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2021-2022 Academic Calendar [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Learn More About Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree

Career Opportunities To Be Successful
Practice Placement What Does It Mean To Be A Professional Nurse? 
Transfer Student Seat Availability Partnerships
Get a Head Start Frequently Asked Questions?
Transfer Credit and Credit for Learning Frequently Asked Questions-Selective Entry?

NIC offers a four-year degree in partnership with Vancouver Island University, using the same concept-based collaborative curriculum. Our program is accredited by the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN) and recognized by the British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals (BCCNP), formerly known as the College of Registered Nurses of BC (CRNBC). Our program received the highest level of accreditation from CRNBC - seven years with no conditions. This ensures our students are receiving the best curriculum and education to prepare you to meet RN entry-level competencies of the British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals.

The BSN degree is a challenging, rigorous and rewarding program, combining the academic requirements for a Bachelor of Science with the requisite skills and abilities needed to enter one of the most demanding, rewarding and dynamic professions in the health care field today.

Students in NIC’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree learn about diverse peoples and communities from day one, including an understanding of Aboriginal health perspectives that have had a national impact. The leadership of NIC students at the Canadian Nursing Student Association has led to a resolution to ensure all registered nursing students across Canada understand Aboriginal health perspectives before they graduate.

The first year of the program focuses on health, primary health care and health assessment across the lifespan. You will practice in a variety of settings, such as community agencies, child care centres and seniors’ centres, where you can begin to use your nursing knowledge and practice relational skills with healthy people. The focus of this practice experience is to participate in primary health care activities, prevention activities and holistic health assessments.

In the second year, the focus is on healing initiatives, related nursing actions and health challenges such as illness, poverty, illiteracy, loss and grief. You will have the opportunity for multiple practice experiences in a broad spectrum of nursing settings, such as intermediate care facilities, extended care facilities, community care, public health, hospital units, outpatient and day care clinics, occupational and environmental health centres. For example, in fall 2015, there were 101 students involved in multiple practice placements at 29 sites, with 503 placements overall.

During the third and fourth years, you will further develop your understanding of health and healing with a focus on community and societal health and examination of complex healing initiatives. You will have opportunities to practice leadership skills with an emphasis on the socio-political and economic context of nursing. You will also use complex assessment skills, including community assessment, and engage in a more advanced exploration of the discipline of nursing. You will have opportunities to practice in a variety of settings and placements that may include hospitals, seniors’ organizations, schools, industry and community health centres.

NIC’s BSN program is a recognized leader in responding to the challenges Indigenous people in remote communities face in accessing adequate, culturally effective health care services. For the past 10 years, third and fourth-year nursing students have participated in practicums in First Nations communities on BC’s central coast and overseas.

Most courses are delivered in a face-to-face, classroom format with some select opportunities for online coursework. All BSN courses are on the Blackboard learning platform and you will access course materials through Blackboard.

Career Opportunities

The BC 2024 Labour Economic Outlook predicts registered nurses will be among the most in demand occupational groups requiring post-secondary training in BC, with more than 25,000 job openings to 2015. According to a 2009 study by the Canadian Nurses association, Canada will experience a shortage of almost 60,000 full-time equivalent registered nurses (RNs) by 2022.

In the past, graduates have found employment in a variety of areas including, but not limited to, mental health, public health, community care, travel nursing, international nursing, nursing with Aboriginal communities, gerontology, acute care (medical-surgical), critical care areas (emergency, intensive care units, cardiac care, operating room), maternal/child areas, women’s health and nursing education. The opportunities for RNs are endless.

Practice Placements

Practice experiences in a variety of health agencies in the North Island region are essential to learning in the BSN program.

While the majority of practice placements take place in the Comox Valley or in Campbell River, it is increasingly necessary to utilize agencies in other North Island regions such as Port McNeill, Port Hardy, Alert Bay, Bella Coola, Tofino, Powell River and Port Alberni. You may be asked to attend practice in any of these areas and must arrange your own transportation/ accommodation and at your own expense.

