Practical Nursing Program

The MECC Practical Nursing Program is designed to be a three semester, 51 credit training program. Students will complete both classroom, clinical, and simulated experiences to build knowledge as entry level nursing graduates. The graduate of this program will earn a Certificate in Practical Nursing and will be eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).

Employment Opportunities

Employment opportunities for the Licensed Practical Nurse include, but are not limited to, staff positions in hospitals, nursing homes, health departments, physicians’ offices, clinics, home health agencies, day care centers, public schools, and civil service.

Accreditation and State Approval Statement

Pursuant to United States Department of Education (US DOE) regulation 34 CFR 668.43 (a) (5) (v), the Mountain Empire Community College Certificate in Practical Nursing (LPN) program provides the following information for all prospective and current students:

  • The Mountain Empire Community College LPN program meets all Virginia Board of Nursing requirements for pre-licensure nursing education programs in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • The Practical Nursing program is fully approved by the Virginia State Board of Nursing.
  • Mountain Empire Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
  • Special Note for Out of State Online Students (non-Virginia) State Authorization and Student Complaint Process
    • State Authorization is a legal issue dealing with an institution’s adherence to state requirements for colleges to secure authorization to offer instruction in that state. Mountain Empire Community College has been approved by Virginia to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. NC-SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of post-secondary distance education.
    • Prospective students living outside Virginia interested in degree or certificate programs that require internships, clinicals, or licensure upon graduation should check with their individual states regarding any special limitations on allowable online courses.
    • The Commonwealth of Virginia participates with multiple other states in the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) National Licensing Compact (NLC) to allow nurses licensed in one state to provide nursing care across state lines in other compact states.
  • Click here for National Compact Licensure and Reciprocity Information


The mission of the MECC Practical Nursing Program is to facilitate the health of the community. This mission is accomplished through nursing education, leadership, scholarship, and innovative nursing practice. The foundation of these goals is lifelong learning, responsiveness to changing healthcare needs, generation and dissemination of new knowledge, and service to the public and the profession.

The philosophy of the faculty of Mountain Empire Community College Practical Nursing Program is based on our beliefs about nursing, people and their health, environment and society, and nursing education. Nursing is vital in facilitating the well-being and health of people. Healthy people create healthy communities. Healthy communities grow to influence environment and society to greater health. And to this end, the Practical Nursing program seeks to begin the pathway to higher education to ensure the continued growth of the health of people.

The vision of the MECC Practical Nursing Program is to assist working adults, high school graduates, and other individuals in fulfilling their desires to become licensed practical nurses, entering the workforce as entry level nurses with a foundation for lifelong growth and learning. The program embraces the adult learner and supports the values, beliefs, philosophy, and mission of the College.

Program Objectives

  1. Obtain an entry-level nursing position within a variety of healthcare settings.
  2. Provide nursing care encompassing the attainment and maintenance of physical and mental health of clients within various stages of illness, healthcare settings, and throughout the entire life span.
  3. Provide focused assessments of clients within various stages of illness using quantitative reasoning and critical thinking/judgment to identify client needs, care, data collection, evaluation, reporting, and documentation of care rendered.
  4. Development of working concepts of anatomy/physiology, chemistry, microbiology, and behavioral sciences.
  5. Development of skills to enhance communication, growth and development, nurse-client, client education, and interdisciplinary teams in providing client care.
  6. Development of professionalism in nursing and healthcare including: history and trends, role of the practical nurse, conflict resolution, ethical and legal aspects of nursing, Virginia Laws and Regulations governing nursing, client rights, privacy, and confidentiality, and mandated reporting status for child/elder abuse; appropriate use of social and electronic media.
  7. Provide care to client throughout the life span in various stages of illness and healthcare settings concepts of pharmacology, dosage calculations, medication administration and diet/nutrition therapies.
  8. Development client centered care concepts including: respect for cultural differences, values and preferences; promotion of healthy lifestyles, safe client environments, prevention, recognition, intervention, and reporting child/elder abuse, as well as intimate partner and family violence, prevention and response to bioterrorism, natural and man-made disasters.
  9. Development of management and supervisory skills including use of technology in client care, participation in quality improvement processes, supervision of aides and unlicensed assistive personnel.

Practical Nursing Program NCLEX-PN first time attempt pass rates:

2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
86.7% 85.7% 85.7% 78.26% 73.26% to date: 100%

Program Admission

Special Note:

The State Board of Nursing has the authority to deny licensure to any applicant who has violated any of the provisions of 54.1-3008 of the Code of Virginia. Any student entering the Practical Nursing program who has committed any legal offenses other than minor traffic violations may want to discuss these matters with the Program Director of the Practical Nursing program prior to application.

