Practical Nursing (NU)

(Effective Fall 2011)

This three-semester curriculum is designed to prepare graduates to enter the field of 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 gives students 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. Practical Nursing students/graduates have the opportunity to pursue study toward an advanced degree in nursing. Practical nursing students/graduates also have a unique opportunity to earn an associate degree in Health Arts. Refer to the Health Arts major for additional information. The Practical Nursing major is approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. 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 major find jobs in a variety of health care settings, such as: hospitals, extended care facilities, home health care agencies, state and federal health-related facilities, private duty nursing, and in physician and dentist office settings.

Recommended High School Subjects

Three units of science (at least one unit should be Biology with a lab); math every year, including Algebra II; English and social studies every year; courses that help develop good oral and written communication skills.

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 in practical nursing admissions requirements 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 estimated expenses and equipment costs list.

Remediation Strategies

All developmental course needs must be satisfied prior to admission into this major.

Transfer Procedures

Graduates of this major may have the opportunity to advance into the College's associate of applied science in Nursing major, continue with Health Arts, and may transfer into the College's Applied Health Studies (BAH) major. Students interested in continuing their nursing education are advised to complete a fourth semester at the College. Fourth semester courses should be selected based on the requirements of the nursing program they plan to pursue, and might include chemistry, microbiology, sociology, statistics, English Composition II, developmental and/or abnormal psychology, and fitness and lifetime sports.

International health credentials/licensure, sciences courses, and most math courses will not be accepted to satisfy requirements of this major. Please see additional information for international students applying to Health Sciences majors.

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

Students enrolled in the major must earn a minimum final grade of 'C' in each of their nursing courses and in BIO 115 and BIO 125. Failure to do so will result in termination from the major.


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 
OECOpen Elective / Certificate 1 

Theory - 640 Hours, 2:5 Ratio; Practicum - 960 Hours, 3:5 Ratio; Total - 1600 Hours

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, Cosmetic Act" or convicted of a felony relating to a controlled substance in a court of law of the United States or any other state, territory, or country unless at least 10 years have elapsed from the date of 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 the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) at 3343 Peachtree Rd. NE, Suite 850, Atlanta GA 30326; 404-975-5000.