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Practical Nursing Cert

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Programs of Study

Certificate Programs

Practical Nursing


Program code: 157-01

Gainful Employment Information

Length: Four semester program.

Purpose: The practical nurse program prepares students to qualify as contributing members of the health care team, rendering patient care as practical nurses in a variety of health service facilities. At the successful completion of the program, and application approval of the state board of nursing, students will be eligible to sit for the NCLEX exam, leading to licensure as a practical nurse.

Occupational Objective: Position in health-related facilities such as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, physicians’ offices, certain government agencies, or other health-related agencies.

Admission Requirements: To enter the Certificate Practical Nursing program, the student must be a high school graduate or the equivalent. High school courses must include one unit of biology (lab) and one unit of algebra with a “C” grade or better. Students not having Biology and Algebra in high school must complete Biology 20 and Math 03. The Virginia Placement Test must be completed prior to consideration for the program. Students who do not meet the above requirements, or who do not score high enough on math, writing, and reading tests to be eligible for ENG 101, must enroll in the college Developmental Studies program to gain proficiency in this area. Applicants must have a “C” or better reflecting a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better in high school or college. All students must take the TEAS V test for consideration of entrance into the practical nursing program and score accordingly to meet program entrance criteria. Entrance to the program is based on the highest ranking of GPA, TEAS V test scores, available program positions. Background checks and drug screens of all students entering the program is required and must be cleared prior to any clinical placement in order for students to complete the program requirements and continue in the program. .

This program is open to both male and female applicants. Application should be made by January 15 of the year students plan to enter the program and all application materials must be in place by this date. Out- of- region applicants will be considered after April 1. Out-of-state applicants will be considered for any openings available after May. The program start date is the fall semester of each school year.

The SWCC service region is Buchanan, Dickenson(partial), Russell, Tazewell counties.

The nursing law of Virginia addresses criteria for application for licensure. The Virginia State Board of Nursing has the power to deny opportunity to procure license through testing if the applicant has willfully committed a felony/misdemeanor under laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia or of the United States.

Program Requirements: Upon admission, students must complete a health examination form before enrolling in the classes. During the course of the program, the practical nursing faculty will carefully observe and evaluate the student’s suitability for nursing. Student’s who exhibit unprofessional behaviors in the classroom or clinical settings will be evaluated and if issues persist, dismissal will be initiated by the director and administration of the program.
Students must earn at least a “C” grade in each of a given semester’s PNE prefix courses to continue into the next semester. Students who receive a grade lower than the required “C” must drop out of the program.
Proof of tuberculin skin test (PPD) must be shown on admission to the program and /or before entry into the clinical areas. Previous positive reactors are exempt but must see the program director.

Physical demands in this program include duties that frequently require squatting, bending, kneeling, reaching, and stair climbing; lifting and carrying up to 50 pounds; frequent pushing and pulling up to 200 pounds with assistance; occasional lifting up to 200 pounds with assistance and occasional carrying up to 51-74 pounds. Duties also require constant use of acute sight, hearing, touch, and speech. Environmental conditions include procedures that involve handling of blood and body fluids using universal precautions.

Other Requirements: 

1. Professional liability insurance is required of all students.
2. Students are responsible for transportation to classes and to agencies used for clinical experience.
3. Complete required physical examination prior to admission with current immunizations.
4. Be assigned to clinical agencies on a space available basis.
5. Be certified in CPR (American Heart Association Health Care Provider or Red Cross CPR for Professional Rescuers). Student must maintain CPR certification throughout the entire clinical phase of the program.
6. Purchase of uniforms and accessories.
7. Travels to clinical facilities are the responsibility of the student.
8. Students doing clinical rotations must adhere to the policies of clinical affiliate.