An academic advisor will review your preparation in mathematics and English with you. You will be guided to appropriate preliminary coursework to give you the greatest chance of success in this program. All identified developmental mental course needs must be completed prior to admission to the Practical Nursing Program. All interested applicants are encouraged to complete English, math, anatomy, and psychology requirements before application.

  • Completion and proof of state accredited high school diploma, home school diploma, or GED.
  • If the student has completed nine (9) or more semester credit hours of college level work, college GPA will be used to calculate admission GPA score. If the student has completed less than nine (9) semester credit hours of college level work, the high school, home school, or total GED score will be used in calculating the admission GPA score.
  • Applicants are solely responsible for completing and/or submitting the following items:
    • MECC application to the college
    • FAFSA (Free Federal Financial Aid Application) annually
    • MECC Practical Nursing Program application
      • Spring semester deadline – October 15
      • Fall semester deadline – June 15
  • For students currently enrolled in any curricular non-nursing coursework during the semester of program application, application processing will be completed upon grade posting.
  • Submit official transcripts
    • A copy of the high school, home school transcripts, or GED scores and all college transcripts must be submitted as an attachment to the Application for Practical Nursing online program application.
  • Complete TEAS testing
    • A copy of the TEAS testing scoring sheet must be uploaded with the online application. Please ensure that your name and all scores are visible in the attachment.
  • It is the sole responsibility of the applicant to ensure the program application file is complete and all supporting documentation has been loaded as part of the online program application process.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all contact information recorded in the Student Information System is up to date.
  • Completion of an online Practical Nursing Program application is required for each academic year for which the applicant is interested in being considered for admission.

Admission to the Practical Nursing program is based upon:

Demonstrated competency in math, English, and science by one or more of the following:

  • All required developmental course work must be completed prior to program admission.
  • » Readiness for NUR 135 (minimum testing scores of MTE 1-3 or MDE 10) or completion of NUR 135 (C or better course grade)
  • » Readiness for ENG 111; or completion of ENG 111 (C or better course grade)
  • Biology with a lab (high school or college) with a “C” or better. Applied biology and/or ecology does not satisfy this requirement. PNE 155, BIO 1, BIO 101 or BIO 102, BIO 141 or BIO 142, BIO 145, or NAS 171 will meet the admission requirements. For successful nursing training, recommended biology courses are:
    • BIO 141 & 142 or PNE 155 or BIO 145 or NAS 171
  • Cumulative GPA will be calculated using a points value system. GED recipients will be ranked according to their general equivalent diploma scores. Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 or its equivalent required to be considered for admission.

Applicants must complete all sections of the TEAS test. The individualized adjusted score will be calculated using a points value system.  A minimum of 45% individual adjusted score must be achieved to be considered for admission. Students can choose to submit previously completed TEAS testing scores. Testing scores must be dated within two (2) years of the program application. Information regarding preparing for and completing the TEAS can be found at TEAS information and scheduling.

  • These are the required Practical Nursing Program curricular general education courses that will be used to earn points towards program admission.
  • Courses must be successfully completed with a grade of “C” or higher for admission points values.
  • Students are highly encouraged, but not required, to complete this coursework prior to submission of program application.
  • Curricular non-nursing program courses will be calculated using a points value system.
  • Curricular general education courses required for PN:
    • ENG 111
    • SDV 101
    • NUR 135
    • HLT 130
    • SAF 130
    • PSY 230
    • PNE 155 (or BIO 141 & 142)
    • HLT 105

CNAs with active certification and six months verified work experience are eligible for additional points. Criteria for GPA, TEAS, and general program admission requirements must be met to receive the additional points towards the program application process. CNAs wishing to receive these additional points must submit required documentation as an attachment to the online Practical Nursing program application process. Required documents include:

  • Copy of Board Certification
  • An official letter from Human Resources verifying length of work experience (1,000 hours or 6 months minimum), area of experience, and contact information
  • All documentation will be verified by the program director.

Applicants, submitting applications on time, will be admitted by highest to lowest scores. Applications received after the deadline may be considered: 1) if the cohort is not filled or 2) when current enrollment grades are posted.

Applicants must have a minimum scoring rubric total of 10 to be considered for admission.

Students wishing to transfer from other colleges’ nursing programs will be given consideration by the program on an individual basis. Students requesting to use TEAS scores from another institution or nursing program must have completed the test within the previous two (2) years prior to program application to the Practical Nursing program. It is the student’s responsibility to upload copies of the TEAS testing results with their online program application.

Students who transfer from another State Board of Nursing approved program will have to complete the following to receive credit: a) apply and meet all program admission requirements, b) Skills lab final exam and performance exam/check off, c) Medical math test with 90% accuracy (3 attempts allowed), d) complete a final comprehensive exam on transfer materials with 80% or greater score, and e) earned a grade of “C” (80% or higher) on any course requested for transfer.

