Practical Nursing, Diploma

Program Overview

The Diploma in Practical Nursing program is designed to provide with the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for developing effective communication, critical thinking, clinical reasoning and teamwork/collaboration skills which will prepare the graduate to care for individuals, families and communities as an entry level practical nurse in a variety of healthcare settings.

The Diploma in Practical Nursing program prepares the student to become a valuable member of a healthcare team, working under the supervision of an advanced practice registered nurse, registered nurse, licensed physician, licensed dentist, or other practitioner.

Program Outcomes

The Diploma in Practical Nursing program prepares the student for a foundation of life-long personal and professional learning built upon liberal arts, science and nursing theory courses. The program includes classroom, laboratory/simulation, and evidence based client-centered care learning experiences across the lifespan in a variety of healthcare settings. All practical nurse graduates must successfully pass the National Council Licensing Exam for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) before being able to practice as a LPN.

Upon successful completion of the program, the student will:

  • Function within the role of the practical nurse in the delivery of care to clients and families
  • Communicate with clients, families, and members of the health care team
  • Use critical thinking to safely perform requisite cognitive, psychomotor and affective nursing skills
  • Integrate ethical, professional, legal responsibility and accountability into actions and decisions
  • Assume responsibility for personal and professional growth

For additional information about the program link to: http://www.ecpi.edu/medical/program/practical-nursing-diploma/. To see the Student Consumer Information link to: https://www.ecpi.edu/student-consumer-services which provides additional information on the future careers, success, cost, and financing for this program. For information on the University Completion and Graduation Rates, please see Information About the University on the ECPI website (link to: http://www.ecpi.edu/services/about-ecpi-university/).

About Practical Nursing 

Licensed Practical Nurses typically provide nursing care under the direction of a more senior healthcare practitioner, including registered nurses. They understand nursing fundamentals and assist with delivering care to patients and their families. They are prepared to continue their formal education and prepare for more advanced nursing degrees and certifications, including Registered Nursing.

Criminal background checks, drug screening, dosage calculation competency exams, nursing skills competency exams, and security clearances may be required, depending on the facility.

Practical Nurses must physically be able to change position frequently, stand and sit for prolonged time periods, lift 50 pounds or more with or without assistance or assistive devices, bend, and twist. They must have adequate vision and hearing, and they must be able to use computers.

A graduate from the Practical Nursing program will work as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in a healthcare setting such as a long-term care facility, skilled nursing facility, assisted living facility, or correctional facility infirmary. Licensed Practical Nurses may also work in home health care settings, physicians’ offices, clinics, urgent care centers, or acute care facilities.

Recommended Licensure

The Diploma in Practical Nursing program is approved by the State Board of Nursing for the state in which the ECPI University campus which the student attends is located. ECPI University provides vouchers allowing students to take licensure exams administered by the student's state's Board of Nursing at a greatly reduced cost. All Practical Nursing graduates must successfully pass the National Council Licensing Exam for Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN) before being able to practice as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). 

While ECPI University's Diploma in Practical Nursing program does not have its own distinct accreditation by a national nursing education body, it is not required for licensure. ECPI University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the associate, baccalaureate, and master's degrees and diplomas. Accreditation, state licensure and Board of Nursing approval information can be found in this catalog under Accreditation and Licensure.

NCLEX Preparation and Total Testing

Total testing nursing education products are assessment tools and resources to promote mastery of core nursing concepts and to prepare students for the NCLEX exam. Assessment tools used in the nursing program are practice quizzes, practice assessments and proctored assessments. The total testing education products also assist the nursing program in the assessment of course and program competencies. All students are required to complete the secured standardized assessment tests in several content areas. 

Readiness to sit for the NCLEX exam will be assessed in the final nursing course using a Comprehensive Predictor Test.

Practical Nursing Program Requirements for Virginia and South Carolina

To receive the Diploma in Practical Nursing, students must earn 48.5 semester credit hours. The program requires a minimum of 4 semesters, which is equivalent to 15 months or 60 weeks of instruction. The program requirements are as follows:

Program Requirements

Core Curriculum

BIO112Anatomy and Physiology with Terminology I

2

BIO112LAnatomy and Physiology with Terminology I LAB

1

BIO117Anatomy and Physiology II

2

BIO117LAnatomy and Physiology II LAB

1

COR102Freshman Orientation

1

COR105Study Skills

0.5

ENG109College Composition

1.5

NUR100Dosage Calculations

1

NUR139Pharmacology

1.5

NUR165Concepts of Nursing I

2.5

NUR167Concepts of Nursing II

3

NUR169Concepts of Nursing III

3

NUR190Medical Surgical Nursing I

3

NUR203Medical Surgical Nursing II

4

NUR204Acute Care Nursing I

4

NUR208Medical Surgical Nursing III

3

NUR209Acute Care Nursing II

4

NUR213Acute Care Nursing III

4

NUR233Role Transition

4

PSY108Normal Life Span

1

PSY109Introduction to Psychology

1.5

Contact Hours: 1,696


Diploma Program Length: Minimum weeks of instruction: 60 weeks

Maximum satisfactory time frame completion: 90 weeks

Practical Nursing Program Requirements for North Carolina

To receive the Diploma in Practical Nursing, students must earn 48.5 semester credit hours. The program requires a minimum of 4 semesters, which is equivalent to 15 months or 60 weeks of instruction. The program requirements are as follows:

