Nurse Practitioners in Canada

Some 425,757 regulated nurses live and practice in Canada, and the majority of them are employed in their profession. They work across different settings such as long-term care and nursing homes, hospitals, patient’s homes, community health centers, schools, and outpatient care facilities.


Nurse practitioners in Canada usually have a Bachelor’s Degree and take different courses during their studies, including organic chemistry, pharmacology, microbiology, anatomy, physiology, and others. Different colleges in Canada offer nursing programs, among which the Nunavut Arctic College, Holland College, and Cambrian College. Students are offered training and instruction for their future duties and responsibilities, including occupational and mental health, orthopedics, immunization, etc.

The Nunavut Arctic College offers a Bachelor’s Program in Nursing which is a 4-year program with a focus on arctic nursing. Students take courses such as culture and health, health assessment, counseling relationships, and alterations in mental health. Holland College in the Prince Edward Island also offers a program in Practical Nursing, and the curriculum features courses such as communication in healthcare, anatomy and physiology, and normal growth and development. Graduates find employment in different settings, including doctor’s offices, hospitals, home and community care, and long-term care. Cambrian College features both a diploma and a degree program in nursing. The diploma program is with a length of 2 years, and successful graduates sit the CNO certification exam. The curriculum covers courses such as health and wellness, health assessment, human relations, and positive psychology. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program is a 4-year program jointly offered with the Laurentian University. Students can choose from a number of core and specialized courses, including health and healing, infectious diseases and immunity, and microbiology health sciences. Other academic institutions that offer degree and diploma programs include Niagara College, Humber College, Georgian College, and Durham College.

Exams and Qualifications

To practice in Canada, graduates are required to sit different exams depending on their province or territory. In Ontario, for example, they sit the College of Nurses of Ontario Exam and the registration exam. All graduates in Canada are required to pass the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination to obtain a license.


Practitioners can choose from different specialties such as critical care pediatrics, emergency care, occupational health, and hospice palliative care. Hospice palliative care nurses, for example, assist patients with terminal, serious, and long-term illnesses such as chronic renal disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, cancer, and Parkinson’s disease. Gastroenterology nurses care for patients with problems such as rectal and colon cancer, ulcerative colitis, food allergies, ulcers, and reflux. ER nurses work in trauma centers and emergency rooms and are tasked with reviewing and documenting medical history, identifying problems, and taking signs such as blood pressure, heart rhythm, and temperature. They also administer medications and treatments, bandage wounds, monitor patients, and offer follow-up recommendations. Other specialties include oncology, medical surgical, diabetes, and psychiatric and mental health nursing.

Types of Practitioners

The main types in Canada are acute care and primary health care. Acute care nurse practitioners usually assist critically ill patients and work across different settings and units, including cardiology, nephrology, and neonatology. Primary healthcare practitioners, on the other hand, identify medical problems, interpret the results of lab and diagnostic tests, administer treatments, and more. Other tasks and responsibilities include treating injuries and wounds, prescribing therapeutic plans, and monitoring the effectiveness of treatments. They work in different settings, including long-term care facilities, hospitals, clinics, and community healthcare centers.


The salary of nurse practitioners varies from about $58,670 on the lower end to over $105,600. The average salary is at about $87,920.

Useful Reading provided by Canadian Nurses Association