Practical Nursing

Tuition and FeesSecond Career

Program Title: Practical Nursing
Credential Earned: Ontario College Diploma
Delivery: Full Time
Program Length: 4 Semesters
Program Status: See program codes for specific details.

Program Codes
Program codes are for September intakes except those that are indicated differently.
NORT – H117 (PC) Timmins Campus – Open
NORT – H129 (HL) Haileybury Campus – Open
NORT – H118 (KL) Kirkland Lake Campus – Open
NORT – H127 (JB) Moosonee Campus – Open

Program Specific Information and Forms
Below are requirements or forms that have to be completed before the start of the semester or the date specified.

Requirements for Practical Nursing


  • Program Description
    Practical Nursing is a five level (63 week) program leading to an Ontario college diploma in Practical Nursing. Northern College’s Practical Nursing program has received a CATEGORY 1 PROGRAM APPROVAL from the College of Nurses of Ontario.

    Northern College is a member of the Northern Partners in Practical Nursing Education (NPPNE). As one of the seven colleges in the consortium, Northern College delivers the current diploma program standards that meet the requirements of the national PN registration examination. Note: Revisions may be made to the program format and curriculum as a result of the College’s collaboration within the Northern Partners in Practical Nursing Education (NPPNE).

    Northern’s Practical Nursing program holds as its philosophy a set of beliefs and values based on five key concepts: the client, health, caring, nursing, and the role that teaching and learning play in enabling individuals and their families and groups to achieve health outcomes. These concepts are derived from the scope of practice described in the Nursing Act 1991 and are interrelated, interdependent and integrated throughout the curriculum.

  • After hearing how great Northern College's nursing program was...

    Robert Cloutier

    I had high expectations and the faculty and program curriculum amazed me. For me, the Northern experience was hugely positive. The program exceeded my expectations and the college faculty and staff were so great and supportive - so much so, I felt the need to give back. I became involved with student council, tutored other students and even managed the college pub. The Second Career program gave me the opportunity for a fresh start. I am humbled and truly honoured to have the opportunity to share my experience with Northern College and Second Career with others. - Robert Cloutier, Practical Nursing program, Class of 2012 Valedictorian (Timmins Campus).


    Northern College Faculty and staff put students first...

    John William

    and always act in their best interest. They prepare you to be the candidate employers are looking for and teach you the true meaning of care.

    Professors rejoice in the success of their students. Northern is a great college with caring employees. - John William, Practical Nursing program


Registered Practical Nurses work with individuals, families and groups (autonomously or in consultation with nursing and other team members) to plan, implement, and evaluate outcomes-based nursing care, services and programs that promote health and rehabilitation, prevent injury and disease, maintain and restore health, and provide palliation.

Career Opportunities
Graduates may find employment opportunities in acute/long term care centers (hospitals), community agencies, industry, prisons, mental health services, and doctors’ offices.

Contact Information
Shelly Hosman
Tel: 705-235-3211 x7289
hosmans@northern.on.ca

Admission Requirements
Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)
Grade 12 English (C, U) (Minimum 65%)
Grade 11 or 12 Biology (C, U) (Minimum 65%)
Grade 11 or 12 Chemistry (C, U) (Minimum 65%)
Grade 11 Math (C, M, U) (Minimum 65%)

Or equivalent

Or mature student status (an applicant who does not have a high school diploma or equivalent, and will have reached the age of 19 years on or before the start of the program). Mature students must undergo academic testing prior to admission into a program. Call the Admissions Office at 705-235-7222 for more details. Academic prerequisites for this program may be obtained free of charge through Academic Upgrading.

Important Information
Students who do not comply with the immunization requirements will not be allowed into the practice settings and as such will not be able to complete the Practicum required for graduation from the program. CPR re-certification, criminal reference checks and immunization updates are required annually and must be completed prior to the start of classes each fall for students to be able to participate in required clinical placements.

