Province making it easier for LPN nurses to become registered nurses

More licensed practical nurses (LPNs) can now further their education to become registered nurses (RNs) more quickly in Nova Scotia.

Eligibility criteria is being expanded to allow more LPNs to qualify for bachelor of science, nursing (BScN) programs at Cape Breton University (CBU) and St. Francis Xavier University. The programs allow LPNs who meet academic, work experience and other licensing requirements to use their existing education and experience to more quickly complete the BScN program and become RNs.

“Nurses are needed in so many communities across the province,” said Health and Wellness Minister Michelle Thompson. “Interest in nursing as a profession – and these programs at CBU and St. FX in particular – has seen a real increase over the last few years and we’re excited more people will be able to take advantage of them.”

Eligibility is being expanded to include LPN graduates from out-of-province programs, as well as graduates from Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) from before 2008. Previously, only NSCC graduates from 2008 or later were eligible.

Changes take effect for students beginning their studies in the 2022-23 academic year. It is estimated that about 4,400 Nova Scotia LPNs could now be eligible.

“This collaboration between the government, the Nova Scotia College of Nursing and our post-secondary institutions exhibits the innovative thinking from all players to transform our healthcare system in Nova Scotia. We’re all working together to line up the next generation of nurses in Nova Scotia.”
     – Brian Wong, Minister of Advanced Education

“This is wonderful news for all practicing LPNs, as it will provide everyone the same advantage to continue their education, if they choose. I was very lucky to be able to apply and further my education and not worry about other restrictions.”
     – Marcie MacPhee, Cape Breton University nursing student who has been an LPN for three years

“Every nurse is vital to our health system regardless of their designation; however, expanding eligibility criteria for education to make it easier for LPNs wanting to become RNs will benefit everyone – the LPNs, the nursing profession, the health system and all Nova Scotians.”
     – Sue Smith, CEO and Registrar, Nova Scotia College of Nursing

Quick Facts:
— 74 people have completed the LPN to BScN programs since they were launched in 2016
— the Province, the Nova Scotia College of Nursing, CBU and St. FX have agreed on the expanded eligibility for the LPN to BScN programs at both universities
— LPNs care for patients who are considered stable with predictable outcomes in a variety of settings, providing nursing services in collaboration with an RN, physician or other authorized healthcare professional
— about 450 RNs and 250 LPNs graduate every year from Nova Scotia schools
— the government announced in 2021 that all nurses graduating from Nova Scotia’s universities and NSCC for the next five years will be offered a job in the province

Additional Information:
Cape Breton University nursing programs:

St. Francis Xavier University nursing programs:

Nova Scotia College of Nursing:

Action for Health, the government’s strategic plan to improve healthcare in Nova Scotia:

Source: Release

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