Has anyone gone to Norquest for Distance Education LPN program?

  1. I have been looking into Norquest's Distance Education Program for Practical Nursing and was wondering if anyone on here has had any experience with it they would like to share? I live in BC so I would be doing it completely through correspondance. I am familiar with this type of learning because I am currently doing some high school level prerequisites through distance ed. and I really like it, but for something as in depth as this program I'd like to get some feedback from people before i look into it further.

    I was also wondering how you arrange your practicums or perceptorship? Does Norquest help you with that or is it totally up to you to find a place? I have emailed the school for more info but haven't heard back yet so I thought I'd post here (first time) Thank you in advance, E
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   OpusNurse
    I took that very course and it's wonderful. There was a gal in my practicums that was also from BC. She had to come to Edmonton to do LTC and Acute Care practicals, (because they are instructor led) but they did arrange her preceptorships close to home.
    (I don't know if she had to write the CLPNA license exam, or if she wrote in BC)
    You can pre-arrange preceptorships and let them know where you'd like to go and they will certainly attempt to accomodate that. In fact, if you know of places that will take you, they appreciate it, it's probably easier for them that way.
    Norquest also supplies a list of people who might be able to offer you room and board for your practicums in Edmonton, some of them are their own instructors! They may also be able to hook you up with other students who want to share accomodations or live in Edmonton and can board someone. They are also very alert to the fact that this will take you away from your family and can be a very difficult time in that respect. However, they will become your family for that few weeks and help you get through it!
    Workshop labs were also offered for skills and skills exams, which you may not have to attend, if you can send in your skills exam by video, OR if you know of a nurse you can help/test you, they sometimes do it that way as well if they can make arrangements with that nurse.
    The videos and practice equipment supplied with the course were extremely helpful and there was always an instructor available if I called with questions.
    The courses are well laid out to make it easier to comprehend all the gobblydegook you will have to learn.
    It does sound scary to do it by distance, but you can succeed! Of course you'll find some courses more difficult and others you'll breeze through, but that's all part of learning. It's all a matter of staying focused, setting aside time to work on your studies etc. If you can handle the courses you are taking now by distance, you shouldn't have any problem with this course.
    Being able to do one course at a time (more if you really want to) and pay one course at a time was a big bonus. (I went back to school later in life and had 3 kids to deal with at the same time) I still finished in about 16 months.
    Written exams just need someone to montior them, and someone always calls and reviews the whole exam with you when it's marked.
    I thoroughly enjoyed the courses, the instructors were wonderful, proffessional, and what I refer to as "down to earth", meaning they will teach you the textbook AND the real world of nursing. They are really helpful if you are going through a tough area.
    I had NO PROBLEM getting a job immediately after I graduated. I also felt well prepared for the CLPNA exam, (Passed the first try!) They supplied me with a letter of reference, and I found that potential employers and new co-workers really respected Norquest as a nursing school. NO ONE has chided me about getting my LPN out of a crackerjack box!!
    Willing to answer any other questions you may have!
  4. by   OgopogoLPN
    I also live in BC, am doing pre reqs for LPN through distance. Someone referred me to the Norquest website and I checked it out. Sounds like a good program, but you need to look carefully at the cost. For out of province student, the cost is around $18,000, plus GST, and then about another $3000 for books.

    There's no way I could travel to Edmonton for practicums. And I'm finding doing my pre reqs by distance very tough. I do much better in a classroom setting.

    I've applied to Okanagan College in Kelowna for Sept 2007 and I should find out by mid March if I get in. If I don't, I'll wait and apply for the Jan 2008 intake. If I don't get into that one, I'll keep applying. No way would I go to Sprott-Shaw or the other private college in town that offers LPN.

    I'm not sure where in BC you live, but most community colleges seem to offer LPN. VCC, Okanagan College, check out if Douglas College does, or the one in North Van, Camosum in Victoria. I'm sure there's colleges in Prince George, Nelson, Kamloops etc that offer it as well. Unless you are in a very remote area, you should be able to find one that offers LPN in your area. And at less than 1/2 the cost of doing it by correspondence through Norquest.

