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Practical Nurse Diploma: Internationally Educated Nurses pathway

This information is the for the Practical Nurse Diploma: Internationally Educated Nurses Pathway. Visit the Practical Nurse Diploma program webpage for full details.

The Practical Nurse Diploma: Internationally Educated Nurse pathway is designed for graduates of a recognized Registered Nurse (RN) program who hold an RN license from another country.

Once candidates successfully earn credit for all of the Practical Nurse Diploma program courses and pass the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Exam (CPNRE), they will be eligible for licensure with the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta (CLPNA).

Candidates begin with a semester of self study and exam preparation workshops culminating in challenge exams that include 15 subjects. Exams are written up to one month prior to the end of the semester. Candidates who successfully pass at least seven out of the 15 subjects will be eligible to continue in the program.

The program includes mandatory courses, courses where credit was not earned through challenge exams, clinical experience, and nine weeks of practicum. The duration and cost of the program depend heavily on the challenge exam results. After the challenge exams are successfully completed, the remainder of the program can take 8 to 16 months to complete.

All students registered in the Practical Nurse Diploma for Internationally Educated Nurses are required to write the Test of Workplace Essential Skills (TOWES) assessment.

International Students

International Students are advised to consider the Full-Time Practical Nurse Diploma program.

Clinical Experience

Students will be required to travel to various locations in order to complete their clinical and practicum placements. Every effort is made to accommodate students in clinical placements within the time frame of the program, however in rare instances there may be a delay in program completion until a clinical placement can be arranged.


The cost of completing exam preparation workshops and challenge exams is roughly $1050 CAD (subject to change). The cost of completing the remainder of the program depends heavily on the challenge exam results, which determine how many courses will need to be completed. Refer to the Course Fee Chart for individual course tuitions. Additional expenses will include textbooks, learning materials, lab kits and police information check fees.

Application Checklist

Applicants may apply to the PNIEN program online or by bringing the following to the Registrar’s Office on the first floor of our downtown Calgary campus, located at 345 - 6 Ave SE: *Transcripts must be original and must outline all courses and grades achieved. An English translation is required in addition to the original if applicable.

Exam Preparation Workshops

A minimum of six exam preparation workshops will be offered. During these workshops, student independent study will be augmented through discussion and activity.

Challenge Exam

After the workshops the challenge exams will occur. These are a combination of multiple choice and lab skills evaluations. The content of the following 15 courses will be covered:

  1. Anatomy and Physiology (ANAT1101)
  2. Adult Health Assessment (NURS1201)
  3. Human Growth and Development Across the Lifespan (PSYC1201)
  4. Mathematical Principles of Medication Administration NURS1301
  5. Applied Pharmacology (NURS1102)
  6. Pathophysiology (NURS1103)
  7. Nursing Arts (NURS1101)
  8. Nursing Foundations 1 (NURS1202)
  9. Nursing Foundations 2 (NURS1203)
  10. Nursing Foundations 3 (NURS2204)
  11. Maternity Nursing (NURS2501)
  12. Pediatric Nursing (NURS2502)
  13. Mental Health Nursing (NURS2503)
  14. Community Nursing (NURS2504)
  15. Health Education: Personal Health And Wellness (NURS1302)

Mandatory Courses

  • Courses corresponding to any challenge exam subjects where a passing grade was not achieved
  • Interpersonal Relationships and Communication (COMM1101)
  • English Composition (ENGL1201)
  • Introduction to Sociology (SOCI1101)
  • Nursing Trends and Issues (NURS2303)
  • Clinical Experience - Medical/Surgical (NURS2402)
  • Pre-graduate Comprehensive Practicum (NURS2998)
  • Pre-graduate Focused Practicum (NURS2999) 

Admission requirements

Academic Requirements

  • Proof of Registered Nurse (RN) licensure
  • Proof of graduation from a recognized Registered Nurse program
  • Minimum final mark of 60% in English 30-1 or 70% in English 30-2 or equivalent
  • Credit in Math 20-1 or a minimum final mark of 60% in Math 20-2 or equivalent
  • Minimum final mark of 60% in Biology 30 or 60% in Anatomy and Physiology (ANAT1101) at Bow Valley College or equivalent

English Language Proficiency Requirements

Pre-Clinical Requirements

Students who do not meet the following requirements before the first day of clinical will not be allowed to participate in clinical placements under any circumstances: 

  • CPR Healthcare Provider Level Certificate must be updated every 12 months.
  • Bow Valley College requires that Practical Nurse learners have a current Police Information Check (PIC) . PICs are valid for the duration of the PN Program. Learners are responsible for informing the School of Health and Wellness if there are changes to their PIC's during the PN Program. The Police Information Check must be dated no earlier than ninety (90) days prior to the start of the PN Program.
  • Immunization requirements: Details about immunizations are provided after being accepted into a health care program. Up-to-date immunizations are valid for the duration of the program.


Notes regarding ANAT1101

  • Applicants may complete Anatomy and Physiology (ANAT1101) at Bow Valley College before the program starts either in-class through the Continuing Education Department or online through eCampus Alberta, pending availability.
  • ANAT1101 is a compulsory component of the PNIEN Challenge Exam. Students who opt to take ANAT1101 to meet the entrance requirements are not exempt from any portion of the exam.
  • Please note that Post-LPN Bachelor of Nursing programs might not accept ANAT1101 in place of 30-level science courses.

This information is the for the Practical Nurse Diploma: Health Care Aide Pathway. Visit the Practical Nurse Diploma program webpage for full details.