Practical Nursing Requirements - Southwestern Illinois College

Enrollment Requirements

Student must be eligible for ENG 97 and MATH 97 with a “C” or better. To obtain information about placement testing or alternate methods of assessing reading, writing, and math skills visit academic advising.

Download the Practical Nursing Application Planning Guide for application requirements.

Students enrolling should be aware a criminal background check and drug testing are required.

CNA Bridge to PN (Articulation)

A bridge process exists for Certified Illinois Nurse Assistants. The process will escrow two PN credits for Illinois certified nurse assistants. The two credits will be awarded for PN 100, pending successful completion of PN 101 on the first attempt. If PN 101 is not completed successfully, no credits will be applied. Any certified nurse assistant may opt not to enter the bridge program – but to enter the generic PN program.

Orientation and Performance

Students must attend the required orientation session, meet program-specific medical requirements, be able to perform the essential functions of the job as listed in the Student Handbook or at nurse-functions with reasonable accommodation if need, and submit results of background check, drug screen, physical examination, and the required immunizations by the required date as presented in orientation sessions. Any applicants or enrolled students are encouraged to contact the Disability & Access Center to discuss potential issues associated with meeting these requirements. Students not able to perform the essential elements of the job of a practical nurse may be unable to pass the required courses. Other program-specific restrictions may apply.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is required during clinical Practical Nursing Education courses. Students are personally responsible for any costs incurred for injuries occurring during clinical experience in their role as student nurses.

Medical/Health Requirements

PN students will be required to possess and maintain current CPR certification at the Basic Life Support level and show proof of immunizations including COVID vaccination, tuberculosis test and physical examination before beginning any clinical experience. To request a medical and/or religious exemption, please contact the program coordinator. These requirements do not have to be fulfilled until after the program orientation meetings but must be fulfilled by the required deadline.

Background Checks and Drug Testing

Criminal background check, random drug test and name search on government registries which prohibit employment in health care professions are required in our health science programs. Program start is contingent upon meeting deadlines for completion of the screening and results which allow the student to participate in the clinical portion of the program.  Details and directions for accessing and purchasing online screening for background checks are shared with accepted students. Background checks are conducted for every state in which the student has worked or resided since the age of 18 years. Conviction of offenses in the following areas normally prohibit the student from participation in the clinical portion of the program and will result in program dismissal: assault, sexual offenses, murder, burglary, arson, and robbery. Refer to the Health Care Worker Background Check Act for a complete list of offenses at

To participate in the clinical portion of the program, required clinical sites will be surveyed to determine if clinical placement can be accomplished for students with “disqualifying” offense(s). If the survey results indicate clinical sites prohibit the conviction, the student will be removed from the program. A complete list of disqualifying convictions is available from the Illinois Department of Public Health at

In addition, positive results from the drug test or student listing on prohibitory government registry will also result in dismissal from the program. Note: Positive drug testing results from the use of illegal drugs or prescription medication for which the student does not have a prescription. Medical marijuana, which is not FDA approved, is also considered a positive drug testing result.  Dismissal for positive criminal background check, drug test, or listing on a government registry does not qualify students for refund of tuition or lab fees. Students who have concerns regarding their status with the above regulations are encouraged to discuss the matter with the program coordinator or the coordinator’s assistant prior to seeking admission.

Graduation Requirements

Students enrolled to the program must follow course requirements for graduation at the time they are admitted and must meet all course, program, certification and sequencing requirements specified. Posted changes in course requisites are applicable to all newly admitted students. Students are responsible for program policies as listed in the Practical Nursing Student Handbook. Students who fail to meet program specific requirements will be dropped from the program and may be required to re-enroll in the succeeding year.  The Practical Nursing Education program must be completed within two years of the beginning of the practical nursing courses for the first time. Students must follow the sequencing requirements. Students must repeat a failed course as soon as it is offered. An average grade of C (76 percent without rounding) is required to pass a test. The final exam must be completed with a C or higher; and a satisfactory in lab/clinical evaluation are the minimum requirements for passing practical nursing courses. Any standardized testing and course assignments must be completed by the course ending date. A grade of C is the minimum grade acceptable for ALL courses in the practical nursing curriculum. Please refer to the current Practical Nursing Student Handbook for most recent program policies.