Performance Requirements

In addition to the nursing program’s admission requirements, the nursing program sets forth eligibility requirements by citing the core performance standards. The standards set forth cognitive, sensory, affective and psychomotor performance requirements for every nursing student. Each core performance standard is accompanied by examples of activities nursing students and nurses are required to perform while executing nursing care. Students must be able to demonstrate satisfactory application of these core performance standards in classroom, clinical and laboratory settings, with or without reasonable accommodations, during the course of the nursing program.

Requirement Performance Standard Examples
Critical Thinking Critical thinking ability sufficient for clinical judgment and delivery of safe client care Identify cause and effect relationships in clinical situations; evaluate effectiveness of nursing interventions; use the scientific method in the development of nursing interventions; prioritize nursing tasks and solve problems


Quantitative literacy sufficient for clinical judgment and delivery of safe client care Ability to take measurements; perform arithmetic and numerical operations (such as is necessary for calculating medication dosages and rates); read and record graphical displays of scientific and real-time physiologic data


Interpersonal and emotional skills sufficient for professional interactions with individuals, families and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds Establish rapport with clients and colleagues; ability to engage in conflict resolution, demonstrate peer accountability; adapt to changing environments/stressors; perform multiple responsibilities concurrently; establish therapeutic boundaries
Communication Ability for professional interactions with others in verbal, non-verbal and written form Explain treatment procedures; initiate health teaching; document and interpret nursing actions and client responses; ability to interpret common non-verbal expressions indicating pain, discomfort, anxiety and other behavioral states
Mobility/Endurance Physical abilities sufficient for movement from room to room and in small spaces; ability to execute movements required to provide care and treatment to clients in all health settings including functioning in emergency situations Move around in client rooms, work spaces and treatment areas; administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation; walk and/or stand for prolonged periods during a 12 hour shift
Motor Skills Gross and fine motor abilities sufficient for providing safe, effective nursing care Ability to bend, squat, kneel, climb stairs, push, pull, reach for extended periods and assist in lifting, transferring, ambulating and positioning clients of all age groups and weights; calibrate and use equipment such as IV pumps; manipulate small equipment and containers such as syringes, vials and medication packages
Hearing Auditory ability sufficient for monitoring and assessing health needs Ability to hear alarms and other emergency signals, normal speaking level sounds, cries for help and auscultatory sounds on assessment
Visual Visual ability sufficient for observation and assessment necessary in client care Ability to observe client’s condition and responses to treatments; ability to discern colors and changes in color shading; ability to read handwritten and printed data such as orders, medication labels, calibrations on syringes; ability to read chart content and interpret data correctly by clearly viewing monitors
Tactile Sense Tactile ability sufficient for physical assessment Ability to sufficiently perform physical assessments including palpation, pulses, changes in skin temperature and anatomical appearance

The nursing program is committed to the policies set forth by the Virginia Community College System regarding disabilities and reasonable accommodations. If you require special services or accommodations, you should visit Disability Services and contact the Disability Services Counselor for an appointment at least 2 weeks prior to the beginning of nursing classes. Your success is contingent upon your ability to fulfill the core performance standards of the program with or without reasonable accommodations.

Individual contracts are in effect with each affiliate clinical agency and these contracts differ in requirements for students. If students cannot comply with these contractual requirements, they will not be able to participate in clinical activities and will be asked to withdraw from the program. In general, contracts include the following:

  • Clinical agencies reserve the right to dismiss a student from their agency at any time with due cause. This will be done with advance notice except in an emergency.
  • Published policies of the clinical agency must be followed.
  • Students must wear the proper uniform, adhering to program and healthcare agency standards.
  • Students must attend and complete the healthcare agency’s orientation program prior to participating in clinical activities.
  • Clinical agencies require that all students have documentation of ability to perform the physical demands required in direct patient care activities.
  • Students must meet health, immunity, and immunization requirements.
  • Student releases clinical agencies, its agents and employees from any liability for any injury or death to self or damage to personal property arising out of the clinical agreement or use of the clinical agency’s facilities. Students must sign an Assumption of Risk document that serves to provide a general outline of hazards encountered within nursing. This list includes exposure to infectious, biological, chemical, environmental/mechanical, and psychosocial hazards, as well as, loss of personal property.
  • Student is financially responsible for any medical care required while in the clinical setting.
  • Student must provide current copy of course completion card for American Heart Association CPR BLS for Healthcare Provider.
  • Student must successfully complete HIPAA training as part of nursing orientation.
  • Student must complete a criminal background check and drug screen, which may be repeated during the program. The health care agency may deny a student participation in direct patient care based on results of the criminal background check and drug screen.
  • Demonstration of professional behavior is expected at all clinical learning experiences. Faculty will direct a student to leave the learning environment if unacceptable behaviors are observed.
  • Clinical agencies may require personal health insurance as a condition for student placement.
  • Student must submit required clinical documents with each clinical rotation. A student who does not meet published deadlines for submission forfeits his/her enrollment.
  • If a student is dismissed by a clinical agency, alternate placement (if available) will require disclosure of information related to the dismissal. The student must consent to disclosure through completion of a FERPA form.

