From providing comfort and emotional support while tending to patients’ practical needs and offering basic bedside care or medications to completing charts, checking vital signs and keeping track of intravenous therapy, nurses do it all. They look after patients of varying ages, religions, professions and physical injuries or physiological problems. To be eligible to practice as a nurse in Canada, there a few education options. No matter what option is right for you, you must study ecology, environmental biology, anatomy, and physiology. The training in these areas varies in length and helps you to achieve different titles such as Nurse Practitioner, Registered Practical Nurse, Registered Nurse and Licensed Practical Nurse.
Toronto’s Centennial College offers a wide range of nursing program options for everyone from high school students wanting to enter the field to internationally trained nurses or those who want to earn a Bachelor of Nursing Science before pursing their career. Before applying to any of the programs, please make sure you check Centennial College’s website for prerequisites.
The first three options are “bridging” programs. The first of those three is Bridging to University Nursing. It takes two semesters to complete. The program is designed for Registered Practical Nurses who want to obtain a BScN in about three years. As with all nursing programs at Centennial, curriculum for the “bridging options” is based on the College of Nurses’ Standards of Practice for Nursing and Entry to Practice Competencies for Ontario Registered Nurses. It combines theoretical knowledge with clinical setting courses that emphasize ethics, professional practice, health assessment and more. With the Bridging to University Nursing program there is a focus on caring for individuals, groups and communities in both the acute mental health and community settings. The second option adds an extra semester to learning and is called Bridging to University Nursing (Flexible). The last bridging option is the Bridging to University Nursing – IEN program and it is for internationally educated nurses.
Another program for internationally educated nurses is the Practical Nursing Fast-track Bridging Program for Internationally-Educated Nurses. It is three semesters in length, including 15 weeks of consolidation experience. This serves as an academic pathway to meet the needs of internationally-educated nurses who are interested in working as Registered Practical Nurses in Canada as well as RPNs who hold a certificate but wish to upgrade to an Ontario College Diploma or RPNs who have been out of practice for 10 years or less and need a refresher course.
There is also the Nursing (BScN) program, which is eight semesters and earns students a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. It is completed in collaboration with George Brown College and Ryerson University, with students taking both the college and university level courses. An option for those who already have a college diploma is the PR – Perioperative Nursing program, which is 400 hours and results in an Ontario College Graduate Certificate. The Perioperative program prepares students to be practitioners.
The most common area of nursing is Practical Nursing. Centennial meet the need for nurses in this arena with its Practical Nursing and Practical Nursing (Flexible) programs, which are very similar. The Practical Nursing program focuses on the newest skills in the field. Students have access to well-equipped labs and professionals who teach the theory component. At the end of their training, students are deemed Registered Practical Nurses and take care of more stable patients. They often work in settings that include operating rooms and clinics. The curriculum for the Practical Nursing (Flexible) program is the same, except that it is offered in a six semester, three-day-per-week flex format. This allows you to meet personal and other commitments and is ideal for those already working part-time in the workforce.
The reason for so many program offerings may very well lie in the statistics. There is a severe shortage of nurses being predicted for 2011 by the Canadian Nurses Association. According to the Association, the shortage could mean that from 59,000 to 113,000 nurses will be needed. Centennial College is being active in getting professionals trained and ready for this rewarding field.