Program Readmission: In order to return to the program (usually the following year when the course(s) in question are offered again), the student must meet the following:

1. Apply in writing to the program head at least one semester before the readmission semester for permission to repeat the course(s) in which a grade lower than a “C” was earned.
2. Have at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA at the time of application for readmission. All returning students must take the TEAS V test and meet program entrance
3. Have a conference with the program head and/or a designated representative to discuss and review a) personal or professional factors which may have an influence in the student’s success; and b) academic or professional activities in which student may have undertaken since the interruption of the program.
Decisions on readmission will depend on this criteria and upon the availability of a clinical slot in the desired class. Normally, students will be notified of readmission four to six weeks before the requested admission date, except in situations where there are mitigating circumstances.

A Virginia law may affect an individual’s ability to find employment in certain settings as a Licensed Practical Nurse. Effective July 1, 1992, licensed nursing home and similar organizations are prohibited from hiring persons who have been convicted of certain criminal acts. A criminal background check and drug screen are required.

Financial Requirements: In addition to the usual college tuition and fees, the nursing program requires: Uniforms, Books, Liability Insurance, CPR certification, and program designated achievement tests.

Clinical Contracts: Individual contracts are in effect with each affiliate clinical agency and these contracts differ in requirements made of students. The general stipulations are as follows:

1. Clinical agencies reserve the right to dismiss a student from their agency at any time with any due cause. This will be done with advance notice except in an emergency.
2. Proper uniform must be worn.
3. Published policies of hospital must be adhered to.
4. Immunizations must be current and include Hepatitis B and MMR. Proof of Tuberculin skin test (PPD) must be shown on admission to the program and before beginning a readmission second year. Previous positive reactors are exempt but must see the Program Director.
5. Student releases the hospital, its agents and employees from any liability for any injury or death to himself or damage to his property arising out of agreement of use of hospital’s facilities. Contracts for each agency are available in the Nursing office and may be reviewed by the students upon request.
6. Certain clinical facilities require a criminal history record check or drug screen as a condition for placement. All nursing students will be required to provide proof of the background checks and drug screens prior to clinical placement. Associated costs for the background checks are the responsibility of the students.

Course Number
Course Title
Lecture Hours
Lab Hours
Course Credits
First Semester
PNE 155Body Structure and Function303
HLT 130Nutrition Diet Therapy101
SDV 108College Survival Skills101
PNE 141Nursing Skills I233
TOTAL738
Second Semester
PNE 151Medical Surgical Nursing I334
PNE 181Clinical Experience I0155
PNE 173Pharmacology I202
MTH 126Mathematics for Allied Health202
TOTAL71813
Third Semester (Summer)
PNE 152Medical Surgical Nursing II334
PNE 182Clinical Experience II0155
PNE 158Mental Health/Psychiatric Nursing132
TOTAL42111
Fourth Semester
PNE 290Geriatric Nursing2157
PNE 135Maternal & Child Health Nursing I435
PNE 145Trends in Practical Nursing101
ENG 101Practical Writing I303
TOTAL101816

Total Minimum Credits for Certificate in Practical Nursing   48

Annual Passage Rates
Year of NCLEX-PN Testing Number of Graduating Students Number of Students who tested for NCLEX-PN Overall Passage Rate of NCLEX-PN testing upon First Attempt
2006 23 17/18 94.4%
2007 15 15/16 93.8%
2008 25 10/19 52.6%
2009 25 12/19 63.16%
2010 20 13/18 72.22%
2011 15 14/19 73.6%
2012 20 10/11 90.91%

*The board of nursing assesses NCLEX-PN pass rates on an annual basis from January thru December of each calendar year. The calculations are only a reflection of the 1st testing attempt of students who test for boards. All students who test within the given calendar year are combined in the overall percentage whether the graduate testing was from the assigned year of testing or another cohort (with the exception of 2006 & 2007 cohorts).

All students are strongly advised by the director of the program to test for the NCLEX-PN immediately following graduation for best passage results of boards upon first attempt of testing. As of July of 2011, all students, prior to graduation of the program, must pass the ATI NCLEX-PN predictor test with an 80% or above, make application to the board of nursing, pay testing fees, and register for a Virtual ATI NCLEX-PN review.

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