Applications to Canadian nursing programs are always a sudden rush owing to its great need for nurses today. A report from the Conference Board of Canada indicates the number of nurses needed in the country will double from 64,000 to 142,000 over the next 10 years as the Canadian population ages. Which is higher than the average salary. Any wonder, the hastening flight to nursing school is at its peak.
Thus, registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses earn between $24.04/hour and $86.69/hour in Canada, according to federal job bank data. Then there’s the fact that nursing offers a more varied and flexible career than many people realize.
Nurses care for people in a variety of ways and settings, from providing front-line care in some of Canada’s largest hospitals to driving strategic outreach and education through community and public health nursing, not to mention roles in research, policy-making, and teaching.
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21 Best Nursing School in Canada
Luckily, Canada’s universities and colleges offer some of the best nursing degree programs in the world. If you’re interested in nursing schools precisely, Canada, I’ll be listing the 21 best universities you might want to explore your academic experience in.
1. University of Toronto:
It’s a highly respected reputation in the medical profession, the University of Toronto is known for producing exceptional graduates in health programs. The internationally recognized nursing program at the University of Toronto provides students with a foundation to build a rewarding career.
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The University of Toronto Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing’s full-time, two-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) program provides graduates with the intensive training required to provide care for patients across a range of needs.
The graduation rate at the University of Toronto nursing is 96.2 per cent and the employment rate after six months is 93 per cent and 94 per cent after two years.
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2. University of Alberta:
The University of Alberta, located in Edmonton, offers four undergraduate programs that lead to a BScN, including a collaborative program with Red Deer College, Keyano College (Fort McMurray), or Grande Prairie Regional College. All four years can be taken at any of the three colleges.
After the third year, students apply to the University of Alberta and are considered students for their fourth year, but can remain at the institution where they began their degree. Students begin with the introduction to nursing practice, which covers health assessment, relational skills, and therapeutic skills.
Knowledge gained in the course can be applied to all clinical settings. Nursing students in the program also study pathophysiology and pharmacotherapeutics, community health, care of children and families, and childbearing persons. In year two, courses include current topics in medical microbiology, which covers common infectious diseases.
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3. McMaster University:
The School of Nursing at McMaster in Hamilton, Ontario, was established in 1946 and became part of the Faculty of Health Sciences in 1974 when it moved into the McMaster University Medical Centre.
Nursing students obtain clinical placement experience in the health care and community agencies of Hamilton, Halton, Brantford, Niagara, and surrounding areas. The four-year degree program is offered in collaboration with Mohawk College and Conestoga College, with local teaching hospitals and community health settings providing clinical training opportunities.
The McMaster Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is offered as a basic accelerated and post-diploma RPN stream. The Basic Stream is a four-year integrated program of study for students who have no other nursing education and is offered at the McMaster, Mohawk, and Conestoga sites.
The employment rate for McMaster nursing grads is 95.5 percent after six months and 97.1 percent after two years. The graduation rate is 81.8 per cent.
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4. University of British Columbia:
University of British Columbia School of Nursing, Faculty of Applied Science, shares its campus with other healthcare colleagues in medicine, pharmacy, nutrition science, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and dentistry. It has formal partnerships with universities around the world. Faculty members serve as advisors to the health authorities at the Ministry of Health and teach informatics.
All nursing courses are taken in years three and four plus a summer term, resulting in a five-term BScN program approximately, 20 consecutive months of study.
A direct four-year entry program is available at UBC-Okanagan. Courses include theoretical and professional foundations for nursing practice, basic principles of pharmacology for nursing practice, health impacts of climate change, theoretical perspectives in nursing: people living with mental health challenges and their families, leadership, policy, and informatics, promoting the health of indigenous people and more.
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5. McGill University:
McGill University School of Nursing in Montreal has provided training in nursing since 1920. It offers five formal programs at the bachelor, master, and doctoral levels with variations within to accommodate the educational background of students and their specialized interests.
Students study in the network of McGill teaching hospitals and local community health centers. There are three bachelor degree programs to choose from, including the Bachelor of Nursing (Integrated) Online for those with a CEGEP diploma in nursing which will receive its first cohort in September 2021. With the exclusion of clinical courses, all courses are online for that program.