    ETA: My total tuition for Okanagan College, including books, supplies etc wil be about $8000-$8500.

    Good luck with your decision.
    Last edit by OgopogoLPN on Jan 26, '07
  5. by   Fiona59
    Yup, you have to factor in the out-of-province student fee. I've worked with distance and classroom students and always feel that the classroom students are easier to work with. They've had to survive the politics of nursing school and seem to understand team ethics better than "independent" learners.

    Just my two-bits worth, my unit has PN students about four times a year and we can usually tell within the first shift if its the distance class.
  6. by   Lee Anne
    I graduated from Norquest's distance program about 4 yrs ago. If you would like to know more I can answer your questions if you email me.

    Thanks
  7. by   CuriousStudent1108
    Reviving this old thread, I was looking at this program yesterday.

    I'm currently upgrading Science and Math to get into the Northern Lakes College program for Practical Nursing. I'm loving it, and very excited.

    However, just a couple of days ago, I ran into a lady who'd enrolled in the NLC program about 18 months ago. She did the first 2 weeks, then quit. She said it was horribly disorganized (no book available for the first week) and the video-conferencing (as the actual location of the college is in Slave Lake, AB. Grande Prairie has only a "satellite location"), difficult to take any notes, etc. Of 12 who were enrolled, only 4 showed up, and 3 (including her) quit within the first 2 weeks. Generally, I take that to mean that a student feels unable to succeed with that level of support.

    Needless to say, I was dismayed to hear that. This is my ONLY local option for taking Practical Nursing, and I know for certain that it is just the career for me. I called the Grande Prairie campus to set up an appt. with a local instructor (you're supposed to have a nurse/instructor to help you if you need it) to come in and discuss my concerns and get a bit more "in-depth" information about the program, other than what is available on the website. I called; there was no answer in the middle of a business/school day. I got a machine, left a polite message. Haven't heard back. I stopped by the campus today, at 2 PM on a Friday, and the doors were locked, and there was no one in the building (I peeked in the windows).

    I don't know what kind of "college" doesn't answer their phone, or have their doors open to their students... but it doesn't seem to be what it purports to be on the website. I'm hoping I'm wrong, but I'm starting to look at other options - or find out if there ARE other options.

    I had initially dismissed the idea of "on your own" Norquest distance-study - but according to these posts, it seems like it might be a viable option?

    If any of you who originally posted are still around, could you weigh in on my situation? I'm looking for some advice and maybe some options because right now I feel confused and disappointed.
  8. by   CuriousStudent1108
    Ogopogo - I know you're around!

    Can you tell me why "you'd never go to a Sprott-Shaw" type college? I don't know what the pros/cons are in choosing programs. What makes Okanagan College a better alternative?
  9. by   OgopogoLPN
    Quote from CuriousStudent1108
    Ogopogo - I know you're around!

    Can you tell me why "you'd never go to a Sprott-Shaw" type college? I don't know what the pros/cons are in choosing programs. What makes Okanagan College a better alternative?

    I would never go there for a variety of reasons:

    1. COST!!! My program cost me $6,100 including books, fees, etc. Sprott Shaw is $21,000!!!!

    2. Reputation: I've have not heard great things about Sprott Shaw from anyone who has gone there. They are for-profit business and run it as such. They have a high turnover of instructors. My college has been teaching the LPN program for 45 years and has an awesome reputation in my city for turning out quality LPN's. All the RN instructors have been teaching there for a minimum of 5-8 years, or longer.

    3. Education: A girl in my class has a friend who is currently attending Sprott Shaw for LPN. She said their nursing lab has 6 beds for 24 students! Our nursing lab has at least 20 beds for 26 students (we always work in pairs) and great supplies, manequins etc.

    4. Personal experience: I went to a private college many years ago for a medical office admin course. It wasn't Sprott Shaw, but it definately taught me that private colleges are not the way to go!

