Presenters: Gordon MacDonald, Executive Director, BC College of LPN’s
The BC College of Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN’s) has undertaken a project to enrich the training of LPN’s in BC. By encouraging higher levels of literacy and essential skills and multi-skilling in academic training, graduates are better prepared to be effective in their work. The College also works with employers to encourage the full utilization of the available skills so that both employers and LPN’s benefit from the enriched training.
Gordon MacDonald outlined for delegates, the mandate and mission of the College and the current education picture. He then explained the impact of new requirements for certification of LPN’s. These requirements are determined by a Board, which governs certification. New requirements include a longer basic education component in some jurisdictions and, in BC, a pharmacology competency component, something that many LPN’s may have difficulty achieving without some assistance. To this end, the BC College of LPN’s has developed a self assessment tool to allow LPN’s to determine how much upgrading they require and in which areas, in order to be fully competent in the pharmacology discipline.
Gordon also discussed the move toward national competencies and the role of the College, as part of an inter-provincial project that includes Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, in assisting with the development of these competencies.
Mentoring and preceptoring initiatives are seen as an excellent way to ensure smooth integration of new graduates into a work situation as well as the seamless transition of employed LPN’s who may be moving from one level of patient care to another. Recognizing the value of these types of programs, the BC College of LPN’s has initiated a training program for mentors and preceptors. The program has proven to be a great success, providing spin-off benefits to employers in the increased interpersonal skills of trained mentor/preceptors.
Overall, Gordon’s message was one of the necessity of preparing workers and future workers for an increasingly complex workplace. Integrating essential skills into training programs and encouraging multi skilling will help to increase the opportunities for gaining and retaining employment.