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The BScN is a three-to-four-year program that focuses on complex and contemporary nursing issues. First-year students have clinical studies in the community and have a range of hospital and community experiences. There is an option to study abroad for a semester in the final year of the program.
Students take a range of courses within the biological, social, and nursing sciences. Courses cover subject areas such as fundamental nursing expertise, skills and critical thinking, infection prevention, and control, nursing older adults, promoting young family development, pharmacology, and legal, ethical, and professional practice issues.
6. University of Calgary:
The University of Calgary, Faculty of Nursing for more than 50 years, has three routes to a Bachelor of Nursing degree. In the first year, students take compulsory courses including anatomy and physiology, English, statistics, and philosophy, which help prepare them for future nursing practice and options that allow for exploration of personal interests. By term three, students learn essential practice skills such as communication and understanding the patient holistically. In term, seven students enter into practice settings and integrate theory into practice.
The final semester includes on and off-campus practice experiences. In addition to primary care and health promotion, at the University of Calgary, students learn about nursing as a scholarly activity, including the application of analysis, critical thinking, and research.
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7. Dalhousie University:
The School of Nursing was established in 1949 and is part of Dalhousie’s Faculty of Health Professions. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) degree offers students the opportunity to complete their nursing degree locally, nationally, and abroad in three years as direct entry students or two years as an Advanced Standing student.
Besides studying human anatomy and physiology, you’ll explore the wide range of nursing from proper hygiene practices and mobility protocols to legal issues and medical ethics. Courses include health science microbiology, nursing and family health, and more.
8. Western University
The Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing at Western University in London, Ontario, provides students access to a learning environment that prioritizes research, community involvement, and the latest developments in medical care.
For 100 years, the School of Nursing at Western has played a significant role in providing the training and knowledge nursing professionals need to succeed. With roots in public health, the school has evolved to become a world leader in innovative health professional education, research, practice, and policy.
With programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, Western’s School of Nursing offers a variety of options, including two ways to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) degree.
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In the collaborative program, students spend two hours per week in clinical lab settings, learning and applying introductory health assessment techniques necessary to begin the process of developing clinical judgment. Students gain experience in clinical simulation environments, which increases in the second year. Courses include human anatomy, holistic health assessment, human physiology, and more.
9. Queen’s University:
The nursing program at Queen’s University located in Kingston, Ontario, is more than 75 years old and has a reputation for excellence in a small city that provides students with various placement opportunities that range from hospitals to penitentiaries.
As a research-intensive institution, Queen’s ensures the nursing program curriculum is current and relevant. It is part of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s, providing for inter-professional learning opportunities.
The Bachelor of Nursing Science program is a four-year program with a hands-on practical learning experience in various clinical settings, including the School of Nursing Simulation Lab and GSK Clinical Education Centre. Every student gets a placement in pediatrics, maternity, mental health, medical-surgical, and community care.
Nursing students will have the opportunity to work and interact with students and professionals across various health professions. All students receive instruction and practicums in community health promotion, management, and leadership in health care, maternal and child family-centered nursing care, medical and post-surgical nursing care, and mental health nursing care.
In years two, three, and four of the degree program, students complete clinical practice in children’s, maternity, mental health, hospitalized patients, and community settings.
10. University of Ottawa:
The University of Ottawa is the largest bilingual university in the world. The school of nursing at the University of Ottawa prepares students to offer quality care, assume leadership roles in the health care profession, and contribute to ongoing research and community engagement to promote health and well-being. The undergraduate program is offered in both official languages, and students can choose to study in their preferred language. The four-year BScN program can be completed entirely through the university’s program.
There is also a bridging program for internationally educated nurses and registered practical nurses. Masters and Ph.D. programs in nursing are also available at the university.
11. University of Victoria:
The University of Victoria offers an undergraduate degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing and two graduate degrees Master of Nursing and Ph.D. in Nursing. As part of the Faculty of Human and Social Development, the School of Nursing provides the opportunity for scholarly connections through the Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health, the Centre for Youth and Society, and the Centre for Addictions Research of BC.
Teaching is inspired by research so that the student’s practical experience is complemented by a knowledge base of patient care. Courses cover the health sciences, health and healing, global health issues, nursing ethics, health indicators, and general psychology.
