Jul 23, 2024  
2023-2025 Catalog Volume XXXI Ver 1 
2023-2025 Catalog Volume XXXI Ver 1

Practical Nursing, Certificate

Curriculum for the Practical Nursing Program

The overall curriculum for the Practical Nursing (PN) program at South College is provided below.

(Asheville, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Knoxville, Nashville, Orlando, Pittsburgh)

The South College Practical Nursing program is designed to prepare practical nurses for the unique challenges of the 21st century. Major courses are delivered in four consecutive quarters of full-time enrollment (44 weeks). For Pittsburgh only, major courses are delivered in six consecutive quarters of full-time enrollment (18 months). For Atlanta only, 17.5 quarter credits of prerequisite general education/core courses are required prior to consideration for admission to the major curriculum.

The curriculum provides a balance of theoretical and practical coursework that further develops the critical thinking and analytical skills needed in today’s competitive and evolving healthcare environments. Students will be challenged through coursework and collaborative interaction with faculty and fellow students to identify, develop, and enhance their understanding in traditional and cutting-edge nursing courses relating to the challenges of practical nursing in today’s healthcare environments.

The South College School of Nursing Practical Nursing Student Handbook (PN Student Handbook) provides students with specific information about the PN program. The PN students at South College are required to be familiar with the information in the PN Student Handbook, South College Catalog, and South College Student Handbook. Students are expected to be aware of and satisfy all regulations governing their work and study at the college. Selected information from the PN Student Handbook is reported below, including Admissions Requirements, Transfer of Credit, Grading System, Academic Participation, Academic Advising, Progression Policy and Academic Standing, and Graduation.

Philosophy of the PN Program

The PN program at South College is guided by the core values of caring, diversity, ethics, excellence, holism, patient-centered and integrity (National League for Nursing, 2014b). These values are integrated throughout the program by demonstrating, teaching, and building respect for dignity and the moral wholeness of every person; valuing differences among people, ideas, values, and ethnicities; and by implementing transformative strategies to advance excellence and innovation in practical nursing education. Furthermore, the PN program embraces the integrating concepts for practical nursing education: context & environment, knowledge & science, personal & professional development, quality and safety, relationship-centered, teamwork and collaboration, and systems-based care. These integrating concepts structure the content, competencies, and outcomes for courses and the curriculum.

Student Learning Outcomes of the PN Program

Based on the National League for Nursing Practical/Vocational Nursing Program Outcomes (2014c), the student learning outcomes for the Practical Nursing program at South College are as follows:

  1. Human flourishing - Promote the dignity, integrity, self-determination, and personal growth of diverse patients, their families, and oneself to provide individualized, culturally appropriate, relationship-centered nursing care (National League for Nursing, 2014d).
  2. Nursing judgment - Make judgments in practice, substantiated with evidence, which integrate nursing science in the provision of safe, quality care for diverse patients and their families in collaboration with the healthcare team (National League for Nursing, 2014e).
  3. Professional identity - Articulate a unique tole as a member of the healthcare team, committed to evidence-based practice, caring, advocacy, and safe quality care, to provide optimal care for diverse patients and their families (National League for Nursing, 2014f).
  4. Spirit of inquiry - By collaborating with healthcare team members, utilize evidence, tradition, and patient preferences in predictable patient care situations to promote optimal health status (National League for Nursing, 2014g).

Minimum Academic Requirements for Admission

Cohorts will begin depending upon enrollment and approvals from the associated state board of nursing. All applicants must meet the requirements for general admission to South College. General admission to South College does not guarantee admission to the School of Nursing. Application deadlines are available in the School of Nursing and the Admissions Department.

Applicants must meet the following requirements to be admitted without stipulation:

  • Submit a School of Nursing application by the applicable deadline.
  • Entrance Exam:
    • Achieve a minimum ATI TEAS Assessment score at the academic preparedness level of BASIC or equivalent score on the HESI A2*. 
    • Scores below this threshold will not be considered for admission.