Program Requirements

Core Curriculum

BIO114Anatomy and Physiology I with Terminology

2

BIO114LAnatomy and Physiology with Terminology I LAB

1

BIO118Anatomy and Physiology II with Terminology

2

BIO118LAnatomy and Physiology II with Terminology LAB

1

COR104Freshman Orientation

1

COR107Study Skills

0.5

ENG114College Composition

1.5

NUR111Dosage Calculations

1

NUR134Pharmacology

1.5

NUR174Concepts of Nursing I

2.5

NUR177Concepts of Nursing II

3

NUR179Concepts of Nursing III

3

NUR205Medical Surgical Nursing I

3

NUR206Medical Surgical Nursing II

4

NUR207Medical Surgical Nursing III

3

NUR235Acute Care Nursing I

4

NUR236Acute Care Nursing II

4

NUR237Acute Care Nursing III

4

NUR238Role Transition

4

PSY106Normal Life Span

1

PSY111Introduction to Psychology

1.5

Contact hours: 1,736

Diploma program length: minimum weeks of instruction, 60 weeks;

Maximum satisfactory time frame for completion is 90 weeks.

Practical Nursing Program - Specific Policies (applies to all campuses)

(These policies apply to Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina campuses)

Admissions - Students must meet minimum application thresholds to be considered a qualified applicant.

  • Successful completion of the assessment exam*:

    Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) I V

    • Minimum score requirements are as follows:
      • Reading: 80
      • Math: 51
    • Provisional score requirements are as follows:
      • Reading: 75-79
      • Math: 42-50 (MTH099 required)

    Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) V

    • Minimum score requirements are as follows:
      • Reading: 58.3
      • Math: 55
    • Provisional score requirements are as follows:
      • Reading: 55.3
      • Math: 55 (MTH099 required)

    *PN Students may take either transitional math or be admitted under provisional status for Reading scores, but not both. TEAS versions (IV, V) vary by campus location.

  • Record of high school graduation or high school equivalent.
  • Ability to meet minimal level of essential functional abilities required to practice as a nurse as described by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
  • Physical and emotional health that would provide evidence that is indicative of the applicant's ability to provide safe nursing care to the public.

    Physical and Emotional Health:  Assessment is collected via the Clinical requirements and Immunization Policy published in the Catalog.  If a physical or emotional condition threatens to prevent satisfactory classroom or clinical performance, the individual is counseled and referred to an appropriate professional at the individual’s expense. The recommendation of the professional is utilized in advising the individual with regard to continued enrollment in the program.  A person may be denied admission or continued enrollment if the physical or emotional problem conflicts with safety essential to nursing practice and/or does not respond to appropriate treatment within a reasonable period of time.  Refer also to the Students with Disabilities Policy and Procedures section of the Catalog.

Vision. The Practical Nursing program at ECPI University (hereafter will be referred to as “ECPI”) is a leading provider of practical nurse education. ECPI creates an environment that promotes effective teaching and successful learning.

Transfer of credit. The University will consider coursework for transfer for the BIO112/L (3 credits), BIO114/L (3 credits), BIO117/L (3 credits), and BIO118/L (3 credits) courses in which the student achieved a B- or better as the final grade, that was completed within the past seven calendar years, and that is established to be equivalent in content and objectives to courses offered in the Practical Nursing Program. 

Attendance. A detailed record of student’s attendance is maintained by the instructors and becomes a part of their permanent records. Every absence from class, no matter what the reason, is recorded and counted as such by the instructor, beginning with the first day of class. It is sometimes necessary for the school to give employment recommendations for a student. The employer often takes attendance into consideration.

Students MUST attend class regularly. CUTTING SCHEDULED CLASSES IS NOT PERMITTED. If, for any reason, an absence is necessary, day clinical students must call the school and the instructor no later than one hour before the scheduled start time. Students with course absences greater than 15 percent may have their records reviewed for purposes of possible probation, termination, or suspension. A student may be dropped from a course if the student is absent more than 20 percent of the scheduled course hours. Written assignments must be submitted on time. Tests must be made up on the student‘s first classroom day back to school after absence unless the student makes alternate arrangements with the instructor.

