YVC launches new Practical Nursing program

Yakima, Wash. — Yakima Valley College has established a new Practical Nursing (PN) program that will address the growing regional demand for PNs in hospitals, residential care facilities, home health environments and other health care settings. The PN program is four quarters in length and results in a certificate of achievement.

The role of a PN is, as the name suggests, practical. PNs carry out a variety of duties and work under the direction of registered nurses, nurse practitioners and doctors. PNs provide direct hands-on patient care including monitoring patients’ health, measuring blood pressure and other vitals, administering basic patient care, providing for the basic comfort of patients, discussing the patients’ care, documenting patient concerns, and charting patient care services.

YVC’s PN program has prerequisite courses in biology, math, English and psychology. A 2.0 GPA is required in core courses.

This new program fills a critical need in south-central Washington. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics PN positions are expected to grow by 9% in the 10-year period of 2019-2029. With a median annual pay of $47,480, this program offers a pathway to a family-sustaining wage for individuals in the region.

YVC’s new program represents the only PN program on the eastern side of Washington state and one of only six PN programs in the state as a whole.

YVC Nursing Program Coordinator Wendy Baker states, “YVC Nursing is pleased to add a path for individuals interested in health care to a career as practical nurse or as a stepping stone to LPN-to-RN or LPN-to-BSN programs in the state. Providing this training in eastern Washington also serves local long-term care employers, who have voiced their need to increase the supply of LPNs to replace those who will be retiring. With just 25 credits of prerequisites and 48 PN program credits, our program has tried to streamline training while maintaining the quality instruction that has defined our nursing programs.”

This new program provides the perfect opportunity for students like Victor Reyes, who joined its inaugural cohort of 10 students in Winter 2021.

Reyes moved from Chile to the United States in 2001 when he was 17 years old.

“Coming to America was one of the hardest decisions that I had to make,” Reyes said. “I found myself faced with the heartache of leaving behind family and friends and the intense urge to better myself and my future by reaching my educational goals.”

Knowing no English, Reyes was determined to learn the language and culture of his new home. Enrolling at Walla Walla Community College, he took English as a Second Language courses and within two years learned to read, write and speak the language fluently.

With a passion for helping others, Reyes began working as a caregiver.

“It’s been a privilege and an honor to help these people and to be a part of making their lives the best possible,” he stated. “I couldn’t imagine doing anything else, which is why I have decided to pursue a career in nursing.”

In 2017, he obtained his Certified Nursing Assistant license through Columbia Basin College and took several prerequisite classes to meet the requirements for applying to nursing programs.

A former colleague who graduated from YVC’s nursing program recommended Reyes explore  joining the inaugural cohort of the college’s PN program.

“I’m excited to be working towards a PN degree, but my ultimate goal is to earn my RN,” Reyes said. “Becoming a registered nurse would not only be a dream come true, but it would also make me the first college graduate in my family and that in itself is a lifetime achievement.”

The PN program joins YVC’s popular Associate in Nursing (ADN-DTA/MRP) program and offers students a fast track for entering the health care field.

YVC’s Associate in Nursing degree program is a six-quarter program that leads to an associate degree. Prior to applying to the six-quarter nursing program students must complete four quarters of pre/co-requisite and supporting courses. Nursing courses proceed consecutively with objectives for each course accomplished before the student proceeds to the next course.

YVC’s ADN-DTA/MRP program requires prerequisites in biology, math, English, nutrition, chemistry, communications and psychology. A 2.5 GPA is required.

Students who complete the ADN-DTA/MRP program and successfully pass the RN licensure exam (NCLEX-RN) will be considered as having met the minimum requirement for transfer into Washington State RN-to-Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs and, if accepted into an RN-to-BSN program, will be awarded senior standing.

Historically, the YVC nursing program offered a PN option for nursing students after successful completion of the first four quarters of the program. The trend in Washington has been to eliminate this option. Additionally, ADN students who are enrolled in the RN program are eligible to take their PN exam after the fourth quarter.

YVC will admit its first full cohort of 20 students to the program in Winter 2022.

For more information about YVC’s new PN or AND-DTA/MRP programs call 509.574.4902 or email nursing@yvcc.edu.

Press Release Contacts:
Dustin Wunderlich / 509.574.6870 / dwunderlich@yvcc.edu
Stefanie Menard / 509.574.4646 / smenard@yvcc.edu