Registered Nursing

Associate of Applied Science Program of Study

Health Technology Major: Nursing

Program Code: 156-01

About the Program: The Virginia Appalachian Tricollege Nursing Program (VATNP) is a three college consortium serving Virginia Highlands Community College, Southwest Virginia Community College, and Mountain Empire Community College.       Required Courses

Purpose: The two year Associate of Applied Science degree curriculum in Nursing is designed to prepare selected students to qualify as contributing members of the health team, rendering direct patient care as beginning practitioners of nursing in a variety of health service facilities. Upon successful completion of the curriculum, students will be eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination leading to licensure as a registered nurse (RN).

Nursing Program ACEN-SealState Approval and Accreditation StatusThe program is approved by the Virginia State Board of Nursing and accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), 3343 Peach Tree Road NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, GA, 30326, telephone: (404) 957-5000, website:  ACEN is officially recognized as the national accrediting agency for nursing education by the Council on Post Secondary Accreditation (COPA) and by the U. S. Department of Education.

Occupational Objectives: Employment opportunities for the Registered Nurse include, but are not limited to, staff positions in hospitals, nursing homes, health departments, physicians’ offices, clinics, home health agencies, public schools, day care centers, and civil service.

Admission Requirements: Admission to the Virginia Appalachian Tricollege Nursing Program is a selective process. The nursing program is open to applicants who are free of any physical or mental condition that might adversely affect performance as a member of the nursing profession. In addition to the requirements for admission to the college, the applicant must meet the following requirements:

  1. State recognized high school diploma, home school diploma, or satisfactory completion of GED.
  2. Demonstrated competency in science as evidenced by completion of high school biology (with laboratory) and high school chemistry (with laboratory) or the college equivalents. Beginning with students entering the program in fall 2018, competency in science may be demonstrated by completion of either high school biology (with laboratory) or high school chemistry (with laboratory) or completion of BIO 141 and BIO 142 with no grade below a “C” prior to application deadline. However, high school biology and chemistry are required as a pre requisite of BIO 141.
  3. Demonstrated competency in mathematics as evidenced by placement out of MTE 1-5 on the Virginia Placement Test (VPT) or equivalency as determined by means and measures identified in the Multiple Measures Placement Policy. For those who do not meet this requirement, all prescribed developmental work must be completed prior to application deadline.
  4. Demonstrated competency in English as evidenced by placement into ENG 111. Placement is determined by means and measures identified in the Multiple Measures Placement Policy. For those who do not meet this requirement, all prescribed developmental work must be completed prior to application deadline,
  5. Completion of the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) with a National Percentile Rank score of 45 or above prior to application deadline.
  6. A 2.5 grade point average (GPA) for high school courses** or a 2.5 curricular GPA for college coursework.
  7. College students must be in good standing with the most recently attended institution with a minimum GPA of 2.0.
  8. Completion of Nursing Application for each academic year interested in being considered for the nursing program.
  9. Please note: Beginning fall 2018, the general education courses required in the nursing curriculum will change. Students will be required to complete SDV 100, ENG 111, ENG 112, PSY230, ITE 119, BIO 141, BIO 142, BIO 150, and a recommended Humanities Elective. LPNs entering the LPN to RN Tracks in summer 2018, will follow the curriculum as described in the 2017-2018 catalog. Students entering the program beginning in fall 2018 will follow the 2018-2019 catalog and will no longer be required to complete MTH 126, PSY 231, and PSY 232.

**If the student has completed a minimum of 12 college credits that are included in calculating the curricular GPA (non-development courses), the 2.5 high school GPA requirement will be waived.

Nursing program application packets will be accepted in the Admissions Office between September 1 and February 15 of each academic year.

Packets must include official high school and all college transcripts and GED test scores (if applicable), and ATI TEAS individual performance transcript verifying a National Percentile Rank Score of 45 or above.

The Admissions Office will suspend processing applications if all transcripts are not attached. Once a packet is submitted, additional documentation will not be accepted. Transcripts from other Virginia Community Colleges are not required; however, any Virginia Community College attended must be listed on both the Admissions Application and the Nursing Application

All prerequisites (general biology, chemistry, English and math proficiency) must be met and documents submitted by the February 15th deadline. Further details of the application process can be found at

Out of region applicants will only be considered for openings in the Nursing program after all qualified in-region applicants are considered (see Admission Priorities). To be considered in-region, an applicant must be domiciled within the service region for 12 months prior to the program application deadline.

