2018-2019 Catalog and Student Handbook 
    Jun 13, 2024  
2018-2019 Catalog and Student Handbook [Archived Catalog]

Nursing, A.A.S.

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Program and Career Description

Registered Nurses assess patient health problems and needs, develop and implement nursing care plans, and maintain medical records. RNs administer nursing care to ill, injured, convalescent, or disabled patients and advise patients on health maintenance and disease prevention or management. Registered nursing is a profession that requires licensing by a state board of nursing. The RN is required to observe professional standards or practice and adhere to a code of ethics.

How long is the program?

The traditional track of AAS Nursing core courses may be completed in as few as four semesters. Qualifying LPNs may complete AAS Nursing core courses in as few as three semesters. Learning support requirements and completion of additional non-NRSG courses prior to program enrollment extend the completion timeline in either pathway.

What does the program provide?

• Affordable pathway to a career in nursing.
• Classroom instruction in vital areas prior to clinical rotations.
• Hands-on experiences at clinical sites within approximately 60 miles of Columbia State.
• Introductory rotations in specialty areas (Obstetrics, Labor & Delivery, Newborn Nursery, Mental Health, Pediatrics).
• Skills competencies in campus labs including Human Patient Simulators.
• Numerous scholarship opportunities.

How is the job market?

Nursing is poised to change the face of health care as never before. Demand for quality Registered Nurses continues to escalate. Employment of RNs is projected to grow 15% from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov).

Career Beginning Salary Experienced Salary Median
Registered Nurse (TN) $43,670 $60,600
Registered Nurse (US) $47,120 $68,450

For additional information about education requirements and preferred work styles and abilities for these careers check out www.bls.gov. Salaries are not guaranteed.

How do I apply to the Nursing Program?

All nursing program candidates must first complete all Columbia State admission requirements.

Students seeking admission to the traditional program must additionally:

  • Complete and submit an application to the Nursing program (February & August annually)
  • Attach copy of ACT/SAT composite score
  • Possess a minimum cumulative GPA 2.75 (on 4.0 scale). Attach unofficial copies of transcripts of all previously attempted college credit to the nursing application.
  • Submit a high school transcript IF fewer than 12 college credits have been earned.

LPN entering via the Career Mobility Track Must:

  • Pass the Challenge Examination for Nursing (Foundations) successfully.
  • Possess a minimum GPA 2.75 (on 4.0 scale) including pre-requisite general education courses.


Columbia State's nursing program prepares graduates for the National Council Licensure Examination-RN (NCLEX) administered by state boards of nursing. Graduates may pursue additional formal education (certifications, BSN or MSN degrees) at other institutions through traditional or online formats. Future employers may also offer on the job training in various specialty areas.

Major in Nursing (A.A.S.)

(Designed for the student who does not intend to transfer into a baccalaureate degree program.)

Nursing is the application of knowledge and skills designed to assist people, sick or well, to cope with their health needs. The associate degree nurse is a generalist who gives direct nursing care to people with common health problems in a variety of health care settings. The associate degree nurse works within the framework of the health care system and is expected to adhere to professional codes of conduct and ethics.

The practice of the associate degree nurse encompasses the interrelated roles of provider of care, coordinator/manager of care and member within the discipline of nursing. The associate degree graduate of this program will demonstrate basic competencies necessary to assume the role of a beginning practitioner of nursing, as outlined by the National League for Nursing. The graduate will be eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination-RN (NCLEX) for licensure as a Registered Nurse. This educational program can serve as a base for future formal study.

The faculty of the department of nursing are committed to achieving the following goals:

  1. To prepare an associate degree graduate to practice within the three roles of the associate degree nurse as identified by the National League for Nursing.
  2. To provide a curriculum which qualifies the student to receive the Associate of Applied Science degree and be eligible to take the NCLEX for registered nurses.

