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Get the Education and Hands-on Training Needed to Become an RN

The nursing program at Three Rivers College offers two paths to become a Registered Nurse. Current LPNs and Paramedics can advance their career with the RN Bridge program. Students with minimal or no nursing experience can take the full nursing program. Both paths lead to an Associate of Applied Science degree and the education needed to apply for licensure by examination as a registered nurse.

Application Deadline for the Poplar Bluff RN program: March 1

Application Deadline for the Poplar Bluff RN Bridge program: March 1.

Application Deadline for the Sikeston RN Bridge program: December 1.

About the Nursing Program

The purpose of this nursing program is to prepare students to achieve an Associate of Applied Science degree, to apply for licensure by examination as a registered nurse, and to use the nursing process in providing safe and effective nursing care for clients in structured primary or secondary care settings.

Both general education and nursing education courses are included in the program of study; clinical laboratory experiences are planned in local healthcare facilities under the direct guidance of the Nursing faculty. Students enrolled in the nursing program have the same privileges and responsibilities accorded all students of the College.

Train for an in-demand career as a registered nurse in medical/surgical, emergency, maternal, pediatric, psychiatric, and home health/hospice.

The Poplar Bluff Associate Degree Nursing Program and the Sikeston LPN-RN Bridge program are fully approved by the Missouri State Board of Nursing 573-751-0681:

The program is accredited by the
Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
3390 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 1400
Atlanta, GA 30326

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75% On-Time Completion

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87% Pass Rate

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88.8% Employment

Admission Requirements

All candidates must meet the regular admission requirements as stated in the current catalog.

To become an eligible nursing applicant, each individual must have the following on file in the admissions office no later than March 1 for the Poplar Bluff day program and Evening LPN-RN Bridge program, and December 1 for the Sikeston LPN-RN Bridge program.

  • Completed college application.
  • Taken the ACT, SAT, or Accuplacer test, or have current placement examination scores.
  • Final high school transcript or high school equivalency certificate.
  • Transcripts of all previous university/college/technical schools.
  • Completed current nursing application.
  • Successful completion of the HESI Admission Assessment A2 Nursing Entrance exam.

View the College admissions application and the nursing program application. Hand-delivered applications must be received in the Poplar Bluff or Sikeston Nursing Office by 4 p.m. on the appropriate deadline date or the next Three Rivers College business day if the deadline falls on either a weekend or a holiday. Applications received by mail or other traceable means must be postmarked by midnight on the appropriate deadline dates.

Visit the Testing Services page for more information about the HESI Admission Assessment A2 Nursing Entrance exam.

LPN-to-RN Bridge Admission Requirements

LPN-RN Bridge applicants must meet the same admission criteria as other nursing applicants. To qualify, the selected student must additionally:

  • Have an active, unencumbered license as a Licensed Practical Nurse with privileges to practice in the state of Missouri. (Applicants that have an authorization to test for the NCLEX-PN may apply pending successful completion of the licensure exam).
  • Demonstrate satisfactory performance on the screening assessment. Scores on screening assessment must be current within two years of deadline.

Program Selection Process

The Nursing Admissions Committee uses the following minimum requirements for the initial screening of applicants:

  • Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.00, or if current high school student, with no college GPA, rank in the upper one third of their high school graduating class.
  • Satisfactory performance on the HESI Admission Assessment (HESI A2) Examination (minimum 75% overall score). HESI A2 scores must be current within two years of application deadline. Examination must be completed by application deadline.

In the event that two or more applicants receive the same overall score, the applicants will be ranked according to the HESI Reading Comprehension score, and then, if necessary, by the HESI Math score, and finally by the HESI Vocabulary/General Knowledge score.

Program Alternates

Selection as an alternate does not guarantee admission into the program or placement into the following year’s selection process. Selected alternates remain eligible by completion of pre-nursing courses with a maintained cumulative GPA of 2.00. Alternates will replace students in the ranked order as space becomes available and will be notified by letter. If not granted admission, the first day of class for the cohort, then the alternate must reapply.

