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Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition


Lorraine - Nursing

Challenge Method: Portfolio

I became a registered nurse 28 years ago when a good percentage of nurses took their training in a hospital setting. It had been a long time goal of mine to undertake further studies and acquire a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).  Five years ago, while raising a family of four children and working full time on the inpatient Psychiatry unit at Chilliwack General Hospital, I took the plunge and started back to university.

I was able to complete two of the nursing courses by utilizing the “Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition” (PLAR) process. Throughout my career as a nurse, I have had the opportunity to work in several interesting areas of practice. Two of these areas were Home Health Nursing and Public Health Nursing. The process of PLAR required that I put together a portfolio that would demonstrate how the skills and knowledge I had gained from my experience compared to the learning I would have achieved by taking the given courses. While going through this process I learned that I did indeed have a good deal of knowledge related to the subject areas. I learned that my hands on experience had taught me many valuable lessons.

I found putting together the portfolio a very interesting process. It required many hours of work but I learned so much. Now that some time has passed I think I would go through this process again. It allowed me the opportunity to fit my university work in around my job, family life and other commitments.

I would recommend the PLAR process to others. It does take a good deal of time to complete but it allows one the option of completing it at home which can be extremely helpful in time management. I believe that I gained knowledge that was even beyond the expectations of what the course would have asked of me. I would say that the portfolio I developed has helped my career as any knowledge gained is useful in the provision of solid nursing practice.