Nursing - Practical

A male nurse attends to an elderly male patient in a hospital bed.

Nursing - Practical

Subject Area: Health Sciences

Award: Diploma

Minimum Credits: 42.75 including nursing admission requirements

Location: Calmar, Peosta

Entry: Fall, Spring


This program of classroom, lab and clinical experience will prepare you for employment in hospitals, nursing homes and a variety of other healthcare facilities. The practical nurse gives nursing care to patients under the supervision of the registered nurse (RN) and assists RNs in providing care to patients in more complex situations. Following successful completion of the program, students are eligible to write the National Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN). The program is approved by the Iowa Board of Nursing.

Nursing courses with a clinical component may not be taken by a person who has been denied nursing licensure by a board of nursing; whose nursing license is currently suspended, surrendered, or revoked in any U. S. jurisdiction; or whose nursing license/registration is currently suspended, surrendered or revoked in another country due to disciplinary action.

Admissions Requirements
  1. Apply for admission.
  2. Submit official high school, high school equivalency and/or college transcripts to the Admissions Office of the campus you plan to attend.
  3. Complete ACCUPLACER® reading and writing assessment and ALEKS® math assessment. Testing may be waived based on previous college coursework or submission of valid ACT®, ACT Compass® or ALEKS® test scores. Scores are valid for three years.


In addition to the College admission procedures outlined, applicants must complete the HESI A2 admissions assessment and achieve a score of 80 on both the reading and mathematics portions. The following courses must be completed with a minimum grade of C- or above within five years from the date of application:

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology I [BIO:165] with lab component [BIO:167]
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology II [BIO:170] with lab component [BIO:172]
  • Dosage Calculations [PNN:200]
  • Intro to Nutrition [PNN:270]

Students may transfer into the freshman year only after transcript review, space availability and Director of Nursing approval. All nursing students are required to attend a program orientation prior to entrance into the program. Notification of dates and times will occur after acceptance to the Nursing program. In addition, the following requirements must be satisfied prior to term one of the NICC Nursing program.

The College has contracted the services of CastleBranch to review and monitor background checks, health records, training requirements and drug testing. Students will submit the following documentation to their website prior to the designated date:

  • Background check - includes a nationwide criminal history search and child, dependent adult, and sex offender registry checks.
  • Health records - physical and immunizations (MMR, varicella, Hepatitis B, 2 step TB, Tdap and influenza).
  • Training - CPR (American Heart Association HealthCare Provider or American Red Cross Professional Rescuer), mandatory reporter of child and dependent adult abuse, HIPAA and blood borne pathogens.
  • Drug testing - prior to clinical participation, random, post incident/accident and suspicion. Students are required to be substance free throughout the program.
  • Certification of completion of a minimum 75-hour Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) course from a community college or an approved CNA course provider
  • Documentation of the written and skill competency test for the CNA registry.

A student who fails to meet this deadline will forfeit his/her seat, and it will be offered to another student. The student will then be placed at the bottom of the wait list.

In addition to meeting the above listed requirements upon admission, students must maintain these requirements throughout the program. Failure to remain compliant will result in denial for clinical participation. Clinical participation is required for program completion.

Note: Background checks will be evaluated per the College's Program Compliance policy and by the Iowa Department of Human Services, if applicable. Clinical participation is dependent on this evaluation.

All students enrolled in a healthcare program will be required to complete a drug screen prior to entrance into a clinical rotation with a clinical affiliate.
Random drug screens will also be conducted on students while enrolled in the program.

Note: A positive report on the criminal, dependent adult abuse, child abuse background screening or drug screen may prevent you from acceptance into
clinical and completion of the program.

Students may be required to provide documentation of health insurance coverage. Please be aware of the following physical demands during your clinical education courses. Daily activities require bending, stooping, squatting, reaching, pushing and pulling in all directions. You will be asked to lift and carry objects weighing up to a minimum of 35 pounds and also shared weight. Clinical tasks require use of hands for repetitive action, such as simple and firm grasping and fine manipulation and walking, including stair stepping. You may also be in contact with communicable diseases and chemical/biohazardous materials and odors. For clinical assessments, visual and hearing acuity is essential. Travel to clinical sites in outlying areas is required at times throughout the program. Students are responsible for any travel costs. You will need to show proof of high school graduation or  equivalent prior to taking the NCLEX licensure exam. The Iowa Board of Nursing will no longer review criminal history prior to application for licensure.

Exit requirement: Students are required to pass the established benchmarks on the HESI exam in order to graduate from the program. The established benchmarks are stated in the annual District-Wide Policy and Procedure Manual for the Administration of Nursing Programs.

View the Nursing Program Admission Checklist.

Academic Requirements

View the printable Ed Plan (ADN-PN Fall Entry).

View the printable Ed Plan (ADN-PN Spring Entry).

