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Practical Nursing

The certificate in practical nursing is designed to prepare selected students to qualify as practical nurse members of the health team in a variety of health care facilities. On successful completion of the program students are eligible to apply to take the NCLEX-PN (National Council Licensure Exam-Practical Nurse) which is the currently approved licensing exam for practical nursing in Virginia.

Program Information

The Virginia Board of Nursing has the authority to deny licensure to any applicant who has violated any of the provisions of 54.1-3007 of the Code of Virginia. Any student entering the nursing program who has committed any illegal offenses other than minor traffic violations should discuss these matters with the nursing program head for clarification prior to admission.

In all cases, the recommendation of the admission committee is the final determinant for admission to the Practical Nursing Program. All admission requirements must be completed prior to entry into the program.

The Practical Nursing Program is open to men and women who provide evidence of interest, motivation, and aptitude in the area of health care, and especially in direct patient care.

Program Progression:

  • The student must complete all support courses either preceding or concurrently with the appropriate nursing course, as indicated in the curriculum plan.
  • The student is required to complete a sequence of course and learning experiences provided at the college and selected community agencies. The nursing faculty will observe and evaluate the student’s performance in nursing and with direct patient care in the clinical sites.
  • A student must obtain permission from the program head to continue in the nursing program under the following conditions: 1) receiving a grade below -C” or 2) withdrawal from a nursing course. In accordance with VCCS policy, a student may not enroll in the same course more than twice without administrative approval. Additional policies for the program are listed in the Nursing Student Handbook. The handbook is given to all entry-level nursing students, and is available online via Blackboard to admitted students.
  • Clinical agencies reserve the right to deny access to or dismiss a student from their agency at any time with due cause.
  • The student releases the hospital, its agents, and its employees from any liability for any injury or death to himself or damage to his property arising out of the clinical agreement or use of hospital’s facilities.

For the most up-to-date information, please refer to our current College Catalog.

Program Requirements:

  • Attend orientation program in semester prior to the start of clinical nursing courses.
  • Health Record Requirement: Physical examinations, including immunizations, must be completed prior to the start of summer clinical nursing courses. The required medical forms will be provided at orientation. Applicants must be free of any physical or mental condition that might adversely affect their acceptance or performance as nurses. More detailed information is provided in the Student Nursing Handbook.
  • CPR Certification (American Heart Association, “BLS for the Healthcare Provider”) is required of all students prior to entry into PNE 161. Information, including a schedule of CPR classes, will be provided at nursing program orientation.
  • Maintain a grade of “C” or higher in all courses in curriculum.
  • Maintain professionalism in both campus and clinical settings, especially in attitude and responsibility. Failure to meet this requirement can result in termination from the program.
  • Students are responsible for purchasing the required clinical uniforms and name tags through the college’s designated supplier.
  • Standardized tests will be administered throughout the practical nursing program, and the cost will be the responsibility of the student.
  • Conviction of a felony, misdemeanor or any offense substantially related to the qualifications, functions and duties of a practical nurse may constitute grounds for not allowing a candidate to take the licensing exam. This decision is made by the State Board of Nursing. For questions regarding this issue, call the Virginia Board of Nursing 804-367-4515.
  • Criminal Background Checks and Drug Screens: A criminal background check and urine drug screen is required of each student, and must be conducted by the college-designated contractor. Information will
    be provided at orientation. The costs of the background check and the drug screen are the responsibility of the student.
  • Nursing students must be in good standing from all previous healthcare employers. Students may be denied clinical placement based on previous work history and thus, may not be entered into or possibly complete the nursing program. • Nursing students enrolled in clinical nursing courses are required to have malpractice insurance. Students may purchase malpractice insurance from independent providers.
  • Students are responsible for following the clinical policy for safe handling of biohazards and utilizing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) in the prevention of blood-borne pathogens and communicable diseases. Additionally, students are responsible for employing appropriate ergonomics to prevent injury. Students will be responsible for medical costs for any injury received while in a clinical setting, including injuries for which testing is required by clinical agencies. Rappahannock Community College is not responsible for student injuries in a clinical or lab setting.
  • The College does not assume responsibility for accidents/incidents which occur in clinicals; nor does it provide any student health services. The student assumes financial responsibility for accidents/incidents requiring medical attention.

The Practical Nursing Program is open to men and women who provide evidence of interest, motivation, and aptitude in the area of health care, and especially in direct patient care.

Admissions

In addition to the requirements for admission to the college, the applicant must meet the following prerequisites for admission to the practical nursing program:

  • Graduation from high school or satisfactory completion of the General Education Diploma (GED).
  • Completion of college placement tests in reading, writing, and mathematics.
  • Completion of all applicable developmental courses (MTE modules 1-3 completed and eligible to take MTH 126) and ENF 3 (eligible to take ENG 111.);
  • Completion of one unit of high school biology or the college equivalent BIO 101 with a grade of “C” or better.
  • Cumulative grade point average of 2.0.
  • The TEAS Nursing Pre-entrance Exam within 3 years with a minimum score at the 35th national percentile rank
  • Completion and submission of an application to the nursing program by the designated time in the semester preceding the start of the program (see nursing link on RCC webpage for more information).

