Distance Nursing Certificate Programs


St. Francis Xavier University is pleased to offer certificate programs in clinical specialty areas to Post-RN students through distance education. Designed specifically for practicing nurses, these courses enable nurses to develop a stronger theory base, enhance their nursing practice, and address health care needs across nursing practice and life continuums.

Each course is fully transferable into the StFX Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and awards a certificate of completion upon conclusion of all required courses.

Each Certificate program is comprised of four required courses, valued at 3 credits each, totaling 12 credits.

These clinical certificate programs may be taken by students currently enrolled in the Post-RN BScN Program, as well as those preparing to enroll in a baccalaureate nursing program or nurses simply wanting to take a certificate program for personal or professional interest. Everything needed to complete the courses can be found online via Moodle (Learning Management System) with the exception of the course text(s) which is additional.


Each program is comprised of courses within the Part-time Post-RN BScN Program. Please note that each of the required courses have a value of 3 credits and are delivered over a 10-week period.

Certificate in Gerontological Nursing

This program is designed to prepare registered nurses to deliver holistic, effective care to older adults. Developing knowledge and practice skills enables nurses to address comprehensive needs of older client populations, identifying strengths as well as professional care needs. Each course is worth 3 credits.

The core curriculum includes the following courses:
N115: Health Teaching & Learning
N245: Aging and the Older Adult
N425: Comprehensive Health Assessment
N488: Challenges in Aging: Implications for Nursing

Certificate in Continuing Care

This program is designed to prepare registered nurses to move into the home health care area. This program enables nurses to move from acute care to home health care and expand their professional competencies and knowledge. Each course is worth 3 credits.

The core curriculum includes the following courses:
N135: Contemporary Issues in Nursing
N115: Health Teaching & Learning
N205: Community Health Nursing
N425: Comprehensive Health Assessment


N115: Health Teaching & Learning

In contrast to health protection and illness prevention, health promotion is a broad and holistic concept. This course explores the concept of health promotion; the nurse’s role in health promotion; the teaching-learning process; population health; social action and justice; the socio-cultural, economic, and political factors that influence health and behavior. 

N135: Contemporary Issues in Nursing

The foundation for all subsequent nursing courses, this class explores the evolution of nursing as a profession, including its theoretical and philosophical bases. Topics include: Orem’s self-care theory; legal and ethical issues; health care reform; the image of professional nursing; changing health care priorities, the image of professional nurses, and changing health care priorities. 

N205: Community Health Nursing

Explores the role of the community health nurse in the context of a changing health care system. Topics include: population health; primary health care; community assessment; epidemiology and demography; environment and ecology; cultural competence; ethics; the community as partner.

N245: Aging and the Older Adult

This course covers the process of growing older with reference to theories on universal aging. Students will learn to improve the function, quality of life, and self-care abilities of the elderly well, to assist them in maintaining independence. Topics include: aging-related changes; the role of the family and other aggregates; how elderly adults define and promote their health; the use of community resources.

N425: Comprehensive Health Assessment

This theory and practice course focuses on a systematic assessment of the well adult. Students will incorporate health history and physical examination of body systems in identifying self-care requisites for a diverse population.

N488: Challenges in Aging: Implications for Nursing

Using nursing and sociological perspectives on aging, students will explore holistic care of the older client, including current gerontological issues and trends, and their implications for nursing. Integrated nursing practice component. Also offered on campus. May be used as an open or NURS elective by third- or fourth-year B.Sc.N. students.


A current RN registration and one year clinical experience are required for both certificates and any of the specialty courses. For more information on registration and fees regarding these courses please contact the Program Office.

Click on link to download application form.

Student Handbooks/Resources

Contact Information

The Program Office is the centre of organizational activity for all distance nursing programs. It is here that all details of a student’s academic program are coordinated. Along with a multitude of other program activities, staff organize and distribute all course materials and exams, regulate ‘office hours’ to facilitate student contact with professors, and offer support and guidance to students. Staff at the Distance Nursing Program Office are all very knowledgeable and are readily available to assist students at any point in their program.

Mailing Address:

Distance Nursing Program Office
Continuing & Distance Education Department
St. Francis Xavier University
PO Box 5000
Antigonish, Nova Scotia B2G 2W5

Contact Information:

Toll-Freel: 1.800.565.43711.800.565.4371
Fax: (902) 867-5154
E-mail: distance.nursing@stfx.ca
website: post-rn-bscn-distance-nursing

Office Hours:

8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday



2175 Varsity Drive, MacDonald Hall
StFX University
Antigonish, Nova Scotia  B2G 2W5

Program Staff:

Patsy MacDonald (Director, Distance Nursing Programs)
Donna MacLellan (Administrative Assistant)