How to Become a Nurse in Canada
You have decided to become a nurse in Canada
? You have made the perfect choice because the nursing jobs are in high demand in the country
. On one hand, nurses willing to practice in isolated or smaller communities as well as those with experience in special areas, such as operating room, emergency and critical care, are in most demand. On the other hand, being the core of health care, nursing is a profession that offers career growth
and a wide range of opportunities and choices. So, if you really want this job
, you should be aware of the following steps:
Step 1 – Choose Career Path
Decide on the kind of nurse you want to become, as there are three types of nursing: registered, registered psychiatric and licensed practical nursing.
Registered nurses have the broadest range of activity in Canada. They can work with people of all ages and in all settings including hospitals (emergency, operating room, post-surgery, intensive care, pediatrics, psychiatry, etc.) and communities: doctors'
offices, schools, health clinics, home care, wellness programs in the workplace, and others.
Registered psychiatric nurses have a narrower range of practice than registered ones as they are limited only to providing mental healthcare. However, they are not restricted by other factors such as the type of settings or age of patients. Be aware of the fact that registered psychiatric nurses are not recognized in all of Canada's provinces but only in British Columbia
Licensed practical nurses have the narrowest range of activity of the three kinds of nursing. In most of the provinces
, they work under the supervision of or as an assistant to a registered nurse.
Step 2 – Qualifications and Diplomas
Ensure that you have the relevant high school prerequisites. As all nurse education programs are offered in universities
or colleges only, a basic preparation in math (at the 11 grade level), English (at the 12 grade level) and sciences (completion of chemistry at the grade 11 level and biology at the 12 grade level) is required.
Step 3 – Choose Degree Program
Decide on university degree
or diploma and the higher institutions you are going to apply to. You need a university degree if you want to work as a registered nurse in any province on the territory of Canada. Degree programs offer fundamental studies in social and physical sciences and several additional disciplines such as health teaching and leadership, among others. These programs take four years to complete on the average. The completion of diploma courses takes three years. At present, many colleges in the country work in collaboration with universities, so you can proceed with your education and obtain a degree from a college of your choice.
Step 4 – Pass National Exam
You need to pass the national nursing entrance test and take your nursing license. After you have graduated from university and have a diploma, you must complete the national exam. Having your license anywhere in Canada, you can move from one province to another and work as a nurse without retaking the exam.