We put a solid foundation in place to guide our members towards excellence in practical nursing. Our LPNs begin with relevant, current education, share a commitment to lifelong learning and competence, and can count on accessible ongoing support provided by the CLPNA.

instructional hours completed
by graduates


For an Alberta student to become a Licensed Practical Nurse, it is necessary to complete a two-year diploma in practical nursing from a recognized post-secondary practical nursing program.

Graduates complete a minimum of 1650 instructional hours including 750 hours of theoretical instruction and 900 hours of clinical / lab experience. After program completion, graduates must pass the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Exam (CPNRE).

The following colleges are approved to provide practical nurse education in Alberta. Some colleges deliver practical nurse programs from multiple locations:

  • Bow Valley College, Calgary
  • Columbia College, Calgary
  • Keyano College, Ft. McMurray
  • Lakeland College, Lloydminster
  • Lethbridge College, Lethbridge
  • NorQuest College, Edmonton
  • Northern Lakes College, Slave Lake
  • Medicine Hat College, Medicine Hat
  • Portage College, Lac La Biche/Cold Lake
  • Red Deer College, Red Deer

Ongoing education opportunities exist in specialty, certificate and employer-based learning in a growing number of topic areas.

Education Foundation for LPNs

The Fredrickson-McGregor Education Foundation for LPNs distributes education grants, awards and bursaries to CLPNA members to enhance their nursing knowledge, skills, and ability, and honour their achievements. A non-profit organization, the Foundation administers the proceeds of a $3 million endowment fund, and approves courses that enhance the LPN’s current role, or support advancement into another LPN role.

In 2013, the Foundation’s Education Grant Program approved 631 applications for a total of $267,051.98, up from 2012’s total of 470 applications totalling $187,100.92. Since the Education Grant Program began in September 2006, the Foundation has approved 2961 applications for a total of $1,199,302.94 in grants, and distributed 65% of the approved funds.

The top three courses applied for are Immunization, Foot Care, and Executive Links one-day seminars, such as Interpretation of Lab Tests and Sharpening Physical Assessment Skills.

Education Standards Advisory Committee

The College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta (CLPNA) is responsible for approving basic, specialty and refresher education programs for practical nurses offered in Alberta. The Education Standards Advisory Committee (ESAC), a standing committee of CLPNA, is responsible for establishing the Standards for Program Approval and for reviewing and monitoring programs and ensuring compliance with these Standards.

The Practical Nurse Diploma Programs at Keyano College and Lakeland College admitted their first cohort of students in September 2012. These programs were previously brokered and are now independent programs and are using the collaborative nursing curriculum developed by Keyano College, Lakeland College, Northern Lakes College and NorQuest College. A mid-implementation review was conducted in October 2013; both programs were given approval until the regular full review is completed in October 2014.

The Perioperative Nursing Program for Licensed Practical Nurses offered by MacEwan University is a specialty program specifically designed to prepare Licensed Practical Nurses for a full scrub and circulating nurse role in the operating room. This program was reviewed and received a five year approval.

Council of the CLPNA withdrew program approval for new enrolments and issued conditional approval for continued delivery with existing students of the CDI College Practical Nurse Diploma Program (Edmonton) brokered from Bow Valley College. The CDI program has been undergoing quarterly reviews to ensure compliance with Standards for Basic Program Approval. Approval for the PN Program delivered at CDI College will terminate on the earlier of either April 30, 2014 or completion of the program by current students.

Nurse educators in the PN Programs are to be commended for innovative strategies to assist student success. Strategies being used include but are not limited to: peer tutoring, tutorials, enrichment activities for ESL students, and the use of clinical simulation tools. In light of the ongoing clinical capacity issues, colleges have been proactive in researching and establishing new, nontraditional clinical experiences for students.

A major initiative for ESAC this past year has been a review and revision of the Standards for Program Approval. ESAC is incorporating evidence-informed approval practices. Final draft of recommendations is expected to be presented to Council for approval in 2014.

It has been a privilege in the last year to work with many practical nurse educators in the province. Their dedication for providing excellence in Practical Nurse education is evident in the high quality PN programs being offered.

I am indebted to Gloria Bauer, past Chair, for leaving a legacy of sound practices, and to the ESAC Committee members for their knowledge and ongoing commitment to excellence in Practical Nurse Education.

