Nov 28, 2023  
2016-2017 Catalog 
2016-2017 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Practical Nursing Certificate

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Academic Program Code:  371

GRCC’s Nursing Programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing as well as the Michigan Board of Nursing. Our programs offer a mixture of classroom instruction and clinical lab work that provides direct, hands-on healthcare experience.

Graduates of the Practical Nursing Program are qualified to sit for the state licensure exam NCLEX-PN. Individuals already working as licensed practical nurses may qualify for advanced standing in the department’s associate’s degree program, putting them on a faster track toward completing graduation requirements (LPNs wanting to apply for Advanced Standing in the Associate Degree Program must have completed 2000 hours of work experience as an LPN prior to applying).

GRCC graduates successfully complete licensure exams at rates above the national and state averages. The Nursing Department regularly participates in job fairs to connect graduates with potential employers. Not surprisingly, our graduates leave here with excellent job prospects. For more information about GRCC’s nursing programs, please visit our website at, or email the nursing department at or call 616.234.4238.

Program Admissions Requirements

In order to be eligible for admission into the Practical Nursing (PN) program, students must:

1. Be high school graduates or have passed the high school equivalency GED (General Educational Development) Test.

2. Have a high school grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.0, or a college GPA of at least 2.0 which will be used for students with 12 or more college credits.  

3. Successfully complete all Academic Foundational Courses. This applies to students whose GPA and ACT or Accuplacer scores place them into Academic Foundational courses. Students with 12 or more college credits are still required to take Accuplacer Math, unless they have previously completed MA 098 or a higher level Math course (or it’s equivalent) with a grade of C- or higher.

4. Have a negative urine drug screen and complete the criminal background check process. Students will not be allowed to enter the program until cleared by GRCC police. This is a requirement of the Nursing Programs as clinical facilities are required to follow Michigan Public Acts 27, 28, and 29 of 2006. Without a clear criminal background, it is possible a student would not be allowed to participate in clinical activities and thus, be unable to complete the GRCC Nursing Programs. For additional information, refer to the Health Programs general information page.

5. Score at least 75% on the HESI A2 Admission Assessment (fee). This test assesses knowledge in reading, vocabulary, grammar, and math.

To be eligible for the program completion certificate, Practical Nursing students must earn a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 and be in good academic standing. All General Education courses must be successfully completed with a grade of “C” or higher (NUR 100 requires a B- or higher to be applicable to the PN program). In addition, once in the program, students must achieve at least 80% in each of the required Practical Nursing courses to be eligible for graduation. Any student placed on Academic Suspension while on the waitlist or while enrolled in the Practical Nursing program, will be withdrawn. Students wishing to pursue nursing after this may re-apply after following GRCC’s academic suspension policy and returning to good academic standing. At GRCC, opportunities exist for graduates of the Practical Nursing program to enter the Associate Degree Nursing program with advanced standing. Students interested in following this path should contact the Nursing Department or view the Nursing Programs Web site ( for additional information.

Pre-Program Requirements

GH 125

NUR 100

EN 101 or EN 100

PY 201

Total Credit Hours


Program Notes

CR = Credit Hours CH = Contact Hours: The number of class hours of attendance required per week. 

NUR 100, GH 125, PY 201, EN 101 Courses are pre-requisites to PN 110 and NUR 115.   BI 121 and BI 122 or BI 117 are accepted for GH 125. A grade of “C” or Higher is required in General Education Courses including the biological sciences. A grade of “B-“ or Higher is required in all NUR and PN courses.

Essential Abilities/Technical Standards

The Grand Rapids Community College Nursing Department faculty has specified essential abilities and technical standards critical to the success of students in any GRCC Nursing Department program. Students must demonstrate these essential abilities to succeed in their program of study. Qualified applicants are expected to meet all admission criteria and matriculating students are expected to meet all progression criteria, as well as these essential abilities essential abilities and technical standards with or without reasonable accommodations.

1. Essential judgment skills to include: ability to identify, assess, comprehend, and interpret medical or health related issues/situations for the purpose of coming to appropriate conclusions and/or prioritizing a course of action(s) in the provision of Nursing Care. Critical Thinking - The student must possess sufficient abilities in the areas of calculation, critical problem solving, reasoning, and judgment to be able to comprehend and process information within a reasonable time frame as determined by the faculty and the profession. The student must be able to prioritize, organize and attend to tasks and responsibilities efficiently. This includes, but is not limited to: Ability to collect, interpret and analyze written, verbal and observed data about clients, families, and environments. Ability to prioritize multiple tasks, integrate information and make decisions. Ability to apply knowledge of the principles, indications, and contraindications for nursing interventions. Ability to act safely and ethically in the college clinical lab and in clinical placements within the community

2. Essential physical/neurological functions to include: ability to use the senses of seeing, hearing, touch, and smell to make correct judgments regarding Nursing Care and meet physical expectations to perform required interventions for the purpose of demonstrating competence to safely engage in the practice of Nursing. Behaviors that demonstrate essential neurological and physical functions include, but are not limited to observation, listening, understanding relationships, writing, and psychomotor abilities consistent with course and program expectations.