Important Note: All prospective students are required to be eligible to participate in all clinical facilities where the nursing program is contracted to provide clinical instruction and supervision. Students who are not eligible for rehire in any facility may be excluded from clinical experiences, and thus may forfeit their seats in the nursing program. Students will be asked to disclose, upon admission, if they are current or former employees of any regional healthcare agencies.

Clearances for both background check and sex offender must be proven and provided within the 4 weeks of first semester training to continue in program.

Background checks for criminal history and sex offender crimes against minors are required for entrance into clinical agencies. Background check and drug screening documentation must be dated within one (1) year of entry into the Practical Nursing program and be conducted through our approved third-party vendor. If background check and drug screen become dated over one year, and the student continues in the program, the criminal/sexual background check and the drug screening must be repeated at the student’s expense.

Students with convictions may be prohibited from clinical practice and may not be allowed to complete the program. Any questionable background checks will be reported to the clinical agency. Clinical agencies have the final say as to whether a student may attend clinical or not. If a student is denied admission into the clinical agency, the student must withdraw from the program. Clinical agencies require drug testing prior to placement of students for clinical rotations. Drug screenings are random and will be completed at Occumed in Norton, VA.

Students with positive drug test results will be prohibited from clinical practice and will not be eligible to complete the program. The cost of criminal background checks and drug tests/screening will be the responsibility of the student.

According to § 54.1-3007 of the Code of Virginia, the Board of Nursing may refuse to admit a candidate to any examination, or refuse to issue a license or certificate, to any applicant with certain criminal convictions. Likewise, the Board may refuse licensure or certification to an applicant who uses alcohol or drugs to the extent that it renders the applicant unsafe to practice, or who has a mental or physical illness rendering the applicant unsafe to practice (referred to as a history of impairment). Most healthcare organizations are prohibited from hiring persons who have been convicted of certain criminal acts see Impact of Criminal Convictions on Nursing Licensure, Certification and Employment in Virginia. Students with convictions or positive drug tests may be prohibited from clinical practice and may not be able to complete the program requirements.

Individuals accepted into the program must pass a physical examination given by a licensed physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant and be free of any physical or mental condition, which would adversely affect performance as a member of the nursing profession. Physical examinations documentation must be dated within one (1) year of program admission. If the physical examination becomes dated over one year, and the student continues in the program, student must complete a continuation of fitness for duty statement.

  • Physical demands in this program include duties that frequently require squatting, bending, kneeling, reaching, stair climbing, lifting and carrying up to 50 pounds, frequent pushing and pulling up to 200 pounds with assistance, and occasional lifting and carrying up to 51-74 pounds. Duties also require constant use of sight, hearing, touch, and speech. Environmental conditions include procedures that involve handling blood and body fluids using standard precautions.
  • Immunizations must be current, if students are unable to provide proof of immunization, titers proving immunity to diseases must be submitted.
    • A 2-step tuberculin test minimum of 2 weeks apart is required on admission and annual clearance questionnaire with CDC TB training,
    • Exception: for previous positive reactors who must have a chest x-ray.

If students are unable to provide proof of immunization, titers proving immunity to diseases must be submitted.

      • MMR – two vaccines
      •  Hepatitis A – two vaccines
      • tetanus every 10 years
      • varicella – two vaccines (or documented history), and
      • Hepatitis B series two OR three immunization series
      • COVID vaccination guidance is subject to change. Currently, selective clinical affiliates require full vaccination or an approved exemption
      • Students must receive an annual, current season, flu vaccination or submit physician proof of documented allergy. Clinical affiliates require the documentation to include: manufacturer, lot number, expiration date of lot, and site of injection
  • Students must also be certified in CPR (American Heart Association Healthcare Provider or American Red Cross Professional Rescuer).
  • Students are NOT covered under any type of medical insurance through Mountain Empire Community College. All expenses related to medical issues/injuries, whether personal or training related, is the sole responsibility of the student.
Course Number Course Name Didactic Instruction Hours Skills Acquisition Hours (Skills Lab) Observation Experiences Simulation in lieu of direct client care clinical hours (includes low-fi/hi-fi lab *& virtual) Direct Client Care Hours
PNE 161 Nursing in Health Changes I 60 90 0 6/6 12
PNE 173 Pharmacology for PNs 30 45 0 0/8 8
PNE 143 Assessment 0 45 0 0 0
PNE 162 Nursing in Health Changes II 60 Skills sims- 8 0 Lab/Virtual

