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Registered Nursing

Associate of Applied Science Degree

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.  Beginning fall 2018, the program will transition to the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) Common Curriculum for all VCCS nursing programs.

Registered NursingState Approval and Accreditation StatusThe Nursing 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.

PurposeThe purpose of the VATNP and other nursing programs of the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) is to provide affordable, community access to quality nursing education. The VCCS nursing programs prepare qualified students to provide safe, competent, entry-level nursing care in 21st century healthcare environments. Students are prepared to meet the ever-increasing complexity of the healthcare needs of the citizens of Virginia.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Provide client- centered care promoting therapeutic relationships, caring behaviors, and self-determination across the lifespan for diverse populations.
  • Practice safe nursing care that minimizes risk of harm across systems and client populations.
  • Demonstrate nursing judgment through the use of clinical reasoning, the nursing process, and evidence-based practice in the provision of safe, quality care.
  • Practice professional behaviors that encompass the legal/ethical framework while incorporating self-reflection, leadership and a commitment to recognize the value of life-long learning.
  • Manage client care through quality improvement processes, information technology, and fiscal responsibility to meet client needs and support organizational outcome
  • Demonstrate principles of collaborative practice within the nursing and interdisciplinary teams fostering mutual respect and shared decision-making to achieve stated outcomes of care.

Employment Opportunities:
Employment opportunities for the RN include, but are not limited to, staff positions in hospitals, nursing homes, health departments, physician’s 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. Graduation from high school or satisfactory completion of the GED
  2. Good standing with the most recently attended institution with a minimum GPA of 2.0.
  3. Demonstrated competency in science as evidenced by the completion of either one unit general high school biology with laboratory, and or high school chemistry with laboratory, or completion of BIO 141 and BIO 142 with no grade below a “C” prior to application deadline. Deficiencies can be made up through developmental studies or college courses.
  4. Demonstrated competency in mathematics as evidenced by placement out of MTE 1-5 on the Virginia Placement Test (VPT). 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. Competency may be demonstrated by accomplished by one of the following multiple measures:

o   Completion of Virginia Placement Tests (VPT) within 5 years prior to application with demonstrated  proficiency in MTE 1-5, or

o    HSGPA & Algebra II 3.0 or higher within the last 5 years, or

o    GED Math score of 165 or above within the last 5 years, or

o   SAT math score of 510-520, ACT math score of 19-22, or

o   Completion of college-level math class equivalent to MTH 1-5 within the last 5 years.

5 .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.

6. Completion of the nursing entrance test (Test of Essential Academic Skills, TEAS) with a National Percentile Rank score of 45th percentile or above prior to application. Nursing pre-admission, TEAS results will be accepted if completed within 5 years of applying to the nursing program.
NOTE: Applicants who meet the requirements listed above will be ranked for admission using the TEAS National Percentile Rank.

7. A 2.5 cumulative grade point average (GPA) for ENG 111, BIO 141, PSY 230, ITE 119, and SDV 100. These courses must be completed prior to enrollment in nursing (NSG) classes.

8. Completion of Nursing Application for each academic year interested in being considered for the Nursing Program.

Special note: LPNs entering the LPN to RN Track 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.

Nursing program application packets will be accepted in the Admissions Office; the deadline for submission is February 15.

Packets must include official high school and all college transcripts; GED test scores (if applicable).  Currently licensed LPN applicants must also include a copy of current LPN license and documentation of graduation from an approved LPN program. LPNs who graduated before May 15, 2016 must provide documentation of 1 year (2000 hours) of full-time LPN work experience in direct patient care during the past three years with written verification from employer.

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 Colleges 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 all documents submitted by the February 15 deadline. Further details of the application process can be found at

Students residing in the college service area will be given priority consideration for admission to the program.  Out-of-region applicants will only be considered for openings in the Nursing program after all qualified in-region applicants are considered.  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 Track. Applicants must have graduated from an LPN program after May 15, 2016 or provide documentation of 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 admission 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 critical 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 as well as documentation of the number of hours of clinical experience providing direct patient care supervised by a qualified instructor. Nursing courses which are being transferred must have been completed within three (3) years prior to admission to the nursing program.

Decisions on admission offers to transferring applicants will be determined by the VATNP faculty following official transcript analysis, review of completed nursing course outlines, and space and faculty availability. A transferring student must demonstrate expected level proficiencies by testing including demonstration of competency in critical skills. The transferring applicant may have to repeat courses.

Program Requirements:  The VATNP is dependent on use of local clinical agencies to meet the experiential or clinical learning needs of its students. In order to protect patients and visitors as well as students, clinical agencies require that each student have proof of completion of the following: 

1. Required Student Forms

2. Annual Student Statement of Health Form

3. Student Information, Physical, Immunization Forms. The VATNP physical examination form must be completed by a medical practitioner, MD, PA, or CNP.

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

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

c.      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.

Prior to enrollment in any NUR course, the student must provide the required clinical documentation. (For more information, see the VATNP website at The cost of these requirements is the responsibility of the student.

Criminal Background Checks/Barrier Crimes

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 may be prohibited from clinical practice and may not be able to complete the program requirements.

Performance Standards for Clinical/Laboratory Assignments

Students must be able to perform all essential job functions or performance standards in clinical settings with reasonable accommodation. The following performance standards are consistent with those identified by the Southern Regional Education Boards and include, but are not limited to:

1.     Critical thinking: Critical thinking ability sufficient for clinical judgment and delivery of safe patient care.

2.     Interpersonal abilities: Interpersonal abilities sufficient to interact with clients, families and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds.

