Practical Nursing (NURSE)

Prerequisite and Application Information:

Please consult the PN Info Sheet for required prerequisite information. For questions and general inquiries, please contact Health Occupation Admissions in the Career & Advising Center at To make an appointment, contact: 253-833-9111, ext. 2641.

Summer Information Session:

  • August 29, LPN Info Session, 1-2 p.m., SA-149

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About practical nursing

Nursing Student

Green River College’s Practical Nursing Program prepares students for careers as licensed practical nurses.

The Practical Nursing Program certificate consists of 95 credits, which includes classroom instruction, campus lab practice, and community lab experiences. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates are eligible to apply for the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). Passage of this exam is the mechanism by which to receive a license to practice as an LPN.

Students must achieve a minimum of 2.5 in each course in order to continue in the program.

Licensed Practical Nurses

Licensed Practical Nurses administer medication; monitor equipment; change dressings; feed, bathe, and dress patients; and maintain patient charts. They also assess and monitor the health and illness of clients or patients.

In routine nursing situations, LPNs provide safe and efficient nursing care under the supervision of registered nurses or licensed physicians. In more complex situations, LPNs function as assistants to registered nurses. (WAC 18.79.060)

Associate Degree Nurses

It is possible to transfer nursing credits earned at Green River to other colleges or Associate Degree Nursing programs. ADN-RN ladder programs require additional coursework and provide students with basic knowledge of the humanities and the social, physical and biological sciences. The nursing courses include related theory and practice. (WAC 18.79.040)

Being a registered nurse means having substantial knowledge, judgment, and skills above the level of the LPN. ADN-RNs function as staff nurses, team leaders or head nurses.

Students must check with transfer institutions to make sure they are meeting the requirements for entrance.

Employment Outlook

After graduating, students who pass the NCLEX can expect to make $18 to $25 per hour.

Employment opportunities from LPNs include:

  • In-Patient Care (medical centers, long-term care, mental health facilities)
  • Out-Patient Care (urgent care, clinics, home health/hospice, day surgery centers)
  • Community (schools, detention centers, methadone clinics)

Job placement of graduates of the Practical Nursing Program is excellent.

How do I get started?

If you are not a current student of Green River College, the first step is to apply for admission to the college. Students can apply:

  • Online
  • In person at the Main Campus (Zgolinski Welcome Center), Enumclaw Campus or Kent Campus
  • By calling (253) 833-9111, ext. 2500 to request an application via mail.

After your application to Green River College has been received, you will be mailed an acceptance packet. The packet will include your student identification number and a helpful checklist to guide you through the application process. You will still need to apply to the nursing program. Please see a nursing advisor for the program application.

Core classes for the Practical Nursing program begin fall quarter of each school year. Green River begins accepting applications for fall quarter admission to the program in June of the preceding year.

Special Notes

To be licensed, the practical nurse must meet the requirements of the Washington Licensed Practical Nurse Act, Chapter 18.79.060. Green River's Practical Nursing program prepares students to meet these licensing requirements.

Application for LPN licensure asks for information regarding legal convictions and drug and alcohol addiction conditions that may inhibit nursing practice. Applicants to the Practical Nursing Program at Green River College are required to undergo a complete background check (RCW 43.43.830 and RCW 43.43.832) and drug screening.

You must have the ability to meet program physical abilities such s do heavy lifting in order to position and maneuver patients, possess good manual dexterity, and be comfortable winking in close proximity to others in order to provide safe and high quality nursing care as outlined in Essential Functions.

You must have oral and written fluency in English.

You must have your own transportation to and from local clinics up to 60 miles one way, which may include day/evening assignments and non-class days.


GRCC Practial Nursing Program students.

Information Sessions

The prospective applicant should attend a general nursing information session sponsored by the Career and Advising Center. Call (253) 833-9111, ext. 2812 for dates, times, and locations. Students working toward applying in the Practical Nursing program should meet with the PN adviser by calling ext. 2812 for an appointment.

Essential Functions

Students must possess abilities to provide safe high quality care and treatment for their patients and clients.

Professional Role

The student must abide by standards of the program, including:


The Green River College Practical Nursing Program is a four-quarter program beginning each fall quarter and concluding at the end of summer. Program capacity 40 students.

