Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of frequently asked questions. If your question or concern is not addressed, please do not hesitate to contact us. Please note this information does not supersede policies described in the UNBC Undergraduate Academic Calendar. In the event that the information below and information in the Calendar are inconsistent, the Calendar will be deemed correct.

What is the Rural Nursing Certificate Program?

The RNCP is a provincial program offered by the University of Northern British Columbia School of Nursing.
The Program delivers a practice-driven curriculum through online courses, workshops, and practical experiences to Registered Nurses and undergraduate student nurses. 
There are seven courses in the certificate program which provide students with the knowledge and clinical skills needed to deliver nursing care in rural communities and hospitals.
NURS 458-6 Remote Nursing Certified Practice is not a required course in the Rural Nursing Certificate Program; however, it is available to RNs completing the entire Program or those seeking certification in remote nursing only.

What courses are offered in the Rural Nursing Certificate Program?

NURS 451-3 Health Assessment and RN First Call
NURS 452-6 Chronic Disease Management, Palliative Care and Wound Care
NURS 453-3 Nursing Practice with Older Persons
NURS 454-6 Perinatal Care
NURS 455-6 Critical Care, Emergency and Trauma
NURS 456-3 Mental Health and Addictions
NURS 457-3 Living & Working in a Rural Community
NURS 458-6 Remote Nursing Certified Practice (This course is not required for the Rural Nursing Certificate but is available to RNs completing the entire program or those who are seeking certification in remote nursing only.)

Who can apply?

Applicants must be practicing registered nurses with up-to-date British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals (BCCNP) registration and must meet the UNBC admission requirement of a 2.0 CGPA in their Nursing diploma or degree.

How do I apply?

Go to our online application site and click on the “Apply Now” tab. A non-refundable application fee of $37.50 is required and applicants must send UNBC all official transcripts from their nursing degree or diploma. An additional $40 fee will be charged for out-of-province or out of country transcripts.
Upon admission to the Program, applicants may be sent an immunization form that must be completed by a PHN, NP, or MD.

What are the application deadlines?

  • August 1st is the deadline for the September semester.
  • December 1st is the deadline for the January semester.

How is the Rural Nursing Certificate Program delivered?

All the courses in the Program are web-based. Learn (Blackboard) is the online learning management system used to deliver the RNCP courses. Some courses include a mandatory workshop and or practicum component.

Do I have to complete all of the courses in Rural Nursing Certificate Program?

Students can complete the whole certificate or take individual courses based on interest or need. For example, NURS 454-6 Perinatal Care is a popular stand-alone course. The courses can be taken in any order; however, it is recommended that NURS 451-3 Health Assessment and RN First Call be completed before NURS 455-6 Foundations in Emergency & Trauma Nursing.

Can I take only NURS 451-3 Health Assessment and RN First Call?

Yes, it is possible to take only NURS 451-3 Health Assessment and RN First Call. Currently, this course is offered in the September and January semester.

Can I take only NURS 458-6 Remote Nursing Certified Practice?

Yes, it is possible to take only NURS 458-6 Remote Nursing Certified Practice. This course may be offered only in the January semester.

How do I become certified with BCCNP after taking NURS 451-3 Health Assessment and RN First Call or NURS 458-6 Remote Nursing Certified Practice?

Upon successful completion of either course, the candidate completes a form 62 "Certified Practice Registration," which can be found on the BCCNP web site. For additional information on becoming certified, please visit the BCCNP Certified Practice web site.

Can I challenge the exam in NURS 458-6 Remote Nursing Certified Practice?

Nurses seeking the challenge exam must contact the BCCNP for determination of eligibility. Nurses deemed eligible by the BCCNP are permitted to register for the challenge exam.

What is needed to participate in distance education?

Students must have a home computer and access to high-speed Internet. Their computer should have the latest Java installed, a word processing program, preferably Microsoft Word, and a PDF reader. Feel free to contact us for more information in this regard.

What type of technical support is available?

We have dedicated e-learning support staff available to students from the moment they contact us about the program. Our support staff will assist students with any technical problems they encounter throughout the course.
Our aim is to respond to email or phone messages within 24 hours or in a shorter time period on days that assignments are due.