* HESI A2 Entrance Exam will be accepted at as an equivalent passing score.

In addition to the above academic requirements, Atlanta LPN applicants must successfully complete College Algebra (MAT 1100 ), English Composition (ENG 1201 ), General Psychology (PSY 1811 ), and Medical Terminology (AHS 1010 ) with a cumulative GPA of 2.50 or higher. Students may transfer one or more of these courses into South College if they meet the existing South College transfer requirements. The combined GPA of all four courses must be a 2.50 GPA. Courses may be in progress at time of application, but to be admitted without stipulation they must be completed.

Applicants who are not in good academic standing from a previous nursing or allied health program (e.g. Medical Assisting, Dental Assisting, EMT, etc.) or who have been dismissed from such a program must submit the required School of Nursing Mitigating Circumstances Form and provide supporting documentation of the mitigating circumstances to be considered eligible to apply to the South College School of Nursing. Admission is not guaranteed, and the School of Nursing may require a letter from the former program explaining the circumstances.

Applicants who are not in good academic standing from two previous nursing or allied health programs (e.g. Medical Assisting, Dental Assisting, EMT, etc.) or who have been dismissed from two such programs will not be considered for admission or readmission to the South College Nursing program.

TEAS Assessment
TEAS Assessment requirements and procedures:

  • Applicants are required to take the ATI TEAS Assessment as part of the application process. The TEAS Assessment schedule and additional information is available in the Admissions Department, Student Services Department, and/or School of Nursing.
  • Applicants have three attempts within 12 months to achieve the required score of BASIC or higher on the ATI TEAS entrance exam. 


  • For applicants seeking readmission, a retake of the entrance exam is not required.
  • Readmission eligibility will be assessed based on previous academic performance and adherence to the school’s policies.

* Effective Spring 2023 Mid-Quarter (5/10/23), Atlanta Campus applicants must earn the minimum required TEAS Assessment score prior to beginning any pre-requisite coursework.

Competitive Admissions and Ranking Criteria
Admission to the School of Nursing is competitive and dependent upon class size. Applicants will be ranked based on an approved ranking system that includes, but not limited to, GPA and TEAS score.

Transfer Credit from Previous Nursing Programs
For a nursing class (or classes) to be considered for transfer into a South College Nursing program, the class must have been completed within the past 18 months prior to the cohort start date. Only nursing courses with a grade of A or B are considered for transfer and a course description or syllabus may be required to evaluate equivalency. Please refer to the transfer timeframes on the South College website.

Requirements for Admission (Other than Academic)

Prospective students must meet the following requirements to be admitted without stipulation. Stipulations must be met as described below or the offer of admission may be withdrawn:

  1. Take the required drug test before the 1st day of class*.
  2. Complete the background check application before the 1st day of class*.
  3. Attend the nursing orientation on the scheduled date in its entirety.

*Prospective students who fail either the drug test or background check will be cancelled.

In addition, each prospective student must provide proof of ability to perform the skills needed to practice nursing effectively. Health care facilities must meet federal guidelines, and students must also meet these requirements in order to be allowed to gain clinical experience. All nursing students must comply with communicable diseases/blood-borne pathogen requirements that the clinical agencies require. Therefore proof of the following are minimum requirements for the nursing applicant (additional requirements may apply depending on clinical agency requirements):