    However, in saying all that, I can't completely bash Sprott Shaw as they do claim that 3 of their campuses including Kelowna, Victoria and Kamloops have had a 100% pass rate on the national LPN exam in the past few years. And of course I know that the LPNs who come from Sprott Shaw are usually fabulous. Quaility nurses because they are quality people, but they likely did not receive quality education (especially for what they paid!!)


    But, it still wasn't for me.
  10. by   CuriousStudent1108
    Thanks for your reply.

    What do you think of my situation?

    I'm thinking that Norquest's Distance Program might be my only chance of getting a program without having to move my family (which isn't an option).
  11. by   OgopogoLPN
    I think that Norquest has a good reputation (from what I hear). I guess it depends on how discilplined you feel you can be by taking a course by distance ed. I have certainly found that being in a classroom setting is a HUGE ADVANTAGE to distance ed. There's no way that distance ed would have worked for me for the LPN course.

    Can you ask (if you ever get ahold of Northern Lights) if you can sit in on a day of "video conferancing classes" and see how you think it'll work for you. It might very well be that Norquest wouldn't be a whole lot different.

    Is there a big difference in tuitions? I don't know. It's too bad you don't have more options! I know all about not being able to move your family for education, which I wouldn't have been able to as well.

    Are there any other programs within 1 hour to 1.5 hour drive? Two women from my class commute about 1.5 hours every day (each way). It is difficult, but it can be done. I wish I had better advice for you!! I would be very wary of putting money into a program that sounds like crap though!!
  12. by   Fiona59
    I graduated from the Norquest on site programme and the majority of my co-workers received their education there.

    It was one of the most frustrating experiences of my life. The lack of organization you mentioned was there for all of us who attended school with them. But having said that, I've heard the same thing from RNs who graduated from GMCC.

    To do the distance thing, you need to be highly motivated and organized. When you get to clinicals you need to be willing to learn. Some of the best and worst students that have preceptored at my hospital have been the distance students. They know their book learning but many of them have been lacking in for lack of a better word "workplace/social" skills. Many have been NAs in nursing homes and are constantly saying "that's not how we did it". Well, as we've explained "you're not in Kansas anymore" ala the Wizard of Oz. You need to be confident in your skills and be willing to learn from experienced nurses who are there to mentor you.

    For the academic requirements (English, Psych, and electives) I would do them at your local community college just to get out of the house and interact with students. Most courses will transfer into the programme.

    Only you can decide what works for you. If travelling is an issue, how will you manage clinicals? I remember the distance ed students had to come to Edmonton for them.
  13. by   CuriousStudent1108
    Thanks Ogopogo and Fiona for weighing in.

    At this point, a "face to face traditional program" just isn't an option for me - there is NO program like that in GP. It is a matter of seeing how organized Northern Lakes is (which doesn't look promising so far) and comparing that to a completely self-directed study program, like Norquest.

    The opinions of the earliest posters on their distance programs are encouraging - it's nice to hear an objective opinion from someone who's been IN the program, but isn't working for the college trying to sell you on the propaganda. I'd like more specifics, so I'm hoping that they may see this thread and contact me. I'm going to call Norquest Monday, and start seriously at their program.

    Of course practicums, etc are going to be inconvenient... no matter which program I'm in, I'm not likely to be able to do them in GP. Most of those types of seats at our local health facilities are given to the RN students through GPRC. For limited amounts of time, I'll have to deal with travel, and we'll cross those bridges when we get there.

    Since I have no other experience with being an aide, etc. I'm not too worried about "doing it my way". And since I'm also a mature, and professional, woman I'm not worried about the dynamics of classroom politics, etc. Those issues are common to workplaces, no matter which profession you are pursuing. Smile, treat people as you'd wish to be treated, and most stuff can be ignored or overcome.

    I'll keep this thread alive and share what I find out, and get your input. Thanks again for what you've had to say so far.
  14. by   CuriousStudent1108
    I'm going to call Norquest Monday, and start seriously at their program.

    Sorry, that should read "start seriously looking at their program"

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