LPN to RN Transition: Currently licensed LPNs who have been accepted to the nursing program may be offered the option of entering a summer LPN to RN Bridge Program providing they have completed all the general education courses required as outlined in the LPN to RN Curriculum.  Applicants must have graduated from an LPN program after May 15, 2015 or provide documentation of one (1) year (2000 hours) of full-time LPN work experience in direct patient care during the past three years with written verification from employer at the time of application.

Transfer of Nursing Credit: Students seeking to transfer credit from nursing programs at other institutions will be considered on an individual basis. Students must meet the admissions requirements identified by the college and the VATNP. The student may be asked to provide course descriptions, documentation of completed direct patient care clinical time, course syllabi, achievement or progressive testing scores, demonstration of competency in general nursing skills, and selected data from the course instructor or program director in order to determine placement in the nursing program. Consideration will be subject to availability of space. Since there frequently are differences among nursing programs, students wishing to transfer should be aware that there may be an interruption in program progression. Applicants must be in good standing at their previous college with a “C” average or better and must provide documentation of eligibility to return to that nursing program. Nursing courses which are being transferred must have been completed within three (3) years prior to admission to the nursing program.

Program Requirements: Prior to enrollment in any NUR course, the student must provide the following documentation to the VATNP office. (For more information, see the VATNP website at

1. Required Student Forms

2. Annual Student Statement of Health Form

3. Student Information, Physical, Immunization Forms.

A. The VATNP physical examination form must be completed by a medical practitioner, MD, PA, or CNP.

B. Immunizations including tetanus, Mumps-Measles-Rubella (MMR), Varicella, and Hepatitis B.

C. Current testing for tuberculosis, either Mantoux Tuberculin Skin Test (TB Tine Test is not accepted) or chest x-ray.

D. Documentation of ability to perform physical demands required in direct patient care activities.

4. Purchase a background check, drug screen, and medical document package.

5. Clearance of criminal background check and drug testing.

6. Proof of CPR certification, American Heart Association, Basic Life Support (BLS) for Healthcare Providers completed during the summer (May 15 – August 15) prior to admission to NUR courses and maintained throughout the program.

7. Additional annual immunization requirements: Flu immunizations are required by most healthcare agencies and are usually available in the fall semester.

The cost of these requirements is the responsibility of the student.

Special Note:

The State Board of Nursing has the authority to deny license to any applicant who has violated any of the provisions of 54.1-3007 of the Code of Virginia. Most healthcare organizations are prohibited from hiring persons who have been convicted of certain criminal acts. (For a list of crimes under this category refer to the Virginia Board of Nursing webpage under the heading, Licensure/Applicants: Article 90-55, click on the link Joint Statement of the Department of Health and The Department of Health Professions on Impact of Criminal Convictions on Nursing Licensure or Certification and Employment in Virginia, Revised November 2015).
Students with convictions or positive drug tests will be prohibited from clinical practice and will not be able to complete the program requirements.

Physical demands: Program activities 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 sense of sight, hearing, touch, and speech. Environmental conditions include procedures that involve handling blood and body fluids using universal precautions.

Course Requirements: The student is required to complete a sequence of courses and learning experiences provided at the college and selected community agencies such as hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, physicians’ offices and comparable facilities. The nursing faculty will observe and evaluate the student’s suitability for nursing and direct patient care.

Most previous general education college credits will be accepted regardless of completion date; however BIO 141 – 142, Anatomy and Physiology, and the ITE requirement, will not be accepted if completed more than 10 years prior to admission to the nursing program. MTH 126 must be completed within five (5) years of admission to the nursing program. CPR certification must be maintained throughout the program.
Please note: The BIO 141 and BIO 142 time limit will be eliminated  for students entering the program in Fall 2018 and students will no longer be required to complete MTH 126.

Students must complete all courses listed in the first year of the curriculum before being allowed to enter the second year. Exceptions due to unusual circumstances must be approved by the program Dean.

A student must have a “C” or above in theory plus “satisfactory” in clinical performance in all nursing courses to remain in the program. A grade of “C” or above in any related requirements is a prerequisite for continuing in the nursing program.

The nursing program faculty reserves the right to recommend, through appropriate channels, the withdrawal of any student who does not exhibit suitable demeanor/attendance.

Program Progression: Students must earn a minimum grade of “C” in all required courses and maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 to remain eligible for continued enrollment in the nursing program. In addition, during the NUR 105 or NUR 115 course, a Comprehensive Drug Calculation Exam (CDCE) will be administered to verify skills. Students must achieve at least 90 percent of maximum score on the CDCE with no more than three attempts in order to achieve a passing grade in the course.
Any student who earns a final grade lower than a “C” in a required course (either general education or nursing course) must repeat the course and earn a final grade of “C” or better before taking the next course in the sequence.