Admission Details

Applicants will be notified of their admission status by letter. Individuals selected are required to have a physical examination, preadmission drug screen, and criminal background check prior to starting their first nursing course. Final admission is contingent upon submission of a satisfactory confidential medical history and examination, negative drug screen, a negative criminal background check, and completion of pre-nursing courses with a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or higher (see curriculum guide).

Transfer Requests

Transfer Requests must be received in writing by May 1 for fall courses and by December 1 for spring courses for credential evaluation. Contact the Nursing Program for transfer packets and instructions. Readmission requests must be received in writing by the finals week of the current semester from which the student has failed or withdrawn.

Physical Examinations

Nursing students are required to have two physical examinations, one as part of the admission process and the second prior to the beginning of second-year classes. Students must meet certain health criteria for clinical practice in agencies, including, but not limited to, random or for-cause drug screening.

BLS for Healthcare Workers

Students are required to be certified at the BLS for Healthcare Providers (BLS-HCP) level. Proof of successful completion of the BLS-HCP course must be in the form of an official CPR card document issued by an authorized AHA or Red Cross Training Center. Cards issued by private companies that state the course was “taught in accordance with AHA (or Red Cross) guidelines” are not sufficient evidence of course completion and will not satisfy this requirement.

Progression and Retention Criteria

Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 throughout their enrollment in the nursing program. Students must also comply with college policies regarding probation and suspension, as outlined in the Three Rivers College Catalog.

In order to progress in the nursing sequence:

  • Students must achieve satisfactory clinical performance, satisfactory skills lab performance, and a minimum grade
    of “C” for each nursing course in order to progress to the next nursing course.
  • Students failing to achieve satisfactory clinical performance or skills laboratory performance will receive a course
    grade of “F” regardless of the grade in the theory portion of the course.
  • A student can fail or withdraw from a nursing course one time. A student can only be readmitted to the nursing
    program one time. A student who fails or withdraws from more than one nursing course (whether in the same
    semester or different semesters) is ineligible for readmission.
  • Students must achieve a minimum grade of “B” in nursing related courses, including Anatomy and Physiology I and
    II and Mathematical Reasoning and Modeling.
  • Supporting general education courses must be taken in the sequence listed in the student’s program option (refer
    to curriculum outlines) if not completed before acceptance into the nursing program.

Requirements for Licensure

The requirements for licensure, as set forth in the Missouri Statutes 335 RSMo 2015 the Nurse Practice Act, include being of good moral character, completion of the high school course of study or the equivalent, successful completion of the basic professional nursing curriculum in an approved school of nursing (however, successful completion does not guarantee eligibility to take the licensure examination).

Non-English speaking candidates are required to submit evidence of proficiency in the English language. There are also questions related to adjudication of any crime other than traffic violations, including unlawful use or possession of controlled substances or alcoholic beverages to an extent that one is impaired, fraud, dishonesty, acts of violence, bribery, deception, misconduct, insanity, incompetence, and placement on employee disqualification lists by a state or federal agency. Affirmative answers may result in the applicant being denied access to the licensure examination by the State Board of Nursing. For further information, consult the department chair.

The requirements for nursing licensure are set forth in Missouri Statutes 335.066 and 335.046.1, a paper copy of which is available from the Three Rivers Nursing Program Department. An electronic copy can be found at

Program Outcomes

  • Develop personal responsibility for professionalism, education, and scope of practice.
  • Choose effective communication strategies while collaborating with patients, significant support persons, and interdisciplinary members of the healthcare team.
  • Evaluate critical thinking and clinical decision-making to provide safe, patient-centered care.
  • Apply evidence-based practice while recognizing the role of quality improvement in the healthcare system.
  • Select appropriate information and technology in the management of patient care.


Laura McElroy

Laura McElroy

Director, Nursing Program / Instructor, Nursing



Three Rivers College Catalog


Get information about core courses, electives and concentrations in our current academic course catalog.

View College Catalog

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2080 Three Rivers Blvd., Poplar Bluff, MO 63901
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