Becoming a RN (Registered Nurse)

Canadian Schools offering nurse

Becoming a registered nurse in Canada will take many steps to complete. Requirements for practice vary from one province to another. However, there is a huge demand for registered nurses in Canada. This demand is fuelled by the following.

  • Increasing aging population in Canada
  • Increasing awareness of health and wellness among Canadians
  • An aging nursing population

Nursing School Entrance Requirements

In order to apply for a registered nursing program, students must pass the following subjects.

  • Biology 30
  • Science 30 or Chemistry 30
  • Mathematics 30-2, Mathematics, 30-1 or Mathematics 31
  • English Language and Arts 30 or 30-1
  • One Group C, B or A Course

Applicants must also have a minimum total average of 65 percent in all high school subjects. They also must not have a grade of lower than 50 percent in the above subjects. Some schools also require a criminal record check as one of their admission requirements. This clearance must come from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Some also require three letters of reference to be considered for admission. Students are also required to have their immunizations up to date.

In many schools across Canada, nursing is a very competitive program. This is the reason why the most academically qualified candidates are admitted first.

Nursing Degree Programs

Registered nursing education in Canada usually lasts for four years. It includes the following teaching methods.

  • Seminars
  • Lectures
  • Laboratory Experiences

Nursing lectures also include fixed resourced sessions. These sessions provide material and course content about nursing. They are delivered in a classroom format often by a guest lecturer.  Lecture speakers also include the following.

  • Clinical experts
  • Associate faculty working in the healthcare industry
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Faculty members participating in research
  • Community members who are experiencing alteration in health that has a relation to the topic
  • Faculty members

Lectures also include support courses. These programs are also very important to nursing. Subjects of these lectures include the following.

  • Anatomy
  • Medical Microbiology
  • Physiology
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Political Science
  • Pharmacotherapeutics
  • Philosophy
  • Professional Issues
  • Pathophysiology

These courses provide a well rounded theoretical and laboratory based education for Nursing students.

Nursing education also includes tutorials. Students work in small groups in this learning module. This work is carried out under close supervision. During this, students tackle different real life nursing situations. Every situation provides information and designed as a story about a patient. These stories include their life situation and different health problems or issues. This learning helps students integrate what they have learned from the following sciences.

  • Medical Sciences
  • Physical Sciences
  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences
  • Nursing

Nursing Education also has a lot of laboratory sessions. This learning module helps students to become confident in their nursing skills. This is done to provide the basis for competent and safe nursing practice. These sessions include the following.

  • Assignments
  • Assigned readings
  • Viewing audiovisual resources.

Laboratory sessions also include clinical simulations. These simulations imitate real clinical scenarios. This is done in order to accomplish learning objectives. It includes the following simulations.

  • Low level Simulations
  • Medium Level Simulations
  • High level Simulations

Low level Simulations allow students to practice different nursing skills by employing the following learning tools.

  • Task trainers
  • Models
  • Artificial body parts
  • Role playing
  • Working with standardized patients.

Medium level simulations include more realism. It also incorporates some level of cutting edge innovation. This is done to imitate different patient responses. Highly advanced clinical manikins are used on this learning simulation. It can be programmed to mimic the following sounds.

  • Heart Sounds
  • Breaths
  • Blood Pressure
  • Pulse

This simulation is also ideal for acquiring different skills and knowledge such as the following.

  • Differentiating between abnormal and normal vital signs
  • Inserting Foley Catheters and Nasogastric Tubes
  • Physical Assessment

High level simulation closely mimics reality. This is done by providing the following attributes.

  • Simulation of actual patient responses
  • A lifelike appearance

These simulators are computer driven. They also allow students to deliver nursing care to simple and complex patients. Students also work in teams to implement, assess and evaluate nursing practice. High level simulators include the following.

  • Infant simulators
  • Paediatric Simulators
  • Birthing Simulators
  • Adult Simulators

Nursing Laboratories also include lessons on the following nursing skills.

  • Intravenous therapy
  • Mental status assessment
  • Blood administration
  • Cast care, walkers and crutches
  • Disaster and triage management

One of the most important learning modules in nursing schools are clinical placements. Students are placed in the following clinical areas

  • Hospitals
  • Community Health Centers
  • Nursing homes

During the clinical, students are able to perform real life nursing care. However, these are all done under supervision by instructors. These rotations are also scheduled on an eight hour nursing shift. A nursing student in Canada usually undergoes a total of 1,700 hours of clinical experience. Upon graduation, students are given the BScN or a bachelor’s of science in nursing degree.

Registered Nurse Accreditation

Nursing programs in Canadian schools must be accredited by the Canadian Association of Nursing Schools. (http://www.casn.ca/)


In order to practice as a registered nurse in Canada, new graduates must apply for the Canadian Registered Nurse Exam or CRNE. This exam is held annually in the following months.

  • June
  • October
  • February

This exam has a total of 300 multiple choice questions. It tests the applicants on the following four concepts.

  • Nurse- Client Partnership
  • Changes in Health
  • Wellness and Health
  • Professional Practice

Nursing Specializations

In Canada, there are several nursing specializations that include the following.

  • Cardiovascular Nursing
  • Critical Care Nursing
  • Community Health Nursing
  • Emergency Nursing
  • Critical Care Paediatric Nursing
  • Gastroenterology Nursing
  • Enterostomal Therapy Nursing
  • Gerontological Nursing
  • Medical Surgical Nursing
  • Occupational Health Nursing
  • Neuroscience Nursing
  • Nephrology Nursing
  • Perinatal Nursing
  • Orthopaedic Nursing
  • Rehabilitation Nursing
  • Perioperative Nursing
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