Nursing Unit Assistant Certificate

This program provides participants with the appropriate course work and practicum experience to function as a nursing unit assistant. Responsible for a variety of clerical duties, students will learn theory and application of relevant medical terminology to serve as this key member the healthcare team.

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  • Kelowna
  • Vernon
  • Penticton
View schedule and campus details
  • Full program offered
  • Partial program offered



Delivery options


Tuition and fees

2023-24: $5,726.76

Program details

The Nursing Unit Assistant is a key member of the healthcare team, has frequent contact with nursing and medical staff, and performs a wide range of clerical duties related to the operation of a patient/resident care facility.

This 439-hour Nursing Unit Assistant Certificate program focuses on the theory and application skills of the various roles and responsibilities of a Nursing Unit Assistant through classroom demonstrations and a 125-hour supervised practicum at accredited facilities. Topics include: medical terminology and abbreviations, coordinating patient/resident appointments, transcribing and processing physicians' orders, communicating with other healthcare departments and hospitals, assembling/maintaining patient/resident charts, performing keyboarding and data-entry responsibilities, arranging patient/resident tests and receiving results, telephone answering, and receiving and directing visitors.

Already have experience in this area? This program qualifies for our Recognition of Prior Learning review. If some of your previous experience could apply to this program, please click here for more information.

Some employers require a typing speed of 40 - 50 wpm. Students are expected to attain this minimum speed independently and may utilize a number of free typing programs online. To meet an employer’s typing speed requirement, typing tests are available through your nearest Okanagan College, Continuing Studies office – see campus contact info here.

Good computer literacy is required to be successful in this program and career. If you have not recently taken an introductory computer course or would like to ensure you have the basic skills, we encourage you to take our self-paced Computer Fundamentals course prior to September through Distance Education.

  • There is one book for Medical Terminology.  You can purchase it through the bookstore online.  All other course materials are provided in an electronic format.
  • You will need a computer or laptop with a camera, microphone and speakers.   
  • Okanagan College has a limited number of Nursing Unit Assistant practicum placements available for each regional hospital in Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton. Your practicum location is determined by the hospital located near the campus you apply to.
    • Vernon – Vernon Jubilee Hospital
    • Kelowna – Kelowna General Hospital
    • Penticton – Penticton Regional Hospital.
  • For placements at Kamloops/Royal Inland Hospital or Salmon Arm/Shuswap Lake General Hospital, please apply to the Vernon Campus and inform us of your practicum preference at RIH or SLGH.
  • The hospitals set the schedules, you do not choose the hours for your practicum.

From September to December all scheduled classes are done online with live lectures. In mid-January, students come to campus for face-to-face classes on Saturdays (the weekday classes remain online). All lectures have mandatory attendance.  

Kelowna Classes are scheduled Tuesday/Thursday 6-9 pm, and Saturdays 9am to 4pm. 

When applying online, choose Continuing Studies as the faculty.

Campus Start date Schedule
Kelowna Sep. 03, 2024
Penticton Sep. 2024

Two evenings per week plus Saturdays online until November, then Saturdays are face to face.

Vernon Sep. 03, 2024

Admission requirements

  • B.C. secondary school graduation, or equivalent, or 19 years of age and out of secondary school for at least one year as of the first day of classes.

  • English 12 with minimum 60% or alternatives.

  • Applicants must provide evidence of a negative tuberculin test, taken no more than six months before the date of application (or evidence of an appropriate follow-up if the test was positive)

  • A criminal record check clearance from the B.C. Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General's Criminal Records Review Office. Okanagan College's admission offices will provide applicants with instructions and forms for applicants to submit to the Solicitor General's Office and a deadline for the College to receive the clearance letter. Applicants should only initiate their criminal record check when instructed by Admissions. Failure to provide a clearance letter by the deadline will result in a cancellation of the applicant's admission application.

Program outline

MOA 01 - Medical Terminology
NUA 100 - Communication Skills for Nursing Unit Assistants
NUA 110 - Patient Chart Records
NUA 120 - Admissions, Transfers, and Discharges
NUA 130 - Pharmacology
NUA 140 - Processing Medication Orders
NUA 150 - Processing Laboratory Orders
NUA 160 - Processing Diagnostic Orders
NUA 170 - Processing Interventional Orders
NUA 180 - Practicum
  • Students must pass the practicum and attain a minimum grade of 70% in each of the other courses in the program.
Additional information

View the official Calendar details and policies
Learn more about the department
View the Tuition and fees page


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