To be eligible for participation in clinical practice, students must not have been convicted of any criminal offence for which that person has not been pardoned. An unpardoned criminal record will result in inability to participate in clinical practice courses and will prevent the student from graduating. Any costs for these tests/certifications will be the responsibility of the applicant.

Students are responsible for the cost of appropriate uniforms and equipment (e.g. stethoscope, watch, pen, etc.) required for the clinical area as well as transportation to practicum placements. Mask fit testing will be provided by the College prior to clinical practice. Upon successful completion of all courses outlined in the program of study (including a minimum of 65% in core Nursing courses), the student is eligible to write the examination for Registered Practical Nurse credentialing as set out by the College of Nurses of Ontario.

Students will be informed of the cost of this examination and it is their responsibility to pay this fee by the designated dates. A pre-registration exam predictor test will be administered to fourth-semester students two months prior to graduation. The cost of the predictor test will be the responsibility of the student.

As of January 1, 2005, the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) requires all applicants for registration or reinstatement from within Canada to provide a recent Canadian Police Information Centre Criminal Record Synopsis (CPIC check) as part of the registration process. The CPIC check registration requirement enhances public protection by allowing CNO to identify those who have criminal records that could affect their suitability to practice nursing.

The following physical demands are/will be placed upon the students throughout this program, and are essential to successful completion/clinical/graduation:

Activity Frequency Definition Example
Walking half-day walking up to four hours during an eight hour shift walking on flat areas in building for a distance equal to a city block
Standing quarter – day standing up to two hours during eight hour shift standing to administer medications at a cart/process lab specimens
Sitting minimal sits less than two hours during eight hour shift sitting at desk to document
Bending moderate bending is required on a regular basis changing bed linens; turning and repositioning patients; transferring patients; assisting patient in and out of chair
Lifting heavy normally lifting and/or carrying objects weighing up to 50 lbs two man transfer of resident in and out of bed; lifting linen out of carts, positioning clients for lab processes
Pushing/Pulling repetitive pushing/pulling objects and persons along flat surfaces pushing mechanical lift; pushing resident in wheelchair, pulling carts; pushing/pulling furniture
Use of Equipment moderate operating mechanical aids which replace physical force using mechanical lifts
Hand/Eye coordination average able to perform tasks which require average degree of hand coordination. No vision impairment. reading labels on bottles-labs vials; administering medications; operating mechanical lift; writing reports/documents

Any questions regarding the above requirements may be directed to your health care provider and/or kinesiologist/physiotherapist.

A criminal record may impede your ability to write the National Registration Exams required for nursing employment in Canada.

Admission Requirements for Clinical Placements

  • Completed Immunization/Communicable Disease Testing Requirements forms, supplied by the College.
  • Current Basic Cardiac Life Support Certificate (C.P.R. – HCP Level).
  • Standard First Aid Certificate (or equivalent).
  • WHMIS Certificate (may be obtained at a minimal cost through the College).
  • A recent criminal reference/vulnerable sector check – (within 6 months) is required prior to the start of the fall Semester (1 original copy).
  • Mask Fit testing (offered in September, on campus by the Nurse Training Officers)
  • AODA certificate (free of charge, access via link on Northern College’s main website)
Semester 1
BI1003 Anatomy and Physiology I
CM1913 Communications I – Model B
PN1004 Nursing Practice I
PN1033 Human Relationships
PN1063 Professional Growth I
PN1073 Nursing Theory I
PS1173 Developmental Psychology
EL1003 Elective

Semester 2
BI2013 Anatomy and Physiology II
PN2017 Nursing Practice II
PN2023 Health Assessment
PN2043 Nursing Theory II
PS1004 Introduction to Psychology

Semester 3
PN1014 Pathophysiology I
PN1053 Pharmacology I
PN3016 Nursing Practice III
PN3023 Professional Growth II
PN3033 Nursing Theory III

Semester 4
PN2014 Pathophysiology II
PN2033 Pharmacology II
PN4004 Nursing Theory IV
PN4019 Nursing Practice IV

Semester 1

BI1003 Anatomy and Physiology I
This course introduces learners to the normal development, structures and functions of the human body. Learners will examine the physiological components of the human body in order to obtain understanding of how the structures and functions of the body are related.