Clinical Phase Absenteeism and Tardiness. Absenteeism on clinical days will not be tolerated. A student is expected to arrive at clinical prepared to administer patient care. If a student is unable to perform required duties due to health or other reasons, the student should not attend clinical. If for any reason the student cannot attend the clinical, the student must talk to the assigned group instructor no later than one hour before the scheduled start time.

Emergency messages will be conveyed from the school to the clinical area. At no time should family or friends call the healthcare facility where the student is assigned. Students who are absent or tardy during their scheduled clinical/simulation hours must contact the Director of Nursing or designee, prior to attending their next scheduled class/clinical time.  Any additional absence or tardiness in the term may result in failure of the course and may jeopardize the student's ability to remain in the program. Absence from the clinical site on the first or last day of a rotation requires prior approval from the Director of Nursing.

Clinical Protocol. Clinical experiences are scheduled in various local healthcare agencies and hospitals and are subject to change.

  • Students are not to provide personal telephone numbers or addresses to clients
  • Students are not permitted to accept gifts from clients, patients, or their families
  • Visiting patients, other than friends and relatives, is not permitted
  • Students are not permitted to fraternize with any patient/agency employee while enrolled in school
  • Students may not visit any clinical facilities while wearing the student uniform (including the name pin) unless prior permission is granted by a nursing faculty member
  • Students may not review any patient's chart except the patients assigned to them

Purpose. The practical nursing program will:

  • Prepare a competent, beginning practitioner of practical nursing to function effectively in a variety of healthcare settings
  • Provide a collaborative learning environment in which the students will demonstrate the ability to apply concepts of systematic reasoning through critical thinking and clinical judgment
  • Guide the student in the continuing process of personal and professional growth
  • Continue to achieve its purpose through systematic planning and evaluation by fostering mutually beneficial relationships within the community
  • Prepare students, through didactic and clinical experiences, to be eligible to take the NCLEX-PN exam

Philosophy. The following belief of ECPI’s faculty provides a foundation that guides the program of learning:

  • The individual is a unique being. Nursing focuses on the bio-psychosocial-cultural aspects of an individual or family regardless of age, race, color, creed, or sexual orientation
  • Individuals, families, and communities form a society for the purpose of monitoring human needs. Individuals interact within larger interdependent systems of the family, community, and society
  • Practical nursing as a discipline assists clients/families in the achievement of optimal function. Practical nursing is conceptualized as a dynamic health care service that blends science and the humanities with a caring response
  • Practical nursing education utilizes instruction in the basic sciences, communication skills, care-giving activities, critical thinking, concepts of the nursing process and collaboration, and prepares graduates who can focus on safe, client-centered care using evidence-based practice
  • Following licensure, the LPN functions as a member of the health care team performing dependent practical nursing actions, commensurate with his/her education and demonstrated competencies within the statute defined scope. They provide care to clients in a variety of settings
  • Learning is a self-directed, life-long, personal process resulting in a change in affective, cognitive, and psycho-social behavior. A collaborative practice environment in which the teacher and student share responsibility for the educational process enhances learning. The faculty plans, implements, and evaluates the curriculum in cooperation with the student. The curriculum model, which utilizes information to emphasize and value individuality, respects and responds to individual and professional needs.
  • Practical nursing education is the integration of planned theory, critical thinking, and evidence-based clinical experience through which the student progresses within the practical nursing practice

Conceptual Framework.

ECPI Practical Nursing

Practical Nursing Hours.

Day: Class hours may vary from 4 – 5 days per week from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM depending on course requirements.  Clinical hours may include day, evening or weekend hours depending on the clinical site and course requirements.

Evenings: Class hours may vary from 4 – 5 evenings per week from 5:30 PM to 10:30 PM and 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM on weekends. Clinical hours may include evening or weekend hours depending on the clinical site and course requirements.  Occasional day clinical rotations may be required.

Preceptorship Hours: Clinical hours are scheduled to meet the staffing schedule of the Professional Nurse assigned and may include day, night or weekend hours.

Student Evaluation. The faculty use the objectives of the Program of Nursing as criteria for student evaluation. The student's grades are determined by a combination of written examinations, laboratory/simulation competence, and clinical performance.

Nursing ability, attitude, and relationship with others are areas of clinical and laboratory/simulation evaluation. The achievement of the student in both theory and clinical performance is evaluated by the faculty at regular intervals and shared with the student.

The student progresses to the next term when all prerequisite courses have been satisfactorily completed. Students enrolling in the Practical Nursing program at any of the Virginia campuses must achieve an 80 percent average in all nursing and science courses including courses with the prefix COR, BIO, or NUR. Students enrolling in the program at any of the North Carolina and South Carolina campuses as well as those students enrolled in the Virginia campuses prior to January 2018 must achieve an 80 percent average in all courses and satisfactorily meet all clinical objectives. A final course grade of less than 80 percent or failure to meet laboratory/simulation competence and clinical objectives will result in failure of a course.