2017 Application Form

It is recommended that the APPLICANTS attend a general nursing information session sponsored by the Career and Advising Center. Call (253) 833-9111 ext. 2812 for dates, times and locations OR GO TO THE INFORMATION SESSIONS PAGE.

All interested Practical Nursing students are highly recommended to seek out advising before applying to the program and taking any prerequisite courses for the program, as the program prerequisite will be changing in the 2017-2018 school year

Please contact Yasi Raouf for questions about the 2017 Practical Nursing application form.


Paying for college is a challenge for most students. Please see our Money for College Web site for information on resources to help you. This site includes information about financial aid, scholarships, and payment plan options.


Please see Green River College tuition rates.


Required Nursing text books vary in price. The total cost can run you anywhere from $600 to $1,000.


After acceptance into the program, you will receive printed materials on how to order your uniform. You will need them the first week of fall quarter. The price of uniforms ranges from $250-300.

  • Uniform top - $15- $18
  • Uniform pants - $17- $25
  • Lab coat - $30 (optional)
  • Shoes - $35 and up
  • Name tag - $8
  • Bandage scissors - $10
  • Stethoscope - $45 and up
  • Watch with second hand - $30
  • Gait belt - $12 - 30
  • Blood Pressure Cuff (Sphygmomanometer) - $30 and up


You will be required to purchase student professional liability insurance for approximately $20 a year.

Students are encouraged to acquire comprehensive health and accident insurance that will provide continuous coverage during his or her participation in the education program.

Other costs and requirements

  • Background Check: Cleared certified background check by $50 (Paid by student)
  • Immunizations, Titers, and Drug screening
  • Nursing Central
  • Smarphone/electronic wireless device: $200 and up
  • Lab Fees: Approximately $1,050
  • American Heart Association BCLS Healthcare Provider Course and Certificate:   $50- $75
  • State Board Fees (NCLEX):  $250-$300

Curriculum concepts

The content included in the conceptual framework is representative of the mission, values, beliefs and practices of the nursing faculty. The four major paradigm concepts include individual, health, nursing and environment. The nursing paradigm concepts will be traced throughout each course and divided into the progression of the four quarters of the program.

Nursing Process

Nursing process is the scientific problem solving process that uses critical thinking to evaluate situations in order to reach a logical and justifiable plan to meet the healthcare needs of the individual. It is an organized methodology that has five steps and is circular in nature. The steps are assessment, nursing diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation. It begins with assessment followed by a nursing diagnosis that is the identification of a real or potential problem. Next a plan for solving the problem is developed then implemented followed by an evaluation of how successful the plan was. If not successful the process keeps going until an acceptable solution is reached.

Developmental Stages

Professional role involves a commitment to the profession of nursing, a commitment to abide by the rules and regulations set forth by the regulating and professional organizations and to demonstrate an appreciation for the values of the nursing profession, to incorporate into the professional career a life-long learning concept and a commitment to maintaining a strong knowledge base in the ever-changing environment of the healthcare field. It defines the characteristics unique to all professions and is further defined by “Law Relating to Nursing Care and Regulation of Health Professions for the State of Washington.”

Nursing Process

Erickson describes the physical, psychological and emotional tasks for each of the eight developmental stages of each individual. This coupled with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs forms the bases for assessing a person’s needs and abilities. The degree of success accomplished as one progresses through the stages identified by Erickson and the further from the primitive needs identified by Maslow the easier it is for individuals to cope with the stress related to healthcare issues for individuals or their significant others.


Communication is a dynamic process of information exchange utilizing both verbal and non-verbal modes. Therapeutic communication skills are utilized to transmit relevant, accurate and complete information in a concise and clear manner. It demonstrates knowledge, caring and cultural awareness and is directed toward the promotion of positive health outcomes and the establishment of therapeutic relationships.


Safety includes all behaviors that ensure the well-being of self and others. It begins with the assessment of one’s own needs in order to attain maximum physical and emotional well-being and progresses to well-being of the environment and that of other individuals.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching and learning are processes by which information is shared between and among individuals. The goal of educating individuals is to facilitate informed decision making, to expand knowledge and to change behaviors. Concepts should be introduced from simple to complex and should have the ability to be applied to specific situations.


Caring encompasses those behaviors that demonstrate a genuine concern for another individual. A demeanor that is sensitive to another’s real and potential needs and performing nursing care in a safe and effective manner that transmits a consistent caring presence while treating the individual with respect and dignity. It denotes a personal sense of commitment to and responsibility for the individual, the family or the community that one serves.