12. Memorial University:
Memorial is Newfoundland and Labrador’s only university and is known as a top research university in Canada. The four-year BN collaborative program at Memorial is offered at three locations — the Memorial University of Faculty of Nursing and Centre for Nursing Studies in St. John’s and Western Regional School of Nursing in Corner Brook. All three locations offer the same curricula, which combine innovative teaching strategies with hands-on practical experience.
The Bachelor of Nursing program at Memorial is designed to prepare nurses for careers in a variety of health care settings. Program options include a four-year degree program, a three-year accelerated option, and an LPN bridging option.
The BN program offers a number of nursing practice experiences including real and simulated client care experiences. Graduates will have obtained over 1,600 hours of clinical experience. Courses include anatomy and physiology, developing therapeutic relationships, microbiology for nurses, health assessment, health promotion, and more.
13. University of New Brunswick:
The University of New Brunswick Faculty of Nursing has been educating registered nurses for more than 50 years and has a history of internationally-recognized research. The university offers a four-year Bachelor of Nursing program at the Fredericton campus and a two-year Advanced Standing program in Moncton for those with a minimum of 60 credit hours of university courses with a cumulative GPA of 3.0.
The nursing program at UNB provides for a student-faculty ratio of 7:1 for most clinical experiences and includes a 12-week final practicum.
In the four-year program, students have the chance to get practical experience in a number of settings both locally and provincially with opportunities to study nationally and internationally.
One community experience is to work in the Fredericton Downtown Community Health Centre where students learn from nurse practitioners, doctors, social workers, and other health professionals.
14. University of Saskatchewan:
The College of Nursing at the University of Saskatchewan was established as a department at the School of Medical Sciences in 1938. There are two nursing degree programs available at the University of Saskatchewan.
The Bachelor of Science nursing program at the University of Saskatchewan consists of a pre-professional year followed by three years of nursing education. The first year builds the nursing program’s foundation and includes courses in the humanities, natural, social, and health sciences.
The number of Aboriginal students in the nursing program is the largest in the country. Therefore, the university has created a curriculum that is harmonized with Indigenous perspectives of health.
The medicine wheel is organized around self, family, community, and nation. Courses include communications and professional relationships, human body systems for nursing, principles of microbiology and immunology for nursing, foundational care in clinical practice, patient and family-centered care in clinical practice, exploring chronicity and aging, and much more.
15. Ryerson University:
Ryerson has offered a collaborative four-year nursing program with George Brown College and Centennial College. The program has prepared health care professionals for a range of careers in nursing.
The collaborative program with Centennial and George Brown allows students to do their first two years at any of the schools and finish the final two years at Ryerson to obtain their degree.
A post-diploma degree completion program also allows those with prior experience either in Canada or internationally to complete a nursing degree.
Core courses include health assessment, epidemiology, ethics, and more, which will strengthen your ability to practice consistent, safe, and effective care. You will begin your career with a strong foundation in nursing theory combined with health knowledge of anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, and nutrition.
16. York University:
The collaborative four-year honors nursing program at York allows students to take their first two years at either Seneca or Georgian College and the third and fourth years at the York University Keele campus. Students will learn critical thinking and research skills as well as gain extensive practicum and clinical experience.
Students in the collaborative program complete about 1,400 hours of clinical experience through placements in each year of study.
In each degree program, students learn the theoretical and scientific knowledge of human caring and apply it to hands-on clinical practice. York’s learning partners in the community include hospitals such as the Hospital for Sick Children, Sunnybrook Health Science Centre, St.Michael’s Hospital, and public health agencies.
Courses include microbiology for nurses, development of self as a nurse: research and inquiry, client-centered care of individuals and families in child and mental health settings, statistical methods, health, and healing: community as a partner, and more.
17. University of Manitoba
The University of Manitoba’s Rady Faculty of Health Sciences is a three-year degree program providing a solid base of nursing knowledge, clinical practice experience, and a basis to grow a nursing career.
Following a year of undergraduate studies, the three-year Bachelor’s degree program gives students what they need to become professional nurses. Courses include human growth and development, health and illness in the older client, nutrition for health professionals, mental health and illness, law and ethics in nursing, and gender and reproductive health.
