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Practical Nurse

Certificate of Applied Science Degree

Program Director: Lauren Swant

Program Faculty: Kaylene Strutz, Mandilynn Lee, Heather Smith and Julie Derby

A hybrid option is available for this program. Additionally, starting Fall 2020, Great Falls College MSU will begin offering a part-time option for the Practical Nursing program, completed over four semesters (after completion of pre-requisites). Please contact the program director for more information.

Program Website

Program Application (Fall 2020 Application is available February 14th)

The Practical Nurse program prepares individuals to function as entry-level practical nurses with the ability to give safe, effective nursing care. The Practical Nurse program at Great Falls College Montana State University is currently approved by the Montana State Board of Nursing.

Upon completion of the Certificate of Applied Science Degree in Practical Nursing, students will be prepared to begin a successful career as a practical nurse. Students are prepared to sit for the national licensure examination for practical nursing.

The Practical Nurse program is a limited enrollment program. Interested students must apply for entry into the program. An application packet is available on the program website. The length of the program is two consecutive semesters after a semester of pre-requisites. For students that live more than 30 miles from Great Falls, Great Falls College MSU offers Practical Nursing as a hybrid program with distance learning options. Starting Fall 2020, Great Falls College MSU will begin offering a part-time option for the Practical Nursing program, completed over four semesters (after completion of pre-requisites) to allow students more flexibility. The students in the part-time option will take classes offered in the same semesters as the full-time option.

Accepted students will be required to provide proof of Health Care Provider CPR certification, a DOT-compliant urine drug screen, a background check, and a series of other specific immunizations. Further detailed information will be included in the acceptance packet. Computer skills are highly recommended.

The Hepatitis B immunization series is strongly recommended before entrance into the program. A student may be denied access to clinical rotations without an adequate Hepatitis B titer. Students having religious or personal conflicts against receiving the Hepatitis B vaccine must sign a release form.

Graduates are prepared to:

  • Demonstrate accountability, responsibility, civility, advocacy, and commitment to nursing when dealing with clients and families, as a member of the health care team.
  • Use communication that is effective and therapeutic, along with technology, to implement problem solving processes in the evidence-based delivery of patient care.
  • Complete a patient's health status assessment and analyze data to formulate a complete plan of nursing care to provide clinically competent, evidence-based, safe, and quality patient care.
  • Practice within the PN Scope of practice, legal and ethical frameworks, and within national and state standards of nursing practice.
  • Provide holistic, culturally-considerate care in a variety of healthcare settings to promote integrity, dignity, and personal growth for clients, families, communities, and oneself.
  • Contribute to the individualized care plan by collaborating with health care team members to adapt health care practices to meet the individual needs of patients.

Estimated Resident Program Cost*

Tuition and Fees $5,175
Application Fee $30
Uniforms $225
Lab/Course Fees $115
Program Fee $200
Books/Supplies $2,183
Total $7,848

Many students need preliminary math, science, and writing courses before enrolling in the program requirements. These courses may increase the total number of program credits. Students should review their math and writing placement before planning out their full program schedules.

Prerequisite Coursework

The following courses must be completed prior to admission into the Practical Nurse Program. All prerequisite coursework must be completed with a minimum grade of C (not a C-) in each course and a minimum cumulative GPA in prerequisite coursework of 2.5. Grades in prerequisite courses are a major factor in ranking applications for program acceptance.

Science courses must be completed within five (5) years of application to the program, and other courses must be completed within 15 years of applying to the program.

PSYX 100Introduction to Psychology +3
WRIT 101College Writing I **.+3
Select one of the following
BIOH 104Basic Human Biology & Lab **,+4
BIOH 201Human Anat Phys I/Lab (= 301) *,**,+4
BIOH 211Human Anat Phys II & Lab(=311) *,+4
NOTE: UM Western students may substitute BIOB 160, BIOH 365 & BIOH 379 for GFC MSU BIOH 201 & BIOH 211. All 3 classes are required and must have a grade of C or higher (not C-) within the last 5 years of application.
Select one of the following
M 120Mathematics with Health Care Applications **,+3
M 121College Algebra **,+3
M 140College Math for Healthcare **,+3
M 151Precalculus **,+4
M 171Calculus I **,+4
NOTE: STAT 216 Intro to Statistics will no longer be accepted as a math substitution effective Fall 2014. For transfer students, M 115 Probability and Linear Math will be accepted.

Program Course Requirements After Formal Acceptance

Once enrolled in nursing courses, a minimum of a grade of C in all courses is required to continue in the program. In the clinical setting, students must achieve a grade of 75% in all rotations of each clinical experience.

The courses listed below are required in the program of study for the Associate of Applied Science degree in Practical Nursing. The courses are offered at GFC MSU in the following sequence:

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
NRSG 130 Fundamentals of Nursing *,+ 3
NRSG 131 Fundamentals of Nursing Lab *,+ 3
NRSG 135 Pharmacology for Practical Nurses *,+ 3
NRSG 136 Pharmacology for Practical Nurses Lab *,+ 1
NRSG 152 Gerontology and Community Nursing *,+ 2
NRSG 153 Gerontology and Community Nursing Clinical *,+ 2
NRSG 140 Adult Health Nursing *,+ 4
NRSG 141 Adult Health Nursing Clinical *,+ 2
NRSG 142 Nursing Care of Women and Children *,+ 3
NRSG 143 Nursing Care of Women and Children Clinical *,+ 1
NRSG 148 Leadership Issues for Practical Nurse *,+ 2
NRSG 149 Leadership Issues for Practical Nurse Clinical *,+ 1
 Total Credits27


Suggested Electives

These courses are highly recommended in addition to standard nursing curriculum.

AHMS 144Medical Terminology3
Any NASX prefix course3
NUTR 221Basic Human Nutrition3
Any PSYX prefix course3