Vocational nursing is an entry level into the profession of nursing. The licensed vocational nurse practice is a directed scope of nursing practice under the supervision of a registered nurse, advanced practice registered nurse, physician's assistant, physician, podiatrist, or dentist. The licensed vocational nurse assists in the determination of predictable healthcare needs of clients within structured healthcare settings.
Texas and California use the title Licensed Vocational Nurse; all other states use the title Licensed Practical Nurse; graduates of both program types take the same licensure exam.
Nursing school is very time consuming and academically challenging. The vocational nursing faculty at ACC recommends that students limit the amount of hours they work. Students must earn a minimum grade of "C" in all courses - in the vocational nursing program anything below a 77 is an "F." Statistics show that students are at greater risk for failure if they are also working more than 20 hours/week.
Vocational Nursing at Austin Community College
The Vocational Nursing Program degree plan consists of a total of 53 semester credit hours: 9 semester credit hours of prerequisite course work and 44 semester credit hours of nursing coursework that includes classroom, laboratory and clinical learning experiences. Those 44 hours of nursing coursework require four semesters for completion. The curriculum leads to a Certificate in Vocational Nursing.
The Vocational Nursing Program schedule (nursing coursework) is designed to usually allow one day in the week that the students are not committed to class or clinical (except for the summer semester). Once students enter the nursing coursework, they must take all courses in the level concurrently before they can progress to the next level. Nursing courses are designed differently than other college courses. The lab and clinical courses may have additional contact hours required.
The Vocational Nursing Program has two sites: the Austin- Eastview Campus and the Fredericksburg campus. The Austin-Eastview Campus admits in the fall and spring semesters. The Fredericksburg Campus admits once every four to five semesters with a cohort group in Austin: one Fredericksburg class graduates before another is admitted.
All didactic classes with the Austin-Fredericksburg cohort are offered by Interactive Video Classroom. The skills laboratory classes and clinical assignments are held at the respective campus/city.
Clinical Assignments, Childcare, and Transportation
Clinical assignments are based on the learning objectives for the students, not where students live. Students may be required to attend clinical assignments as early as 6 a.m. and as late as 11 p.m. It is extremely important that students have appropriate arrangements for childcare that will enable them to arrive on time and remain in the clinical area the designated number of hours. The program has very strict attendance policies related to the clinical experience.
Reliable transportation is very important to ensure successful completion of the clinical objectives. Austin students may be assigned to clinical facilities located across Austin, in Round Rock and Georgetown. Fredericksburg students may be assigned to a variety of clinical facilities in the Fredericksburg and surrounding area, including Kerrville.