The BCIT Critical Care Nursing program has a reputation for delivering educational excellence. Our faculty is known for their commitment to students’ learning progress. They give you individual support and a high quality of learning to help you succeed.
We prepare you to care for patients who are seriously ill or injured and in failing health, and part of this care is supporting patients’ families who are going through a difficult time. It’s a demanding job. Our grads have the passion and commitment to take it on.
The BCIT Nursing Specialty Bachelor of Science (BSN) is a combination of our advanced certificate program and our specific academic BSN courses. Choose to complete both concurrently or study in the order that works best for you.
Visit Nursing Specialty BSN for information about the required academic courses.
Visit Critical Care Health Nursing Advanced Certificate for information about the required specialty courses and clinicals.
Nurses interested in the Critical Care program should have a minimum of six months (preferably one year) of recent experience on an acute care unit. For interested nurses from international practice, residential or other areas of care, a refresher course in acute care may be required. BCIT recommends the following programs:
Please contact one of the institutions above, as well as the Critical Care program at BCIT, to determine an appropriate preparatory course of study.
Ongoing throughout the year.
Note: Effective immediately, all health care workers who come into contact with patients at publicly-funded health care facilities or in the community, including at long-term-care facilities, will have to get the influenza vaccine or wear a mask during flu season. This policy affects all students who will be entering a clinical setting.
As such, you will be required to provide proof of your immunization or agree to wear a mask at all times prior to being placed in your clinical studies.
The following are requirements for program entry into Specialty nursing certificate and degree courses. Enforcement or waiving of any or all entry requirements is at the discretion of the Program Head.
If you have any questions about your experience or qualifications, please contact the Program Head to arrange program advising.
English: Two years of education in English in an English-speaking country with one of the following:
Adequate Work Experience
Applicants to Specialty Nursing Certificate courses should have a minimum of 6 months to 1 year of relevant work experience in an acute care setting. Exceptions may be granted for undergraduate students taking entry level theory courses. However, a resume of work experience may be required to progress in the program. If you have questions about whether your work experience qualifies, please contact the Program Head.
If you are a long term or residential care nurse or an RN lacking current (within the last 2 years) acute care experience, Kwantlen College offers a Competency Assessment and Enhancement for Nurses course that provides a refresher in acute care principles.
This assessment involves an individual self assessment, multiple choice exam and practice simulation. This course may be required for admission in the Specialty Nursing programs. For more information on Kwantlen's offering please visit:
Once you have been assessed, you may be required to complete a tailored curriculum designed to meet BCIT's need for familiarity with acute care principles. This curriculum may include some of the following courses:
Basic Cardiac Life Support Certification
All students participating in clinical courses must have current Current Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Level C or Level Health Care Provider (HCP). The original certificate must be presented upon application to the clinical courses.
As well as providing this information at the time of admission, BCIT requires students to provide proof of CRNBC membership (or Canadian provinvial equivalent) for each clinical course they enroll in. Without proper provincial registration, you will not be permitted to continue in the course.
Face Respirator Fit Testing
A face piece respiratory fit test is required before students are permitted to enter the clinical practicum. Upon successful completion of the fit test, the original certificate must be presented to the program and annual re-fitting is required. Students are expected to carry their certificate with them at all times during their practicum.
For the Respirator Fit Testing, fit testing with a N95 respirator (1860, 1860s or 1870) is required and must be performed, in accordance with CSA Standard CAN/CSA-Z94.4-02. Fit Testing must also include, inspection, cleaning, maintenance and storage of protective equipment. Students will be given specific instructions in preparation for their fit testing by the provider they choose.
International students outside of Canada
International students must be currently working in their nursing specialty area and have a practicing registered nurse’s license in their country to be eligible for this program. All courses are delivered through an online format, so students do not need a study permit.
International students working in Canada
International students who currently hold a work permit and are working in their specialty nursing area with a practicing registered nurse's license are eligible for this program. Students are responsible to maintain a work permit that is valid throughout clinical training. All courses are delivered through an online format, so students do not need a study permit.
International students are required to have a study permit before they attend any in-class courses/exams as part of the program.
International students must first receive Program Head approval.
BCIT accepts only complete applications. In order to apply:
You can check the status of your application online at any time using the Student Information System.
The program faculty assesses learners with previous Specialty Nursing course work and relevant work experience on an individual basis.
BCIT requires original, sealed transcripts and course outlines to assess transfer of credit.
Within two business days of submitting your completed application, BCIT will send a message to your personal and myBCIT e-mail addresses. All correspondence regarding your application will be posted to your online myCommunication account at my.bcit.ca. We'll send you an e-mail when a new message is posted. It's important to watch for these e-mails or regularly check your account online.
