Linda Yandel

Linda Yandel

OC provides nursing tradition

Since 1963, Okanagan College has been training practical nurses in the Okanagan Valley

Since 1963, Okanagan College has been training practical nurses in the Okanagan Valley. Working in a variety of settings from hospitals to community clinics, these nurses are the bedrock of the healthcare community.

According to one of Okanagan College’s first practical nursing program graduates, it was the training she received that made all the difference to her career.

“Our instructor Marcia Aitkens was tough on us, but when I went to work at Kelowna General after graduation, the head nurse commented on how little supervision I required,” said Alice Hay, a graduate of the class of 1964.

Licensed practical nurses work on interdisciplinary teams and provide nursing services in a number of settings, including residential, acute care and palliative care. The type of care LPNs provide has adapted over time to include the increased scope of practice and the use of technology in the workplace. The high standards for the program continue to this day.

“Okanagan College’s practical nursing diploma program graduates do well on the national licensing exam. In fact, 100 per cent of our recent graduates passed,” said Norma Stubbert, chairperson of practical nursing.

“It’s because of our high standards that we have a good relationship with our practicum sites, which results in a high employment rate for our graduates.”

In the 2012/2013 B.C. Student Outcomes survey, 96 per cent of the practical nursing graduates surveyed were employed and 72 per cent had found full-time work.

Stubbert attributes this to the quality of the instruction and the fact that class sizes are small, which means individualized attention for students and a closer working relationship with the instructors.

Another benefit of the program is that it’s offered close to home, in locations across the valley.

A new Vernon intake for the program is now accepting applications in August. The deadline for applications is Feb. 28.

All successful applicants will need to complete a 14-week anatomy and physiology course via distance education prior to the program’s start.

To learn more, attend an information session at the Vernon campus Tuesday at 5 p.m. in room D212. For information, visit