  1. Health history and physical exam certifying ability to function in the required capacity prior to admission to upper level courses.
  2. Common communicable disease immunization or immunity, including MMR (2 in series if born after 1957), TDaP (booster required every 10 years) and Varicella vaccine (2 in series). Some clinical facilities may require titers for MMR, HBV, and Varicella even though you have proof of previous immunization.
  3. Hepatitis B immunization (3 in series) or the HEPLISAV-B, (2 in a series one month apart) or completed Declination Form for Hepatitis B Vaccination depending on the requirements of the clinical affiliate. The Declination Form must only be used for medical reasons and must be documented by student’s primary care provider. A vaccine titer test showing immunity is also acceptable.
  4. Annual Flu immunization or completed Declination Form for Influenza Vaccination depending on the requirements of the clinical affiliate. The Declination Form must only be used for medical reasons and must be documented by student’s primary care provider.
  5. Annual screening for tuberculosis.
  6. Acceptable drug screen.* Students may be required to obtain more than one acceptance drug screen per year depending on the requirements of the clinical affiliate. In any case where a drug screen is positive and no authorized prescription is produced to validate the presence of the drug in the individual’s system, continuation in the program will be denied. Upon notification of the drug screen results, the student will have 5 working days to provide prescription validation. Students are responsible for costs associated with any required testing.
  7. Acceptable criminal background check for a minimum of past 15 years. Students may be required to obtain more than one acceptance criminal background check per year depending on the requirements of the clinical affiliate. If the background check reveals previous criminal convictions, admittance into the program will be made on a case-by-case basis. Students who are denied clinical experiences due to past convictions may be unable to progress in the program which will result in failure to complete the required courses for the program.
  8. Proof of health insurance coverage throughout the entire nursing program.
  9. Annual training on blood-borne pathogens.
  10. Valid American Heart Association Basic Life Support (BLS) for Healthcare Providers** Course Completion Card or Certificate.

* Marijuana, or its metabolite, is not an accepted substance in drug screens and will result in a positive drug screen. Prospective students whose drug test results are positive for marijuana, or its metabolite, will be offered one additional opportunity to reapply for admission into the next admission cohort after the initial positive results.  Prospective students whose repeat drug test results are positive for marijuana, or its metabolite, will be denied admission indefinitely. 

**American Red Cross Course accepted on select campuses based on clinical affiliation guidelines; you can reach out to your clinical coordinator to make this determination.

Additional immunizations (such as COVID) and or Titers may be required per clinical facility. Students who choose not to meet the requirements of clinical sites will not be able to participate in clinical experiences as a student at those sites. This includes students who have received partial vaccinations but who are not fully immunized or students awaiting action on a clinical facility exemption request, if applicable. This may seriously impact ability to progress, graduate on time, or graduate at all.

Prospective students or students who do not comply with all communicable disease/bloodborne pathogen requirements and accurately maintain their records in the institution’s clinical tracking portal will be cancelled or withdrawn.

Functional Capacities (Technical Standards)

Prospective students must demonstrate the following functional capacities. Prospective students who believe that they will not be able to meet one or more of these requirements without accommodation or modification must notify the PN Program Director, and a determination will be made on a case-by-case basis whether reasonable accommodation may be made. In no instance will an accommodation be made which will compromise nursing care, or that will put patients or other students at risk. Accommodation granted when a student is generally admitted to South College are not guaranteed to apply to admission to the nursing program.

Function Requirement Examples of Tasks For
Vision Adequate to ensure safety of self and others in classroom and clinical settings. Patient assessment; response to treatment; medication preparation and administration; reading of patient charts and physician orders.
Hearing Adequate to allow effective communication with patients and others in person and by electronic means, and to ensure safety of self and patients. Face-to-face communication with patients, families and the healthcare team; telephone consultations; heart tones; breath sounds; bowel sounds and other assessments.
Tactile Sensory Adequate to allow effective evaluation and therapeutic intervention related to nursing care, and to ensure safety of self and others in providing care. Palpation used in assessment; vital signs; medication administration, IV starts.
Gross motor strength and coordination Adequate to ensure safety of self and others in class and lab sessions and clinical activities. Patient positioning and transfer; walking, standing, bending, and/or stopping for extended periods involving patient care; moving of equipment/beds.
Fine motor strength and coordination Adequate to allow mastery of activities requiring detailed movements. Multiple skills in patient care; treatments; medication preparation and administration.
Critical thinking ability Adequate to allow mastery of basic course content and to demonstrate sound judgment in simulated and real-life nursing situations. Effective use of nursing process; planning and implementation of the nursing care plan; identification of cause and effect relationship in order to modify nursing care plan; determination of unsafe situations; planning course of actions to meet needs of patient, family, community and nursing profession.
Interpersonal Skills Adequate to allow establishment of effective working and/or therapeutic relationship with patients, families and professionals. Establishing therapeutic relationship with patients and families; working with health care team; collaboration with other disciplines.
Communication Adequate to allow completion of coursework and effective verbal and written communication with patients, families, communities, peers, and others. Class activities; therapeutic communication; writing/research at the bachelor’s level; documentation of patient care; education of patient/family/community.

