Practical Nursing (PSW to PN Bridging Stream)

At what campus is the program offered?
The program is offered at the Mohawk-McMaster Institute for Applied Health Sciences, on the grounds of McMaster University in Hamilton.

Are there any additional costs, above books and supplies, for which I need to plan?
Yes. You need to pay for pre-clinical placement clearance costs such as hepatitis injections, CPR training, facial mask fitting and police clearances. The need for these costs will be reviewed with you when you attend a pre-placement visit, a process which will be outlined with you when you accept an offer of admission. All pre-placement preparation must be completed prior to your first clinical experience, the week after classes’ start, so it is important that you begin this pre-placement clearance process as soon as you receive your information package.

Do you offer the Practical Nursing program on a part-time basis or by distance education?
At this time, the program is offered full-time only. We do NOT offer the NURSING courses by distance education. However, some of non-nursing courses can be taken by distance education. Please review the Program of Studies for non-nursing courses required. Then consult the Mohawk College Continuing Education catalogue for distance education offerings. Browse the Continuing Education catalogue.

Have the admission requirements changed for the PSW to Practical Nursing Bridging program?
Yes students must meet the basic entry requirements of the Practical Nursing Program, including Grade 11 or 12 Math, C or U is required (M or U recommended), Grade 12 English C or U equivalent and 2 Grade 11 or 12 Sciences (Biology, Chemistry or Physics) C or U. Note: The admission requirements for science can be:

  • Two Grade 11 sciences OR
  • Two Grade 12 sciences OR one Grade 11 and one Grade 12 science

In addition to these admission requirements, applicants are required to have completed a community college PSW certificate program and must complete a mandatory standardized Health Occupation Aptitude Examination (HOAE) as part of the selection process. The cost of this test is $50.00 and details about this test will be provided upon application to the program.

Will I have classes during the summer months?
Students entering as bridging to PN from PSW will complete 3 semesters of the PN program and will be in either Semesters 2 or 3 of their program over the spring/summer months. Students are expected to go to school over the Spring/Summer term to complete this program within 12 months. This is not an option, but part of the delivery cycle of this program. If you opt out of the program during any semester, you may be advised back into the academic cycle when the next required semester is offered, based on space availability for classroom or clinical courses. You may have to sit out if there is no spot available when you want to return to full time studies.

What is the teaching methodology in the Practical Nursing program?
Collaborative learning is the teaching methodology used in the nursing courses. Students are responsible for their own learning and for contributing to the learning of their peers using small and large group formats. The faculty member provides structure and acts as a facilitator in classroom activities and provides feedback to students as they learn to apply the content in class. Collaborative learning is used to help students apply their knowledge, so it is imperative that students have their homework or pre-learning completed prior to class so they can participate in small group activities and in-class discussions.

When do clinical placements begin in the program and where are the clinical placements?
Clinical placements for Semesters 2 and 3 begin in week 1 of the semester with one 12 hour shift per week, until the end of the term. In semester 4 clinical placements begin in week 1 with one 12 hour shift per week for 7 weeks, followed by a 7 week pre-graduate clinical experience of 40 hours per week. Clinical placements will occur in a variety of health care agencies including Hamilton, Brantford, Halton, Niagara and the surrounding regions and your clinical placement can be scheduled any day of the week. Most institutions have 12 hour shifts starting at 7:00am, but start times depend on the agency. Students do not have a choice of clinical sites, and need to be able to get to their assigned clinical placement independently. Some placements are difficult to reach by bus so private transportation may be required.

Does the College provide transportation to the clinical areas?
No. It is the student’s responsibility to provide their own clinical transportation and assume the cost of parking. Students are not guaranteed a clinical spot of choice, or a local agency, so must be prepared to travel to their assigned spot to complete their clinical course.

Am I eligible for a student rate when using the Hamilton bus system (HSR)?
Yes. Students attending the Mohawk-McMaster Institute are eligible for a U-PASS. There is no additional cost for a U-PASS as this has been included in your tuition fees and it covers unlimited travel on the Hamilton bus system for 8 months. However, in spring/summer, you may be required to pay for an HSR bus pass.

How many hours of homework might I expect to do in the Practical Nursing program?
You can expect to spend the same number of hours doing homework as you spend in class, eg. 18 hours of class time per week would mean a minimum of 18 hours of homework each week. You could lighten your workload by taking some of the non-nursing courses prior to starting the program; however, this estimate is only an approximate time. It is essential that students come to class having reviewed the material identified prior to class, so they can benefit from the applied learning activities prepared during collaborative learning exercises.

Is CPR certification required prior to starting the Practical Nursing program?
Yes. Students must have current C.P.R. Health Care Provider (BLS-C) Heart & Stroke certification upon entry into the program. This will be reviewed when you receive information about pre-placement clearance requirements, that must be completed PRIOR to attending a clinical agency or beginning your clinical experience.

Where do I go to take a CPR (Level C) course, once I am accepted into the program?
Mohawk College Continuing Education, St. John’s Ambulance, YMCA and most municipal recreation departments offer these courses. All expenses related to CPR certification must be covered by the applicant.

How does the Mohawk Practical Nursing program compare to programs offered by other post-secondary institutions?
This Mohawk College program is unique in the following areas:


  • Enjoy Mohawk’s campus on the grounds of McMaster University adjacent to the McMaster University Medical Centre.
  • State-of-the-art Learning Resource Centre (nursing lab) with a mini-hospital and clinically simulated rooms.
  • Simulation equipment; low and high fidelity mannequins.


  • Clinically experienced faculty.
  • Nursing professors teach both classroom theory and lab classes as well as applied clinical courses.
  • RN and RPN Nurse Technologists to assist with clinical skills.

Feedback from Graduates:

  • Wide variety of hands-on experience.
  • Peer-tutoring by students is offered free of charge in the Learning Resource Centre.
  • Supportive student-faculty relationships.
  • Co-operative learning with an adult education focus helps me apply the information needed for the role.

Can I receive any credit for courses taken in the Practical Nursing program should I wish to apply to the BScN program?
Yes. Upon successful completion of the Practical Nursing Diploma program, you may apply to the Post Diploma RPN to BScN Program (E) Stream at Mohawk College. You will receive 30 Units of credit for your Practical Nursing program. For more information, click on Post Diploma RPN to BScN from the nursing home page.

How do I apply to the Post Diploma RPN to BScN Program (E) Stream?
This program is offered by Mohawk College, in collaboration with McMaster University. For this collaborative program, students apply to Ontario Colleges (opens new window).

How can I arrange a tour of the Mohawk-McMaster Institute?
To arrange a tour, please contact the Student Engagement Office at: 905-575-1212 ext. 6710, or book your tour online.

We're here to assist you! Please visit or contact us:
Counselling: 905-575-1212 ext. 6107
Financial Assistance: 1-844-767-6871 or e-mail Financial Assistance
Visit Mohawk College Off-Campus Housing
Visit the McMaster University Off-Campus Resource Centre (opens new window)

For more information please visit or contact us:
Mohawk College Admissions
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