Bachelor of Science in Nursing

About the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program

Come and live and learn at Vancouver Island University (VIU) located in beautiful Nanaimo BC on Vancouver Island!  Through engagement in teaching and learning, the BSN program at VIU provides baccalaureate academic education for students wanting to enter the profession of nursing. Upon completion of the BSN program, students will receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) from VIU, be eligible to write the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses), and apply for nursing registration through the BC College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) or through the regulatory bodies of other Canadian provinces/territories.  Students are also well positioned to pursue graduate studies. The BSN Program meets the national standards of excellence developed by our accrediting body, the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN).  

The Program

The BSN program is a full-time 4-year program offered through the Nanaimo campus of Vancouver Island University.  The curriculum fosters critically reflective, independent, and motivated learners and practitioners with an inquiry approach to lifelong learning in their practice.  The curriculum centers on nursing for individuals, families, communities, and society and promotes critical thinking in students to then identify patterns in nursing care and is based on the concepts of caring and health promotion.  Core concepts such as leadership, advocacy, political action, nursing knowledge development and nursing scholarship are explored throughout the program.  Students also learn about diversity, including an understanding of Indigenous health perspectives based on the recommendations of the Truth & Reconciliation Report from the Commission of Canada (2015).  There is a strong emphasis on student-faculty interaction and practice experience, as well as the need for thoughtful, reflective action as defined by the concept of praxis. Our Nursing Lab/Learning Centre has 3 simulation suites with high-fidelity mannequins.  In 2018 we moved into our new state-of-the-art Health & Sciences Building.

The BSN program is taught by enthusiastic and experienced nursing faculty.  The concept-based curriculum includes eight academic semesters (Fall & Spring) and three consolidated practice experiences (Intercession) over the four years.  Each successive practice experience involves increased nursing responsibility in order to prepare students for their professional autonomous roles and to meet the Entry Level Competencies of a Newly Graduated Nurse as defined by BC College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM).  The program completes in April of the 4th year.  During practice experiences, student could be working with local, provincial or international health care agencies in hospital and community settings. 

Class sizes are small (between 36-80 students) and most theory courses are delivered in a face-to-face classroom or blended format.  Classes are held on the Nanaimo campus; practice placements are generally throughout the central Vancouver Island region.

The first year of the program focuses on health, primary health care and health assessment across the lifespan.  Students practice in a variety of settings, such as community agencies, child care centres and older adults centres, where students begin to use their nursing knowledge and practice relational skills across the lifespan. The focus of these practice experiences is to participate in primary health care activities, prevention activities and holistic health assessments.

The second year of the program focuses on healing initiatives, related nursing actions and health challenges such as illness, poverty, illiteracy, loss and grief. Students 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.

During the third and fourth years, students further develop their understanding of health and healing with a focus on community and societal health and examination of complex healing initiatives. Students have opportunities to practice research and leadership skills with an emphasis on the socio-political and economic context of nursing in a variety of settings and placements that may include hospitals, seniors' organizations, schools, industry and community health centres. Students use complex assessment skills, including community assessment, and engage in more advanced exploration of the discipline of nursing. Most years we offer an international field school to places like Nepal, Ghana West Africa, or Mexico.  During the final semester of the program, students are paired with a nurse ‘preceptor’ who guides the student through their final practicum as the student prepares to enter the profession of nursing. 

Option A involves completion of the program in its entirety in order to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Option C will be offered every two years.

BSN Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the BSN Program, graduates will be able to:

  1. Engage in the profession and discipline of nursing by utilizing a foundation of caring, health, and healing, and by integrating and applying the art and science of nursing within a variety of contexts and diverse populations.
  2. Provide safe, competent, compassionate, accountable and ethical nursing care in all contexts and practice environments.
  3. Make safe and competent nursing decisions based on knowledge, evidence, multiple ways of knowing, principles of relational practice, professional relationships and responsibilities, and person-centered care.
  4. Lead current and future professional nursing practice and through partnerships with others influence health care at the economic, technological, political, social, environmental, and professional levels.
  5. Implement changes that benefit the needs of individuals, families, groups, and populations, advocating for changes to address issues of social justice, health equity, and other disparities.
  6. Be self-directed, inquiry focused, critically reflective, and collaborative practitioners dedicated to self-regulation and lifelong learning.
  7. As well as discipline specific knowledge, graduates of the VIU BSN program have cultivated skills, literacies and qualities that enable them to be flexible, adaptable, educated citizens and leaders in their communities, society and the world.