CM1913 Communications I Model B
Communications I is a practical course designed to help strengthen both oral and written skills. Students will be exposed to a variety of learning methods and communication formats. Emphasis will be placed on the use of appropriate structure, writing conventions and style. Students will also develop discipline-specific documents as well as learn the basics of portfolio assembly and presentation.

PN1004 Nursing Practice I
This course will provide learners with opportunities to apply concepts and knowledge gained in the classroom environment to practice settings. The emphasis will be on health promotion of well individuals throughout the lifespan. Learners will be introduced to various skills required by the individuals in selected age groups through simulation, practice in laboratory and a pediatric teaching learning experience. Students are expected to work independently to gain an understanding of medical terminology and basic mathematical skills.

PN1033 Human Relationships
Using an experiential approach, this course will focus the learner on the skills necessary to communicate effectively on a personal and professional level. The concepts of caring will be used as a basis to explore the helping relationship, interviewing skills and group dynamics.

PN1063 Professional Growth I
This course provides an introduction to the profession of nursing. It explores the philosophy of nursing, nursing theories, the evolution of nursing and the role of nurses in today’s society. Learners are introduced to nursing, professionalism, Ontario’s regulatory body for nursing, and the importance of reflective practice in nursing. Learners will examine personal learning styles and teaching and learning. Health and nursing informatics are introduced and learners will gain skills in using electronic databases to find scholarly nursing literature. Nursing research is also introduced, and students have the opportunity to analyze nursing research studies and gain an understanding of the relationship between nursing theory, practice and research.

PN1073 Nursing Theory I
This course will introduce the learner to the theoretical and conceptual frameworks of health and healthy lifestyles. The dimensions of human needs will be explored with an emphasis on the significance of self-responsibility, culture and the change process.

PS1173 Developmental Psychology
This course is an introduction to the broad field of psychology. Among the topics you will study are: biology and behaviour, sensation and perception, states of consciousness, learning, memory, intelligence, cognition, human development, motivation and emotion, personality theory and assessment, health and stress, mental health and social psychology. Human behaviour is very complex. This course will assist you in better understanding your behaviours as well as those of others. You will be able to apply basic psychological principles that will help you in solving every day real life problems in both your professional and personal life.

Semester 2

BI2013 Anatomy and Physiology II
The study of normal anatomy and physiology of the human body is a continuation of Anatomy and Physiology I. It continues with the study of the major body systems, from the nervous system to the reproductive systems. The unifying themes of the interrelationships of body organ systems, homeostatis, and the complementary nature of structure and function, will provide the basis for understanding the workings of the human body.

PN2017 Nursing Practice II
This course further explores the concept of health promotion and health protection with well individuals. Learners will gain basic assessment and nursing skills required to care for the individuals in selected age groups. The course will consist of three components: independent learning, laboratory practice and clinical experience within community agencies.

PN2023 Health Assessment
This course will provide the learner with the skills required to conduct a holistic health assessment for a normal healthy individual during all stages of the lifespan. The concepts of wellness, health promotion, health protection and client teaching will be integrated throughout the course.

PN2043 Nursing Theory II
This course will focus on health promotion and health protection strategies for selected individuals across the lifespan related to individuals, families, groups and communities. This course will also examine the evolution of Canada’s health care system.

PS1004 Introduction to Psychology
This course provides an introduction to selected concepts and theories of psychology including the history of and major trends in psychology. The human life cycle is studied in the context of theories, such as Piaget, Kohlberg and Erikson. Abnormal psychology is introduced. This course may also provide an introduction to the topics of conditioning and learning, cognition and creativity, intelligence, motivation and emotion, gender and sexuality, personality, social behaviour, and human relations.

