Jul 18, 2024  

Practical Nursing Certificate

For related NSG programs, see Related Programs Listing .

G3 Eligible Program: The G3 Program is a tuition assistance program for any Virginia resident who qualifies for in-state tuition and whose family income falls below an identified threshold. For more information, visit www.nr.edu/g3.  

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, and physicians’ offices.

Admission Requirements: Completed application packets for the Practical Nursing program are accepted until February 15 for fall admission. In addition to the admission requirements established for New River Community College, the following must be completed for consideration for the practical nursing certificate program:

  • Application to the Practical Nursing Program;
  • Official copy of high school transcript or certificate of a GED;
  • Official college transcript(s) if you attended a college other than NRCC (If your name has changed, please notify the Nursing Advisor;
  • ENG 111(English Composition I) readiness is indicated in one of the following ways: Direct enrollment course placement measures (information is available at https://www.nr.edu/students/tests.php;
  • Mathematics readiness is indicated in one of the following ways:
    1. College-level math course (MTH 132   or higher) with a grade of C or higher within two years prior to the application deadline;
    2. MDE 10   with a grade of S; 
    3. Virginia Placement Test (VPT) score demonstrating proficiency on Units 1-3 (the VPT score is valid for one year prior to the February 15 deadline). 
  • Admission Test: Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) Test;
  • Participation in a general information session about the practical nursing program;
  • Completion of a criminal background check after being offered admission but prior to the start of the program;
  • Attendance at an orientation program prior to the start of the first semester.

Preference is given to applicants who are residents of NRCC’s service region (Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, and Pulaski Counties and the City of Radford).

Prospective students are responsible for all associated costs related to admission requirements.

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 a complete student uniform and watch.
  • Provide evidence of specified health screenings and immunizations, including seasonal influenza vaccines, and complete a drug test. Students are responsible for all costs. The student may also be required to make available to clinical agencies a copy of their health form. A positive drug screen will prevent the student from participating in clinical experiences. It is the responsibility of the student to maintain current records throughout the program. NRCC uses a third-party vendor for maintenance of documents. 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. Background checks must follow specific procedural requirements. Results of the background check may 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.
  • Provide a certificate of current CPR certification (health care providers’ course). Please note: CPR certification courses must be either American Heart Association Basic Life Support (BLS) or American Red Cross Basic Life Support. These certifications are specific to the healthcare provider. Current CPR certification must be maintained throughout the program.

Additional Student Responsibilities

The student is responsible for costs associated with the following:

  • Textbooks, uniforms, accessories, lab supplies, supplemental resources, and required achievement testing;
  • Transportation to and from clinical sites. Clinical experiences may be scheduled during day and evening hours, and weekdays or weekends, depending on the availability of clinical facilities and community experiences;
  • Personal medical care incurred as a result of accidents or incidents in the clinical or laboratory setting;
  • Application to take the exam for licensure as a Licensed Practical Nurse;
  • Maintenance by a third-party vendor or required documents of the program.

Readmission Requirements to the Practical Nursing Program:

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 Programs at least one full semester before requested readmission date. The formal letter must include a detailed plan for success should readmission be offered;
  • Have at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA at the time of application.

In addition to the above criteria, readmission 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 the requested readmission date. Students absent from the program one or two semesters will be required to audit one or more of the previously credited courses prior to readmission or demonstrate competency in nursing content areas in required curricular PNE courses satisfactorily completed previously.  A criminal background check will be completed as part of the readmission process. If a returning student has been out of the program for three or more consecutive semesters, the student must repeat all PNE courses.

Transfer Students Currently Enrolled in Another Nursing Program: Transfer students who are currently enrolled in another nursing program are admitted on a space-available basis if they are currently in good academic standing with the nursing program, have satisfactory clinical evaluations, provide a positive recommendation from the program director of the previous program, and meet all other admissions requirements. Nursing students seeking to transfer nursing credits to NRCC should contact the NRCC Nursing Admissions Advisor. Students from other colleges who are transferring only non-nursing credits should apply through the usual means for new students. Transfer students may be required to demonstrate competency in nursing content areas in NRCC curricular nursing courses for which transfer credit is being evaluated. If course content included drug dosage calculations, the transfer student must validate dose calculation competency by completing the Dose Calculation Competency Assessment with 75% accuracy or higher.

Continuing Nursing Education Following Completion of a Practical Nursing Certificate: LPN-to-RN options are available in some nursing programs. Most programs that offer an LPN-to-RN option require students to pass the licensure exam and require completion of additional general education courses. The specific requirements and length of LPN-to-RN option in an associate degree nursing program vary among institutions. Students are encouraged to contact higher education institutions for advising. See Nursing AAS  information.

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.

Three-Semester Program