The nursing curriculum is a combination of general and nursing education courses designed to provide students with scientific knowledge and technical and interpersonal skills needed to function effectively as a professional nurse. In order to facilitate the achievement of the program goals, the following program outcomes have been identified. The Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing is designed to provide a graduate who will: graduate before May 2020.

  1. Communicate with others using appropriate verbal and non-verbal methods.
  2. Plan and revise nursing care using the nursing process.
  3. Implement/facilitate nursing care with safety and skill.
  4. Demonstrate acceptance of professional responsibility.
  5. Function as a contributing member of the health care team.

Those entering the Program Fall 2018:

  1. Practice within the ethical, legal and regulatory frameworks of nursing and standards of professional nursing practice.
  2. Communicate effectively using verbal, nonverbal, and written techniques including information and technology.
  3. Analyze subjective and objective assessment data to identy actual or potential health alteration.
  4. Evaluate outcomes of clinical decisions impletmented to provide safe and effective evidenced-based nursing care.
  5. Evaluate the effectiveness of caring interventions that incorporate principles of dignity, diversity, safety and knowledge.
  6. Evaluate the effectiveness of the impletemented teaching plan to meet the learning needs of patients, families and/or groups.
  7. Collaborate when planning, implementing, and evaluating care.
  8. Manage care through effective use prioritization, delegation, informatics and resources.

All nursing clinical experiences/laboratories are under the supervision of the nursing faculty who select, guide, and evaluate the learning experiences of the students. Clinical facilities/health care agencies throughout the service and surrounding areas are utilized. Students are responsible for providing their own transportation to and from clinical agencies.


The Nursing Program has full approval from the Tennessee Board of Nursing. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850
Atlanta, Georgia 30326
(404) 975-5000
Fax: (404) 975-5020

Once applications are screened, students will be notified of admission status. If an application is determined not to meet minimum admission criteria, the student will receive a "not eligible for admission" letter. Nursing applicants are admitted twice a year (during Fall and Spring terms) into the Nursing Program.

To remain eligible for admission, applicants must maintain a grade point average of 2.75 or better.

Criminal background checks (may include finger printing) and routine drug screens are required by most clinical affiliate sites as a condition of participation in clinical education. Based on the results of the criminal background check, a clinical affiliate may determine to not allow a student's presence at their facility. This could result in the student's inability to successfully complete the requirements of a specific course and the program. More information is available from the program director.

Applicants who have been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation may be ineligible for licensure. For more information, contact the Nursing Program director.

Admissions Requirements

These requirements apply to all nursing applicants.

  1. Meet all College general requirements for admission as a degree-seeking student as stated in the catalog.
  2. Review "Programs with Special Admission Requirements" in the Columbia State catalog.
  3. Exemption from or satisfaction of Learning Support competencies in reading, writing, and math as determined by college placement standards prior to submitting an admission application to the Nursing Program.
  4. ACT or SAT exam results are required of all applicants, regardless of educational experience or age. Applicants should have a minimum ACT composite score of 19 or a minimum SAT score of 900. Lower composite scores will be considered for admission if all required Learning Support courses are completed.
  5. Earned a cumulative college-level grade point average of 2.75 or above on a 4.0 scale for all prior college level course work.  The high school GPA is used for students who have fewer than 12 college credit hours.  An applicant with no college level credit that has no high school GPA must have an actual ACT composite score of 19 or higher.
  6. If a Nursing Program applicant has been enrolled in any other Nursing Program within three years of the date of application, the nursing courses will be evaluated for possible transfer credit on an individual basis.
    1. A grade of "C" or better is required for all transferred nursing courses.
    2. Transfer students are accepted on a space available basis.
  7. In cases of transfer or re-admission, if three or more years have elapsed since enrollment in a Nursing Program, the nursing courses must be repeated.
  8. If five or more years have elapsed the following requirements apply:
    1. Anatomy and Physiology courses must be repeated.
    2. All current application/enrollment requirements apply.
  9. In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, all applicants and admitted students must be, with reasonable accommodation, physically and mentally capable of performing the essential functions of the program outlined below in the Core Performance Standards of Admission and Progression developed by the Southern Council on Collegiate Education for Nursing and adopted by all Nursing Programs in the Tennessee Board of Regents system (TBR Policy 2:03:00:00 II B 6).
    1. Communication abilities sufficient for interaction with others in verbal, nonverbal and written form.
    2. Interpersonal abilities sufficient to interact with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds.
    3. Critical thinking ability sufficient for appropriate clinical judgment and utilization of the nursing process.
    4. Physical abilities sufficient to move from room to room and maneuver in small spaces.
    5. Strength to perform patient care and assist with patient mobility.
    6. Gross and fine motor abilities sufficient to provide safe and effective nursing care.
    7. Auditory ability sufficient to monitor and assess health needs.
    8. Visual ability sufficient for observation and assessment necessary to provide safe and effective nursing care.
    9. Tactile ability sufficient for physical assessment and intervention.
    10. Ability to be responsive within appropriate time periods.

