Practical Nurse Certificate (PN) (selective) (January entrance)

A licensed practical nurse (LPN) participates in direct and indirect nursing care, health maintenance, teaching, counseling, collaborative planning, and rehabilitation. LPNs work under the direction of registered nurses, physicians, and/or dentists.  MWCC’s Practical Nursing Certificate provides short-term education leading to a rewarding healthcare career. The college credits earned in this program may be applied toward a nursing degree. The PN Certificate program is approved by the Massachusetts Board of Nursing and the National League of Nursing. Graduates are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Exam for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). See the selective admissions section in the front of the college catalog for application requirements.

Requirements for consideration: The application deadline is September 1, with classes starting in January. This selective enrollment program requires additional application components. The selection process is competitive and space is limited. Applicants must have completed MAT126 (C+ or better) and meet certain academic standards. See page 21 of the catalog for specific details or refer to the program application available on our website or through the admissions office.

Number Suggested Course Order Cr Semester Grade Prerequisites/Notes
Semester 1
BIO115** Human Biology*


    Prerequisites: ENG098, FYE101, MAT096, RDG098, or placement

Note: Recommended completion prior to program application

PSY105 Introduction to Psychology*


    ENG098, FYE101, RDG098, or placement
NUR102 Fundamentals of Practical Nursing


    Co-requisite: BIO115, PSY105 and admission into the Practical Nursing program
Semester 2
NUR104 Maternal-Child Nursing



    Prerequisites: NUR102; BIO115, PSY105
PSY110 Human Growth and Development*



    Prerequisite: PSY105

Note: Recommended completion prior to program application

ENG101 English Composition I*


    Prerequisites: ENG098, FYE101, RDG098, or placement

Note: Recommended completion prior to program application (advised within 1 year of application)

Semester 3
NUR106 Contemporary Nursing for the Practical


13     NUR104; ENG101, PSY110
                                                     Total: 45 credits

*These courses must be taken concurrently or prior to the nursing courses specified for that particular semester
**BIO199 and BIO204 may be taken in place of BIO115.  Grade must be a C+ or better.

Campus/format: A majority of this program is a selective, day only program. All nursing classes are held at the Gardner Campus. Lab courses are held at the Devens Campus.

Helpful hints: Because of an extensive classroom/clinical commitment, students are encouraged to complete some of the general education requirements prior to beginning nursing courses. Limitations of clinical sites necessitate traveling some distances.

Transfer options: With additional courses and acceptance, PNs can matriculate into the second semester of MWCC’s associate degree in nursing program. Consult with your academic advisor.

Special requirements: Applicants must meet all requirements for consideration before entering the program. Students must meet technical standards and additional requirements including mandatory math review (additional fee charged), immunizations, CPR certification, liability insurance, health insurance, and a Criminal/Sexual Offender Records Information (CORI/SORI) check (see page 22). Additional tuition applies for this program. Some clinical facilities may require drug testing.

Please note: All BIO (BIO115, 199, or 204), MAT126 (prerequisite), and NUR102, 104, and 106 courses require a grade of C+ to be eligible for promotion to the next level. Also, BIO115, 199, and 204 credits cannot be more than five years old.

Career options: After passing the licensure exam, graduates can pursue careers as licensed practical nurses (LPNs) in hospitals, physician’s offices, rehabilitation centers, out-patient settings, long-term care facilities, residential care facilities, or in home care.

Earning potential: $36,434 to $43,241 per year.

Program Competencies for PN

Upon graduation from this program students shall have demonstrated the ability to:

  • Use the nursing process in meeting self-care requisites of culturally diverse groups of clients with defined self-care deficits.
  • Collaborate with interdisciplinary health team members in meeting the needs of culturally diverse groups of clients with defined self-care deficits.
  • Modify strategies to advocate for culturally diverse groups of clients with defined self-care deficits.
  • Use knowledge of nursing to deliver safe, individualized care to culturally diverse groups of clients with defined self-care deficits.
  • Employ health education plans based on the learning needs of the culturally diverse groups of clients experiencing self-care deficits.
  • Apply principles of therapeutic communication skills in interactions with culturally diverse populations and the health care team.
  • Practice within the legal and ethical framework of practical nursing in the management of groups of culturally diverse clients with defined self-care deficits.
  • Assess own actions in meeting the practical nursing program outcomes as evidenced by journaling and submission of anecdotal records.
  • Demonstrate accountability for personal and professional conduct within the practical nurse student role.

Technical Standards* for NU, NUE, NUP, and PN

*general information about technical standards and accommodation.

Students entering these programs must be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • Comprehend textbook material at the 11th grade level.
  • Communicate and assimilate information verbally or in a printed format.
  • Gather, analyze, and draw conclusions from data.
  • Stand for a minimum of two hours.
  • Walk for a minimum of six hours, not necessarily consecutively.
  • Stoop, bend, and twist for a minimum of 30 minutes at a time and be able to repeat this activity at frequent intervals.
  • Lift a 40-pound person or assist with a larger person and transfer the person from one location to another.
  • Determine by touch: hotness/coldness, wetness/dryness, and hardness/softness.
  • Use the small muscle dexterity necessary to do such tasks as gloving, gowning, and operating controls on machinery.
  • Respond to spoken words, monitor signals, call bells, and vital sign assessment equipment.
  • Identify behaviors that would endanger a person’s life or safety and intervene quickly, with an appropriate solution, in a crisis situation.
  • Remain calm, rational, decisive, and in control at all times, especially during emergency situations.
  • Exhibit social skills appropriate to professional interactions.
  • Maintain cleanliness and personal grooming consistent with close personal contact.
  • Function without causing harm to self or others if under the influence of prescription or over-the-counter medications.

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