Is the program self-paced?

None of the coursework in this program is self-paced.  Students should log into their course(s) on the first day of classes to familiarize themselves with the course requirements i.e., due dates for assignments, participation requirements, dates for workshops, etc. 
The certificate is designed to be completed on a part-time basis, namely 6 credit hours per semester; however, students may increase or decrease their course load depending on their preference, course availability, and their personal circumstances. It takes approximately 2.5 years to complete the entire certificate taking 6 credit hours per semester.

How much time will I need to spend on these courses?

Students should budget at least 10-12 hours per week for a 3 credit course; a 6 credit course (or two 3 credit courses) requires 20-25 hours per week. People who have limited experience working on computers, or who have not been students recently, should budget for several more hours per week.

What are the practicum and workshop requirements?

NURS 451-3 Health Assessment and RN First Call includes a five-day workshop.
NURS 454-6 Perinatal Care includes a 2-day workshop and a 192 hour (sixteen-12 hour shifts) practicum.
NURS 455-6 Critical Care, Emergency and Trauma includes a 3-day workshop and a 192 hour (sixteen-12 hour shifts) practicum.
NURS 458-6 Remote Certified Practice includes a workshop with an expected duration of 5 days.
Attending workshops and practicums is mandatory and will require travel and time away from home and work. The costs associated with the workshops and or practicum are the sole responsibility of the student.

Can RNCP students complete a nursing degree?

The Certificate requires the completion of 30 credits which can be applied toward a BScN at UNBC. An additional 5 courses (15 credits) are required for degree completion; all of these courses are offered via distance education.

How much does the certificate cost?

A breakdown of tuition and fees can be found at
Textbook costs vary; some courses utilize online readings while other courses may require up to 3 textbooks.

Is funding available to support nurses taking this program?

Visit the BC Nurses' Union web site for a list of bursaries and members funding opportunities, application instructions and deadlines.
Nurses working for Northern, Interior, Vancouver Island, Vancouver Coastal and First Nations Health Authorities may be eligible for funding through their Health Authority. See contact information below:
First Nations Health
Erin Wiltse, Professional Practice Leader

Interior Health

Neeta Tapper, Specialty Education
Clinical Professional Education
250-469-7070 local:13189

Northern Health

Stacey Pickering, Coordinator, Specialty Education
Clinical Education

Vancouver Coastal Health

Jennifer Wilks, Analyst
Clinical Education
604-875-4111 ext. 62306 

Vancouver Island Health

Enid O'Hara, Manager of Rural Service
Strathcona Corridor & Northern Gulf Islands

How do I register for courses?

You must apply to UNBC to become a RNCP student. After you have been admitted to the program, the Rural Nursing Program Advisor will email you registration instructions.

Can I receive transfer credit for similar courses taken at other institutions?

Transfer credit may be awarded for coursework completed at recognized institutions.  All transfer credit for coursework taken prior to admission will be evaluated at the request of the student and applied at the time of initial registration in the program. 
A maximum of 15 credit hours from recognized institutions may be transferred to the RNCP and the BScN completion option.
Please contact the Rural Nursing Program Advisor for more information about transfer credit.

Where will I complete my practica?

Practicum is arranged by the Clinical Placement Coordinator (CPC).  A list of eligible facilities will be provided by the CPC; students will be given the opportunity to submit choices regarding their preferred practicum sites.  Every effort will be made to secure a placement site of the student’s choice; however, the student’s preferred placement is not guaranteed and students must complete their practicum at the facility they have been assigned. 

When are RNCP courses offered?

RNCP courses are offered in the Fall and Winter semesters.

Are Fetal Health Surveillance and Neonatal Resuscitation required for NURS 454-6 Perinatal Care?

Prior to the NURS 454 Perinatal Care practicum, students must provide proof of certification in the Fetal Health Surveillance course (FHS) and Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP).

Who do I contact for additional information?

Please contact the Rural Nursing Program Advisor at or call 250-960-6753.