Practical Nursing - High School

The School of Practical Nursing in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) is offered to interested and qualified high school seniors.

The School of Practical Nursing is a program that trains students to become a Practical Nurse. This very rigorous program is completed in one school year, including two summers, and has been approved by the Virginia Board of Nursing.

The program is open to rising seniors. To qualify, students must be 18 by January 1 of their senior year and have passed Algebra I and Biology. Talk with your high school counselor and parents early in your high school career so you are prepared to enter the program your senior year.

We highly recommend taking Introduction to Nursing, and/or Language of Medicine in your junior year. The Language of Medicine will be available through the Online Campus beginning summer 2021. You can use this course to meet the requirement of having taken an online course for graduation.

Due to an increase in the number of high school students participating, we are not accepting adult applications.

The Program

Students take 12 core courses that begin approximately one week after the end of the junior year in high school. Classes meet every day, Monday through Friday, in both summers after the junior and senior years. During the school year, classes meet every-other-day. During the summers and in the school year, classes meet for 5 hours; the entire school day. Class schedules follow the Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) calendar.

Courses

There are 12 core courses in the Practical Nursing program:

  • Introduction to Practical Nursing - summer session I
  • Anatomy & Physiology - summer session I, quarter 1 and quarter 2
  • Medical Terminology - summer session I, quarter 1 and quarter 2
  • Nursing Fundamentals and Skills Lab - quarter 1 and quarter 2
  • Growth, Development and Geriatrics - quarter 1 and quarter 2
  • Nutrition - quarter 1 and quarter 2
  • Medical and Surgical Nursing –quarter 3 and quarter 4
  • Maternal Child Health and Pediatrics - quarter 3 and quarter 4
  • Nursing Leadership, Issues and Trends - quarter 3 and quarter 4
  • Pharmacology - quarter 3 and quarter 4
  • Mental Health - quarter 3 and quarter 4
  • Clinicals
    • includes simulation
    • begins in quarter 3 and ends in the second summer session, after senior year. 

Classroom Experience

The first summer after junior year, Quarter 1 (Q1) and Quarter 2 (Q2) is classroom (didactic) experiences. This includes some in-school nursing lab sessions with manikins.

Classroom (didactic) continues in the senior year and the summer after the senior year, Quarter 3 (Q3) and Quarter 4 (Q4).

Clinical Experience

In Q3 and Q4, students have clinical experiences. Under the supervision of their clinical instructor, students assist in the care of patients; residents, clients. As part of the training, students:

  • perform treatments
  • give medications
  • educate patients
  • provide full patient care

Clinical instructors are very experienced registered nurses and licensed practical nurses.

Clinical sites and experiences vary depending on availability but can include:

  • hospitals
  • doctors’ offices
  • clinics
  • a wide variety of settings covering various age groups

Requirements for participation in clinical experiences

  • Criminal background check
  • Drug screening
  • Immunization documentation
  • Health insurance 
  • Computer with internet access

Schedule

Schedules change slightly on a yearly basis. In general, classroom experiences are from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Clinical days are generally scheduled from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dependent on facility availability, clinical hours may be in the evening, either 3 p.m. to 12 a.m. or 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Licensure

The Virginia Board of Nursing requires

  • 400 hours of clinical experience to be eligible for licensure as a Practical Nurse. 
  • a 74% or better in each class to be eligible to take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) for licensure.

After passing the licensure exam, graduates are able to practice nursing as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) in physician offices, long-term care facilities, health maintenance organizations, and hospitals. LPNs are also eligible for advanced placement in many registered nursing (RN) educational programs. Many health care employers provide tuition assistance or reimbursement.