Original Published on Jun 15, 2022 at 04:51

By Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

GUYSBOROUGH – Last week, the province announced an easier path for LPNs to become registered nurses. A news release issued on June 7, stated, “More licensed practical nurses (LPNs) can now further their education to become registered nurses (RNs) more quickly in Nova Scotia.

“Eligibility criteria is being expanded to allow more LPNs to qualify for bachelor of science, nursing (BScN) programs at Cape Breton University (CBU) and St. Francis Xavier University (StFX). The programs allow LPNs who meet academic, work experience and other licensing requirements to use their existing education and experience to more quickly complete the BScN program and become RNs,” explained the release.

The changes expand the LPN to RN program to include LPN graduates from out-of-province programs, as well as graduates from Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) from before 2008.

This is a move Janelle Delorey from Canso applauds. The 23-year-old LPN just started the LPN to BScN program at StFX last May. And she has nothing but good things to say about the opportunity.

Delorey said, “When I was finishing high school [2017] and applying for stuff, everyone was pushing me to go to university and I knew I wanted to be a nurse, [but] the idea of university kind of scared me a little. So, I got waitlisted and then I didn’t want to get stuck for a year, so I applied for the CCA [Continuing Care Assistant at NSCC Strait Area Campus] and then eventually I got into the LPN.”

After graduating from the LPN program in Dec. of 2019, Delorey worked in a few healthcare facilities, landing a full-time job in her home community of Canso in Nov. of 2020, where she has worked ever since.

Delorey said, “Working as an LPN and working with RNs, I knew that I wanted to further my career, not that the scope is very much different but, it’s just the constant learning and the options there. I am young, I may as well advance my career. There are so many branches that you could take [as an RN].”

After a few years in the nursing field, Delorey said, “I’ve got experience as an LPN. I know that I want to be a nurse and know I’m not going to walk in blind.”

In a four-year nursing program directly out of high school, “It’s almost the third year when you’re first hitting the floor,” she said. “And the LPN program, it’s within a couple of months and you’re out in the facilities. You get the knowledge whether that is the right choice for you. I’ve known people who get to the third year and finally figure out what nursing is; because you don’t know what you’re really learning until you’re actually on the floor learning it. The textbook just doesn’t do it for nursing.”

Speaking to her career plans, Delorey said, “I’d like to stay local and give back to the community that raised me and care for them, but I am not really sure. I’d like to do some placements where I’d have the opportunity to see all the departments and see the opportunities, because there are so many, and go from there.”

This item reprinted with permission from Guysborough Journal, Guysborough, Nova Scotia