You can expect to receive communication concerning the status of your application within four weeks.
Check current availability of courses for this program.
|Required Courses: (27.0 credits)||Credits|
Critical Care Nursing Theory 1
Learners are introduced to critical care nursing practice and the nature of critical illness, including patients' experience of critical illness, the role of the critical care nurse and the context of critical care nursing practice. Theoretical concepts that are foundational to critical care nursing practice are examined, including: oxygen supply and demand as a basis for cellular oxygenation and physiological function, comprehensive assessment and analysis of arterial blood gas analysis, invasive hemodynamic monitoring and assessment, and clinical decision-making. Simulation sessions support application of theoretical aspects to nursing practice, laying the foundation for clinical practice experience. Course materials for this course, along with all other theory courses in the Nursing Specialty Critical Care curriculum are offered in the iPad/IBook format. Students must have access to an iPad to participate in this course. Please note: You must achieve 75% or greater to register in NSCC 7220.
Dysrhythmia Interpretation and Management
This course supports the development of fundamental knowledge required to systematically analyze and interpret basic cardiac dysrhythmias. Participants will explore myocardial electrophysiology in relation to cardiac monitoring and develop a systematic approach to dysrhythmia analysis and interpretation. Further, participants will consider the predisposing factors and associated interventions related to the conduction defect present and the consequences of the dysrhythmia to both systemic and myocardial oxygen supply and demand. Finally, the significance of dysrhythmia analysis, interpretation, and management to critical care nursing practice will be explored. Although this course is conducted within the specific context of critical care nursing practice, it would also be suitable for other nurses or qualified health professionals requiring this skill. If you are not a registered nurse or a student nurse in the final years of your BSN program you must consult the Critical Care Nursing Program Head prior to registration. Health professionals who are not nurses may register for this course with approval of the Critical Care Specialty Program Head. If you are registering in the NSCC, NSHA or NSER nursing program follow the program course matrix. Program Head approval is required to take NSCC 7150 as a co-requisite with NSCC 7120, NSCC 7220, NSHA 7100, or NSER 7110. You must achieve 75% or greater in this course to continue forward in the Critical Care Nursing Program and register in NSCC 7220.
Critical Care Nursing Theory 2
Learners expand their understanding of critical care nursing practice by exploring family-centered care and interdisciplinary collaborative practice in critical care settings. Two narrative cases of patients and families experiencing critical illness (acute coronary syndrome and first-line management of myocardial infarction; acute respiratory insufficiency) build relevant critical care nursing knowledge and integrate theoretical concepts presented in other modules and in previous courses. Over the last four weeks of the course, learners complete 25 hours of simulation and supervised clinical practice experience: Concept-focused clinical learning experiences include comprehensive assessment, hemodynamic and cardiac monitoring management, dysrhythmia recognition and management, application of oxygen supply and demand theory, beginning exploration of family centered care and interdisciplinary collaboration in critical care, and care of patients experiencing ACS (first line management) and respiratory insufficiency. Please note, learners must be Registered Nurses to take this course. Course materials for this course, along with all other theory courses in the Nursing Specialty Critical Care curriculum are offered in the iPad/IBook format. Students must have access to an iPad to participate in this course. Please note: You must achieve 75% or greater to register in the next Critical Care Nursing course, NSCC 7320. Prerequisites: 75% in NSCC 7120 and 75% in NSCC 7150
Critical Care Nursing Theory 3
Learners build knowledge related to supporting oxygen supply and demand balance for critically ill patients by exploring theory of mechanical ventilation, advanced oxygen supply and demand assessment, and management of metabolic and oxygen demand. The remainder of the course focuses on pathophysiology, assessment and management of a variety of 'single-system' critical illnesses presented within narrative cases of patients and families in a variety of critical care settings. Narrative cases focus on acute kidney injury, acute respiratory failure and care of chronically, critically ill patients/family, and hemodynamic instability (including shock states) arising from hypovolemic shock, acute decompensated heart failure, and SIRS/sepsis. The narrative cases also provide context for learners to build understanding of patients' and families' experiences of critical illness, develop clinical decision-making processes that support effective patient and family care, and to build understanding of interprofessional collaborative practice within critical care environments. Please note, learners must be Registered Nurses to take this course. Course materials for this course, along with all other theory courses in the Nursing Specialty Critical Care curriculum are offered in the iPad/IBook format. Students must have access to an iPad to participate in this course. Please note: You must achieve 75% or greater to register in the next Critical Care Nursing course, NSCC 7420. Prerequisites: 75% in NSCC 7220
Critical Care Nursing Clinical 1
