How to become a nurse in Canada is essential for anyone who seeks to migrate to Canada for a career in nursing or Canadians who wish to know everything it takes to become a nurse in Canada.
Nursing gives one limitless opportunity in different sectors of the healthcare system, as a nurse in Canada, you stand a better chance of working in any of the Canadian world-class hospitals.
One of the greatest opportunities a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Science will offer you is travel. Nurses have always traveled the world because their services are readily needed globally and Canada is not an exception.
Nursing jobs in Canada for international nurses have become an encouraging factor for eligible nurses but how to become a nurse in Canada is a call for concern.
Is no doubt that nothing good comes easy however, the zeal to know and learn how to become a nurse in Canada should be an unquenchable fire if you really want to uphold the crown of honor in becoming a registered and a practicing nurse in Canada.
Introduction on how to become a nurse in Canada
Canada is an attractive destination for international candidates seeking to grow their nursing careers in Canada. Nurses who are highly sought after include those with specialist skills in emergency departments or operating rooms and those who wish to work in a remote or isolated indigenous community in the different provinces in Canada.
However, there are some important points job seekers need to be aware of in order to secure jobs for nurses in Canada.
The first is that your international credentials will need to be assessed, and you’ll need to become licensed to practice in Canada.
Secondly, procedures differ from one province or territory to another. However, our cardinal focus on this article is how to become a nurse in Canada ranging from eligibility, prerequisites, and steps involved.
The process for becoming a nurse in Canada varies depending on the province or territory in which you plan to work as earlier stated.
If you are a Canadian citizen, you will need to get a nursing degree and meet the testing and registration requirements for your region. Canada also welcomes internationally trained nurses and offers options for both temporary and permanent residencies.
There are 3 regulated Canadian nursing groups which are listed below
- Registered nurse (RN)
- The licensed practical nurse (LPN)
- Registered psychiatric nurse (RPN)
Steps involved on how to become a nurse in Canada for Canadians
As earlier mentioned, different provinces have different procedures and on how to become a nurse in Canada. For instance, in Ontario, Registered Nurses (RNs) with additional education and experience are in the Extended Class, also known as Nurse Practitioners (NPs).
NPs have an expanded scope of practice including the ability to order and interpret diagnostic tests, communicate diagnoses, prescribe prescription drugs, and perform specific procedures.
Below are the 4 NP specialty certificates
- NP-primary healthcare
Below are the prerequisites of becoming an NP in Ontario
- RNs must have obtained advanced education
- Demonstrate evidence of safe practice
- Have passed an approved-registration exam for the specialty certificate they want to pursue.
The requirements to obtain RN, RPN, and LPN in Canada
Registered Nurse (RN)
RNs usually complete a 4-year post-secondary university nursing program to become generalist registered nurses. The program contains theory and clinical instruction in medical and surgical nursing.
The program prepares the RN to give direct care and to take on the role of coordinating care for individuals, families, groups, communities, and populations in a variety of health care settings and with a variety of health professionals. Clinical instruction prepares the RN to take a leadership role when the care requirements become more complex.
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Registered Practical Nurse in Ontario
LPNs complete a post-secondary nursing program at the college level that usually takes two years. The program for generalist LPNs contains nursing theory and clinical instruction in both medical and surgical nursing. Their education is based on nursing theory.
LPNs provide and coordinate care for individuals, families, and groups in a variety of settings and with a variety of health professionals. They can work with clients of varying complexity, recognizing when consultation and collaboration with other health professionals are required.
Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN)
RPNs complete a 4-year psychiatric nursing education program at a college or university. The program contains theory and clinical instruction in psychiatric and general nursing.
RPNs provide care for clients with complex psychosocial, mental health, and physical needs. They coordinate care for individuals, families, groups, communities, and populations in a variety of health care settings, with a variety of health care professionals.
