Apr 15, 2024  

Practical Nursing Certificate

For related NSG programs, see Related Programs Listing .

Purpose: The three-semester certificate program in Practical Nursing is designed to prepare selected students to qualify as contributing members of a health team, rendering patient care in a variety of health service facilities. Upon successful completion of the program, students are eligible to apply to take the Virginia Board of Nursing examination required for licensure as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).

Occupational Objectives: Employment opportunities for the Licensed Practical Nurse include nursing and staff positions in: Clinics • Home Health Agencies • Hospitals • Industry • Nursing Homes • Physicians’ Offices

Admission Requirements: Completed application packets for the Practical Nursing Certificate program are accepted until March 15 for fall admission. In addition to the admission requirements established for New River Community College, entry into the practical nursing program requires that the student:

  • Complete high school or pass the GED exam;
  • Complete a placement test for reading, writing, and mathematics. Placement tests must indicate readiness for ENG 111  and proficiency in math modules 1, 2, and 3 on the Virginia Math Placement Test. The score on the math placement test is valid for one-year in the March 16-March 15 application period;
  • Complete Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) Test;
  • Attend information session with nursing faculty;

Prospective students are responsible for all associated costs.

Applicants should note that the Virginia Board of Nursing has the authority to deny licensure to an applicant who has violated any federal, state, or other statute. Examples include conviction of a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, and alcohol or drug related issues. A prospective student who has been convicted, or pled guilty or nolo contendre to any illegal offenses other than minor traffic violations should contact the program director prior to making application to the program. Additional information may be obtained from the Virginia Department of Health Professions, Virginia Board of Nursing, located at Perimeter Center, 9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 300, Henrico, VA 23233 (phone (804) 367- 4515.

Program Requirements: The Practical Nursing program is rigorous. All nursing courses in each semester are prerequisite to the succeeding semester. A student receiving a final grade lower than a “C” in any nursing course will be ineligible to progress in the nursing program. Further, satisfactory performance in the clinical area must be achieved.

The Practical Nursing program is operated in cooperation with various clinical agencies in the college’s service region. The first semester consists of classroom instruction. During the second semester, students are scheduled for selected learning experiences in the clinical setting. As a prerequisite to beginning the clinical experience the student must:

  • Sign the Assumption of the Risk document.
  • Purchase complete student uniform, and watch.
  • Provide evidence of specified health screenings and immunizations. Students are responsible for all costs. The student must also make available to clinical agencies a copy of their health form. A positive drug screen will prevent the student from participating in clinical experiences. Inability to meet the clinical requirements prevents the student from satisfactorily achieving the course objectives, resulting in failure of the course.
  • Complete a criminal background check. Students are responsible for all costs. Results will be reviewed by the clinical agency. A healthcare agency may deny clinical participation for findings on the reports. Affiliation agreements prevent the placement of a student who is denied clinical participation at one facility into a clinical group at another agency. Inability to meet the clinical requirements prevents the student from satisfactorily achieving the course objectives, resulting in failure of the course.
  • Be certified in CPR from the American Red Cross or American Heart Association (health care providers’ course). 

A student who has failed to achieve a “C” or above in each nursing course and achieve a ‘satisfactory’ clinical grade is eligible for readmission dependent on the following criteria:

  • Apply in writing to the Director of Nursing at least one full semester before requested re-admission date.
  • Have at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA at the time of application.

In addition to the above criteria, re-admission will depend upon the availability of a clinical opening. Students will be notified of a decision affecting their readmission at the end of the semester before requested readmission date. A criminal background check will be completed as part of the readmission process. If a returning student has been out of the program for more than one year, the student must repeat all PNE courses.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at https://www.nr.edu/ge/.

Certificate Degree Nursing Competencies: Nursing is a physically, emotionally, and intellectually demanding profession. Students engaged in clinical experiences while enrolled in the program perform in the role of a practical nurse. The chart below, based on expectations published by the Council on Collegiate Education for Nursing, describes activities associated with clinical experiences.

Category Examples Of Clinical Competencies And Responsibilities*
Analytical and Critical Thinking Read and understand written documents in English (e.g. protocols), focus attention on task in distracting/ chaotic environment, identify cause-effect relationships, use long and short-term memory, prioritize tasks.
Professional Relationships Deal with the unexpected (e.g. patient crisis), handle strong emotions of others while controlling personal responses.
Communication Communicate in English with patients, families, and agency staff members (both orally and written).
Mobility Move within confined spaces, reach above shoulders (e.g. I.V. poles) and reach below waist (e.g. plug in electrical appliances), walk six to eight hours, stand at bedside up to 60 minutes to assist with procedures.
Motor Skills Perform CPR, operate a fire extinguisher, key/type (e.g. use a computer), manipulate a syringe, manipulate an eye dropper.
Hearing Hear faint body sounds (e.g. blood pressure, heart, lung, and abdominal sounds), hear monitor alarms, hear in situations when not able to see lips (e.g. when masks are used).
Visual See objects near (e.g. computer screen), see objects far (e.g. patient at end of the hall), distinguish color intensity (e.g. flushed or pale skin), read digital displays, read graphic printouts, read small medication labels.
Tactile Sense Use sense of touch to gather assessment data (e.g. palpate pulses, detect warmth vs. coolness).

*Examples are intended as clarification, not as an exhaustive list

Upon completion of the three-semester curriculum, the student will be awarded the certificate of Practical Nursing.

Special Recognition: In addition to the regional accreditation of the college (SACSCOC), the practical nursing school is approved by the Virginia Board of Nursing.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at http://www.nr.edu/pn/programs.php

Three-Semester Program

Total: 15 credits

Second Semester (Spring)

Total: 14 credits

Total: 13 credits

Total Minimum Credits: 42