Additional Requirements for Applicants Offered Admission

Once admitted, students are required to submit documentation of the following entry requirements prior to the first day of nursing classes. If the documentation is not completed prior to the first day of classes, students will not be permitted to start the Nursing Program.

  1. Health Requirements: All nursing students must submit evidence of good health by returning a completed Physical Examination form. Forms are given to the students once admitted into the Nursing Program. All students must have the following:
    1. Documented negative TB Skin Test and/or Chest X-Ray yearly. TB Skin Tests must be within three months of the start of the program. Some clinical facilities require a two-step TB Skin Test.
    2. Evidence of the following:
      1. Immunity of the following through positive titer:
        1. Rubella.
        2. Hepatitis B
        3. Varicella Zoster (chicken pox).
        4. Rubeola
        5. Mumps
      2. Tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis booster within the past ten years.
      3. Seasonally current Influenza vaccination.
      4. Other vaccinations which may be required for specific clinical affiliates.
  2. CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) Requirements: All admitted students must submit evidence of current BLS (Basic Life Support) Provider certification compliant with American Heart Association (AHA) standards. Inclusion of one- and two-person CPR for adults, children and infants as well as AED (Automatic Electronic Defibrillator) use is required. In order to meet clinical affiliate expectations, AHA HeartCode® (blended learning) nor HeartSaver® are accepted. BLS classes are available through numerous providers and are periodically offered by Columbia State through the Economic & Workforce Development (EWD) office. Certification must be maintained continuously for the duration of enrollment.
  3. Malpractice Insurance: Malpractice insurance is required for all clinical nursing courses. A group policy is available. The fee is assessed annually as a part of registration.
  4. Health Insurance: Students are responsible for all costs incurred related to health problems, including injuries occurring during clinical experiences. Students must provide evidence of health insurance coverage to be eligible to participate in clinical activities.
  5. Criminal Background Check (may include finger printing) and Routine Drug Screen results submitted per instructions provided. Clinical agencies may deny a student access to the facility based on the results of the background check or the drug screen. This could result in a student being unable to successfully complete the requirements of a course or the program.