This clinical course occurs in an intensive care unit of mixed cardiac care/intensive care unit. Clinical practice experiences build toward independence in providing independent nursing care for stable*, critically ill patients and families experiencing a variety of critical illnesses [e.g. acute coronary syndrome, acute respiratory insufficiency and failure, acute kidney injury, hemodynamic instability (including shock states), acute decompensated heart failure, hypovolemic shock and sepsis]. Specific attention will be given to the unique challenges of caring for chronically critically ill patients, for families of critically ill patients and collaborative practice within the interdisciplinary team. Relevant patients will include those experiencing noninvasive or mechanical ventilation, cardiac and invasive hemodynamic monitoring, common laboratory and diagnostic processes, and active intervention intended to optimize oxygen supply and demand balance. Primary patient issues will be predominantly in one system, with other physiological systems minimally or potentially impacted. Learners also complete a one day Lab related to Cardiac Arrest Management: in team-based high fidelity simulations, learners have an opportunity to apply relevant theory (e.g. ACLS algorithms) and to practice skills required for recognition and intervention for life threatening dysrhythmias. While NSCC 7420 is generally a clinical teacher led course, in unique situations it is possible to complete this course as a preceptorship. [*The stable patient is defined as one with 'potential to change or experiencing gradually evolving changes in condition.*] Please note, learners must be Registered Nurses to take this course. Course materials for this course, along with all other courses in the Nursing Specialty Critical Care curriculum are offered in the iPad/IBook format. Students must have access to an iPad to participate in this course. Please note: You must achieve a successful grade to register in the next Critical Care Nursing course, NSCC 7420. Prerequisites: 75% in NSCC 7320
Critical Care Nursing Theory 4
Learners expand their understanding of critical care nursing practice by exploring ethical dimensions of critical care nursing practice, including moral distress, medical futility, participation in ethical decision-making, and end-of-life decision-making and patient/family care. These concepts are applied within narrative cases of patients/families experiencing complex, critical illness. Narrative cases also provide an opportunity for learners to explore pathophysiology, assessment and management related to patients and families experiencing multitrauma (including initial management of spinal cord injury), traumatic brain injury, stroke and subarachnoid hemorrhage, complex critical illness (sepsis) including acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), hepatic insufficiency, and fluid/electrolyte/acid-base imbalances. As learners follow the stories of these patients, they continue to build understanding of patients' and families' experiences of critical illness, of interprofessional collaborative practice and ethical nursing practice within critical care environments, and develop clinical decision-making processes that support effective patient and family care. Finally, learners will complete a module related to a patient experiencing one of the following critical illnesses: multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, cardiogenic shock, cardiac surgery, surgery and post-anesthesia, or explore critical care nursing in rural or community settings. . Please note, learners must be Registered Nurses to take this course. Course materials for this course, along with all other theory courses in the Nursing Specialty Critical Care curriculum are offered in the iPad/IBook format. Students must have access to an iPad to participate in this course. Please note: You must achieve 75% or greater to register in the next Critical Care Nursing course, NSCC 7620. Prerequisites: NSCC 7420
Critical Care Nursing Clinical 2
This course occurs in an intensive care unit. Clinical practice experiences will build toward independence in providing nursing care for unstable* critically ill patients and/or patients experiencing complex critical illness**, as well as their families [e.g. multitrauma, spinal injury and traumatic brain injury, stroke and subarachnoid hemorrhage, and SIRS/sepsis/MODS, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and hepatic insufficiency and fluid/electrolyte/acid-base imbalances]. Relevant patients will be experiencing a variety of modes and issues related to mechanical ventilation, cardiac and invasive hemodynamic monitoring, a variety of diagnostic processes, and multiple interventions intended to optimize oxygen supply and demand balance. Primary patient issues will be present in more than one physiological system and will impact other systems. Learners will participate in a one day Lab focused on Cardiac Arrest Management: In team-based, high fidelity simulations, learners have an opportunity to explore common challenges in cardiac arrest management (including more complex patient scenarios, team roles and management, pitfalls in cardiac arrest management situations) and to consider the impact for nurses of participating in cardiac arrest management situations. While NSCC 7620 is generally a clinical teacher led course, in unique situations it is possible to complete this course as a preceptorship. [*Unstable patient is defined as "experiencing obvious and active changes in condition, but not extremely rapid change". **Complex patient is defined as "experiencing multi-system critical illness"]. Please note, learners must be Registered Nurses to take this course. Course materials for this course, along with all other courses in the Nursing Specialty Critical Care curriculum are offered in the iPad/IBook format. Students must have access to an iPad to participate in this course. Prerequisites: 75% in NSCC 7520
|Core/Management Courses: (21.0 credits)||Credits|
Management Skills and Applications
The course provides an overview of the basic skills of a manager and applies these skills through a series of projects and case studies. It examines the evolution of management and the organizational culture and environment. It also teaches the decision-making skills and the skills involved in planning, organizing, leading and controlling, including planning and facilitating change, teamwork, applying motivational techniques and effective communication.