Geri – 0/12

MS – 4/12

Pedi – 4/8

MH – 0/8

Geri – 60

MS – 60

Pedi – 24

MH – 24

PNE 159 Care of Children 30 0 0 0 0
PNE 158 Mental Health 15 0 0 0 0
PNE 164 Nursing in Health Changes IV 60 0 Lab/Virtual

OB/Newborn – 4/8

Advanced Clinical – 4/0

OB/newborn – 36

Advanced Clinical – 180

PNE 132 Care of Maternal/Newborn 30 0 0 0 0
PNE 145 Trends in PN 15 0 0 0 0
Totals:   315 188 0 22/62 404

After Practical Nursing Program Admission

Email notification of program acceptance status will be sent by January 5 for Spring cohort applicants and August 10 for Fall cohort applicants (dates are subject to change based on number of applications to process). Email notifications and/or phone calls will be sent to the student’s MECC email account and/or contact number listed in SIS (student information system). The college is not responsible for undeliverable or unchecked email. The college is not responsible for undeliverable or unchecked voice mails. It is the student’s responsibility to check their email and voice mail daily for correspondence regarding admission and follow all instructions outlined in emails. If the applicant’s acceptance of an admission offer is not completed by the stated deadline, the offer will be withdrawn without notice. Appeals of an Admission Committee decision must be made in writing to the program faculty. When the cohort has been filled, the remaining applicants will be placed on an alternate list based upon their score from the selection criteria scoring matrix. Should a program admitted student not accept his/her position, applicants from the alternate list will be admitted into the program through the last day of registration for spring/fall classes. If the College is unable to contact the next student on the alternate list by mail/phone, or if the student is unable to immediately commit to accept, the next student, on the alternate list, will be contacted with the offer. Priority will be given to all qualified applicants applying by the deadline for the respective semester who are domiciled residents of Lee, Wise, Scott, Dickenson Counties and the City of Norton, and to Virginia domiciled residents not having access to a given program at their local community college. A domiciled resident is one who has lived in the locality or state for the twelve months prior to application deadlines. Applicants moving out of the locality or state between April 1 or September 1 and the first day of classes will lose their preferred status and any offer of admission to the program may be withdrawn. In addition, residents of localities with which the college has clinical-site affiliation (Sullivan County, TN, Hawkins County, TN, Hancock County, TN, and the city of Kingsport) may receive equal consideration for admission as local residents. Applicants who may not meet requirements for domicile are encouraged to meet with a faculty advisor.

Students are required to complete a mandatory online Practical Nursing Program orientation. Upon receipt of the student electronic acceptance letter by the Program Director and Enrollment Services, an email will be sent to the student with the online orientation link. Orientation is to be encouraged to be completed within five (5) days of receipt of orientation link but must be completed within one week of semester start. Failure to complete the online orientation prior to in-house session  will result in seat forfeiture. It is the student’s responsibility to check their student email account for correspondence. The online orientation will be followed by an in-house meeting to finalize registration to the Practical Nursing program. Failure to attend the in-house meeting will result in seat forfeiture.

 Program Progression

Upon admission, and during the course of the program, the LPN faculty will carefully observe and evaluate the student’s aptitude for nursing. Students are expected to complete all courses listed in each semester of the curriculum before being allowed to enter subsequent semesters. Successful completion of Practical Nursing (PNE) core courses is considered an overall grade average of 80% (letter grade C) or higher.

Any student who earns a grade lower than “C” in any practical nursing curricular course must repeat the course and earn a final grade of “C” or better before progressing to the next nursing course or graduating from the Practical Nursing Program. Courses must be completed by semester in sequential order. Once a student is accepted into the Practical Nursing Program – Students may repeat one PNE prefix course, or acceptable substitute, once. Repeat of PNE nursing courses are limited to the original enrollment and one additional enrollment in one course. If a student fails a second time or subsequent course, the student will be dismissed from the Practical Nursing Program. Any exception to the above policy must have the approval of the director of the nursing program. Students who must repeat a nursing course will be enrolled in that course on a “space available” basis. Students will be allowed two withdrawals from PNE courses. Upon a third withdrawal, the student will be dismissed from the program. A minimum GPA of 2.0 must be maintained throughout the program. Upon failure to maintain a GPA of 2.0, the student will be dismissed from the program.

Students are highly encouraged to repeat PNE courses within the next available semester. If repeated coursework is not completed within one year, students must apply as new applicants to the program. After acceptance into the Practical Nursing program, students are required to complete the coursework within the designated semester listed in the Practical Nursing curriculum.

