Jul 24, 2024  
BC3 Academic Catalog: 2022-2023 
BC3 Academic Catalog: 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Nursing, R.N., A.A.S.

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Nursing, R.N. (208)
Associate in Applied Science Degree

The Nursing Program at Butler County Community College is a two-year academically-based program that prepares the graduate to provide and manage direct care to individual clients and their families; and to function as an effective member of the health care team. The graduate is also educated to be a contributing member of the discipline of nursing, committed to professional growth, continuous learning, and self-development. The program prepares the graduate for employment as a registered professional nurse in a variety of community-based health care settings including hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other comparable agencies. The program is fully approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), 3390 Peachtree Road, NE, Suite 1400, Atlanta, GA 30326; Phone: 404-975-5000; www.acenursing.org

The graduation rates for the Nursing Program for the previous three years of 2019, 2020, and 2021 were 76.9%, 68.18% and 68.8%, for an average graduation rate of 71.29%.

Graduates are required to pass a licensing examination in order to practice as a Registered Nurse. The licensing examination National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) passing rates for 2019, 2020 and 2021 were 93.861%, 87.3%  and 89.0% respectively, for an average passing rate of 89.75%.

Graduates who obtained any form of Registered Nurse employment with six months of licensure are considered to be employed. Based on the number of responses to the graduate surveys, the employment rate was 94.12% in 2021. 

Program Competencies

The student/graduate will be able to:

  • Show evidence of understanding of the nursing process by the end of the second nursing course.
  • Show evidence of critical thinking by the end of the third nursing course.
  • Show understanding of maintaining client needs (safety, health promotion, physiological integrity, and psychological integrity).
  • Attain a level of acceptable performance (greater than 850) on the HESI Exit Exam.
  • Successfully pass the NCLEX RN exam on the first attempt within 6 months of graduation.

Criteria For Admission

Admission to the Nursing Program is selective with applications available on August 1 through October 30, 2022 in the Admissions Office or online at bc3.edu/admission/healthcare for the general applicant. These applications will be reviewed for the following fall semester start (August 2023). Please note that acceptance into the General Studies, Pre-Nursing program or Health Care Science program (210) DOES NOT guarantee a seat in the Nursing Program proper.  Applications will not be considered after this limited time period each year, unless the student is an LPN or transfer applicant from another Nursing School. Students who meet certain academic criteria may be eligible for early acceptance into the Nursing Program.  For more information, please contact the Shaffer School of Nursing & Allied Health after August 1, 2022.

All applicants are considered equally regardless of race, color, religious creed, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, family status, or other classification protected by applicable law. Students must be at least 18 years of age by September 1, 2022 to be eligible for admission to the Nursing Program and begin clinical rotations.

LPNs in Pennsylvania and other individuals previously enrolled in Registered Nursing education programs may be eligible for advanced standing. A special application for advanced standing is available on March 1, 2023 with a priority selection due date of May 7, 2023

Pennsylvania law prohibits the State Board of Nursing from issuing a license to anyone who has been convicted of a felony relating to a controlled substance, unless at least ten years have elapsed from the date of conviction, and the applicant satisfies other criteria of personal rehabilitation. At the time of application for licensure, the State Board also requires reporting of  any crime, felony, misdemeanor, or pending criminal charges.

The Nursing Program Admissions Committee assumes the responsibility to review the data of all applicants and has the right to select the best qualified individuals.

A. High School Requirements:

  • High school diploma from an accredited secondary school program, or successful completion of the GED/HiSET Examination. High school seniors may apply.
  • High school course requirements for all applicants include the completion of the following with a 2.80 GPA or better:
    • 4 units of English
    • 3 units of Social Studies
    • 2 units of Math (one must be algebra)
    • 1 unit of Biology (with lab) with a final grade of “C” or better*
    • 1 unit of Chemistry (with lab) with a final grade of “C” or better.*

* If high school Biology and/or Chemistry was taken more than five years ago, a college level Biology and/or Chemistry course must be completed with a grade of “C” or better by the conclusion of the fall semester (general applicants) and spring semester (LPNs or transfer) for which the student is applying. The exact acceptable time frame is detailed in the Nursing Program application.

  • Courses not taken in high school may be taken at BC3 or at another college. (Comparable courses may be substituted with permission of the Deans for the Shaffer School of Nursing & Allied Health). Individuals with less than a 2.8 GPA in required high school courses may be considered for admission following completion of 12 college level credits (100 level or higher). Nursing support courses are strongly encouraged.
  • Students who have obtained their GED/HiSET must take 12+ college level courses (100 level or higher) in order to establish a new GPA.

B. Testing

  • New students to BC3 with no prior college experience are required to take the Accuplacer placement tests in reading, writing, and/or math or provide proof of SAT/ACT scores meeting established cut-offs within the last five years. If it is determined that placement tests are needed, the student will be notified. If placement test scores indicate a need for skill building classes in English, reading and/or mathematics, students will be required to enroll in those courses. All developmental or preparatory classes must be completed with a minimum grade of “C” before acceptance to the program and are not considered in cumulative GPA.

