Practical Nursing at Conestoga College

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Practical Nursing is a career-focused program where the student will gain the knowledge, skills and experience required to become a member of the nursing profession and health-care team.

The foundational knowledge for practical nursing is based on scientific theory from nursing, the physical and psychosocial sciences and humanities. Person-centred care is learned in context through real-life experiences and career-related work-integrated learning (WIL) experiences. Seniors care is given special attention to meet the needs of an aging population.


The Nursing Act

The Nursing Act requires that all graduate practical nurses wishing to work in Ontario must be registered with the College of Nurses of Ontario. The Nursing Act also states graduates must not have been convicted of a criminal offence or an offence under the Narcotic Control Act (Canada) or the Food and Drugs Act (Canada). In addition, the Nursing Act identifies a number of other abilities and requirements that must be met in order to practice nursing in the province of Ontario.

The College of Nurses of Ontario

Graduate practical nurses wishing to register with the College of Nurses of Ontario must sign a declaration of their status regarding: citizenship; permanent residence; immigration; convictions of a criminal offence under the Narcotic Control Act/Food and Drug Act; involvement with respect to professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity in Ontario in another health profession; any mental or physical disorder, which makes it desirable in the public interest that the person not practice nursing. These conditions also apply throughout the program. In preparation to pursuing a nursing career, we encourage all prospective nursing students to carefully consider the requisite skills and abilities for nursing practice in Ontario outlined by the College of Nurses of Ontario.

The Practical Nursing diploma program at Conestoga 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.


International students interested in studying in the Practical Nursing program are required to successfully complete the Pre-Health Sciences Pathway to Certificates and Diplomas program.

Direct entry into the Practical Nursing program is not available. Students must apply to the Practical Nursing program for admission consideration after the successful completion of the Pre-Health Sciences Pathway to Certificates and Diplomas program.

Admission to Practical Nursing after completion of the Pre-Health Pathway program is not guaranteed.


This is a highly competitive program. Apply by February 1 (for September), July 15 (for January).

Applicants meeting minimum academic requirements (75%) are invited to begin the selection process which requires them to:

Final selection is made using a formula that considers academic strength, the results on the HOAE, and an assessment of any completed post-secondary health-related academic credentials the applicant may possess. Such credentials may include, but are not limited to, completed programs in Respiratory Therapy, OTA&PTA, Personal Support Worker, Paramedic, Dietetic Technician, and/or others.


Mandatory work-integrated learning (WIL) health and safety requirements must be completed by students prior to student field/clinical WIL experiences. Successful WIL completion is required for students to progress to program completion. To qualify for field/clinical WIL learning experiences, students must present the following at the start of the program in accordance with pre-admission information provided by the College:

  • A complete immunization record including MMR, polio, Tdap, varicella, and hepatitis B. Seasonal flu vaccination is required during flu season (October – March).
  • TB Testing: Evidence of current 2-step or previous 2-step + current 1-step if more than one year has passed since 2-step testing.
  • Standard First Aid and CPRHCP or BLS level (must be completed in Canada).
  • An annual Police Check for Vulnerable Sector Screening (VSS) to be completed in Canada. Police Checks must be clear of any unpardoned criminal offences. An unclear criminal record may result in the inability to participate in WIL experiences which will jeopardize progress in the program. Acceptance for WIL is at the discretion of the agency; some agencies may request students to provide a VSS completed within six months of WIL start date. Students with criminal records are advised to meet with the program chair for academic counselling to determine program suitability.

Students are responsible for costs associated with respirator fit testing required for WIL experiences.

Applicants are advised that a latex-free environment in the College or clinical setting is NOT guaranteed.

Travel within the program: Students are responsible for arranging their own travel to and from assigned learning settings external to the College and for covering any costs incurred. The location of these learning sites could be anywhere within a one hour’s drive of the Doon campus.

Applicants should display integrity, reliability, maturity, self-direction, self-discipline, determination, excellent communication and interpersonal skills, poise and leadership attributes.

Applicants are advised that the program uses self-directed/independent and online study in the delivery of some courses and portions of other courses throughout the program.


Students who successfully complete the program are eligible to write the National Registration Examination for registration by the College of Nurses of Ontario as a Registered Practical Nurse.

Graduates find employment in nursing homes, acute and chronic care hospitals, residential homes for the older adult, and other community health-care settings.

Jun 1, 2021