Practical Nursing

Cornwall Campus | Program Code: 0491
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This program prepares graduates to practice according to the Entry to Practice Competencies and Standards of Practice of the College of Nurses of Ontario. Graduates are eligible to write the national registration exam and, when successful, will become Registered Practical Nurses in the Province of Ontario, and are eligible for reciprocal registration in other provinces in Canada.

The Practical Nursing program at St. Lawrence College is currently approved (Category 1) by the College of Nurses of Ontario ( Current graduates from this program are eligible to apply for registration as a Registered Practical Nurse in Ontario.

Program Details

Code 0491
Start Date January, September
Credential Ontario College Diploma
Campus Cornwall
Program Length 2 extended Years
Delivery Full-Time

Program Highlights

  • 5 full time semesters
  • Placements in a variety of health care settings including a 400-hour clinical consolidation placement in semester 5
  • Hands-on simulated learning experiences in a simulation lab
  • Graduates are eligible to write the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) Registration Exam

Program Outline


This course is designed to help students develop and practice the communication skills needed to succeed in college and workforce environments. Emphasis is placed on improving foundational communication strategies-reading, writing, listening, and speaking—and on developing research and critical thinking skills.

In this course the student studies a decision-making process and Henderson’s Conceptual Framework. The course focuses on health assessment of the individual, providing the basis to develop strategies to assist in the promotion, maintenance and restoration of optimal health. 

Co-requisite(s): NURS 1502 + NURS 1503

This course focuses on the principles of communication and development of the effective use of interpersonal relationship skills within the role of the nurse.  Areas of content include theory and techniques to develop effective interpersonal skills and enhance awareness.  The principles of interviewing are incorporated and group dynamics are introduced.

This course provides an overview of the concepts underlying the profession of nursing including the history of nursing, the role and Standards of Practice of the Registered Practical Nurse as a member of the inter-professional health team, values and professional accountability. Critical thinking skills are integrated in this course. Professional organizations are introduced and their influence on the nurse, personally and professionally is examined. Changes in the health care system and its impact on the profession of nursing is introduced.

This course provides the student with the opportunity to apply basic nursing care techniques and interventions to assist individuals in their activities of daily living. Use of the nursing process is introduced including data collection through interviewing and observation, data sorting using a framework and decision making using critical thinking strategies. Clinical practice sites include continuing care and long term care settings. 

Co-requisite(s): NURS 1500 + NURS 1503

This course prepares the student to provide basic nursing care interventions. Demonstrations and hands-on learning and practice activities focus on the skills required to provide basic nursing care. Introduction to scenarios provides opportunities to build theoretical knowledge and to practice the nursing process by developing skills and critical thinking. 

Co-requisite(s): NURS 1500 + NURS 1502

This course supports an understanding of how the integrity of the human body, in the biological sense, influences health. The content focuses on the structure and function of all body sytems, including how body systems individually and collectively contribute to the maintenance of homeostasis and thus optimal health in relationship to the overall program.

This course uses a decision-making process and Henderson’s conceptual framework to examine concepts, principles, and interventions to meet the needs of individuals of all age groups. The focus is on concepts of health and illness and their influence in the need satisfaction of the individual, their family and/or significant others. The units studied are: challenges to health function, fluid and electrolyte balance, pain, the operative experience (pre-, intra- and post-), infection and inflammation, immobility, neoplasms, challenges to mental health and the childbearing family. Pathophysiology, diagnostics, and treatment modalities are integrated throughout the units.

Prerequisite(s): NURS1500 + NURS 1501 + NURS1502 + NURS 1503 + NURS 1507 + PHYS 1200

Co-requisite(s): NURS 2502 + NURS 2503

This course builds on NURS 1501, Interpersonal Relationships, and assists with the further development of interpersonal skills within the role of the nurse. The theory and practice of decision making techniques, crisis intervention and conflict resolution are presented.

Prerequisite(s): NURS 1501

This course provides the student with the opportunity to apply nursing care techniques and interventions to assist individuals with challenges to their health and to meet their fundamental needs. The student is expected to expand their knowledge and use of the nursing process and critical thinking and to make care decisions by analyzing real life or simulated case scenarios. Practical experience may be provided in areas of acute care medicine, complex continuing care, rehabilitation, palliative care and/or long term care. 

Prerequisite(s): NURS 1500 + NURS 1501 + NURS 1502 + NURS 1503 + NURS 1507 + PHYS 1200

Co-requisite(s): NURS 2500 + NURS 2503

This course prepares the student to provide theraputic and technical nursing care interventions. Demonstrations and hands-on learning and practice activities focus on skills. Use of scenarios provides opportunities to build in holistic theoretical knowledge with the nursing process in applying critical thinking with complex skill development. 