C. Advanced Standing

  • To be eligible to continue as an advanced standing student, the LPN must successfully complete NURS 135: Role Transition to the Nursing Process, and score 75% or higher on the final comprehensive examination for NURS 101: Nursing 1: Introduction to Nursing Care.  In addition, the LPN must successfully complete NURS 141: Pharmacology for Nurses I. 
  • Students who have successfully completed a fundamentals of nursing course (with a “C” grade or better) at another registered nursing education program may enter the BC3 Nursing Program with advanced standing consideration in the second semester, under the same criteria as listed above for LPN applicants.

D. College 

  • Cumulative College GPA of 2.80 or better, if applicable.
  • In order to meet degree requirements, if A&P 1, A&P 2 and/or Microbiology are taken prior to admission to the Nursing Program, these courses must have been completed within the last five years with a minimum grade of “C”. The exact acceptable time frame is detailed in the Nursing Program application packet.
  • Grade of “C” or better in any degree requirement for acceptance and continuation in the Nursing Program.
  • All applicants are notified as to acceptance, placement on waitlist, or rejection electronically via their MyBC3 email account no later than mid-February for general applicants and by the end of June for advanced standing applicants.

Special Requirements Upon Acceptance *

  1. Criminal Background Clearances including a FBI fingerprint are required prior to beginning the first clinical Nursing course and annually thereafter for all subsequent years of program enrollment.
    • In order for a student to participate in clinical coursework, clearance results must be in compliance with PA State Board of Nursing regulations, Act 169 Older Adult Protective Services Act, and Act 34/151. A student who fails to obtain the requisite Act 169 and Act 34/151 clearances will be unable to attend the required clinical experiences and meet course objectives.
  2. Satisfactory annual physical examination, tuberculin skin test, immunizations, and negative urine drug screen.
    • Students must have the physical and emotional ability to provide all aspects of safe nursing care. A list of required nursing abilities is available with the admission packet.
  3. Evidence of successful completion of an American Heart Association course in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for the healthcare provider.
  4. Proof of health insurance coverage.
  5. Malpractice liability insurance (paid with tuition).
  6. Uniforms.
  7. Transportation to and from clinical agencies is the responsibility of the student.
  8. Clinical hours and locations vary by course and semester.

    The most current information is listed above. The college reserves the right to amend requirements at any time.

 Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Associate Degree in Applied Science nursing program, the graduate nurse will be able to:

  1. demonstrate responsibility, dependability, and accountability, for his/her own actions related to standards of practice and the legal, ethical, and regulatory guidelines.
  2. provide nursing interventions in a culturally sensitive and holistic manner to individuals across the life-span.
  3. utilize appropriate communication skills to interact with individuals, families, significant others, and members of the interdisciplinary team.
  4. employ critical thinking in nursing care by utilizing evidence-based information in the clinical decision making process.
  5. implement health promotion strategies in partnership with the individual and community.
  6. apply effective management skills in implementing, directing, and coordinating nursing care.
  7. use information and technology to prevent errors, and support decision-making in nursing practice.
  8. exhibit the attributes and behaviors of a professional nurse.


Minimum - 70 credits


1 Must be taken before or with NURS 101 and NURS 141 (Nursing I).

2 Must be taken before or with NURS 102  and NURS 142 (Nursing II).

3 Must be taken before or with NURS 103 and NURS 143 (Nursing III).

4 Must be taken before or with NURS 104  and NURS 144 (Nursing IV).

5Must be taken before NURS 105 (Nursing V).

College Algebra (Math 101) or higher may be substituted.

Courses that can be taken in advance of acceptance into the Nursing Program.


Applicants to the Two Year Nursing Program

Students enrolling in the Nursing Program with fewer than 12 credits who do not choose the three-year curriculum plan are encouraged to take courses in the Summer terms: 1) prior to enrolling in the Nursing Program and 2) between the first and second years.  Students are encouraged to seek advisement regarding summer enrollment.

For students accepted into the two year nursing program, credit load can also be reduced by completing some courses prior to admission into the Nursing Program and/or during the summer between the two years of the Nursing Program.

Optional Three-Year Curriculum Plan

For students who are applying to the Nursing Program directly from high school or with fewer than 12 earned college credits, it is highly recommended that the Optional Three Year Curriculum Plan is selected. By reducing both credit load and contact hours each semester, the likelihood of academic success might be increased. Seek advisement regarding course selection as needed.

After being accepted into the Nursing Program for the Optional Three Year Curriculum Plan, the student must maintain a 2.5 GPA and earn a “C” or better in all courses completed during the first two semesters of enrollment. If these requirements are met, the student will be eligible for enrollment in NURS 101 in the third semester of the Optional Three Year Curriculum Plan.

A recommended three-year curriculum plan is shown below:


1 Must be taken before or with NURS 101.

Must be taken before or with NURS 102.

Must be taken before or with NURS 103.

4 Must be taken before or with NURS 104.

5Must be taken before NURS 105.

College Algebra (MATH 101 or higher may be substituted).

Courses that can be taken in advance of acceptance into the Nursing Program.

8 Courses suggested for a minimum of 12 credits for those students required to be full-time. (Other courses may be substituted or a part-time schedule may be taken).

The student is encouraged to use the curriculum planner to keep track of courses taken and those still needed.  In some cases one or more courses will be taken in a different order than indicated on the planner, but prerequisites must be observed.


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