Health Arts: Practical Nursing Emphasis (HN)

(Effective Fall 2011)

This 17-month major is designed to prepare graduates to enter the field of practical nursing or to continue their nursing education at the associate or baccalaureate level. Graduates who successfully complete the program are eligible to take the Practical Nursing licensing exam (NCLEX-PN) and work under the direction of a licensed registered nurse, licensed physician, or dentist. Practical Nursing education is a process through which the student has the opportunity to acquire knowledge, skills, attitudes, and judgment in order to provide safe nursing care. Classroom instruction in theory and basic nursing skills is provided on campus. Clinical experiences are obtained at area hospitals, nursing homes, and health care agencies. Under the guidance of College faculty, students gain valuable experience in the care of clients of all ages. Those wishing to enter this major in preparation for continuing into the associate's or bachelor's degree major can read more about our LPN to RN Advanced Placement option.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the program find jobs in a variety of health care settings, such as: hospitals, extended care facilities, home health agencies, state and federal health related facilities, private duty nursing and in physician and dentist office private settings. Completion of this major and earning an associate of applied science degree could help graduates advance within an organization, enjoy more job related options or have a competitive advantage for jobs or promotions.

Recommended High School Subjects

Students studying Practical Nursing via the Health Arts curriculum will need to meet PN requirements, which include four units of high school English, three units of social studies, three units of mathematics (Algebra or Applied Math II; Algebra II recommended), and three units of science (at least one unit should be biology with a lab). Recommended for other students are academic subjects with emphasis on science and three units of math with Algebra I or Applied Math II (Algebra II recommended). Students who do not meet these recommendations can work with a college adviser to prepare for the major.

Special Admissions Requirements

Acceptance into this competitive major is based on an admissions ranking process. To view detailed information on acceptance criteria, testing requirements, performance expectations, and the admissions ranking system, consult the certificate and associate of applied science degree practical nursing special admissions ranking information.

Special Equipment Needs

Students in this major are expected to purchase a dual head stethoscope; a custom nursing kit (must be purchased at the College Bookstore); uniform, white lab coat, white shoes, student nurse patch; and various smaller items. Refer to the estimated expenses and equipment costs.

Technical Requirements

Operating Systems:
PLATO is a web-based system that is fully certified to work with Windows and MAC Operating Systems.

The fully supported browsers for PLATO are: Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Safari

Internet Connection Speed:
A high speed internet connection is highly recommended in order to avoid problems with course content loading on your computer in a timely mnner. 

Desktop or Laptop Computer (Windows 7 or higher, MAC OSX 10.4 or higher recommended) 
Internet Connection (cable or DSL heavily recommended)
Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
Headset with Microphone suggested
Additional plug-ins may be required (Information Technology Services - Student Help Desk available for assistance)

Remediation Strategies

Developmental course work must be remediated prior to Practical Nursing course work. All developmental work must be satisfied within the first 12 credits of the curriculum.

Transfer Procedures

All general education courses that meet College requirements will be eligible for transfer according to College policy. No fewer than nine credits will be considered for eligibility for acceptance into the major. Students interested in Practical Nursing can enroll in this curriculum; however, completion of the required curriculum will be dependent upon their acceptance into the Practical Nursing major. Although Practical Nursing course credits are generally not transferable, related course credits are transferable to other institutions or courses of study. In addition, Licensed Practical Nurses may be granted advanced status in registered nurse educational programs.

Program Goals

A graduate of this major should be able to:

  • demonstrate behaviors of accountability and professionalism according to legal and ethical standards for a competent LPN.
  • effectively communicate with patients, significant support persons, and members of the health care team, incorporating interpersonal and therapeutic communication skills.
  • collect holistic assessment data from multiple sources, communicate data to appropriate health care providers, and evaluate client response to interventions.
  • collaborate with RNs and other members of the health care team to organize and incorporate assessment data to plan, revise, and reinforce patient care, teaching, and actions based on established nursing diagnoses, nursing protocols, assessments, and evaluation data.
  • demonstrate a caring, empathetic approach to safe, therapeutic, and individualized care to clients of diverse ages; religions; and socioeconomic, ethnic, or cultural backgrounds.
  • use scientific knowledge, mathematical skills, and technical skills to implement patient care under the direction of an RN, physician, or dentist through performance of nursing interventions or directing aspects of care, as appropriate, to unlicensed assistive personnel (UAP).

Performance Standards

All practical nursing students are required to maintain a graduation grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 quality points to remain in the major.  Students with less than a 2.0 GPA will be placed on academic probation as stated in the college catalog. In addition, all students must earn a “C” (2.0) or higher in all NUR, HTH, BIO, and CHM courses; if a lower grade is earned in any of these courses, the course must be repeated.


First SemesterCredits
FYE101First Year Experience 1 
NUR155Introduction to Practical Nursing Concepts 14 
BIO115Human Anatomy and Physiology I 4 
ENL111English Composition I 3 
Second SemesterCredits
NUR165Nursing Care of Adults I 16 
BIO125Human Anatomy and Physiology II 4 
MNAMath Elective (MTH124 or Higher) 3 
Third SemesterCredits
NUR175Nursing Care of Adults II 6 
NUR176Maternal Child Health Nursing 6 
PSY111General Psychology 3 
FITFitness and Lifetime Sports Elective 1 
Fourth SemesterCredits
HTHDirected Health Arts Electives 5 
CMMCommunication Elective 3 
CSC124Information, Technology, and Society 3 
GEAGeneral Elective 3 

Notice of Conviction

Child abuse clearance and criminal background checks are required by some agencies involved in fieldwork and/or capstones. Agencies can bar students from their sites if a criminal record exists or a positive drug test is noted. By virtue of contract for Penn College students to be at clinical sites, agencies have the right to ask for random drug testing. Inability to gain clinical or fieldwork or intern education experiences results in inability to meet program objectives and outcomes. For additional clarification, students can speak with their program director. The Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing advises that a drug-related conviction and/or conviction of a felonious act might result in denial and/or revocation of a license to practice nursing. In accordance with The Practical Nurse Law, Act of 1955, P.L. 1211, No 376, as amended, the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing shall not issue a license to an applicant who has been convicted of a felonious act prohibited by the Act known as "The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act" or convicted of a felony related to a controlled substance in a course of law of the United States or any other state, territory or country unless at least ten years have elapsed from the date of the conviction.


The Practical Nursing major is fully accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and is approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. For further information, contact ACEN at 3343 Peachtree Rd. NE, Suite 850, Atlanta GA 30326; 404-975-5000.