Students are required to complete their consolidated practice experiences during the months of May/June, or July/August, depending on the availability of practice resources. Shift work in the practice areas may include days, evenings, nights, weekends, eight and/or 12 hour shifts.

Transfer Student - Seat Availability

To transfer from a partner site into NIC, you are required to submit official transcripts and sign a consent authorizing release of confidential information such as performance appraisal summary sheets and practice tracking records between institutions.

Transfer to and from any BSN program is dependent upon seat availability and articulation of curriculum.To qualify, you must meet residence requirements of both NIC and VIU.

Get a Head Start

To decrease your course load in the first year of the BSN program, you may take up to six courses for credit toward your nursing degree before admission to the program. The courses are BIO 160   and BIO 161   (two in anatomy and physiology for first-year nursing), two first-year university-level English electives and two non-nursing general electives (at the 100 and 200 level. See BC Transfer Guide). It is recommended that students complete these courses prior to admission.

For the two first-year university-level English electives:

Option A: Students must take two first year university-level English courses from the following options. They must choose one of ENG 117  , ENG 115 ,ENG 116  , or ENG-125.* It is strongly recommended that students take ENG 117  . For the second English course, students must take ENG 122   or ENG 127  , or have previously taken one of the following: ENG-120, ENG-121 or ENG-126 .* It is also recommended that all English courses be completed by the end of the second year in the nursing program.

Option C: Students complete ENG 115  , ENG 116  , or ENG 117   before entry into the BSN program and then need to complete a second English course. They must take ENG 122   or ENG 127  , or have previously taken one of the following: ENG-120, ENG-121, ENG-125, or ENG-126.* Please note that credit will be given for one of ENG 115  , ENG 116  , or ENG 117  . It is also recommended that all English courses be completed by the end of the second year in the nursing program. Option C students must also complete two general electives at the 100 or 200 level.

Electives may include:

  • ANT 150   Cultural Anthropology
  • BIO 215   Introductory Microbiology
  • CRM 131   Introduction to the Criminal Justice System
  • CRM 135   Introduction to the Canadian Law & Legal Institutions
  • ESJ-100 Equity & Social Justice in Contemporary Canada
  • ESJ-101 Global Changes to, and Movements for, Social Justice
  • HIS 112   Canadian History: 1867 - Present
  • HIS-250 History of Women in Canada, 1600-1920
  • HIS-251 History of Women in Canada, 1920-Present
  • PHI 150   Critical Thinking
  • PHI 230   Contemporary Moral Issues
  • PSY 130   Introduction to Psychology I
  • PSY 131   Introduction to Psychology II
  • SOC 110   Introduction to Sociology I
  • SOC 111   Introduction to Sociology II
  • SOC 130   First Nations Sociology
  • SOC-212 Issues in Canadian Society
  • WST 100   Global Perspectives on Women
  • WST 101   Issues in Women’s Health
  • WST-110 First Nations Women’s Studies
  • WST-260 Empowered Caring & Feminist Practice

Transfer Credit & Credit For Prior Learning

Students with previous course work from another accredited institution may apply to transfer course credits to NIC. For more information contact an Educational Advisor.  

Your previous life, work or study experience, unassociated with formal education, may qualify for Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR). Your knowledge and skills will be evaluated to determine if you meet the objectives for selected courses up to a maximum of 50 per cent of the program. To qualify for PLAR, you must apply to the program, meet all the program requirements and complete the PLAR before entering the program or one term before the scheduled course(s). The fee for each PLAR course is 75 per cent of the regular course fee. Refer to NIC policy #4-10: Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition. For information about which courses qualify for PLAR please contact the department chair for your program.

When you do not meet all of the learning objectives in a course(s) the assessment process may result in an exemption from some portion of the course(s). You will be required to register in the course and pay full tuition but your workload would be reduced. Note that eligibility for this process will be granted on an individual basis by the department. You must apply one semester in advance of the course start date. For more information please contact the program department chair.

To Be Successful

  • You will participate in online learning and will be required to submit typewritten essays and papers as part of course requirements. As a result, basic computer literacy and internet access are necessary.

