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Practical Nursing Cert

Certificate Programs of Study

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. The Practical Nursing Program is approved by the Virginia State Board of Nursing, however is not accredited by a nursing education accrediting body.

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 student must be a high school graduate or equivalent. High School courses must include one unit of biology with a lab and one unit of algebra with a “C” grade or better. Students not having biology and algebra can take Biology 20 and complete MTE 1-3. The student must demonstrate competency in both math and English via either the Virginia Placement Test or the Multiple Measures Placement Policy. For students that do not meet the requirements they 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 HESI Admission test for consideration of entrance in to the practical nursing program and score accordingly to meet program entrance requirements. Entrance is based on highest ranking GPA, HESI Admission test results, and available seats.

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. PPD & influenza immunizations are required annually.

This program is open to both male and female applicants. Application should be made by February 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. Students 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 BCLS). Student must maintain CPR certification throughout the entire clinical phase of the program.
6. Purchase of uniforms and accessories.
7. 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) 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 HESI admission test and meet program entrance requirements.
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 and HIPAA 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. Students must be in proper uniform whenever in the clinical facility.
3. Students must adhere to the established policies of the clinical facilities.
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. Students release 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. Clinical facilities require a criminal background check and 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.

Find out more about the LPN Certifcate at Southwest Virginia Community College

Course NumberCourse Title Lecture Hours Lab HoursCourse Credits
First Semester
PNE 155Body Structure and Function303
HLT 130Nutrition Diet Therapy101
SDV 100College Success Skills101
PNE 146Fundamentals in Practical Nursing2126
PNE 174Applied Pharmacology (dosage calculation)311
PNE 195Topics in PNE Student Success101
TOTAL111313
Second Semester
PNE 151Medical Surgical Nursing I334
PNE 181Clinical Experience I0155
PNE 173Pharmacology for Practical Nurses202
ENG 101Practical Writing I303
TOTAL81814
Third Semester
PNE 130Maternity Nursing364
PNE 157Pediatrics354
PNE 158Mental Health/Psychiatric Nursing132
TOTAL71410
Fourth Semester
PNE 295Topics in NCLEX-PN Success101
PNE 152Medical Surgical Nursing II334
PNE 145Trends in Practical Nursing101
PNE 182Clinical Experience II0156
TOTAL61812

Total Minimum Credits for Certificate in Practical Nursing   49

Annual Passage Rates
Year of NCLEX-PN TestingNumber of Graduating StudentsNumber of Students who tested for NCLEX-PNOverall Passage Rate of NCLEX-PN testing upon First Attempt
20122010/1190.91%
2013155/862.50%
2014116/966.70%
201566/785.70%
2016141492.86%

*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 HESI Exit Exam with a score of 900 or greater, pass the HESI online review course with 80%, pass the competency simulation, make application to the board of nursing, and pay testing fees.

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