Josh Staub enrolled in the College of New Caledonia’s Practical Nursing program in 2001. He considers the decision to be one of the best he has ever made.
Staub, who now divides his time between instructing in the CNC program and working as a licensed practical nurse at University Hospital of Northern British Columbia, has enjoyed a career of “amazing opportunities” and wouldn’t change a thing about the path he has taken.
“I’ve worked in all areas of nursing – surgical, residential care, emergency, medicine,” he says. “It’s just been opportunity after opportunity.”
For people mulling over the idea of becoming a practical nurse, and taking CNC’s two-year Practical Nursing diploma program for training, Staub highly recommends both the career and the program.
Here are Staub’s top eight reasons why becoming a practical nurse is a great decision.
Nursing is exciting
“Forget your average 9 to 5,” Staub says. “Essentially, you’re like a health detective. It’s very, very interesting and it’s integrated into your presentation as a compassionate person at the front line, taking care of people when it really matters. We are having an empathetic conversation with you and seeing how you’re doing but we’re also, at the same time, assessing you with our skills. There’s a level of excitement and intrigue there because no two days – or no two individuals or clients – are ever the same.”
“Around you are other motivated, highly-educated, awe-inspiring individuals,” Staub says. “Together, amazing things can be accomplished.”
“Nursing has dozens of different applications with huge variety,” Staub says. “There are so many jobs within the job. For example, what an LPN does in a community setting is incredibly different from what an LPN would do in an acute-care setting. So people can really find their niche, which I think is kind of rare.”
Meaningful experiences and outcomes
“Helping others in times of need gives great perspective,” Staub says. “I’ve done a lot of things in my life – I’ve been an audio engineer, I’ve been a helicopter logger, I’ve worked as a chef and I’ve enjoyed them all. It’s been pretty cool, but there’s something very special about when you have somebody come in who’s very unwell and they stay with you for a time, and during that time you’re doing these interventions and assessments and helping them progress. In those times, people are vulnerable, and you get to share something that’s pretty rare. At the end, they’re on their feet, with their bag in their hand, and they’re like, ‘Thank you so much.’ I’ve never experienced that in another field.”
“There are many different departments with flexible scheduling,” Staub says. “If you want overtime, that’s fine. If you like nights, great. If you want to work on the weekends, sure. There’s a lot of opportunity and a lot of adaptability.”
“There is no shortage of work, with good pay and benefits,” says Staub, adding that new LPNs step right into jobs. “Basically what happens is, students finish their fourth semester, we have clinical, and then they roll into a preceptorship, which is basically another extended clinical, working one-on-one with somebody at a facility, and chances are extremely high that that area will offer them employment. The starting wage for an LPN is around $26 to $27 per hour, I think. And you will hit just over $30 an hour as you get a bit more experience. It’s not going to make you rich but you can certainly work and live on that.”
“LPNs make a commitment to be lifelong learners,” Staub says. “It’s a big, interesting field. You can get lost in it or you can focus on one area for a while and then move to something else. The wonders never cease. It can just be this never-ending cycle of awakenings and critical thinking. That can really be motivating just in itself.”
One word: scrubs
“You get to wear pyjamas to work every day,” Staub says with a laugh. “Scrubs are really comfortable.”
As for the CNC Practical Nursing program specifically, students who take it have a history of doing exceptionally well on the national registration exam, with typical marks coming in at 90 per cent or higher.
“We constantly get comments about the preparedness of our learners,” Staub says. “The program has everything you need to be an LPN working at a high, high level when you leave.”
Staub calls the CNC Practical Nursing program “very polished and very refined.” Students have the benefit of training in a lab that has a real-world look and feel, complete with hospital beds, up-to-date equipment and services.
“Our lab setting is pretty spectacular,” Staub says. “It’s a pretty good representation of what you’re going to find in a healthcare setting. We have some impressive resources here.”
For students, another perk of enrolling in the CNC program is its smaller size relative to ones offered at other post-secondary institutions.
“We have an intake of around 28 and, because of that, we really develop a cohesive cohort,” Staub says. “Everybody cares about everybody else’s success. The instructors are really great resources, not only for delivering the material but also to help navigate the rigours of the program, because it’s difficult. There’s a real close-knit feel that you get here, even in the online setting.”
Learn More about Practical Nursing
Next start date: Fall 2021
Fees: Estimated at $12,746