  • In order to enroll in BIO 160  , BIO 161  , English, and/or elective courses prior to admission to the nursing program, you must apply to the University Studies program. College policies regarding advanced standing and transfer credit apply.

  • Accurate math calculations are critical for safe nursing practice. As a result, you will be required to complete a math evaluation with assessment services after you have met the admission requirements and have a seat in the BSN program. The goal for the math evaluation is 90 per cent. The intention of the evaluation is for you to identify your learning needs early and if you do not achieve 90 per cent, it is strongly recommended you seek remedial assistance in order to position yourself for success in the math components of the BSN courses. You will not be denied admission to the program if you do not achieve the 90 per cent.

From research to education to policy to clinical care, registered nurses work in a wide range of practice settings. As the country’s largest group of health care providers, nurses lead the way in patient advocacy with a focus on public safety. Being a Registered Nurse is a commitment to an ethically-driven, caring professional.

What does it mean to be a professional nurse?

Being a Registered Nurse (RN) is a professional designation. Your practice is guided by a Code of Ethics and professional practice standards.

Nursing is also an all-encompassing role - it is something you become, not something you do. Being an RN is one of the most autonomous roles in the health care field. Your practice may include in-community care, research, patient advocacy or clinical care.


NIC’s BSN program is aligned with the professional associations that guide and govern nursing practices in BC and Canada. Below is a list of these professional associations and information on their mandates and roles in guiding professional nursing.

Canadian Nurses Association (CNA)

The Canadian Nurses Association is the national professional voice of over 139,000 registered nurses and nurse practitioners across Canada. The CNA’s goals include promote and enhance the role of nurses to strengthen nursing and the Canadian health system and to shape and advocate for healthy public policy. The CNA also develops the Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses, which guides the practice of nurses across the country.

Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN)

The Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing is the national voice for nursing education, research and scholarship in Canada. CASN is the national accrediting body for nursing education.

British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals (BCCNP)

Nursing in BC is a self-governing profession. The British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals is mandated under the Health Professionals Act to protect the public through the regulation of registered nurses, nurse practitioners, licensed graduate nurses, registered psychiatric nurses and licensed practical nurses.

Canadian Nursing Students’ Association (CNSA)

The Canadian Nursing Students’ Association is the national voice for Canadian nursing students. Its goal is to increase the legal, ethical, professional and educational aspects which are an integral part of nursing.

Nurse and Nurse Practitioners of British Columbia (NNPBC)

The Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of British Columbia is the professional association representing RNs and Nurse Practitioners in BC. NNPBC works closely with the Canadian Nurses Association to ensure a continuous and effective policy presence and voice among Canadian nurses.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When do I apply to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program?
Applications open October 1 and close December 15, 2019 for the Fall 2020 intake

2. What happens once I apply to the BSN program?
The registration and BSN departments work together to process your application following the criteria in the selective entry guidelines.

3. Where do I find out more about the selective entry process?

Scroll down to Frequently Asked Questions - Selective Entry to read more about this option. 

4. How do I know if I need to take upgrading courses?
You may need to upgrade if:

  • your grades aren’t high enough to meet the academic requirements listed in the current calendar.
  • your high school transcripts are not available.
  • you haven’t completed high school or taken any other courses anywhere else.
  • you took high school chemistry and/or biology more than ten years ago. (There is a ten year time limit in effect on these courses for entry into BIO-160 which is a required course in the program. If you have questions about this requirement please contact the science department).

If you have questions about upgrading at NIC, you can contact your local Student Services office or an educational advisor. However, admission to the BSN program is dependent on successful completion of all prerequisite courses.

5. Can I take upgrading courses at NIC?
Yes. Please refer to upgrading and the Adult Basic Education program description for more information.

6. I have taken courses outside of British Columbia or at another college/university. How do I find out if they meet the prerequisites?
If you have credit for post-secondary (not high school) courses obtained at another educational institution and wish to use these either a) to become qualified for the BSN program, or b) to meet elective requirements within the BSN program, you will need to apply for transfer credit. If your transcripts are from a post-secondary institution outside of BC, there is a $20 fee for assessing transfer credit. You may be asked to provide course descriptions. Transfer credit forms are available at Student Services and on the website: Application for Transfer Credit form. Forms should be submitted as soon as possible. Please note that it can take six to eight weeks for processing.