Admissions Procedure

  1. Submit the following to the Admissions office:
    1. Completed Application for Admission to the College
    2. official college transcripts
    3. high school transcripts or High School Equivalency Diploma - HSE (GED® or HiSET®).
    4. ACT or SAT exam results
  2. Submit a completed Nursing Program Application to the Health Sciences/Nursing office (William R. Walter Bldg., 112). Forms are available in the Health Sciences/Nursing office or on the Nursing Program Web page (www.columbiastate.edu/nursing). Applications are accepted in February for Fall admission and August for Spring admission. Applications must be received in the Health Sciences/Nursing office on the Columbia campus before 4:00 p.m. on the last business day of the month (February or August) for the term that the student is seeking admission. Faxed applications are not accepted. Any applications received after the 4:00 p.m. deadline will be returned to the person submitting the application.
  3. If an applicant does not meet the admission criteria, he/she will be notified in writing. When the eligibility requirement is met, the applicant will have to resubmit his/her application.
  4. Applicants who are admitted will be notified in writing. Applicants are required to respond to the Nursing Program in writing indicating intent to accept admission by the deadline date listed in their letter.
  5. Applicants will be removed from consideration for admission if their responses are not received in the Health Sciences/ Nursing office by the deadline date. Students are responsible for promptly notifying the Nursing Program office of any change in name, mailing address, phone number, etc., in order to facilitate contact during the application process.
  6. If applicant has been enrolled in another Nursing Program, the following requirements also apply.
    1. Submit a Nursing Program Transfer Request Application in lieu of a Nursing Program Application.
    2. Submit official transcripts with appropriate course descriptions to the Nursing Program director.
    3. Request a letter of eligibility from the dean/director of the previous Nursing Program, to be mailed to the Nursing Program director.

Continuation Requirements

After admission to the program a student must meet the following conditions to remain eligible for continuation:

  1. Maintain a passing grade of "C" or better in all nursing courses.
  2. Maintain satisfactory performance in all clinical laboratory assignments.
  3. Earn a grade of "C" or better in each required science and math course.
  4. Maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 for each semester.
  5. Maintain professional conduct in the classroom and clinical laboratory.
  6. Maintain BLS certification.
  7. Submit annual TB skin test results to the Health Sciences/Nursing office.

Note: The following courses are designed to be corequisites. Regardless of the grade previously earned, if either course must be repeated both courses must be repeated: NUR 1126 and NUR 1128, NUR 1127 and NUR 1128, NUR 2116 and NUR 2118, NUR 2117 and NUR 2118, NUR 2125 and NUR 2128.

Students who fail to meet the continuation requirements stated above are academically disqualified from program continuation. Students who exit the program for academic reasons may be qualified to continue taking non-nursing courses at Columbia State. Students are not permitted to register in nursing courses without readmission to the program.

Readmission Requirements

A student who exits the program prior to beginning the second semester (Nursing II) is not eligible to seek readmission to the program. A formal appeal based on extenuating circumstances may be considered for readmission into the first semester.

Only one readmission into the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th semesters of the Nursing Program is permitted. Readmission to the program is not guaranteed, regardless of the reason for dismissal. Students are readmitted on a space available basis for each nursing course.  Students who seek readmission within a three year period may be readmitted into the course they were enrolled at the point of exit. If three years or more have elapsed since enrollment in nursing courses, all nursing courses must be repeated. An Exit Interview form must be on file to be eligible for readmission.

  1. To be eligible for readmission, the student's overall college-level grade point average should be at least a 2.0 or higher. Students on academic probation are not eligible for readmission.
  2. An exit interview should have been completed during the term the student withdrew or failed a course. Students who fail a course or withdraw after completing the semester must complete the exit interview no later than 6 weeks following the end of the semester in which they were enrolled.
  3. All clinical access requirements, included but not limited to criminal background check, finger printing, and routine drug screening must be resubmitted prior to re-entry by any student who exits the program for any reason and is subsequently readmitted, regardless of the length of time a student is out of the program.

Readmission Procedure

  1. Complete a Readmission Application and return the form to the Health Sciences/Nursing office (William R. Walter Bldg., 112).
  2. Complete an exit interview with documentation to the Nursing Program director stating the reason(s) for withdrawal or failure and the actions the student will take to ensure success in the program if readmitted. This documentation must be submitted before a student will be considered for readmission.
  3. The Nursing Department Admissions Committee or Nursing Program director may elect to interview students seeking readmission. Applicants will be notified by mail when and where the interviews will be held.
  4. If eligible, students will be placed on a waiting list for an available seat in a specific nursing course.
  5. Students who are readmitted may be asked to validate clinical skills and/or knowledge obtained from previous nursing courses as outlined by the faculty.
  6. Inquires regarding readmission status should be directed to the Nursing Program director.

