Guest blogs · International Nurses' Day

What is it like being a Student Nurse in… Canada?


Juan Martinez

Student Nurse




Being a student nurse in Canada is pretty great. In Canada we have the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association, and here in my province (state) we have the Saskatchewan Nursing Student Association. Collectively, these associations coordinate events that promote a healthy student life. As a class, we talk amongst ourselves and have organized a facebook group to share notes, study guides and general Q and A which has facilitated our school life. The nursing profession in Canada is a baccalaureate entry to practice for registered nurses. There is also a diploma option for Licensed Practical Nurses and registered psychiatric nurses, all which have different scope of practice. With regards to my program, we have to do a pre-professional year of post-secondary education and apply to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Once accepted into the program, there are three additional years of school. Within the College of Nursing, which is part of the University of Saskatchewan, we have various sites across the province that provide the same program either through physical teaching or with distributed learning technology. The pre-professional year is comprised of introductory classes (i.e. first year biology, chemistry, English, psychology, Native Studies, and others). While the professional years of the BSN include theory and clinical classes. The BSN program itself, is four years. There is an alternative option for individuals that have a baccalaureate degree, which can do a post-degree BSN or PDBSN, which is two years. In the BSN, the majority of theory and clinical placements are with the adult population. There is a pediatric and maternity clinical rotation over one semester alone with the corresponding theory classes. The length of clinical placements varies: Long term care placement (2nd year): 32 hours Acuity placement (2nd year): 144 hours Acuity placement (3rd year): 156 hours Pediatrics placement (3rd year): 78 hours Maternity placement (3rd year): 78 hours Mental health placement (3rd year): 156 hours Community health placement (4th year): 260 hours Final practicum placement (4th year): 336 hours First year: General introductory classes that teach about basic science and humanity concepts. Second year: Basic nursing assessments, interpersonal communication skills, nursing theory, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology. Third year: Nurse as a leader, gerontological nursing, interpersonal communication skills, care of complex patients, care of high acuity patients, pediatrics and maternal care, mental health nursing, family nursing. Fourth year: Transition to practice, final practicum (preceptorship), community health nursing, management and leadership, global health. Dream role: I would like to continue my education at the graduate level and teach. Ultimately, I want to have a leadership position or an academic position where I can perform research.


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