Teaching and Learning in Specialty Nursing
Introduces diverse perspectives on teaching and learning related to specialty nursing and explores the impact that connected teacher-learner relationships have on effective learning. Teaching and learning are viewed as mutual and parallel processes, being influenced by beliefs, intentions, and capacities of both teachers and learners. Teaching and learning abilities are further developed according to mutually agreed upon learning outcomes and intentions.
In this online course, learners explore how research informs evidence-based nursing practice. Foundational research concepts and processes in quantitative and qualitative paradigms are examined. Learners critique primary research reports of interest, both individually and in groups, and address research utilization in practice.
This on-line course offers students the opportunity to develop their leadership knowledge and skills within the context of specialty nursing. Leadership is explored from multiple perspectives with an emphasis on contemporary theories and frameworks. Topics that are examined include followership, contextual influences, power, navigating change and transitions, and teambuilding. Students engage in a work related leadership project to apply leadership knowledge and skills to their practice.
Professional growth is explored from personal, professional, and historical perspectives. Students choose a focus for growth which is fostered by ongoing critical reflection and journaling. Relational practice is explored through the lenses of mentoring and harmful workplace relationships. Contemporary trends in ethical practice are examined, including the contextual influences on practice; the development of moral identity; and the enhancement of moral integrity. An anticipated trajectory for professional development is envisioned and described.
Community Nursing: Facilitating Health
This course explores contemporary community health nursing, examining multiple perspectives on community, health, and relational practice. Community health nursing is examined through the lenses of primary health care, health promotion, and ethics. Clinical practice is focused on facilitating participatory dialogue with a selected group to explore perspectives on relational practice in health care.
Community Nursing: Facilitating Health Action
Based on the Canadian Community Health Nursing Standards of Practice, this course provides opportunities for exploring contemporary perspectives on health promotion, protection of health, a community health nursing process, and participatory decision making. Clinical experience occurs through engaging in participatory dialogue with a selected group; exploring salient health issues; and facilitating collective health action. Prerequisites: NSSC 8600
|Liberal Studies Component: (12.0 credits required)||Credits|
|Mandatory Courses: (6.0 credits)|
Critical Reading and Writing
This is a course in advanced composition and rhetoric, in which students will develop skills in complex critical analysis and interpretation by analyzing and evaluating materials from a variety of discourses or genres, including visual, online, and print; developing and writing essays, including critiques and research papers; applying and discussing principles of rhetoric and critical theory; examining and using methods of interpretation and analysis from the humanities and social sciences; evaluating the credibility of primary and secondary sources, including as it applies to media literacy, and for the purposes of academic research; situating discourses within their historical context and relevant to rhetorical theories of different periods (for example, Aristotle in the ancient world and Bakhtin in the twentieth century). The course format will include lecture, discussion, and both individual and group activities. Prerequisite: BCIT ENGL 1177 or (equivalent), OR 6 credits BCIT Communication at 1100-level or above.
This course introduces students to contemporary issues in health ethics by examining and applying ethical theories to moral dilemmas at the clinical, professional, and organizational levels. To this end, developing competence in moral reasoning is an important goal, one that will be emphasized through the analysis of case studies that test personal, professional, and societal values. Prerequisite: BCIT ENGL 1177, or 6 credits BCIT Communication at 1100-level or above, or 3 credits of a university/college first-year social science or humanities course.
General Education [PDF] electives at a 100 level minimum in at least two different academic disciplines (6.0 credits)
Check current availability of courses for this program.
Do you have credits from another BC/Yukon post-secondary school? Do you want to know if they transfer to courses here at BCIT? Check out BCIT's Transfer Equivalency Database to find out.
|Nursing Component||44.0 - 55.0|
|A. Advanced Certificate||21.0 - 36.0|
|B. Core Courses||18.0 - 24.0|
|Liberal Studies Component||12.0|
|Total||60.0 - 69.0|
The BCIT student outcomes reports present summary findings from the annual survey of former students administered by BC Stats one to two years after graduation. These reports combine the last three years of available results for the 2016-2018 BCIT Outcomes Surveys of 2015-2017 graduates and for Degree 2013-2015 graduates. The reports are organized into three-page summaries containing information on graduates' labour market experiences and opinions regarding their education. More detailed information can be accessed at the BC Student Outcomes website.
To view these results, you may need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed in your Web browser.
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"I can honestly say that your program is the best nursing program that I have ever attended. "- Jason Nesbitt, Ottawa, ON