Progression Requirements

For a PN student to progress academically, the student must meet the minimum requirements for progression as follows:

  1. A numeric test average of 80% or better is required in each nursing course in order to continue in the nursing program. This grade is calculated based on written/online tests and the final exam, equally weighted.
  2. An overall course average of 80% or better is required in nursing courses in order to continue in the nursing program. This grade is calculated based on the grading criteria in each course syllabus. Students who achieve less than an 80% overall course average in any course are ineligible to enroll in subsequent courses.
  3. Students are required to pass both the clinical and laboratory components associated with a didactic course. Failure in any component of a nursing course requires the repeating of all components of that course. No credit will be given unless all components of a course are successfully completed.
  4. Students requesting or receiving a grade of incomplete (“I”) in any nursing course(s) may not enroll in subsequent courses. Continued progression in the nursing major is contingent upon successful removal of the grade of “I” as described in the South College Catalog.

Grading Scale

The grading scale used by the School of Nursing for all administered courses is as follows:

Letter Grade Q.P Percentage Score Range
Below 73%

Clinical Conduct and Evaluation

Clinical performance is an integral component of the educational process in nursing. Satisfactory clinical performance is an overriding concern in professional practice. Clinical objectives and student behaviors for evaluating these objectives are defined for each clinical nursing course and are located in the course syllabus. A student’s clinical performance is evaluated by the clinical faculty in each course.

Professional behaviors expected of the student are confidentiality, respect, accountability, valuing of people’s differences, preparation to ensure safe clinical practice, and adherence to South College and agency policies and procedures. All nursing students are accountable and responsible to report unsafe and/or unprofessional behavior of other students to their clinical faculty.


Upon completion of certificate requirements, each student enrolled in the PN program must make application to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination-Practical Nurse (NCLEX-PN). Practical/Vocational nurses are prohibited in all states from practicing nursing until the examination is successfully completed and licensure has been granted. Specific information regarding licensure will be provided to the student during the last quarter of the nursing program.

Background Check: Students are required to sign an acknowledgment form that they understand that our school background check may not revel potential barriers to licensure in each state. Each Board of Nursing conducts extensive background checks upon application for licensure with that state. Graduation from this program, does not specifically guarantee licensure in each state.

Academic Advising

All students at the PN program are assigned an academic advisor at the beginning of their program of study. The faculty advisor provides direction and offers encouragement throughout their studies via meetings, phone calls, e-mail messages, and/or virtual conferencing. Upon entering the PN program, students are required to confer with the faculty advisor to map out their course curriculum and requirements for degree completion. Students are also required to meet each quarter with the faculty advisor for an academic progress review and registration approval for the next quarter. If a student voluntarily withdraws from the program, a formal application for reentry is required, and program requirements in effect at that time must be met.

Voluntary Withdrawal

If a student finds it necessary to withdraw from the nursing program, readmission into the program cannot be guaranteed. Any student wishing to apply for readmission after voluntary withdrawal must follow the current readmission policy of the Certificate in Practical Nursing program.