A student must obtain permission from the Dean of VATNP to continue in the Nursing Program under the following conditions:

1. Repeating a course with a grade below “C”
2. Withdrawal from a nursing course
3. Cumulative GPA below 2.0.

Reapplication/Readmission Requirements: Students who are not successful in the first semester nursing course (NUR 108 or NUR 115) must reapply to the nursing program. A new nursing application packet must be submitted prior to the application deadline.

A student who wishes to re enter the nursing curriculum at any other level (e.g., NUR 105,NUR 109, 114, 136, 137, 201, 205, 226, 236, 208, 245, 237, or 254) must write a letter to the program dean requesting readmission in the semester prior to the semester of enrollment. Re-enrollment must occur no later than three years from successful completion of NUR 108 or NUR 115 or the student will have to repeat all nursing courses. The student may be required to enroll in and satisfactorily complete specific courses before readmission. Additional data may be required including a new criminal background check and medical records. Each student’s application for readmission will be considered by the nursing faculty and the decision to readmit will be based on additional data, prior performance in the nursing program, and space availability.

Based on the course(s) that must be repeated, the student who is readmitted may be required to complete a skills competency course before progressing to the next level.

A student who has two academic failures or withdrawals in separate semesters will be ineligible for re enrollment in the program. Such a student may not be readmitted if the cumulative grade point average is less than 2.0, including all courses attempted other than nursing. According to the VCCS Policy 5.7.4 “A student will normally be limited to two enrollments in the same credit course.” Any exception to this policy must be approved by the program dean and the vice president of instruction and student services.

Financial Requirements: In addition to the usual college tuition and fees, the nursing program requires uniforms with accessories, textbooks, progressive testing and remediation program, physical exam, immunizations, Mantoux Tuberculin Skin Test or chest x-ray, a background check, drug screen, and medical document package, CPR Certification, and HIPAA Certification.

Students are also responsible for transportation to and from the College and health agencies used for clinical experiences.

Clinical Contracts: The VATNP has contracts with clinical agencies for both student and patient safety. If students cannot comply with these contractual requirements, they will not be able to participate in clinical activities and will be asked to withdraw from the program. General guidelines follow:

  1. Clinical agencies reserve the right to dismiss a student from their agency at any time with due cause. This will be done with advance notice except in an emergency.
  2. Published policies of the clinical agency must be followed. Each student must successfully complete an orientation program prior to participating in activities at any clinical facility.
  3. Clinical facilities require that all students have documentation of ability to perform the physical demands required in direct patient care activities.
  4. Immunizations must be current.
  5. Student releases hospital, its agents and employees from any liability for any injury or death to himself or damage to his property arising out of agreement or use of the clinical agencies.
  6. Proof of HIPAA and CPR (American Heart Association, Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers) certifications must be provided.
  7. Clinical facilities require a criminal background check and drug screen clearance as a condition for student placement.
  8.  Proper uniform must be worn when participating in clinical activities

Two year curriculum plan The VATNP offers an opportunity for recent high school graduates and other eligible adults to complete the nursing degree program after two years of full time attendance (4 semesters and 1 summer session). This is a rigorous and academically challenging program.

Find out more about the Registered Nursing Associate Degree Program at Southwest

Nursing Track 1
Course NumberCourse TitleLecture HoursLab HoursCourse Credits
Summer Session - Year 1
BIO 141Human Anatomy & Physiology I334
ENG 111English Composition I303
PSY 230Developmental Psychology303
SDV 100 or 101College Success Skills101
ITE 119Information Literacy 303
Fall Semester - Year 1
BIO 142Human Anatomy & Physiology II334
NSG 100Intro to Nursing Concepts4
NSG 106Competencies for Nursing Practice2
NSG 130Professional Concepts1
NSG 200Health Promotion & Assessment3
Spring Semester - Year 1
BIO 150Microbiology4
Health Care Participant3
NSG 170Health/Illness Concepts6
Fall Semester - Year 2
ENG 112English Composition II303
NSG 210Health Care Concepts I5
NSG 211Health Care Concepts II5
Spring Semester - Year 2
NSG 230Advanced Professional Nursing Concepts2
NSG 252Complex Health Care Concept4
NSG 270Nursing Capstone4

Total Minimum Credits for the Nursing Major    67

  1. Developmental coursework may require additional semesters to complete program.
  2. Students must complete BIO 141 with a “C” or better to enroll in BIO 142.
  3. Humanities electives include: ART 101, ENG 241, MUS 121, REL 230