7. I have taken a university-level Chemistry and/or Biology more than ten years ago. Does this mean I have to repeat Chemistry 11 and/or Biology 12?
Applicants that have completed university-level chemistry and/or biology more than 10 years ago must first apply for transfer credit. Once the transfer credit has been assessed by our Registrar’s office, it will be reviewed by admissions and the science department and a decision will be made whether those credits meet the chemistry and/or biology prerequisites. You will be notified by email about the decision.

8. Once I have been invited into the program, is there a chance of deferring my seat if I am unable to attend that fall?
No, deferral is not an option. The BSN program at NIC is a highly competitive program, and seats cannot be held from year to year. If you cannot accept your seat, you will need to apply the following year.

9. I have completed my upgrading. Are there any courses I can take before I begin the nursing program at NIC?
It is possible to take a total of six courses before you begin the nursing program. These are: two courses in anatomy and physiology for first-year nursing (BIO 160   and BIO 161   ), two first-year university-level English elective and two non-nursing general elective courses (see “Get a Head Start” section). This can significantly reduce your workload in the first year of the program. You may also choose to take an extra elective in preparation for your Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

10. Can I take electives at another college or university?
If you choose to take courses outside of NIC, you should consult with an NIC educational advisor as well as the BC Council on Admissions & Transfer (BCCAT) Transfer Guide. For a useful guide, look for BCCAT’s booklet “Transfer Tips,” available from your local Student Services office.

11. Can I take upgrading at the same time as my electives?
Yes, provided you meet the prerequisites for the elective courses and registered in the appropriate program. Applicants wanting to take elective courses prior to starting the BSN program will need to apply to and register in University Studies at NIC. Please note, it is advisable to complete ENG-115 or ENG-117 or equivalent prior to entry into the BSN program if possible.

12. Can I take Biology 160 and 161 at another college?
You must consult with an advisor in order to have the course approved by our biology department before you register for a course outside of NIC; otherwise you may not receive credit. BIO-160 and BIO-161 usually don’t transfer in isolation and both courses may have to be completed in order to receive credit. It is important to note that a lab component for BIO-160 and BIO-161 is a requirement.

13. Are there other requirements I will need to continue in the BSN program?
Yes, the British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals (previously known as the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia) has published a document called Requisite Skills and Abilities: Becoming a Registered Nurse in British Columbia. This document provides information about the nature of the activities that nursing students need to perform and the general demands of registered nurse education. You may want to review the document before you apply to nursing. This document can be viewed online and will be sent to you by the Admissions Office once you are invited to the BSN program.

Frequently Asked Questions - Selective Entry

1. How are applicants selected? 
North Island College uses a Selective Entry process with a point system reflecting a combination of components and the portfolio that is evaluated as a whole. 

 2. What grades are the GPA based upon? 
All applicants must meet the minimum pre-requisites to be considered. Please refer to the Pre-Requisites listed with Option A (Admission Tab on the BSN webpage).

 3. How are the applications evaluated? 
The portfolio evaluation includes: GPA, non-nursing graduation requirements (BIO-160/161; ENG courses and two program-approved general electives), residency and CASPer Assessment. Points are awarded in each of these areas. The top 36 applicants will be sent a letter of invitation.

 4. What else will be assessed in the Selective Entry Portfolio? 
Proof of residency and completion of non-nursing graduation requirements (BIO-160/161, two English courses and two program approved general electives) which will support the overall score of your portfolio.

 5. Will students with the highest GPAs receive an offer to the program? 
Not necessarily. The portfolio carries a significant value in the scoring process.

 6. What if I am not in the top 36?   
Applicants will be notified, by email, if they have not been selected. Some applicants may be placed on a temporary waitlist in the event that a seat becomes available.  Applicants will have the opportunity to re-apply in following years. 

 7. When will the invitations be sent out? 
Invitation emails will be sent out the end of April, beginning of May.