Readmission Policy

Students who have voluntarily withdrawn from the nursing program in good academic standing or who are unsuccessful in the South College nursing program may apply for readmission based on the following criteria:

  1. Eligibility requirements that allow application for readmission are as follows:
    • Students who have withdrawn from the nursing program voluntarily by the drop/add date are eligible to apply for readmission. 
    • Students who are academically unsuccessful (grade of D or F) in one nursing course are eligible to apply for readmission.
  2. Ineligibility requirements that do not allow application for readmission are as follows:
    • Students earning a failing grade in two or more nursing courses cumulatively are ineligible for readmission.
    • Students who have voluntarily withdrawn from the same nursing course twice are ineligible for readmission.
    • Students who are academically unsuccessful in any repeated nursing course are ineligible for readmission (students may only repeat a nursing course one time).
    • Students who have been unsuccessful due to documented cumulative occurrences for lack of professional or clinical judgment may not be eligible for readmission. Occurrences are cumulative from quarter to quarter throughout all course work and clinical experiences at South College.

The School of Nursing reserves the right to consider mitigating circumstances affecting any of the above situations.

Students who have been unsuccessful in one nursing course and are eligible for readmission must submit a written Letter of Intent to the School of Nursing Admission, Progression and Retention (APR) Committee if interested in requesting readmission. The letter should detail the reasons that are believed to have led to the lack of success, as well as changes that have been put in place to ensure success if readmission is granted. Documentation of any personal mitigating circumstances must also be submitted to the APR Committee.

Factors, including but not limited to, such as grade point average, faculty evaluation, and space availability are considered in readmission decisions by the APR Committee. Requests for readmission will be reviewed on an individual basis.

The Associate Dean of Nursing or the Program Coordinator reserves the right to require any student offered readmission to audit a course(s) in cases where the last date of enrollment was greater than 1 calendar year from the readmission date. Other requirements for reentry may be added as skills/knowledge or clinical readiness competencies must be refreshed. 

The APR Committee will make readmission recommendations to the Associate Dean of the School of Nursing at the associated learning site for final approval. The Associate Dean may accept or reject the recommendation of the Committee. A denial of readmission may be appealed to the Dean of the School of Nursing for review within five business days of the notification. A continued denial of readmission may be appealed to the South College Academic and Conduct Appeals Committee within five business days of the notification. Appeals outside of this timeframe will not be considered. Documentation of any personal mitigating circumstances must be submitted at each level of appeal.

* First Quarter Repeat Procedure: LPN students who fail one or more courses in their first attempt of the first quarter courses and wish to return to repeat coursework are not required to apply for readmission as outlined in the Readmission Policy above. Each student will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the Associate Dean of Nursing to determine if he/she is permitted to repeat the first quarter. Several factors will be considered and may include clinical failure, occurrences, and previous failure from a nursing or allied health program. Students not approved to return may appeal to the Dean of the School of Nursing as outlined above. Students approved to return will be placed on probation and are required to complete an attestation form outlining factors that negatively affected academic progress and a plan for success for the next quarter. After the second attempt of completing the first quarter courses, LPN students failing a course(s) are subject to the Readmission Policy criteria.

Termination from the Nursing Program

Grounds for termination from the nursing program are as follows. Some behaviors are critical to patient safety and integrity of the discipline; therefore, the following may be grounds for termination from the nursing program:

  1. Academic failure which is defined as earning less than a C or less than 80% calculated average of test scores and the final exam, equally weighted, in one nursing course;
  2. Failure of quarterly drug calculation competence exam on the second attempt;
  3. Failure to comply with rules and/or policies as written in the School of Nursing Undergraduate Student Handbook, the South College Student Handbook, and/or the South College Catalog;
  4. Falsification of any other information to South College or the School of Nursing;
  5. Any violations of academic integrity (cheating, plagiarism, sharing exams, obtaining unauthorized digital copies of exams, or photos of exam questions, test bank questions, etc.);
  6. Unsafe, illegal, incompetent, unprofessional or unethical clinical behavior;
  7. Failure to meet attendance policy; and/or
  8. Nonpayment of tuition and fees.


Upon successful completion of all program requirements, candidates are recommended for graduation and for the conferring of the Certificate in Practical Nursing. South College and the School of Nursing reserve the right to make necessary program changes as impacted by accreditation standards and other state or federal mandates.