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.
Upon enrolling in a Practical Nursing (PN) program, those with a PSW certificate are usually given a credit.
There are many colleges that offer Personal Support Worker to Practical Nursing bridging programs.
In this article you’ll learn:
- Which colleges offer this program?
- The cost
- Intake, and
- Direct links to college websites.
Subsequently, this article will equip you with valuable information that you will need in order to make an informed decision regarding enrolling in a bridge program.
WHAT IS A BRIDGING PROGRAM?
A bridge program is defined as a formal partnership between two post-secondary schools.
It provides students with advanced standing within a program at a particular educational institution through the recognition of their academic history in a similar discipline.
Bridge courses can be classified into three distinct types:
- multilateral, and
Bilateral and multilateral agreements are between two or more similar institutions and are typically the type that post-secondary schools offer with respect to PSW to RPN bridge programs.
WHERE IS THE PROGRAM OFFERED?
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 offers a Practical Nursing (PSW to PN bridging stream) program.
The program emphasizes collaborative learning alongside clinical training, theory and lab work.
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 this Mohawk PSW to PN bridging 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),
- Grade 11 or 12 Sciences, and
- Evidence of completion of a Personal Support Worker Certificate program from an accredited Ontario college since 2006.
Once you meet the above requirements, 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.
Please note that this is a very competitive program and you must apply as early as possible.
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:
facial mask fitting, and
There is no distance education program currently offered, but some non-nursing courses are available online.
For more details about this program, visit Mohawk College website.
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.
You must complete the following bridging courses:
- Introductory computing,
- Anatomy and Physiology I,
- Bridged Anatomy and Physiology I,
- Non-violent Crisis Intervention
- Field Preparation for PSW Bridging to PN,
- Transitional Concepts for PSW Bridging, and
- College communications for helping professionals.
All these courses can be taken part-time however the PN program is a full-time day program offered only at the Sutherland campus in Peterborough.
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. Courses, therefore, range between $ 104.70 and $ 418.80 each in total.
GEORGE BROWN COLLEGE
George Brown College offers a full-time Personal Support Worker Pathway to the Practical Nursing Program.
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.
This is a 14-week full-time program that prepares PSW’s for entry into the Practical Nursing program at George Brown.
You must complete the following required courses:
- Pathway English,
- Principles in Biology, and
- Health and Wellness
Tuition fees for the one semester of this program is $1,734.00.
Bridging program at Algonquin College is called “Academic Pathway for Movement from Personal Support Worker to Practical Nursing Program“.
This academic pathway can potentially allow PSW course graduates to immediately enter Level 2 of the Practical Nursing program.
Hence, it is classified as a pathway and not a program – students are required to complete a series of classes and if they are successful, will be permitted to apply to Level 2 of the Practical Nursing curriculum without having to take further high school classes or equivalences.
The pathway is designed to provide students with a higher level of knowledge and practice through which they can potentially advance their nursing careers.
All applicants to this pathway:
- Must have the equivalent of one year of full-time practice hours as a PSW which totals 1750 hours.
- Are also expected to have a minimum of 30% of the hours in a Home for the Aged and/or Long Term Care agency.
- Applicants must also have a reference letter from a current or recent employer which describes his or her work experience.
- Applicants who have graduated from a community college must have a minimum GPA of 70% or have obtained a minimum of 70% in their Personal Support Worker program.
- Applicants who have completed their PSW program from a private college or Vocational High School must have 70% overall.
With an entry in May of each year, this program comprises of the following courses:
- Introduction To Psychology,
- PSW to PN Nursing Theory and Seminar, and
- Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology for PSW to PN Bridge
Courses are to be taken individually for $374 to $389 each. The total tuition fees for the course is approximately $1470.
The course itself lasts one semester and students are required to obtain at least 63% in all courses.
A minimum of 55% is required on the Health Occupations Aptitude Exam (HOAE) test which you will be required to take after completing the pathway.
Ten places in the Practical Nursing (PN) program are reserved for students who earn the highest marks with the remaining applicants being placed in a pool to be chosen for the course based on availability.
The program is offered at the school’s Woodroffe Campus.
Classes must be taken in a specific order as per guidelines.
This program is offered on a part-time basis with classes being offered one day per week. The bridging course at Conestoga College takes approximately two years to complete.