Cultural Awareness

Cultural awareness is the act of recognizing and respecting the importance of cultural differences. Culturally competent nursing care is defined as being sensitive to issues related to culture, race, sexual orientation, social class and economic factors.

The people of our community college district can be seen as a tapestry woven of many. The faculty has a strong belief in cultural awareness and sensitivity strands. Our culturally competent care will be defined as being sensitive to issues related to culture, race, gender, sexual orientation, social class, and economic factors. Students and faculty will be asked to examine their own cultural values, beliefs, and cross cultural communications styles. Students and faculty will be asked to study cultural diversity concepts and apply them both within the classroom and in their practice in the community lab setting.

Disqualifying factors

As part of the admission requirement to nursing programs applicants must successfully pass a criminal background check. Immediate disqualifiers to the program can be found at:

DSHS Secretary's List of Crimes and Negative Actions

In addition, individual clinical sites may have additional disqualifiers that would prevent a student from fulfilling their clinical rotation requirement. Alternate clinical rotation arrangements will not be made.

The Washington State Nursing Commission also provides guidance on criminal disqualifying factors affecting eligibility for licensure. Details can be found at:

2014 Fall Washington Nursing Commission News Excerpt

Frequently asked questions

Why would I take practical nursing?

Our Program of Practical Nursing is a four quarter term of study that prepares you to become a member of the healthcare team within the State of Washington.

Where can I work after I complete my courses?

The employment opportunities include: physician's offices, drop-in medical care centers, hospitals, nursing homes, retirement centers, alcohol detoxification centers, weight loss centers and regional medical centers.

Green River has a high degree of placement rate of their graduates.

What is a licensed practical nurse? (LPN)

The licensed practical nurse recognizes and is able to meet the basic needs of the patient, and gives nursing care under the direction and supervision of the registered nurse or licensed physician to patients in routine nursing situations. In more complex situations the licensed practical nurse functions as assistant to the registered nurse.

What is an Associate degree Nurse? (ADN-RN)

The Associate Degree Program is offered through a community college or a university. The nursing curriculum is two years in length and provides the student with a basic knowledge of the humanities and the social, physical and biological sciences. The nursing courses include related theory and practice.

A registered nurse means having substantial knowledge, judgment, and skills above the level of the LPN.

How do these levels differ?

The ADN is responsible for more complex nursing situations. She/he functions as a staff nurse, team leader or head nurse.

What does the LPN do?

The LPN assists persons with personal hygiene, administers medications, changes surgical dressings, assists with minor surgical procedures, assists health care patients and clients with their health care plans.

How much salary would I make after passing the NCLEX?

$18 to $25 hourly for a new graduate.

How much do I have to study?

The usual is about 1-2 hours outside of class for each hour in the classroom.

Where can I study?

At the library, at home, or in a quiet spot.

How often do I have to come to class?

You will have instructions for 6 to 8 hours per day depending upon the quarter in the classroom. The first quarter you will have 8 hours a week in a local healthcare setting. The last three quarters you will have at least 16 hours a week.

After I take all of these classes, what are my chances of passing the State Board exam?

Most years, all graduates of Green River's program will pass the exam.

What will contribute to my success?

  • I will have a financial base of support while I'm in school.
  • I will have the support of the important people in my life.
  • I will have a car.
  • I will be able to be in the clinic at 6:30 a.m. or 3:00 p.m. ready to work.
  • I will have back-up babysitters when my usual one can't care for my children.
  • I will have someone reliable who will care for my children during their common illnesses.
  • I will be able to work days: 6:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. or evenings: 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
  • I have made a commitment to going to school.
  • I will not be employed more than 16 hours a week.

Can I use my LPN for advanced placement in registered nursing?

Our curriculum has been evaluated by Tacoma, Highline, Bellevue Community Colleges. After completing some additional courses, you have the opportunity to enroll in their programs and not repeat basic nursing courses.

What do I have to study before coming into the Program of Practical Nursing?

Prerequisites are listed on the Practical Nursing Website. Students must achieve a minimum 2.5 GPA in all prerequisite coursework before entrance into the program. It is highly recommended you meet with an educational advisor for Health Sciences for academic planning advice.

Do I have any physical, mental or social limitations that will prevent me from functioning in the capacity of a LPN?