Guaranteed Admission Status Students may be admitted to the PN program with guaranteed admission by completing the Career Studies Certificate, Pre-Nursing in its entirety by the end of the application period with a curricular GPA of 3.0 or higher, with no repeated courses in the curriculum and no less than a grade of “C” in any course in the curriculum. Grades must be posted on your transcripts. No student is eligible for guaranteed admission if any curricular courses are missing or incomplete.

Students applying via guaranteed admission must also have completed the following:

  • High School diploma or GED
  • All college placement testing and developmental course work as described above
  • Have met with a nursing faculty advisor to determine appropriateness of guaranteed admission and to choose the appropriate nursing program
  • Met all of the deadlines for completion and submission of the nursing program application(s).

Students Applying by Advanced Placement Option: 

Application Materials:

Program Progression
Students must complete all support courses either prior to or concurrently with the appropriate nursing course as indicated in the curriculum plan. Students must complete all curricular courses with a C or better.

The student is required to complete a sequence of courses and learning experiences provided at the college and selected community agencies such as special and general 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. A student may not withdraw from a nursing course and return to it more than one time.

More detailed information is provided in the Practical Nursing Student Handbook which is provided to all students accepted into the program, and is available in the director’s office for review.

Clinical Contracts
Individual contracts are in effect with each affiliate clinical agency. These contracts differ in their requirements for students. The general stipulations are as follows:

  • 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.
  • Proper uniform must be worn.
  • Published policies of the clinical agency must be adhered to.
  • Immunizations must be current.
  • Student releases the hospital, its agents, and its employees from any liability for any injury or death to himself or damage to his property arising out of the clinical agreement or use of hospital’s facilities.
  • Students are financially responsible for any medical care they require while in the clinical setting.

Contracts for each agency are available in the nursing office, and may be reviewed by students upon request.

Practical Nursing Contacts
Ellen KoehlerEllen Koehler, RN, MSN, CNE, Program Head, 804-758-6783
Jennifer CarrJennifer Carr, Glenns Campus, Office of the Dean of Health Sciences, 804-758-6768

The certificate in Practical Nursing is designed to prepare students to take the National Council Licensure Exam–Practical Nurse (NCLEX-PN), which is the currently approved licensing exam for practical nursing in Virginia. Students who pass the exam will be eligible to join of a health-care team in a variety of health service facilities.

Please note:  The BIO requirement for the PN program is successful completion of one year  of HS Biology with a grade of “C” or better or one semester of college BIO 101 with a grade of “C” or better. Chemistry is not required for the PN program.

NCLEX-PN Pass Rates
Year Glenns Warsaw
2007 100% 90.90%
2008 100% 88.80%
2009 100% 100%
2010 100% 100%
2011 87.50% 100%
2012 100% 75%
2013 87.50% 77.80%

Curriculum
First Semester
# Title Lecture Lab Credit
NUR 120 Nursing Terminology & Charting1 2 0 2
PNE 155 Body Structure & Function 2 3 0 3
NUR 135 Drug Dosage Calculations 1 0 1
PNE 161 Nursing in Health Changes I 4 9 7
SDV 101 Orientation to Health Sciences3 1 0 1
Semester Totals 11 9 14
Second Semester
# Title Lecture Lab Credit
PNE 162 Nursing in Health Changes II 6 12 10
PNE 173 Pharmacology 1 0 1
PSY 230 Developmental Psychology 3 0 3
ENG 111 College Composition I 3 0 3
Semester Totals 13 12 17
Third Semester
# Title Lecture Lab Credit
PNE 163 Nursing in Health Changes III 4 12 8
PNE 145 Trends in Practical Nursing 1 0 1
HLT 230 Principles of Nutrition & Human Development 3 0 3
SOC 200 Principles of Sociology I 3 0 3
Semester Totals 11 12 15
Minimum Credits: 46
Lecture Lab Credit
33 45 46

1 HLT 143 may be substituted for NUR 120
2 B10 141 AND BIO 142 may be substituted for PNE 155
3 SDV 100 is accepted if taken prior to entering Certificate curriculum in Practical Nursing.

Cost

Students are responsible for providing their own transportation to and from the various clinical and social agencies used throughout the program for observational and direct care learning experiences. In addition to college tuition, the student will need to purchase textbooks, uniforms (including white hose or socks and shoes), nursing pin, and stethoscope. The student will also have to pay fees for achievement and other standardized testing associated with the program, and will need to have a watch with second hand, a pen light, and bandage scissors.

Student Estimated Costs:

Item Cost
Tuition and Fees (47 credits X $144.19*) $6776.93
Uniforms and Shoes 200.00
Uniforms and Shoes 200.00
Books 500.00
Achievement Tests (Kaplan) 475.00
Clinical Supplies 200.00
Malpractice Insurance 58.00
Criminal Background Checks / Drug Screens / Document Tracker 120.00
Medical 500.00
Graduation and Licensure 500.00
Travel to Clinical Agencies Variable
Total Estimated Costs $9329.93+

* Tuition and Fees are subject to change.

All students entering the program will be required to undergo a background check and drug screening prior to their admittance to the clinical sites.

Employment

Occupational Objectives Employment opportunities for the licensed Practical Nurse include nursing and staff positions in clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, health departments, home health agencies, clinics, prisons, and physicians’ offices.

Contact

Need more information about our Practical Nursing Certificate? Fill out the form and we’ll send you more information about the program, and an RCC counselor will be in touch to follow up.

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