Prerequisite(s): NURS 1500 + NURS 1501 + NURS1502 + NURS 1503 + NURS 1507 + PHYS 1200

Co-requisite(s): NURS 2500 + NURS 2502

In this course, the student will critically examine the legal implications and principles of safe medication use and administration. The properties, therapeutic actions, classifications, and health risks associated with pharmaceutical agents will be discussed. This course is critical to practical nursing students who need to know essential information about medications to fulfill their nursing responsibilities in assisting clients in the management of therapy involving medications.

Prerequisite(s): PHYS 1200

This course provides 45 hours of a mix of theory and practical experience in physical assessment. Included are interviewing techniques, subjective and objective data collecting techniques and tools and a review of documentation. The physical norms and abnormals are presented in a system organization. A method of organizing a complete health history, grouping of data from a physical assessment, inferring, validating and identifying options of care are practiced. Decision-making is examined and critical thinking skills developed. Lab time is offered for the development of assessment skills and to perform physical assessments on adult clients.  

Prerequisite(s): PHYS 1200

This course focuses on the health challenges of indiviuals of all ages using a decision making process and Henderson’s Conceptual Framework. Emphasis is placed on the care of the individual and family at risk.  Units studied include; the pathologic response to health challenges, community nursing, endocrine dysfunction, musculoskeletal dysfunction, reproductive dysfunction, respiratory dysfunction and cardiovascular dysfunction.

Prerequisite(s): NURS 2500 + NURS2501 + NURS 2502 + NURS 2503 + PHAR 1000 + PHYS 3000

Co-requisite(s): NURS 3505

This course provides Practical Nurse students with opportunities to apply strategies and interventions, to assist individuals and families with health challenges. Practice sites include acute care, continuing care and/or community agencies.

Prerequisite(s): NURS 2500 + NURS2501 + NURS 2502 + NURS 2503 + PHAR 1000 + PHYS 3000

Co-requisite(s): NURS 3500

This course introduces students to nursing research. An understanding of the general principles and processes of research allows the students to identify how new knowledge evolves. Students develop an appreciation of the role of knowledge in developing best practices. Competence will be developed in library research skills. Students will learn to appraise a nursing research design for general integrity so that they may identify significant limitations that influence the interpretation of the study results. Students are prompted to be self-directed in searching for evidence to initiate and support best practice for client care.

Prerequisite(s): NURS 2500 + NURS2501 + NURS 2502 + NURS 2503 + PHAR 1000 + PHYS 3000

This course focuses on the health challenges of indiviuals of all ages using a decision making process and Henderson’s Conceptual Framework. Emphasis is placed on the care of the individual and family at risk. Units studied include; alteration in mental health function, alteration in immune function, alteration in gastro-intestinal function, alteration in sensory-perceptual function, alteration in urinary-renal function, alteration in integumentary function and alteration in neurologic function.

Prerequisite(s): NURS 3500 + NURS 3505 + NURS 3507

Co-requisite(s): NURS4505

This course provides Practical Nurse students with opportunities to apply strategies and interventions, to assist individuals and families with health challenges. Practice sites include acute care, continuing care,  and/or community agencies.

Prerequisite(s): NURS 3500 + NURS 3505 + NURS 3507

Co-requisite(s): NURS4500

This course focuses on emerging issues in nursing. The student critically analyzes and evaluates current issues and trends in nursing and health care services, as well as learns how these trends may be influenced by political action. Management and leadership roles are interpreted within the scope of practice of the Registered Practical Nurse. In preparation for their roles as graduates, the student initiates both personal and career planning.

Prerequisite(s): NURS 3500 + NURS 3505 + NURS 3507

Following successful completion of semester 4, the practical nurse student writes a comprehensive examination that evaluates the level of learning acquired throughout the program.

Prerequisite(s): NURS 4500 + NURS 4505 + NURS 4507

This concentrated, continuous, pre-graduate clinical experience provides the practical nurse student an opportunity for synthesis and practice consolidation of previous learning. It allows the student to increase the use of judgment, skill and independence in a preceptored work experience similar to that of a beginning practitioner.

Prerequisite(s): NURS 5500


Admission Requirements

Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) with the majority of Grade 11 and 12 courses at the C, U or M level including the following prerequisites:

  • Grade 12 English at the C or U level
  • Grade 12 Math at the C or U level
  • Grade 12 Chemistry at the C or U level (or SCH3U)
  • Grade 11 or 12 Biology at the C or U level

For OSSD equivalency options, see Admission Requirements.

If you are missing prerequisite courses, enroll in the Career/College Prep program - free for Ontario residents who are 19 years or older.

This is a HIGHLY COMPETITIVE program. To be included in the competitive ranking, applications must be complete including all transcripts and proof of enrollment by February 1. Meeting minimum entrance requirements does not guarantee admissions to the program. Please see the Highly Competitive Program Chart for more details.

The Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) states that individuals must report any previous criminal offences when they apply to the College of Nurses for initial registration. An absolute or conditional discharge, or a pardon, does not change the fact that an individual was found guilty of an offence.

Health Requirements

Pre-Placement Immunization Requirements

Immunizations are MANDATORY and may take several weeks to complete. Students cannot start any placement(s) without updated immunization status confirmed with the appropriate personnel within the College.

