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What are the Challenges?

Clinical Placement

This can be an exciting experience because this is where you will begin to feel like a "real nurse" and where you can practice your skills and knowledge, but it can be very challenging. You start your clinical experience in the second semester of your first year at one (1) day per week in the BN program and two (2) days per week in the PN program. After that you have two (2) days per week each semester until your last semester in the program. Then you do more hours each week. In each clinical setting you will be assessed by professors for your ability to apply theory and to deliver safe nursing care. This is a large part of your learning experience and clinical requires mandatory attendance.

Because of the varied experiences we want for our students and the number of students, we have clinical placements throughout the Greater Toronto Area. This means that you may be assigned to an agency that will require you to travel a distance to and from your home. The cost of travel and parking is your responsibility.

You may also need to travel at different times of the day. There will be experiences where you are required to be in the clinical setting very early in the day: sometimes as early as 6:45 a.m. or perhaps later in the evening. If you have children you need to make arrangements for their care. If you are travelling long distances, you need to make sure that you know your route to that agency, so that you arrive on time and are prepared to participate in the clinical experience.

Assignments Due the Same Week

Although the professors try not to have this happen, it may occur. You need to be able to prioritize your assignments and start early. You will receive assignment due dates at the beginning of each semester. Write them into your organization calendar and keep pace with them. Skills that you learn in managing your assignments will apply to the organization of your nursing work.

Multiple Choice Questions

There will be some courses that use this method of testing and evaluation. If you have difficulties with this testing style, you may benefit from the Study Skills workshop offered by Counselling services.

Group Assignments

Several courses have a group assignment component. The purpose of this to learn the process of effective team work, which is common to nurses, and to encourage sharing of knowledge within the small group. The strength of group assignments is to work as a team and each person to carry their share of the responsibility to complete a product of excellent quality.


The American Psychology Association (APA) format is the expected format of all essays written at a university /college level. You may find this different from the format you had to use in high school. You will find on your reading lists provided each semester an APA text that is mandatory to purchase. You will find that the book you purchase in first semester will be your guide for the remainder of your program. The Writing Centre which provides additional resources.

Academic Misconduct

This is the term we use to describe cheating on assignments and tests. There are specific academic penalties for students on the preparation and submission of work to be evaluated for grades.

The penalties for cheating include reduction in grades, suspension, and even withdrawal from the program. Cheating is not acceptable behaviour for persons planning on Nursing as a career.


Many students need to work to support their education or to meet family obligations. As educators we can understand that need. You should realize, however, that if you work excessive hours you are jeopardizing your education. Plan your financial resources so that you can commit the necessary time and effort to your studies. We can empathize with your financial needs, but you need to be successful in your program requirements. There are some financial resources available through Financial Aid Services; however, there is not sufficient to meet all students' needs.

Child and Family Care

Many of our students have children and families which is a great support, but they also place a demand on your time. Make sure that you have quality child care before you start your semester. It will provide a sense of security. Talk with your family and explain that this program will require a large commitment from you and explore ways for them to assist you meet your goal.

If problems arise and you need some ideas about how to cope with your situation or concerns, remember that Counselling Services are there for you. The information is confidential and the counsellors can provide suggestions that you may not have considered because you are so close to the issue.


There are many things that can cause stress; a new program, being away from normal support systems, a new role as post-secondary student, and unknown aspects of the role of nurse. Stress can be overwhelming at times. It can create physical symptoms and emotional symptoms. There is nothing wrong with saying you are stressed and asking for some assistance. Again Counselling Services is available to you to help you cope with the stress and guide you to helpful resources. Use them!