Bursary improves access to practical nursing program for health-care assistants

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August 23, 2022

Backgrounders

Facts about licensed practical nurses in B.C.

Licensed practical nurses play a significant role in front-line care delivery and are direct care providers who work with other members of the health-care team to promote and maintain the health, safety, independence, comfort and well-being of individuals and their families at all stages in life.

  • Licensed practical nurses work in a variety of practice settings, including hospitals, residential care facilities, home and community care, clinics, schools, occupational/industrial health, correctional facilities, complex care and palliative care, as well as delivering personal care assistance and offering support to a variety of clients.
    • These include providing care to older adults, people living with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses and clients who are receiving end-of-life care.
  • Access to practical nursing (APN) programs are a unique career-laddering program for health-care assistants wanting to train as licensed practical nurses.
  • APN programs allow students to apply training and experience garnered as a health-care assistant to accelerate their training as a licensed practical nurse.
  • Nurses are in short supply and in high demand across the health system and all service delivery areas, yet significant financial barriers exist for health-care assistants who are looking to upskill as licensed practical nurses.
  • Encouraging health-care assistants to enrol in this program through financial support will help retain health-care assistants and expedite the number of licensed practical nurses available to support more immediate staffing needs.
Bursary availability

As outlined below, close to 300 students in two categories are eligible for a $10,000 access to practical nursing (APN) bursary for an investment total of $2.94 million:

  • newly registered APN students (September 2022 to May 2024 intakes)
  • mid-stream APN student/soon-to-be graduates (beginning on or after September 2021)

The following post-secondary institutions offer or are planning to offer the APN program and are recognized as part of the bursary, subject to program recognition by the BC College of Nurses and Midwives and internal approvals:

Coast Mountain College

  • Students in the September 2021 intake and January 2023 intake will be eligible for the bursary.

Nicola Valley Institute of Technology

  • Students in the January 2022 intake are eligible for the bursary, as well as students in intakes beginning through May 2024.

Northern Lights College

  • Students in the planned January 2023 and January 2024 intakes will be eligible for the bursary.

Vancouver Community College

  • Students in the September 2021, September 2022 and September 2023 intakes will be eligible for the bursary.

Okanagan College

  • Students in the planned March 2023 and March 2024 intakes will be eligible for the bursary.

Vancouver Island University

  • Students in the planned May 2023 and May 2024 intakes will be eligible for the bursary.

North Island College

  • Students in the November 2022 intake will be eligible for the bursary, as will students in intakes beginning through May 2024.
Requirements to apply for the bursary
  • To receive the first bursary stipend for the first-term tuition fees, recipients must provide:
    • proof of registration in a recognized B.C. public post-secondary institution’s access to practical nursing (APN) program; and
    • a printout of their student account dated no sooner than two weeks after the start of the program with other required application documentation.
  • A social insurance number is not required to apply for the bursary program, but is required to receive the reimbursement.
  • APN program prerequisites vary between post-secondary institutions. For more information on prerequisites to enter the program, visit the post-secondary institutions’ websites:
  • New and mid-stream APN students applying for the APN Education Incentive Bursary must be registered with the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry.
    • This step ensures that all bursary applicants meet the minimum standard professional requirements set out by the registry.
  • New APN graduates applying for the APN Education Incentive Bursary must be registered with the BC College of Nurses and Midwives as part of the eligibility requirement.