Semester 3

PN1014 Pathophysiology I
The focus of this course is on the pathophysiology of episodic and chronic health challenges. The learner will study pain and stress, alterations in homeostatis, healing and infection, fluid and electrolytes, acid-base imbalance and cancer. Structural and functional changes and the manifestations that result in the following body systems will be explored: respiratory, cardiovascular, and neurological.

PN1053 Pharmacology I
Using the nursing process, this course introduces the learner to the concepts of pharmacology as selected drug groups are studied. The course will emphasize the role and responsibilities of the practical nurse in the administration and monitoring of client medications. This course is also designed to allow the learner to apply basic skills to safely calculate drug dosages

PN3016 Nursing Practice III
This course will provide the learner with opportunities to examine the role of practical nurse when caring for individuals with health challenges. The learner will utilize critical thinking skills to plan and implement holistic nursing care. The experience will take place in the laboratory setting and in a variety of medical-surgical areas.

PN3023 Professional Growth II
This course will prepare the learner for entry into the workplace through exploration of leadership, conflict resolution and advocacy. Leadership and management roles within health care will be examined. The process of transition from student to nurse will be explored.

PN3033 Nursing Theory III
This course will focus on assisting the learner to develop a holistic approach to nursing. A variety of approaches to learning will be utilized and critical thinking strategies will be emphasized as the learner explores the care of individuals and families experiencing and/or predisposed to acute and chronic health challenges in a variety of life situations.

Semester 4

PN2014 Pathophysiology II
Continuing from PN1014, this course focuses on episodic and chronic health challenges. The structural and functional changes and the manifestations that result from alterations in the following body systems will be explored: genitourinary, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, integumentary, sensory and mental health.

Pharmacology II
This course is a continuation of Pharmacology I. More selected drug groups are studied. The focus of this course is still on the role and responsibilities of the practical nurse in the administration and monitoring of client medications. The mathematical skills to safely calculate drug dosages are still required for this course.

PN4004 Nursing Theory IV
In this course the learner will continue to develop a holistic approach to nursing. A variety of approaches to learning will be utilized. Drawing upon knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, physical assessment, the therapeutic nurse-client relationship and clinical experience to date, learners will employ critical thinking skills to better understand the clinical manifestations, diagnostic process, nursing assessment and care of clients* who are experiencing selected acute and or chronic mental and physical health challenges. *Client includes any of the following: individuals, families, groups and communities.

PN4019 Nursing Practice IV
This course will provide the learner with opportunities to examine the role of practical nurse when caring for individuals who require supportive, rehabilitative and palliative care. The learner will also be exposed to individuals with mental health challenges. Critical thinking skills will be refined to plan and implement holistic nursing care. This experience will take place in the laboratory setting and in a variety of medical-surgical settings.

Download the complete Articulation Agreement list for Universities and Colleges (PDF, 113KB).
You can also visit OnTransfer. This site provides information and resources to help students and potential students find their way through Ontario’s postsecondary system.

Articulation Agreements – Universities
Program Degree at Receiving University
Massage Therapy Brock (Ontario)
Bachelor of Arts Community Health
Paramedic University of Ontario Institute of Technology (Ontario)
Practical Nursing Bachelor of Allied Health Science (Honours)
Medical Laboratory Technician
Pre-Health Sciences Algoma (Ontario)
Bachelor of Science in Biology
Practical Nursing University of Ontario Institute of Technology (Ontario)
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Honours)
Lakehead (Ontario)
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Algoma (Ontario)
Bachelor of Science in Nursing – RPN Bridging Program
Ryerson (Ontario)
Bachelor of Health Administration Health Information Management or Bachelor of Health Administration Health Services Management
Practical Nursing Thompson Rivers (BC)
Paramedic Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Honours)
Massage Therapy

Note 1: The information above is subject to change without notice at the institution’s discretion.
Note 2: Ryerson University may ask applicants to complete two or three university level liberal studies courses prior to admission.