3.     Communication: Communication abilities sufficient for interaction with others in verbal and written form.

4.     Mobility: Physical abilities sufficient to move from room to room and maneuver in small spaces.

5.     Motor skills: Gross and fine motor abilities sufficient to provide safe and effective nursing care.

6.     Physical demands: 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.

7.     Hearing: Auditory ability sufficient to monitor and assess health needs.

8.     Visual: Visual ability sufficient for nursing observation and assessment.

9.     Tactile: Tactile ability sufficient for physical assessment

These guidelines serve as essential elements basic to eligibility requirements for clinical participation in the VATNP.

Student Accommodations Statement

Students admitted to the VATNP can be expected to complete course requirements that prepare them to perform essential job functions as a registered professional nurse. Those functions or skills that are essential to the profession must be performed with or without accommodations. Any student who thinks he/she does not possess one or more of these functions should contact the Special Needs Counselor in the Office of Student Development Services. Provisions for accommodations will be made in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Course Requirements:

  • Current Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certification, American Heart Association Basic Life Support for Health Care Providers must be maintained throughout the program.
  • 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 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.
  • 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, Reapplication/Readmission Requirements:

All courses in the curriculum, both general education and nursing, must be completed in sequence prior to progressing to the next semester. Students must earn a minimum grade of “C” (80) in all nursing courses, a minimum grade of “C” in all non-nursing courses and maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 to remain eligible for continued enrollment in the nursing program. In addition, during the NSG 106 or NSG 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 courses) must repeat the course and earn a final grade of “C” or better before taking the next course in the sequence.

Clinical performance in a course is graded as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory. A student who does not meet the clinical learning outcomes will fail the course.

  • A student who has 2 academic failures in nursing courses will be ineligible for re-enrollment in the program.
  • Any student who drops or withdraws from NSG 106 or NSG 200 must also drop or withdraw from NSG 100 due to the inability to complete clinical requirements.
  • A student may continue in NSG 200 regardless of dropping or withdrawing from NSG 100 and/or NSG 106.
  • Any student who drops or withdraws from NSG 252 or NSG 270 must withdraw from the other course.
  • Students who are not successful in any first semester nursing (NSG) course must reapply to the nursing program.  Re-enrollment must occur no later than three years from successful completion of NSG 100 or 115, otherwise the student will have to repeat all nursing courses.
  • A student who wishes to reenter the nursing curriculum at any other level (e.g., NSG 152, 170, 210, 211, 230, 252, 270) must write a letter to the program dean requesting readmission in the semester prior to the semester of enrollment. Each student’s application for readmission will be considered by the nursing faculty and the decision to readmit will be based on additional requested 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 or demonstrate competency in critical nursing skills before progressing to the next level.
  • 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.
  •  A student must obtain permission from the Dean of VATNP to continue in the Nursing Program under the following conditions:
    • Repeating a course with a grade below “C”;
    • Withdrawal from a nursing course;
    • Cumulative GPA below 2.0.

Financial Requirements: In addition to the usual college tuition and fees, the nursing program requires pre-admission testing and other expenses as identified below. Students are responsible for these costs as well as the cost of transportation to and from the College and health agencies used for clinical experiences.

  • Pre-admission Testing (Test of Essential Academic Skills or TEAS) $70.00
  • Uniforms/Shoes/Watch/Stethoscope $300.00
  • Standardized Progressive Testing Program $785.00
  • Textbooks/Electronic Resources $1600.00
  • CastleBranch© Criminal Background Check, Drug Screen, Document Manager $115.00
  • Physical Exam, Immunizations, TB test $250.00
  • CPR Certification $150.00
  • Estimated In-state Tuition 67 credit hours @ $153.25 per credit hour $10, 267.75
  • NCLEX-RN Application Fees $400.00
  • VATNP Pin (optional) $50.00
  • Transportation (to and from college and clinical agencies) Variable

These costs are estimates and are subject to change without notification to faculty or students.

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 any clinical agency, 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 Certification 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.

Students have the option to complete all general education courses required by the nursing curriculum and receive a Health Sciences certificate before beginning nursing classes. This option takes three years or longer depending on the amount of time taken to complete the general education classes. Many students, who have families, work or other responsibilities often choose to complete all general education (non-nursing) courses before entering the program.

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 101Orientation to College Success101
ITE 119Information Literacy 303
Fall Semester - Year 1
BIO 142Anatomy & Physiology II334
NSG 100Intro to Nursing Concepts334
NSG 106Competencies for Nursing Practice062
NSG 130Professional Concepts101
NSG 200Health Promotion & Assessment233
Spring Semester - Year 1
BIO 150Microbiology334
NSG 152Health Care Participant233
NSG 170Health/Illness Concepts466
Fall Semester - Year 2
ENG 112College Composition II303
NSG 210Health Care Concepts I365
NSG 211Health Care Concepts II365
Spring Semester - Year 2
NSG 230Advanced Professional Nursing Concepts202
NSG 252Complex Health Care Concepts404
NSG 270Nursing Capstone0124
1 HUM ElectiveSee list of approved electives in footnote303

Total Minimum Credits for the Nursing Major    67

Footnote: 1Approved humanities electives: ART 101; ENG 241, 243, 251; MUS121; REL 230

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