Motor - The student must possess sufficient motor capabilities to execute the movements and skills required to provide safe and effective nursing interventions. These include, but are not limited to:

Coordination - speed and agility to assist and safely guard (protect), with safe and proper body mechanics, clients who are ambulating, transferring, or performing other activities.

Strength and Flexibility - ability to adjust and position equipment and clients, which involves bending or stooping freely to floor level and reaching above the head.

Lifting - ability to move or position clients and equipment, which involves lifting, carrying, pulling, pushing up to and including 30 pounds.

Physical Mobility - ability to guide, resist, and assist clients, or to provide emergency care, which involves the activities of standing, kneeling, sitting, or walking.

Manual Dexterity – fine motor skills, including the ability and dexterity to manipulate the devices and other small objects used in providing nursing care.

Lung Capacity - ability to administer CPR without assistance.

Sensory - The student must possess the ability to obtain information in classroom, laboratory or clinical settings through observation, auscultation, palpation and other measures, including but not limited to:

Visual Ability - (corrected as necessary) to recognize and interpret facial expressions and body language, identify normal and abnormal patterns of movement, to read or set parameters on various equipment, to discriminate color changes, and to interpret and assess the environment.

Auditory Ability - (corrected as necessary) to recognize and respond to soft voices, auditory timers, equipment alarms, call bells, and to effectively use devices for measurement of blood pressure, breath sounds, etc.

Tactile Ability - to palpate a pulse and to detect changes or abnormalities of surface texture, skin temperature, body contour, muscle tone, and joint movement.

Mobility - Sufficient position, movement and balance sensations to assist and safely guard (protect) clients who are ambulating, transferring or performing other activities.

3. Essential communication skills to include: ability to communicate effectively with fellow students, faculty, patients, clients and their families, other health care providers and staff, as well as all members of the Nursing Department. Skills include verbal, written, and nonverbal abilities as well as information technology skills consistent with effective communication. This includes, but is not limited to: Reading - ability to read at a competency level that allows one to safely carry out the essential functions of an assignment (examples: handwritten chart data, printed policy and procedure manuals). Interpretation - ability to effectively interpret and process information. Communication - ability to effectively communicate (verbally and in writing) with clients/families, health care professionals, and others within the community. Technology – ability to access information and collect data, as well as to communicate and document effectively via computer. Perception - Ability to recognize, interpret, and appropriately respond to nonverbal behavior of self and others.

4. Essential emotional coping skills: ability to manage potential stressors that accompany tasks necessary to safely engage in the practice of Nursing as determined by professional standards of practice. The student must be capable of exercising good judgment, developing empathic and therapeutic relationships with clients and others, and tolerating close and direct physical contact with a diverse population. This will include people of all ages, races, socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds, as well as individuals with weight disorders, physical disfigurement and medical or mental health problems. This also includes, but is not limited to: Ability to work with multiple clients/families and colleagues at the same time. Ability to work with classmates, instructors, health care providers, clients, families and others under stressful conditions, including but not limited to providing care to medically or emotionally unstable individuals, situations requiring rapid adaptations, the provision of CPR, or other emergency interventions. Ability to foster and maintain cooperative and collegial relationships with classmates, instructors, other health care providers, clients and their families.

5. Essential intellectual/conceptual skills to include: ability to measure, calculate, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate to engage competently in the safe practice of Nursing. These abilities include an aptitude for rapid problem solving, the capability to access and interpret medical files independently, conduct physical examinations and interpret findings, and to formulate a logical plan of care. Students must possess good judgment in patient assessment, and the abilities to incorporate new information, comprehend three-dimensional relationships, and retain and recall pertinent information in a timely fashion. The student must also be prepared to provide in-depth rationale for plan of care.

6. Other essential behavioral attributes: ability to engage in activities consistent with safe Nursing practice without demonstrated behaviors of addiction to, abuse of, or dependence on alcohol or other drugs that may impair behavior or judgment. The student must demonstrate responsibility and accountability for actions as a student in the Nursing Program and as a developing professional in the Field of Nursing consistent with accepted standards of practice. Grand Rapids Community College strives to be more than ADA compliant. We strive to be accessible and welcoming to all students of all abilities.

After reviewing the Essential Abilities/Technical Standards for this program; your responsibilities as a student entail determining if you can complete all associated coursework either:

A. With Accommodation. I am otherwise qualified to meet the same academic standards as any other student entering the program. However, based on a medically documented condition or diagnosis, I would qualify for reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990). I will meet with Disability Support Services on campus to arrange those accommodations in an interactive process with the department of Nursing.

B. Without Accommodation. I am able to complete the program without need for reasonable accommodation or modification. In the event my medical documentation reveals otherwise or a condition manifests that would necessitate an accommodation; it is my responsibility to inform a responsible authority figure within the Department of Nursing and work with Disability Support Services to see if a reasonable accommodation or modification can be made. If you have a medically documented condition or diagnosis, please contact the Nursing Department office, or contact Disability Support Services (DSS) at or by phone at 616.234.4140 to arrange accommodations through our interactive pr

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