Below are the only 4 Canadian provinces RPN is regulated
- British Columbia
- Manitoba and in the Yukon Territory
Steps involved on how to become a nurse in Canada for international nursing graduates
Any nurse registered outside of Canada will have to complete a bridging course meant for nursing registration in India for instance. These programs will provide you with the clinical experience and knowledge necessary to meet the ‘evidence of practice requirements set by the regulatory bodies.
Upon completion of the bridging program, a verification of the course completion will be forwarded to the regulatory body as proof of practice and eligibility. This program may or may not be available on a part-time basis.
The requirements to obtain RN, RPN, and LPN in Canada as a foreign graduate
Below are the essential requirements for internationally trained nurses interested in knowing how to become a nurse in Canada.
- Proof of authorization to work in Canada
- A proof of work experience
- Completion of the essential examinations in your chosen province
- Proof of language proficiency in English or French
There must be a verifiable document to show you really completed your nursing program in your country of academic acquisition such document that is equivalent to a 4-year bachelor’s degree in nursing or practical nursing diploma.
Such document must be of international recognition and must be acceptable by the relevant Canadian nursing bodies. Is advisable you verify your document with acceptable academic bodies in Canada like WES.
Proof of work experience
The health and medical fieldwork experience usually makes one stand out in Canada is no exemption. During your application, you might be required to provide a backup that you have Nursing practice in the category for which you are applying as an international graduate of a nursing program. Although this might not be applicable for fresh graduates.
Completion of the essential examinations in your chosen province
Like in other medical professions, when one chooses to practice in a country outside the country he or she obtains a degree, there are numerous tests and examinations that are meant to be passed before being accepted into the field.
You will be expected to complete the NCLEX-RN if you wish to apply for Registered Nurse, or the CPNRE if you wish to apply for Registered Practical Nurse.
The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN® exam) determines if it’s safe for you to begin practice as an entry-level nurse.
It is significantly different from any test that you took in nursing school. While nursing school exams are knowledge-based, the NCLEX-RN® tests application and analysis using the nursing knowledge you learned in school.
You will be tested on how you can use critical thinking skills to make nursing judgments.
NCLEX-RN format and framework
The NCLEX-RN® exam is organized according to the framework, “Meeting Client Needs.” There are four major categories and eight subcategories.
Many nursing programs are based on the medical model where students take separate medical, surgical, pediatric, psychiatric, and obstetric classes. However, on the NCLEX-RN® exam, all of the content is integrated.
What is CPNRE?
This is a prerequisite to becoming a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) in Ontario, you must successfully complete the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE). This national examination measures the competencies required of nurses at the beginning of their nursing career in Ontario.
The CPNRE consists of 165 to 170 objective multiple-choice questions to answer over four hours.
New exam to replace CPNRE in January 2022
As of January 2022, a new exam for RPN applicants, known as the REx-PN™ will replace the CPNRE as the official registration exam for Practical Nurses. The CPNRE will no longer be an option for Ontario applicants after December 31, 2021.
CNO and the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) are working together to develop a new exam for RPNs.
How long does it take to get Cpnre results?
The results take approximately two weeks to be sent to your registered email address.
In 2021, the CPNRE is offered in four 3-week testing windows. Official results of the examination are released approximately two weeks following the mid-point of the writing window and again two weeks after the writing window closes.
Proof of language proficiency in English or French
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has stated that the ability to communicate in one or both of Canada’s two official languages which are French and English, is the key to finding employment in the country.
To help ensure that prospective immigrants arrive in Canada with the language skills needed to succeed, many Canadian immigration programs require that applicants prove their ability to communicate in French or English by submitting standardized test scores.
You might be required to provide this language proficiency test in the course of your nursing program in Canada.
How many years does it take to become a nurse in Canada?
In the thought of how to become a nurse in Canada, one essential factor to consider is time, and that usually prompts this question of How many years does it take to become a nurse in Canada?
It takes 4 years to get your B.Sc. in nursing in Canada, however, there are opportunities for one to further their study in nursing.