Students who complete it will then be offered the opportunity to undertake the third semester of the PN program part-time, with the possibility of transferring to full-time if space is available in the full-time program.
The fourth semester of the PN course contains a clinical element and must be taken full-time.
Therefore the bridging courses, in addition to the final two semesters of the PN program, will take between three to four years to complete.
Applicants must have:
- A Personal Support Worker certificate from an Ontario accredited college,
- You must be currently employed as a Personal Support Worker,
- The following Ontario Secondary School courses (or equivalents), with a minimum cumulative average of 75% are required:
- Grade 12 compulsory English, C or U, or equivalent, OR Conestoga College Preparatory Communications
- Grade 12 Mathematics, C or U, or equivalent, OR Conestoga College Preparatory Mathematics
- Grade 11 or 12 Biology, C or U, or equivalent, OR Conestoga College Preparatory Biology
- Grade 11 or 12 Physics or Chemistry, C or U, or equivalent, or Grade 11 or 12 Science, OR Conestoga College Preparatory Physics or Preparatory Chemistry
As the program is offered on a part-time basis, course fees are individual and charged per class. Classes cost between approximately $250 to $300 each.
The course is offered at the school’s Doon Campus with intake taking place both in September and January.
This is a certificate program that prepares you to be eligible for admission to the Practical Nursing Program at Centennial.
This program prepares PSWs for entry into the Practical Nursing program by focussing on areas such as:
- Required Math skills, and
- Required knowledge of biology.
This program is designed to prepare you for the nursing program using various modes of learning and incorporates:
- online, and
- collaborative activities.
At the end of this program, graduates will be able to enter the first semester of the Centennial College Practical Nursing Program-Flexible.
In order to apply for this program you:
- must have completed an Ontario Personal Support Worker Certificate as of 2006 and onward, and having graduated from an Ontario Community College,
- must have obtained a minimum GPA of 3.5 or 75% overall in the PSW program with no failures,
- Must be a domestic student (no international students).
You can complete this bridging program within 2 semesters.
You must successfully complete the following courses with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in each course:
- Basic Math for Healthcare Providers,
- Introduction to Human Biology,
- Therapeutic Communication, and
- Strategies for Academic Success.
Humber College offers a unique opportunity for entry into the Practical Nursing Program.
If you’re to apply to the Practical Nursing program at Humber, you must fulfill the following requirements:
- Grade 11 or 12 Biology
- Grade 11 or 12 Chemistry
- Grade 12 Math
If you’ve already completed the above-listed course, you’ll still have to undergo a mandatory pre-admission testing in essay writing, Math, Biology, and Chemistry.
if you do not have the above-listed courses, you can still become eligible for entry into the Practical Nursing program by choosing one of the following two pathways:
If you need academic upgrading in English, Math, and Sciences, you must do the following:
- Complete the Literacy Basic Skills Program (LBS)
This is a free program geared towards helping you upgrade your English, Sciences (Biology and Chemistry) and Math.
After completion of the LBS Program, you’ll be ready to write the Practical Nursing pre-admission test.
Please note that you must be at least 19 years of age in order to be eligible for applying to the LBS program.
Take the following academic subjects in Adult Day or Night school:
- Grade 12 English,
- Grade 11 or 12 Biology,
- Grade 11 or 12 Chemistry, and
- Grade 12 Math.
Successful completion of these subjects will prepare you for the pre-admission test.
Please note that the final admission into the Practical Nursing program will depend on the outcome of the pre-admission test.
For more information, you can call 416-675-6622 ext. 4842.
The other way you can become eligible for applying to the Practical Nursing program is by completing the:
General Arts and Science – Technology Profile.
This is a full-time course spread over two semesters (8 months).
This program starts in September only.
ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS: TECHNOLOGY PROFILE COURSE
For admission to the General Arts and Science – Technology Profile course, you must write a pre-admission test.
This test will test you in:
- Biology, and
Your score only in English and Math is considered for admission purposes.
Your score in Biology and Chemistry is used to determine your preparedness for the program.
If you successfully complete this General Arts and Science Technology Profile, you’ll be eligible for applying to the Practical Nursing Program.
For any further questions or clarification, you may call the Humber College admissions department at 416 675 6622 ext. 4287.
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
There are so many opportunities for you to advance your career and there is absolutely no reason you should not.
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 professional life.
Image credit: “Nurse” used under a Creative Commons Attribution from waltstoneburner on Flickr.