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Personal Support Worker (PSW) to Practical Nurse (PN) Bridging Programs

If you are currently trained as a Personal Support Worker (PSW) in Ontario, it is worth considering how to upgrade your clinical qualifications to become a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN).

 There are many benefits to advancing your clinical practice.

 Job opportunities for RPNs are becoming especially prevalent as the geriatric population in Ontario is growing in size, thus demonstrating a need for qualified nursing care in acute care settings, community health agencies and long-term care facilities. As a Registered Practical Nurse, you will also be entitled to job benefits such as higher pay and greater job satisfaction.

Where is the program offered?


PSW to PN bridging programs

Many institutions in Ontario offer continuing education and bridging programs for a Personal Support Worker to certify as a Registered Practical Nurse. Following is a list of colleges that offer this bridging program in Ontario, Canada.

Mohawk College

Mohawk College offers a Practical Nursing (PSW to PN bridging stream) program. This program is specifically designed for those who have completed a certified PSW course in order to advance into the second semester of the Practical Nursing program.

The program emphasizes collaborative learning alongside clinical training, theory and lab work. Candidates who complete the two Continuing Education (CE) bridging courses, Transitional Concepts and Bridged Anatomy and Physiology, will be eligible to join the second semester of the Practical Nursing program.

Following completion of the Practical Nursing diploma program, graduates are eligible to take the Canadian Registered Practical Nurse Examination (CRPNE), administered by the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO).

To apply for the Mohawk program, you will need to submit proof of completion of Grade 12 English C or U, Grade 11 or 12 Mathematics C, M or U (M or U recommended), and Grade 11 or 12 Sciences as well as evidence of completion of a Personal Support Worker Certificate program from an accredited Ontario college since 2006.

You will also be asked to take the Health Occupation Aptitude Examination (HOAE) test with the Mohawk Pre-Admission Testing Centre for a $50 fee.

The estimated cost for the first year of the Practical Nurse program is $6,152.10. Mohawk also offers a specialized Practical Nurse training for Aboriginal communities. The cost of this program is $5,962.87 for one year. Additional costs for both programs include pre-clinical placement clearance costs such as hepatitis injections, CPR training, facial mask fitting and police clearance. There is no distance education program currently offered, but some non-nursing courses are available online.

Fleming College

Fleming College has two bridging opportunities for Personal Support Workers who have graduated from a PSW course at a community college.

The courses are housed under their Continuing Education & Online Learning program. The bridging courses offered include Anatomy and Physiology, Field Preparation for PSW Bridging to PN, Transitional Concepts for PSW Bridging, and Non-violent Crisis Intervention. Upon completion of the bridging courses, you will be eligible for the second semester of the full time PN program.

Courses are registered and paid for individually. All courses take place on their Sutherland campus, cost $5.40 per course hour and range from 15-60 hours.

George Brown College

George Brown College offers a full-time Personal Support Worker Pathway to Practical Nursing Program.

As part of this program, students receive a foundational knowledge of biology, chemistry, mathematics, health and wellness. The tuition for the nursing program is $1,734.00 per semester.

To qualify for admittance into the pathway program, applicants must have graduated from a Personal Support Worker Certificate program or equivalent with a minimum 3.0 grade point average.

Personal Support Workers in Ontario are well positioned to take advantage of a range of bridging programs in order to certify as a Registered Practical Nurse. Once you have determined the right kind of program to suit your lifestyle, you will find that the investment you make in one of these courses will greatly enhance your clinical career.

Image credit: “Nurse” used under a Creative Commons Attribution from waltstoneburner on Flickr

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