Pam Lammiman
Chair, ESAC

2013 LPN Awards of Excellence

In every profession, there are those who shine a little bit brighter. Every year, the CLPNA honours the stars among its members and those healthcare leaders who support the practical nurse profession, with the Awards of Excellence.


Winner: Nowel Parsons, LPN

Rita McGregor Excellence in Nursing Education Award

Winner: Deb Zukowski, LPN

Laura Crawford Excellence in Nursing Practice Award

Winner: Amber Mellor, LPN


Winner: Frankie Wong, RN


compliance rate with
program validation


The CLPNA Continuing Competency Program (CCP) is a formal system for assessing, monitoring, and reporting on the knowledge, skills, critical thinking and clinical judgment of LPNs. The CCP is mandated by the Health Professions Act (HPA), and promotes ongoing safe, ethical, and competent LPN practice.

Annual Participation

The key documents of the CCP are the Competency Profile, Standards of Practice, and the Self-Assessment Tool. LPNs use these documents to assist with assessing, maintaining, and enhancing competence on an ongoing basis. Members submit an annual Learning Plan with a minimum of two mandatory learning objectives as a necessary part of Registration Renewal. Members also reflect on their professional practice and develop learning goals for the next year through a self-directed, job specific or desired learning process. Throughout the year, members can access their Learning Plan on their secure member profile to review and update as necessary. During annual Registration Renewal, members identify whether they completed their Learning Plan from the previous year or report alternate learning.


The Continuing Competency Program Validation (CCPV) monitors members’ accountability and commitment to the CCP by verifying the learning completed in the past two years. LPNs are selected at random and could be selected multiple years. Practice support is available for members who require assistance in using the online system, as well as those who are unclear on what to report for their learning, educational activities, verification documents, and professional commitment to CCP.

Compliance is mandatory as per s. 40(2)(c) of the Health Professions Act, and members who are chosen and do not complete the CCPV are not eligible to practice in the following year. Overall completion results for 2013 show compliance rates on par with 2012.

10% Member Participation
(350 LPNs)
20% Member Participation
(1089 LPNs)
20% Member Participation
(1420 LPNs)
20% Member Participation
(1634 LPNs)
Complete 96.0% 97.0% 96.0% 96.6%
Incomplete 1.0% 0.5% 0.8% 0.1%
Non-Compliant 2.0% 1.6% 2.3% 2.3%
Exemption 1.0% 0.5% 0.4% 0.5%
Retirement 1.0% 0.4% 0.6% 0.6%


increase in practice inquiries
with 4663 total inquiries


CLPNA’s Practice department continued to increase its services this year, with face-to-face practice sessions, webinars, online videos, teleconferences, and meetings with students, LPNs, team members, educators and employers.

Inquiries to the Practice department grew 12% overall, with increases in the areas of self-employment, immunization, mental health, palliative care, postpartum, supportive living, community care and clinic nursing.

CLPNA is developing continuing education for LPNs in the form of self-study learning modules on topics including blood and blood products, infection prevention and control, documentation, pressure ulcer care, and legalities in nursing.

CLPNA collaborates to enhance patient safety and a positive workplace culture. A project focused on coworker abuse in the workplace was finalized in 2013. This project, partially funded through a grant from Alberta Employment and Immigration, Occupational Health and Safety Program Development and Research (AEI-OHS), resulted in the publishing of four new documents:

  • Addressing Co-Worker Abuse in the Workplace – a Practice Guideline which provides best practices for LPNs in recognizing, addressing and eliminating coworker abuse among nursing peers and care teams.
  • Mental Injury in the Healthcare Workplace – a White Paper which opens dialogue on abusive behaviour among health professionals, identifying it as a major workplace stressor and source of mental injury in healthcare.
  • Abuse is a Learned Behaviour in Nursing, and Co-Worker Abuse is a Threat to Patient Safety – two Fact Sheets to reinforce the Practice Guideline.

CLPNA featured a series of articles in CARE magazine and presented at multiple locations within Alberta and across Canada on this topic, including planned discussion with the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta and the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Alberta in early 2014. A joint project with four other health regulators has been submitted to AEI-OHS proposing the development of learning videos to further support health professionals in addressing and managing co-worker abuse.

Practice Inquiries by Competency Category