18. St. Francis Xavier University:
Established in 1926, the Elizabeth and Thomas Rankin School of Nursing at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, has been educating nurses for more than 80 years.
The school offers a traditional four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program for those entering from high school, and a two-year accelerated program for students who have accumulated credits from another post-secondary program.
Anyone interested in the nursing programs is required to complete a CASPer Assessment prior to applying. It is an online screen tool designed to evaluate a student’s personal and professional characteristics
In first-year students complete 30 arts and science course credits. After that, you will be focused on nursing courses and clinical practice experiences in community health, mental health, acute care, maternal and childcare, pediatrics, and international service-learning opportunities.
19. Laurentian University:
Laurentian University’s School of Nursing offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) in both French and English. The four-year program leads to an Honours Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
Since 2000, Laurentian has had a collaborative educational partnership with Cambrian College of Applied Arts and Sciences, Northern College of Applied Arts and Sciences, and Sault College of Applied Arts and Sciences.
Upon admission to the program, students may complete all four years of the program at the institution to which they have been accepted.
Nursing includes a blend of science, mathematics, psychology, anthropology, organizational management, and sociology.
The education of future nurses addresses each of these areas and prepares the student for a lifelong career locally or abroad with opportunities in acute care hospitals, public health, community healthcare, telehealth, outpost nursing, research, education, healthcare management, and health policy development. Students begin their practice clinical in the first year of the program.
20. Nipissing University:
Nipissing University offers a collaborative four-year program with Canadore College and a Registered Practical Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) bridging program on campus for three years. There is also a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing blended delivery program offered part-time via distance education over five years.
Courses in the various BScN programs include aging and health, health assessment, concepts in maternity and pediatric nursing, nursing older adults, pharmacology, pharmacology, maternal childcare, transcultural nursing, family nursing, and nursing Informatics. Clinical experiences are provided at the new North Bay Regional Health Centre and agencies throughout the city.
21. Université de Montréal:
This is another high-ranked university in Canada that offers quality nursing programs. The faculty of nursing which is housed by this university ranks 51-100 in QS World Universities ranking for Nursing Schools in the world. Language can be a bit worrying for international students who wish to study nursing at the University of Montreal because the programs are taught in French and you would need to understand the language before you can begin your studies. For tuition, you can expect to pay about $1,195 to $8,186 per session for International Students.
Frequently Asked Questions about Best Universities to Study Nursing in Canada
i. What are My Chances of Getting a Job as a Nurse?
Excellent. Nursing graduates usually have to decide between multiple job offers. Compared to other university graduates with a Bachelor’s degree, nursing grads are highly marketable in Québec, Canada, and the world.
ii. Cost of Studying Nursing?
Studying nursing in Canada is more affordable than in countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. On average, you’ll need between C$20,000 and C$30,000 per year to cater for your tuition fees. Of course, this will vary with the level of studies and the institution in which you are enrolled.
Before your application is approved, you’ll need to prove that you can afford all the annual expenses. Remember, this goes beyond the tuition fees as you will need more money for accommodation and other basic needs. If you decide to live off-campus, an apartment will cost you at least C$1,000 per month. Food and transport are approximately C$500 and C$150 respectively. All these values will depend on the city in which you choose to live.
International students are allowed to work while studying nursing in Canada. However, you are only eligible for this privilege if your study permit includes this condition. As such, you may not need to acquire a work permit to be employed on-campus or off-campus. The money you receive here could be used to pay for your monthly expenses
iii. Requirements to Study Nursing
If you want to join a diploma or undergraduate degree program in any Canadian university, the first thing you’ll need is your high school certificate. English, Mathematics, Biology, and Chemistry are the main subjects required by the likes of Ryerson University, but Physics could also be advantageous. Generally, the average high school grade required is a C, but this may vary with the admission year.
Other requirements include recommendation letters from your former school, writing samples, and a statement of intent. English tests are also compulsory, especially if you are from a non-English speaking country. The IELTS, Pearson, and TOEFL test scores will vary depending on the university you select. Therefore, make sure to visit the respective institution websites and confirm before you prepare to study nursing in Canada.
Pursuing Nursing in Canada includes obtaining a globally recognized degree, greater employment chances, the ability to work anywhere globally, learning about preventative medications and precautions to cure diseases, and gaining abundant hands-on experience in this sector.