Rural Community Route for Bachelor of Nursing Degree with UCalgary, Portage College and AHS Collaborative
November 10, 2022

Portage College, the University of Calgary (UCalgary) and Alberta Health Services (AHS) are partnering to welcome the first class of Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) students in January 2023 who will begin their voyage towards a UCalgary Bachelor of Nursing (BN) degree out of Portage College, Cold Lake Campus. Through this unique collaborative program, a form of which was piloted in Wainwright in 2021 with high school students from that area, a group of nine LPN students will begin the rural community BN program on January 5th and will graduate in December 2024 as baccalaureate-prepared nurses, ready to take their registered nursing exam.

Nursing attending to a patient

Through this distance degree, Portage College Practical Nurse program graduates who are now working LPNs in the Portage College service region become the first students in this pilot program. Distance learning will be delivered by UCalgary nursing faculty through a blend of distance education technology, instructor-led face to face labs, and clinical experiences. Students will have access to Portage College amenities, network access, classrooms and nursing labs in the Cold Lake campus. The partners will work closely together to monitor and support program success.  

Once graduated, students will be eligible to apply to the College of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CRNA) for temporary provincial registration and write the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), the Canada-wide exam for the licensing of nurses. With success on the NCLEX, program graduates become Registered Nurses.

“In rural Northern Alberta, we are all aware of the significant nursing shortage that is projected to continue and to increase,” says Shona Hommy, Associate Dean for Health. “It is through flexible, progressive and collaborative partnerships such as this that some relief to the pressures of the shortage can be found. We are so pleased there has been a significant level of interest in the program and if the pilot program is as successful as the partners believe it will be, future program offerings will be supported.” 

Supporting individuals currently working and residing in rural and remote communities to access the education required to increase their credentials and expand their career, reflects Portage College’s commitment to their mission, “Connecting people with knowledge, skills and opportunities.” 

male nurse attending to a patients wound

For more information about the Nursing programs:
Samantha McDonnell, Marketing Specialist
780-623-5654 or email

Media Inquiries:
Jaime Davies, Corporate Communications Manager 
780-623-5581 or email

UCalgary contact:

We acknowledge that Portage College’s service region is on the traditional lands of First Nation Peoples, the owners of Treaty 6, 8 and 10, which are also homelands to the Métis people. We honour the history and culture of all people who first lived and gathered in these lands.
Facebook Instagram Linkedin RSS Twitter YouTube TikTok