Content proctored exams will be required in the following courses: PNE 161, PNE 164, PNE 173, PNE 158, PNE 145, PNE 132, and PNE 159. Prior to proctor exam dates, students are required to complete two ATI online practice tests. The first ATI course specific practice test will be in class and proctored. Students are required to complete remediation of areas based on the individual focused review provided at the end of testing. The second ATI course specific practice test must be completed with a minimum 100% score. The ATI comprehensive proctor exam will be utilized as the comprehensive final exam in PNE courses 161,173, 158, 159, 164, 132, and 145. Final examinations are weighted 30% in specific PNE courses 161, 173, 158, 159, 164, 132, and 145. These proctor exams are calculated into the overall course grade average as follows:

Below level 1 0
Level 1 80%
Level 2 90%
Level 3 100%

The final exit exam is the ATI probability exam. This exam measures the readiness of students to pass NCLEX PN on the first attempt. An exit exam will be given to all students enrolled in PNE 145 and who are in their last semester of the Practical Nursing program. Students will be given a practice probability exam (students are responsible for fee) and two (2) final attempts (purchased as part of the ATI review package) on the probability exam. This probability exam will calculate into the overall grade average for the PNE 145 – Trends in Practical Nursing course. During the third semester, students will be given three (3) different probability examination attempts. The first is considered a practice test and will not be considered toward final grade average. The second probability test will be administered at mid-semester and the third probability test will be administered on the last day of class (times may vary from scheduled class time). If the student scores 95% or higher on the second attempt, they are not required to take the third probability attempt; but may choose to if desired. Students scoring below 95% are required to sit for the third probability attempt. Actual probability exam grade earned will be weighted at 80% of overall course grade average with a minimum score requirement of 80%. Any score made below 80% on the Probability exam will result in zero being recorded for that grade.

All graduating students are required to complete a review for NCLEX-PN preparation. Grade transcripts and attestation of completion will not be forwarded until proof of review is submitted.

  • Classroom attendance: Students enrolled in any Practical Nursing course (PNE) are allowed two (2) absences per class. Absences/tardy/early leave from class (regardless of time or sequence) count towards these two (2) days. Please plan accordingly. Any occurrence over two (2) is an automatic failure of the course.
  • Clinical attendance: A minimum of 400 hours of direct client care clinical experiences is required by the VA State Board of Nursing. Students enrolled in any PNE clinical course are allowed two absences total. Absences/tardy/early leave from clinical (regardless of time or sequence) count towards these two (2) days. Please plan accordingly. Any occurrence over two (2) is an automatic failure of the clinical course.
  • The Practical Nursing Program utilizes virtual simulation (vSIM) software as part of clinical experiences and preparation. All virtual simulations are required to be successfully completed and will average into the overall clinical grade.
  • Practical Nursing students will complete hi-fidelity laboratory clinical experiences during all semesters of the program. All simulations are required to be successfully completed and will average into the overall clinical grade. Hours missed in the simulation lab are subject to the instructor’s discretion if a make up date can be scheduled.

If a student is not admitted to the program but wishes to reapply for the next admission cohort, he/she MUST complete a new online Practical Nursing Program Application form prior to established deadlines for the next year.

Students dismissed for academic reasons (exception cheating) can reapply to the Practical Nursing program one time only. These students must complete the nurse aide program, obtain certification, and obtain at least 1,000 hours or six (6) months’ work experience prior to submitting program application for re-admission. Students must also repeat all PNE coursework regardless of previous letter grade earned.

Students will be limited to a maximum of two (2) admissions to the Practical Nursing program.

Graduation, Licensure, and Accommodations

Students eligible for graduation must file an application for graduation with Enrollment Services by the posted deadline. Graduation applications are completed online and must be completed in their entirety with academic requirements report attached to the application. Students are eligible for graduation upon satisfactorily completing the nursing program certificate/degree requirements listed in the MECC catalog/degree progress report. Students must have earned a grade point average of at least 2.0 in all applicable studies for graduation from the nursing program and be in good academic standing. Students must have a high school diploma or GED on file with MECC registrar to graduate from the nursing program. Students must have completed each PNE course (classroom and clinical) with satisfactory performance grades of at least 80% or C or greater. All financial obligations to the College must be resolved and return of all library and College materials completed.