Term 1
ENG:105 Composition I 3.0
PNN:179 Intro to Nursing Care of Adults I 3.0
PNN:183 Intro to Nursing Concepts 6.0
PNN:204 Pharmacology Medications 1.0
PSY:121 Developmental Psychology 3.0
SDV:179 The College Experience 3.0


Term 2
PNN:181 Intro to Nursing Care of Adults II 5.5
PNN:242 Intro to Maternal Child Health 3.5
PNN:312 Application of the Practical Nurse Role 3.75


To graduate from this program, students must complete all required coursework with a "C-" grade or above and earn a minimum 2.0 grade point average. A minimum 2.2 GPA in the core nursing courses and achievement of a minimum score of 850 on the HESI PN Exit examination are required for students completing the Practical Nursing program to qualify to progress into the Associate Degree Nursing program Students are encouraged to use the online GPA calculator to track their GPA.

The following year rules exist for nursing program course work. If exceeded, the course(s) will need to be repeated. Nursing courses identified with a PNN prefix and Anatomy and Physiology courses cannot be greater than five years old.

Employment Information

With an annual income range of $32, 390 - $39,194 and a projected growth of 10.2%, the career outlook for Nursing - Practical graduates is outstanding.

Source: EMSI; Salary range represents 10th percentile - median annual wage for related occupations in the NICC district. Growth rate based on projections from 2016-2020.

View Gainful Employment information for this program.

Employers of Calmar Alumni

Aase Haugen Homes, Inc, Decorah, IA
Able, Inc., Caledonia, MN
Barthell OES Home, Decorah, IA
Chosen Valley Care Center, Chatfield, MN
Dubuque Nursing and Rehab, Dubuque, IA
Dubuque OBGYN, Dubuque, IA
Elkader Care Center, Elkader, IA
Evans Memorial Home, Cresco, IA
Finley Hospital, Dubuque, IA
Good Neighbor Home, Manchester, ia
Good Samaritan, Postville and West Union, IA
Gunderson Luthern, West Union, IA
Hillcrest Family Services, Dubuque, IA
Hillcrest Nursing Home, Sumner, IA
Maple Crest Manor, Fayette, IA
Medical Associates Acute Care, Dubuque, IA
Mercy Hospital, Oelwein, IA
Mercy Medical, New Hampton, IA
Mill Valley Care Center, Bellevue, IA
Mt. Carmel, Dubuque, IA
Norseland Nursing Home, Westby, WI
Ossian Senior Hospice, Ossian, IA
Patty Elwood Center, Cresco, IA
Regional Health of Howard County, Cresco, IA
RHSHC, Cresco, IA
Shady Rest Care Center, Cascade, IA
Strawberry Point Lutheran Home, Strawberry Point, IA
Sunny Crest Manor, Dubuque, IA
The Spectrum Network, Decorah, IA
Thorton Manor Care, Lansing, IA
Tweeten Lutheran Healthcare, Spring grove, MN
Veterans' Memorial Hospital, Waukon, IA
Winneshiek Medical Center, Decorah, IA

Employers of Peosta Alumni

Accurate Homecare, Moline, IL
Anamosa Care Center, Anamosa, IA
Bell Tower Retirement Community, East Dubuque, IL
Bethany Home, Dubuque, IA
Bettendorf Health Care Center, Bettendorf, IA
Dubuque Nursing and Rehab, Dubuque, IA
Elkader Care Center, Elkador, IA
Ennoble Skilled Nursing, Dubuque, IA
EWALU Camp and Retreat Center, Strawberry Point, IA
Finley Hospital, Dubuque, IA
Good Neighbor Society, Manchester, IA
Guttenberg Care Center, Guttenberg, IA
Heritage Manor, Dubuque, IA
Jackson county Regional Health Center, Maquoketa, IA
Luther Manor, Dubuque, IA
Manor Care, Dubuque, IA
Mercy Medical Center, Dubuque, IA
Mill Valley Care Center, Bellevue, IA
Monticello Care Center, Monticello, IA
Mt. Carmel, Dubuque, IA
Paramount Ambulance Service, Dubuque, IA
Shady Rest Care Center, Cascade, IA
Upland Hills Health, Dodgeville, WI

Sample Job Titles

Charge Nurse
ER Department
ER Tech
Home Health Aide
LPN Nurse Supervisor

For additional job titles, visit O-Net.

Additional Information

Simulation Labs

Nursing students have the opportunity to utilize the College's Health Simulation Laboratories at the Calmar and Peosta campuses for hands-on learning experiences.

Exit requirement

Students are required to pass the established benchmarks on the HESI exam in order to graduate from the program. The established benchmarks are stated in the annual District-Wide Policy and Procedure Manual for the Administration of Nursing Programs.

Transfer Information

The Practical Nursing program maintains formal transfer partnerships with the institution listed below. Students are encouraged to speak with their transfer college or university to verify that their planned courses at NICC will meet necessary requirements. Learn more about transferring from NICC.


Sue Schneider, RN, MSN, CCRN
Director of Nursing
800.728.7367, ext. 209