LPN to RN Bridge 

Major in Nursing (A.A.S.)

The LPN to RN Bridge option is an articulation plan for the licensed practical nurse (LPN). Qualified LPNs can complete the Associate of Applied Science degree in nursing requirements in three semesters of study. LPNs are admitted on a space available basis.

Admission Requirements

In addition to the admission requirements for the Major in Nursing, licensed practical nurses seeking admission through the LPN to RN Bridge option must meet the following admission requirements.

  1. Meet all College general requirements for admission as a degree-seeking student as stated in the catalog.
  2. Successfully pass the Foundations of Nursing challenge examination for nursing within three (3) years prior to the semester seeking entry.
  3. Complete prerequisite course requirements prior to the semester requesting entry.
  4. Earned a cumulative grade point average of 2.75 or above on a 4.0 scale for academic subjects.

Admission Process

  1. Submit the following to the Admissions office:
    1. official college transcripts
    2. high school transcripts or High School Equivalency Diploma - HSE (GED® or HiSET®).
    3. ACT or SAT exam results (Applicants should have a composite score of 19 or higher. A composite score below 19 will be accepted if all required Learning Support courses are completed.
  2. Submit a completed Nursing Program LPN Mobility Application to the Health Sciences/Nursing office (William R. Walter Bldg., 112). Forms are available in the Health Sciences/Nursing Office or on the Nursing Program web page (www.columbiastate.edu/nursing).
  3. Copy of their valid driver's license.
  4. Copy of current LPN license.
  5. Complete an interview with the Nursing Program director or designee, if requested.
  6. Complete prerequisite courses successfully; "C" or better required for sciences.
  7. The same Additional Requirements for Applicants Offered Admission apply to newly-admitted and LPN Bridge students regarding clinical access clearance. Documentation for health screening, vaccinations/immunity, CPR, malpractice insurance is required prior to the first day of nursing classes. If documentation is not completed prior to the first day of classes, the student will not be permitted to bridge into the Nursing program.

Continuation Requirements

The same continuation requirements apply to all students in Nursing. These are stated under "Continuation Requirements" listed under the Major in Nursing (A.A.S.)

Program Requirements

Note: Students may elect to complete any or all non-NRSG course work prior to Admission into the Program.

The courses below are applicable to degree requirements. Students may be required to take additional Learning Support courses.

Communication Requirement

Natural Sciences Requirements

BIOL 2010  and BIOL 2020  must have been completed no more than five years prior to program entry

Social/Behavioral Sciences

Additional Pre-requisite for Career Mobility Tract for LPNs

  • Foundations of Nursing LPN Challenge Exam within three (3) years prior to the semester seeking entry.

Requirements for Graduation Include:

  • Earn 25% of total program credits in residence at Columbia State.
  • Earn a GPA of at least 2.0 in program courses.
  • Earn a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher.
  • Take the Exit Exam required by Columbia State.

If you have completed TN eCampus courses, run a degree audit from the student tab in myChargerNet to determine how these courses apply to this program. 

Nursing, A.A.S. Sample Academic Plan - Total Credit Hours: 67


Second Semester (LPNs Bridge into 2nd Semester) - Total Credit Hours: 16

Fourth Semester - Total Credit Hours: 17

To Be completed prior to LPN to RN Bridge Admission:

LPN Bridge Option - Total Credit Hours: 11


*MATH 1530 , PSYC 1030 , BIOL 2010  and COLS 101  must be completed prior to admission to LPN to RN Bridge.

*Critical Courses: Mastery of content and earned grades in these courses are linked to an increased likelihood of program completion.

For more information contact:
Cheryl Smith at
csmith56@columbiastate.edu or 931.540.2609
Health Sciences Division office at
931.540.2600 or 931.540.2599
Detailed information is available via

Columbia State Community College, a Tennessee Board of Regents institution, is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.

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