  1. Prior to arriving to campus, students are required to set an appointment to confirm/update their immunization status with their physician
    • If a student does not have a physician, they can obtain their health records from their local Health Unit and then work with their local community walk-in clinic or contact Kingston Campus Health Centre to set an appointment
  2. Print this PN Communicable Disease Form
  3. and take to your appointment
  4. Questions about completing this form can be sent to
  5. Secure and save all medical documents
  6. Students will be notified where and how to send this information through to the College during your first week of classes or through their SLC email account
    • PLEASE DO NOT email any medical information using private email accounts
  7. Once verified as complete, students will be notified that they have met this requirement for placement

Note: Medical coverage for vaccines received on or after September 1, can be claimed by full-time Students under their Student Sickness & Accident Insurance Plan.  This insurance is made available to all full-time students once enrolled unless students opt-out. 


To be eligible for unpaid placement, enrolled students will need to complete a series of MANDATORY program and agency-specific pre-placement requirements.  These will be discussed with students during class time and a Student Placement Facilitator will be in place to assist and answer all placement-related questions.  

Students will need to complete the below mandatory requirements before classes begin:

  1. Standard First Aid & CPR Level BLS (formerly HCP) Certification

Must be completed through a WSIB-approved training provider. Certification must remain valid for the duration of the program and must not expire during placement.

  1. WSIB Certified First Aid/CPR Trainers
  2. Book a class ASAP as they fill up quickly
  3. Students can hold their certificate once completed and they will be instructed where and how to share it with the College during their class time
  4. All costs associated with the training are at the expense of the student


  1. Police Record Check – Vulnerable Sector Screening

Note: Certain criminal convictions may prevent a student from participating or completing placements for this program.  Applicants with criminal records are required to contact the Associate Dean of the respective school (see Program Contacts below) prior to accepting an offer to this program to discuss and confirm participation within this program is suitable.

A recent Police Record Check including the Vulnerable Sector Screening is an agency requirement and is MANDATORY to begin any unpaid placement for this Program.

  • Students will be notified when to apply for their Police Record Check by the Student Placement Facilitator to ensure the dates remain valid for their placement period.
  • Many agencies want these updated every 3-6 months. All costs associated with obtaining a Police Record Check are at the expense of the student.
  • Enrolled students will be notified of further instruction through their SLC email account or their Blackboards and should continue to monitor frequently.


Students with outstanding pre-placement requirements will not be eligible to begin placement and may be denied to begin placement or be required to pay additional fees (at their own expense) to continue and complete the placement component.

Pre-placement requirements are subject to change based on placement agency and/or legislative or regulatory changes. 

Program-specific or additional questions? Please email the Program Contact(s) listed below.



Program Fees
Ancillary Fees
$2,721.36 CAD
Program Fees
$0.00 CAD
Ancillary Fees
$846.65 CAD
$3,568.01 CAD

Fees are estimates only.  Tuition is based on two semesters.

Tuition fees are subject to change pending confirmation of provincial Ministry Funding rates for 2021-2022.


Our Cornwall campus has a brand new library, new health simulation labs, renovated student common areas and more to make your transition to college life an easy one.

Cornwall Campus Exterior
cornwall library
Cornwall Campus

Career Opportunities

Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) work in a wide variety of health care settings including acute care, complex continuing care, rehabilitation services and long term care. RPNs can work in specialties including pediatrics, maternal and child care, mental health, operating room services, wound care, palliative care and community care. RPNs are hired by hospitals, rehabilitation agencies, community and public health agencies, the government (ex. include corrections services and the Armed Forces), private industry and international health service agencies.

Other Information

Legislation regarding registration for nurses 

Registration as a nurse in the Province of Ontario includes:

1. Demonstrate Current Canadian Citizenship, or permanent residency in Canada status, or Authorization under the Immigrant Act (Canada) to engage in the practice of the nursing profession.

2. Complete a Declaration form indicating one’s status regarding:

  • any convictions of a criminal offence under the Narcotic Control Act and the Food and Drugs Act;
  • being a subject of proceedings with respect to professional misconduct, incompetence, or incapacity in Ontario or in another jurisdiction in nursing or in another health profession;
  • any mental or physical disorder that makes it desirable in the public interest that the person not practice.

A prospective applicant is advised to contact a career counsellor at the College if the above regulations are a cause for concern. Individual screening of candidates may be necessary to secure field placement during the program.

Field Placement
For clinical placement, registration, and eventual employment students are required to pass an enhanced security clearance admitted by police intelligence. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain this clearance (a fee may apply). An individual with a criminal record should obtain a pardon prior to submitting an application for admission to the Practical Nurse program.

Clinical placements may include acute and continuing care hospitals, community agencies and health clinics.

Program Contacts

Program Contact

Associate Dean Nursing
Valerie Fiset RN, PhD
613.544.5400 ext. 3361

Admissions Information
Click here to message Recruitment.

Click here to schedule an appointment with Recruitment.