Licensed Practical Nurses

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) are nurses who provide direct care to clients, such as measuring and recording patients' vital signs, preparing and giving injections, collecting samples, dressing wounds, monitoring patients' progress, and reporting adverse reactions.

Depending on the setting, they may have a variety of nursing care responsibilities in collaboration with Registered Nurses, Registered Psychiatric Nurses, physicians, physiotherapists and other health care professionals.

The LPN program typically involves two years of post-secondary education and training and focuses more on foundational knowledge of the nursing practice, decision-making and critical thinking.

This education allows LPNs to participate in all phases of care from prevention to acute care, long-term and palliative care, to management in certain settings, usually continuing care. LPNs may work independently or interdependently, and have a contributing role within health care teams. LPNs may choose to specialize and practice in areas such as, operating rooms, hemodialysis, and immunization programs.

Working as a Licensed Practical Nurse in Alberta

Alberta offers LPNs the chance to work independently or as members of a health care team as well as the opportunity to work directly with individuals, families, and groups in a variety of exciting settings and scenarios.

LPNs work in and are employed by:

  • Alberta Health Services
  • continuing care facilities
  • community care agencies
  • occupational health departments in large organizations
  • primary care clinics and physicians' offices
  • schools
  • group homes

Want to know what it's like to work as a licensed practical nurse in Alberta, from real people in real work situations? Watch the Alberta Learning Information Service's video on licensed practical nursing:

If you would like more detailed information about working as a licensed practical nurse such as duties, working conditions, salaries, educational requirements and personal characteristics, you can read the career profile for LPNs on the Alberta Learning Information Service's occupational information website, OCCinfo.

You may also wish to review the occupational profiles in these other nursing occupations:

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Registration and licensing

Nursing is a regulated profession in Canada and each province has its own regulatory bodies to ensure consistent standards of competency and nursing practice.

The College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta (CLPNA) is the regulatory body for LPNs in the province of Alberta, Canada. All LPNs need to be registered with CLPNA and obtain a temporary or full practice permit in order to practice as a LPN in Alberta.

To understand the steps for becoming accredited in Alberta view the Licensed Practical Nurse Accreditation Process (PDF).

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Remuneration

Most staff nurses are unionized in Alberta and have some of the best wages and salaries in Canada. Many LPNs in Alberta belong to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), which negotiates the terms and conditions of employment, including salaries and benefits on their members' behalf with employers.

According to the most recent collective agreement, as of April 1, 2009, the minimum rate of compensation for LPNs is $21.72 per hour and the maximum rate is $28.44 per hour, the second highest upper pay limit in Canada.

Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, shift differential, benefits, profit shares, bonuses unrelated to production and other forms of compensation.

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Searching for a job

To look for a position as a Licensed Practical Nurse in Alberta, you can search using the Working in Alberta tool, or search through HealthJobs, Alberta Health Services' career website.

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Continuing education

Alberta has a variety of nursing programs available in various educational institutions across the province. LPNs in Alberta have access to numerous learning opportunities and specialization courses are available in many areas such as immunization, operating room, advanced orthopaedics, and renal dialysis. There are also additional certificate programs in areas such as mental health, chronic disease management, leadership, gerontology, wound care, palliative care, and foot care.

Internationally educated nurses can take bridging or refresher programs to help them meet the requirement in order to become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Alberta. To find out about nursing refresher programs for internationally educated nurses, visit Alberta Health and Wellness's Employment Opportunities webpage .

The following Alberta post-secondary institutions offer full-time practical nursing programs that generally take about 68 weeks to complete.

  • Bow Valley College in Calgary and various locations.
  • Columbia College in Calgary. Admission requirements are set out by the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta.
  • Keyano College in Fort McMurray. Admission requirements are the same as for the Bow Valley College program.
  • Lakeland College in Lloydminster. Admission requirements are the same as for the Bow Valley College program.
  • Lethbridge College in Lethbridge.
  • Medicine Hat College. Admission requirements are the same as for the Bow Valley College program.
  • Northern Lakes College in Slave Lake, Athabasca, Barrhead, Peace River, Fairview, Fort Vermilion and Grande Prairie. Admission requirements are the same as for the Bow Valley College program.
  • NorQuest College in Edmonton and various locations. Admission requirements are the same as for the Bow Valley College program.
  • Portage College in Lac La Biche. Admission requirements are the same as for the Bow Valley College program.
  • Red Deer College in Red Deer

Continuing education programs are offered throughout the province on an as needed basis and via distance learning.

For current information about programs, admission requirements, and mature student admission policies, please check post-secondary calendars or websites.

For more information regarding the various licensed practical nursing programs of study and which institutions offer these programs, please visit Alberta Learning Information Service's post-secondary education information website, EDinfo.

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Resources

  • Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) is the provincial gateway to help Albertans plan and achieve educational and career success. It provides information for career planning, post-secondary education and training, educational funding, job search, labour market trends, and workplace issues.
    • EDinfo: Information about programs of study and distance learning programs offered by post-secondary educational institutions in Alberta.
    • OCCinfo: Information about occupations (types of work) in a format called occupational profiles. There are more than 500 occupational profiles in OCCinfo. Each profile presents information about an occupation under the following headings: Duties; Working Conditions; Personal Characteristics; Educational Requirements; Employment and Advancement; Salary and Other Sources of Information.
  • Alberta Union for Provincial Employees (AUPE)
  • College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta (CLPNA)

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