part of the program registration process.

    Accepted applicants will be required to provide evidence of a Criminal Record Check upon admission into the program.  Additional Criminal Record Checks may be required by specific clinical agencies.  At the discretion of a health region or clinical agency, you may be declined access to a clinical or work placement based on the contents of the Criminal Record Check.  Any cost associated with the Criminal Record Check is your responsibility.

  14. Do I need to have a current CPR and First Aid Certificate?

    Prior to commencement of the Practical Nursing program, you are required to have certification for CPR Health Care Provider “C” - AED and Standard First Aid.  On the first day, please provide proof of certification to the program.  Failure to do so will result in exclusion from clinical experiences and discontinuation from the program.  According to program policy the CPR Health Care Provider “C” - AED certificate is valid for two years from date of issue and a Standard First Aid Certificate is valid for three years from date of issue.

  15. Do I need to have a Transferring Lifting Repositioning (TLR) Certificate?

    Students in the Practical Nursing program are required to be certified in TLR in order to participate in clinical experiences.  Proof of TLR certification must be provided at the beginning of the program.  Failure to do so will result in exclusion from clinical experiences and discontinuation from the program. 

    Students coming into the program who have previously been certified in TLR need to ensure it has been recertified within one year prior to commencing the program.

  16. Are there any immunizations that are required for the program?

    Accepted applicants are required to provide current immunization records and meet Saskatchewan Polytechnic immunization requirements prior to entry into clinical/practicum experiences.  More detailed information regarding immunization requirements will be provided in your welcome package and during program orientation.

  17. When will I know if I am accepted into the program?

    Letters of acceptance are sent out after the application period has ended.  This typically would occur by the end of April.

  18. Where can I buy my books and other materials?

    Information on purchasing textbooks and course manuals will be provided when you register.  Material is available for purchase online, by phone, or in person.

  19. Are there any bursaries that I can apply for?

    Six Saskatchewan Association of Licensed Practical Nurses (SALPN) bursaries are presented annually to students eligible for graduation and who have overall achievement in the Practical Nursing program including academic and clinical performance, interaction with clients and family in the clinical setting, leadership skills and community or school involvement.

    Learn more about Saskatchewan Polytechnic scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

    Saskatchewan Polytechnic counsellors can provide information regarding additional scholarship and/or funding opportunities for Practical Nursing students.

  20. Are there additional costs required upon program completion in order to obtain licensure with Saskatchewan Association of Licensed Practical Nurses (SALPN)?

    Upon successful completion of the Practical Nursing program a student is eligible to write the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE).  This cost is payable to the SALPN and is generally around $400.  Additionally, in order to obtain licensure with the SALPN, a fee of approximately $500 is payable to the SALPN.

  21. Do LPNs work shift work?

    While it depends on the place of employment, historically, licensed practical nurses work a combination of days, evenings and/or night shifts that are eight or twelve hours long.

  22. If I want to further my education in nursing what are my options?

    If program graduates want to pursue further education in the discipline of nursing:

    • Perioperative Nursing LPN
    • Diabetes Education for Health Care Professionals
    • Footcare:  Principles and Practices
    • Psychiatric Nursing
    • Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing (SCBScN) 
  23. If I am not accepted into the Practical Nursing program this year, do I have to reapply?

    Yes.  You will need to reapply to the Practical Nursing program on an annual basis, during the application period, and meet all admission requirements and selection criteria for the intake in which you are applying.

If you require further information, please contact Counselling Services or Registration Services at 1-866-467-4278.