Answer this one yourself as you will be asked the following questions on your Washington State Nursing Commission applications form.

  1. Have you ever had a license to practice nursing suspended or revoked?
  2. Have you have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor other than a traffic violation?
  3. Have you ever been addicted to or been treated for addiction to drugs?
  4. Have you ever been convicted of a violation of the Controlled Substance Act or any narcotic law?
  5. Have you ever received psychiatric treatment or treatment for mental illness?
  6. Have you ever received treatment for alcoholism?
  7. Have you ever had a physical condition which would now inhibit the practice of nursing?
  8. Have you ever been known by any other name? If so, what name?

Department of Licensing, Division of Professional Licensing, P.O. Box 9649 Olympia, WA 98504

How much do the books cost?

You will use the books all four quarters of the program and these cost approximately $600 and up.

How much is tuition?

Please go to Green River's tuition and fees page for current rates.

You will need to purchase student professional liability insurance at approximately $20 per year.

When do I need uniform and nursing shoes and watch? How much do these cost?

After acceptance into the program, you will receive printed materials on how to order your uniform. These will cost approximately $250.00 and up. You will need them the first week of fall quarter.

Where can I get financial aid to take classes?

Go to the Financial Aid Office, second floor of the Lindbloom Student Center, and begin to process the necessary paperwork to receive financial aid. There are people there who will help you in completing the forms.

Who will I have for nursing faculty?

You will have registered nurses for nursing faculty. Our faculty have bachelor's and master's degrees.

Will I be able to go to the medical center, health care agency that is closer to my home or one that I like better?

No, it is a program requirement to rotate among the locations and shifts regardless of life issues and have transportation and be willing to commute 50 miles one way for clinical learning sites.

I need all day shifts because of day care.

It is a program requirement to rotate shifts.

Immunizations, health status, drug testing

Assessment of Current Health Status

Assessment of your health status via a physical examination is to be performed by a healthcare professional (no older than six months prior to enrollment) and documented by your healthcare provider. A fitness exam is not required for the nursing programs. The healthcare provider must be able to document that no health conditions (including previous physical injuries) are present that will create any type of limitation in the ability to provide health care and have the capability of meeting the program's physical requirements.


Students are required to provide compliance with all immunization requirements of the program. Students are responsible for all costs associated with immunizations.

Drug Screening

In accordance with clinical placement requirements, all students are subject to routine drug testing prior to participating in community lab experiences. Students are responsible for all costs associated with the drug screening. Students will provide documentation of drug screen. If a screen comes back positive due to prescription medications or other medical reasons, a medical review must be conducted at the student’s expense and provided to the testing laboratory. The lab will then provide a revised result which must be provided to the nursing program. A positive drug screen or failure to comply with the instructions for the test may result in the student’s immediate removal from the program.


Student testimonial

Linda Henslee

"The Green River Nursing Program provided me with a foundation of medical knowledge and skills that will allow me to build any type of nursing career I desire." 

- Linda Henslee, Kent, Washington, Age 56

Question: How did you hear about Green River, why did you decide to attend?

Linda: When I was looking for a nursing program I heard many wonderful things about Green River, so I decided to attend.

Question: How did you get interested in the nursing program at Green River College?

Linda: When I was in the hospital having my beautiful daughter, Jenapher, I felt true appreciation for the care I was given by the labor and delivery nurses, and that inspired me to become a nurse and help others.

Question: What did you like about attending Green River College?

Linda: I loved the campus. It was convenient and close to my home and the program was very affordable.

Question: How have the skills you gained helped you?

Linda: When I took the LPN exam, I felt completely prepared. I studied for the exam with a student who was about to take the associate degree RN boards, and I could answer her study questions as well as my own.

Question: Where do you work?

Linda: I work in an infectious disease clinic in Puyallup called, Infections Limited.

Question: What do you do?

Linda: My job is to evaluate the traveler's trip and based on health issues, allergies and current medications, I advise the person on vaccine recommendations. I also administer the vaccinations and counsel patients on food, water and insect precautions. We write prescriptions for malaria prophylaxis and traveler's diarrhea treatment when necessary and any other prescriptions they may need for the trip.

Contact us

Health Occupation Admissions - Career & Advising Center, SA 126

Mailing Address

Green River College
12401 SE 320th Street
Auburn, WA 98092-3622