Qualifications for a Practical Nurse licensure have been established by the Virginia State Board of Nursing and can be found in Nursing Law of Virginia that may be seen in the Program Director’s office. Upon satisfactory completion of the Practical Nursing Program, the student should apply to graduate and will be awarded the Certificate in Practical Nursing. Graduates are prepared to take the NCLEX-PN examination and subsequent licensure. Students are responsible for all fees relating to the NCLEX-PN examination. Links for further NCLEX-PN and licensure information can be found at:

Virginia Board of Nursing request for accommodations for NCLEX PN testing information link:

  • Please refer to the link below for guidance on Virginia State Board of Nursing guidance on requests and follow through of requests for accommodations on NCLEX PN examination.
  • Nursing guidance documents on accommodations

Additional Information

Students are responsible for the following costs in addition to tuition, fees, and book costs: uniforms, CPR/First Aid certification, immunizations, physical exam, medical equipment (stethoscope, sphygmomanometer, pen light, watch with second hand, etc.), mandatory review, required software, and testing services (ATI) throughout the program. Upon successful completion of all requirements within the Practical Nursing program, students will be approved to take the NCLEX-PN examination. All fees related to licensure examination are the student’s responsibility. Students are also responsible for their own transportation to the college and all clinical sites. Students who fail to meet these responsibilities will not be able to continue in the program. The anticipated cost of the entire training program is $8000.00 (subject to change as prices and tuition fluctuate).

(books/lab/program patches and as available, required course materials may be purchased through MECC bookstore)

First Semester


Uniforms: purchased in bookstore, online retailers, or In-Home Care Norton, VA $200.00
TEAS Admission Testing $70.00
Tools for clinical (stethoscope, black ink pen, light, small notebook, optional BP cuff)
various pricing
Program Emblem (x3) $15.00
Lab Equipment $200.00
Physical Exam and Immunizations
(up to $250.00)
Student Liability Insurance: (optional)
Background check/drug testing
Books: (see list) various prices
ATI review materials (ATI CARP PN / Swift River package) $750.00

Second Semester

Books: (see list)  various pricing
Bring Your A Game certification

Third Semester

Books: (see list)  various pricing
Hurst Review for NCLEX PN  $285.00
Graduation Pin: (silver) $55.00
NCLEX testing fees: (varies by state)  $370.00
Fingerprinting $45.00

Late fees of $35.00 will be charged for ATI CARP PN review packages after the due date. This fee is to be paid in the bookstore with cash, credit, or debit card. Financial aid funds cannot be used to pay this late fee.

Expense list does not include tuition and college related fees. Subject to change as prices fluctuate.

A college degree is an investment to improve your life, not burden you with debt. MECC’s tuition is thousands less than other local colleges and universities. MECC offers financial aid and scholarship opportunities. With 96% of students receiving financial assistance, a higher education doesn’t have to come at a high price. Full and part-time students who are enrolled in a program of study at MECC may apply for financial aid to take credit classes.

Click here to learn more about financial aid opportunities.

MECC students can pay for tuition online, apply for a tuition payment plan through Nelnet, or pay in person at the MECC Business Office, Monday – Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., located on the first floor of Godwin Hall. Instructions to Pay Online and Tuition Payment options are listed below.

Click here for more information about Tuition, Deadlines & Refunds.

Mountain Empire Community College receives donor support and grants which support a variety of scholarships, the majority of which are provided through the Mountain Empire Community College Foundation. The MECC Foundation is an institutionally-related 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable foundation whose mission is to foster the growth and progress of Mountain Empire Community College. The MECC Foundation awards scholarships from over 160 funds.

The priority deadline for scholarship applications is August 1, 2023.

Click here for more information about scholarship opportunities.

Virginia offers several scholarship opportunities to help pay for nursing education in exchange for service in Virginia after graduation. Scholarships are available for students enrolled in an approved nurse education program in Virginia. The program must prepare them for examination for licensure as a: Licensed Practical Nurses and Registered Nurses. Scholarships are for students enrolled at an accredited program in the state of Virginia.

Click here for more more information Virginia Nursing Scholarship Programs.

Educational Facilities

Classrooms and Clinical Skills Laboratories

The Practical Nursing Program strives to maintain current training facilities. Classrooms are well-lit with adjustable seat numbers to accommodate up to 30 students. Every effort is made to provide computer lab classrooms for didactic courses. Skills laboratories include low fidelity and high-fidelity experiences, as well as virtual simulation. Clinical experiences are scheduled in a variety of settings and age groups that meet Virginia Board of Nursing Regulations. Clinical facilities and experiences include geriatrics, medication administration, medical-surgical, mental health, women’s health, newborn, and pediatrics. Clinical facility locations are within 50 miles driving distance of MECC and over 80% are located within the state of Virginia. Tennessee and Kentucky clinical healthcare facilities are available if needed.

MECC features a high-fidelity simulation lab. This simulation laboratory is state of the art and provides every Practical Nursing student with the opportunity to train in a simulated environment based on high acuity clients for deeper critical thinking development.

The Wampler Library and its resources are also available to students. The Wampler Library is located on the 2nd Floor of Robb Hall.

Student Activities & Services

The Office of Student Services exists to help students adjust to college life, to assist in co-curricular concerns, and to aid in the selection of careers and lifetime goals. Among the functions of this office are academic counseling, testing, new student orientation, student activities and wellness events, student conduct, college success skills courses, disability services, career services, student support services, and service learning.

Click here for more information about the Office of Student Services.

All clubs are open to any current MECC student. Most organizations have membership qualifications; see below for more information. The Student Services office, located in Holton Hall, is responsible for coordinating and implementing the policies and procedures pertaining to the operation of campus organizations and activities.

Click here to learn more about MECC Organizations.

The Board of Directors of the National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Service, Inc. (NAPNES) recognizes the necessity for all workers in the field of practical/vocational nursing (LP/VN) — both practitioners and educators — to continually develop their professional knowledge and skills throughout their careers. The newly licensed or certified professional can reasonably be expected to demonstrate beginning competence in his/her role and to have a foundation for further growth; but, true expertise requires subsequent learning. The requirement for continuous learning is necessitated because the rate of new knowledge formation in the health and education science is increasing rapidly; and the rate of technological capabilities for applying this knowledge is advancing rapidly as well. As a result, the extent of licensed practical/vocational nursing roles is expanding.

Healing Hands is a local student organization approved by Mountain Empire Community College. Healing Hands seeks to promote career opportunities in health care, to educate and create change in our community, and to enhance the delivery of quality health care to all people.

Healing Hands is a student organization incorporated into the Practical Nursing program. The mission of Healing Hands is to enhance the delivery of compassionate, quality health care by providing students with opportunities to obtain knowledge, technical skills, and leadership development. The goal of Healing Hands is to also promote the awareness of self and each other’s role in the community. Faculty Advisor: Lena Whisenhunt

Don’t let an important date pass you by. Click here to view and/or print, MECC’s Academic Calendar.

  • MECC has a student grievance procedure that provides for equitable and orderly processes to resolve complaints made by students for improper treatment.  A grievance is defined as a written claim raised by a student alleging improper, unfair, arbitrary, or discriminatory action by an employee or a student involving the application of a specific provision of a college or rule/regulation or a board policy or procedure. Click here for more information.
  • Grievance Procedures: MECC Student Handbook
    • Students should follow grievances procedures outlined in the MECC Student Handbook and Catalog.
  • Grade Appeals
    • Refer to procedures outlined in the College Student Handbook and Catalog.
  • Grievance Committee for the Practical Nursing program shall consist of:
      • all full-time nursing faculty
      • Dean of Health Sciences
      • Minimum of one full time faculty member outside of Health Sciences Division

Mountain Empire Community College (MECC) is an open entry institution. Its mission is to provide quality higher education and workforce training programs and services that are financially and geographically accessible and meet individual, business, and community needs. The following pathways exist:

  • Allied Health
  • Arts & Music
  • Business
  • College Transfer
  • Construction
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Environmental
  • Health Sciences
  • Manufacturing
  • Public Safety
  • Technology

MECC is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination in employment and education opportunity. No person shall be discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment, personnel practices, or access to and participation in, programs, services, and activities with regard to race, sex, color, creed, religion, age, national origin, disability, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, sexual orientation, or membership or activity in a local commission as defined by law.

Harassment of an individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, creed, religion, age, national origin, disability, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, sexual orientation, or membership or activity in a local commission has no place in a learning or work environment and is prohibited. Sexual violence has no place in a learning or work environment. Further, MECC shall work to eliminate violence in all its forms. Physical contact by designated system, college, and university staff members may be appropriate if necessary to avoid physical harm to persons or property.

Lack of English skills will not be a barrier to admission or participation. In order to eliminate barriers, we take appropriate measures to assess each student’s ability to participate and benefit through placement testing and counseling. Based on the assessment and counseling, students are then provided with campus services or a referral to community services to be better prepared for successful participation.

Nondiscrimination Coordinators:

  • Title IX Coordinator – Ron Vicars, Room 136, Godwin Hall, 276-523-7478
  • Title IX Deputy Coordinator (Students) – Lelia Bradshaw, Room 133, Holton Hall, 276-523-9107
  • Title IX Deputy Coordinator (Employees) – Val Lee, Room 138, Godwin Hall, 276-523-9079
  • Disabilities Coordinator – Dale Lee, Room 131, Holton Hall, 276-523-9108

This information is available in alternative formats to individuals with disabilities. Consumers with hearing or speech disabilities may contact us via their preferred Telecommunications Relay Service. Note: The information contained above is subject to change. Questions about the application should be directed to Lena Whisenhunt, Program Director, 276-523-9022.

For Further Information, Contact: