Undergraduate Nursing Student Policies

UNDERGRADUATE NURSING STUDENT POLICIES

The policies in this section of the handbook are applicable to baccalaureate students enrolled in the nursing programs. These policies are consistent with and supplement Bowie State University policies.  The Bowie State University Undergraduate Catalog is the principle document governing policies and procedures for students.  The Office of Student Services also provides a student handbook, The Agenda.  Students are responsible for accessing and reviewing the documents that govern undergraduate students. 

Admission Policies

Traditional BS Nursing Admission Requirements

Freshman and transfer students are required to apply each spring semester of the academic year.  All applicants admitted will matriculate each fall semester.  The admission criteria effective for students admitted into the sophomore year:

  • Successfull completion of the freshmen year nursing general education courses
  • Must have a 2.75 cumulative GPA
  • Must have a 2.5 cumulative GPA in science prerequisite courses. 
  • Science courses completed within 5 years of admission date 
  • Candidates admitted into the program and have not taken NURS 101 must successfully complete NURS 101 during the summer session prior to the fall semester matriculation

The admission process is competitive with a maximum admission of 120 students to upper level nursing courses.

 Accelerated BS Nursing Admission Requirements

Transfer and 2nd Degree students are required to apply at the start of of each spring semester. All applicants admitted will matriculate each summer to this program track. 

  • Must have successfully completed all general education courses required for admission
  • Must have a 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • Must have a 3.0 cumulative GPA in science and math prerequisite courses
  • Science courses completed within 5 years of admission date
  • Must have evidence of success as a fulltime student (12 or more credits in one semester)

RN to BS Admission Requirements

Applicants interested in this program track may apply and matriculate each fall and spring semester of the academic year.

  • Licensure as a Maryland RN
  • Admission to Bowie State University
  • Completion of Nursing Prerequisites
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0
  • Submission of the RN to BS application

General Policies

Academic Honesty and Dishonesty- Nursing students are expected to conform to a strict standard of academic honesty.  In addition to the Bowie State University Undergraduate Catalog, academic dishonesty includes exhibiting unethical or illegal behaviors including falsification of documents.  Students are required to sign the Academic Honesty and Dishonesty form, which is placed in the student’s academic folder in the nursing department.  Students will be recommended for dismissal from the nursing program when academic dishonesty is confirmed.  Please refer to the BSU Undergraduate Catalog for policies about academic dishonesty.

Communication Methods – The faculty and staff provide program and curriculum information through the use of Bowie email accounts, Blackboard, and the Nursing Department web site.  Students are expected to review these electronic sources at least weekly. Technology is an integral part of the nursing curriculum.

Financial Aid – Financial assistance at BSU is available through various sources. Opportunities are available to students to receive funds if they meet the specified criteria. Personnel in the Financial Aid Office will assist students in exploring financial assistance for which they may be eligible.  The Financial Aid Office is located in the Henry Building.

Governance – It is expected that students will participate in governance within the Department of Nursing (DON) and in the University.  The mechanism for participation in governance of the University is through the BSU Student Government Association. The mechanism for participation in the governance of the department of nursing is through the Student Nurses Association and student representation on the DON Curriculum Committees. Input from students is encouraged and welcomed regarding the courses and activities of the DON. It is therefore the responsibility of students to serve as representatives to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. The Student Nurse Association will hold elections annually, in the fall to select representatives to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (UCC). The Student Nurse Association shall elect one student representative from each cohort admitted. The Student Nurse Association shall have one vote through its collective student representatives. 

Office Hours – The Department of Nursing Office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.  All faculty maintain office hours, which are listed on course syllabi.  A listing of the office hours for each faculty member is available for review in the nursing office, and also on the bulletin board next to the office door of the faculty member.

Request for Leave of Absence – Students may request a leave of absence for personal or family medical emergencies.  Students requesting a leave of absence for medical emergencies must have official documentation to support the request.  The request must be made in writing 14 days prior to the start of the intended leave.  The student must also meet with their advisor regarding this request.  The approval for the leave request will be made by the Faculty Organization.  Student progression in the nursing program will be based on course availability.

Required Fees – Throughout the nursing program, students are required to pay for the following items:

• Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI)

• Nursing Entrance Exam

• Comprehensive Exit Exam

• Clinical Laboratory 

These fees are collected as part of the semester charges and are in addition to any and all charges for tuition, room, board, and other general BSU student fees.

Course Policies

Class Attendance – Students are expected to attend and to participate in all class sessions.   Students are required to notify faculty of absences or delays.  Students are responsible for all academic content covered at all times. 

Clock Hours and Credit Hours – In lecture courses one credit hour is equal to a 50 minute time period per week.  In clinical courses one credit hour is equal to four (4) clock hours of clinical per week.  In lab courses one credit hour is equal to three (3) clock hours.

Cancellation of Classes – Any cancellation of classes by the University is broadcast over local radio and television stations.  When classes are cancelled clinical experiences are also cancelled.

Grading Criteria – The grading scale for undergraduate students in the Department of Nursing is as follows:

A = 92 – 100

B = 83 – 91

C = 75 – 82

D = 68 – 74

F = below 67.5

Late Assignments – Assignments turned in late will not receive credit unless a specific authorization has been granted by the faculty for health or other reasons. In the event of illness or emergency, students are responsible for making arrangements with the appropriate faculty member.

Progression Policies

Progression – Nursing course content is planned in a sequential manner so that each course builds upon previous course content.  Students must complete all courses sequentially as outlined in the progression plan. Students must be enrolled into the corresponding clinical nursing courses when enrolled into the didactic course.  Students must satisfactorily complete the clinical and didactic courses to progress to the next level.  Students who are unsuccessful in one of the courses must retake the didactic and corresponding clinical course.

In order to progress in the nursing program, students must earn a “C” or better in the general education courses.

Progressive testing with standardized exams will be used to evaluate student competence of completed course materials. Students must achieve minimal proficiency level in order to progress in the nursing program.

Students must complete the nursing program within five (5) years from the date of admission into the nursing program.

Academic Standing – All students are required to complete a minimum of 62 credits in the nursing major according to the progression plan. Nursing students must earn a grade of “C” or higher in all nursing courses and maintain a 2.5 grade point average (GPA) to be in good academic standing.

Student Advisement – All students must meet with their advisor to prepare for registration each semester and in a proactive manner throughout the semester.  Advisement sessions are used for planning student progression, discussing professional issues and concerns, and obtaining assistance that may be needed.  Students are encouraged to make an appointment for advisement. 

Academic Warning – Students earning a grade less than “C” in a nursing course at mid-term  must meet with the course faculty member to develop a written plan of action to assist the  student to improve academic standing.  The plan of action will be documented on the  progress report form. This document is placed in the student’s Department of Nursing  record and the student receives a copy.  Students will receive a mid-semester grade report from the School of Professional Studies Retention Coordinator.

Dismissal from the Program – When a student is recommended for dismissal from the nursing program, the Department Chairperson will provide written notification of dismissal.  Students will be recommended for dismissal from the undergraduate nursing program under the following conditions:

  1. Earning a grade lower than “C” in two different nursing courses or in one repeated nursing course.
  2. Failure to meet the requirements for progression.
  3. Earning a grade of “W” or an “AU” in three nursing courses.
  4. Exhibiting conduct that is unprofessional, incompetent, unethical, or illegal in the clinical/practicum settings as outlined by the American Nurses’ Association Code for Nurses, the DON Academic Honesty and Dishonesty document, and the clinical agency policy.
  5. Cheating on examinations, plagiarism, or improper documentation or falsification of clinical activities as outlined in the BSU Undergraduate Catalog and the DON Academic Honesty and Dishonesty document.
  6. Performance in an unsafe manner while providing care to a client. (In addition, the student will be immediately removed from the clinical area.)
  7. If any student presents to the clinical area chemically impaired by drugs or alcohol.  (In addition, the student will be immediately removed from the clinical area.)

Grade Appeal – Students should follow the procedures outlined in the BSU Undergraduate Catalog for grade appeals.

 
Grievance Policy –Students should attempt to resolve all grievance issues at the lowest level. Discuss the issue with the faculty.  In the event that the issue needs further review, the chain of command within the DON should be followed.  If there is no resolution within the DON, then sources outside the Department may become involved.  The grievance process pertains to all matters except grades. The time frame for initiating a grievance is within five (5) weekdays of the event. The process must be followed in the sequence listed:

Grievances of Clinical Faculty decisions - if not resolved at this level notify   Course Coordinator of continuation of the grievance process within 5 weekdays of the event. 

Grievances of Course Faculty decisions or any progression issues - if not resolved at this level notify the Admission Progression and Graduation Committee (APG) Chairperson within 5 weekdays of the decision.  The grievance must be typed and include a description of the original event.  Submit to the chair of APG committee.  The APG Committee may invite other nursing student representatives to hear grievances related to clinical practice.  The recommendation of the APG Committee will be referred to the DON Faculty Organization for final decision.

Prior to rendering a decision, the Faculty Organization will invite the student to present all documents and other evidence during the Faculty Organization meeting.  A decision will be rendered within 30 days. 

Students who wish to continue the grievance process outside of the DON must follow the BSU policy related to grievance.    

Chain of Command beyond the DON

  • Dean, School of Professional Studies
  • Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • The President

Application for Graduation – Students who anticipate meeting all requirements for graduation must apply for graduation by the deadline date as posted by the registrar on the BSU website.  The University establishes graduation fees and set deadline dates.  The Office of Admission, Registration, and Records can assist you in matters related to this issue.

English Proficiency Examination – The English Proficiency Examination (EPE) is a graduation requirement that must be satisfied by all students receiving a bachelor’s degree from BSU.  All students should take the examination upon completion of English 102.  However, transfer students who completed their English requirements at another university should take the examination during their first semester of enrollment at Bowie State University.  Students must successfully complete the English Proficiency Exam prior to enrollment into nursing courses with clinical experiences.

Graduation Requirements – Graduation requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BS) degree are:

  1. Successful completion of all general education and prerequisite course requirements.
  2. Successful completion of the English Proficiency Examination.
  3. Completion of all nursing course requirements and electives as specified by the DON.
  4. Completion of a minimum of 120 credit hours with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale and a minimum grade of “C” in all Nursing courses.  Refer to the Undergraduate Catalog for a discussion of quality points and grade point averages.
  5. Successful completion of the Department of Nursing Comprehensive Exit Examination. 
  6. Submission of the Application for Graduation.
  7. Clearance of all financial obligations by the Business Office.

Exit Survey – Graduating students will participate in an exit survey during their final semester of study.  The survey is designed to obtain information about your experiences in the nursing program.

Clinical Policies

Lateness/Absence

Students are expected to report to the clinical setting on time (specific time as defined by the faculty in the course). Students must provide appropriate notification of lateness or absence to the clinical instructor, preceptor, and/or clinical site. If a student is late, the clinical instructor or preceptor has the right to tell the student that they cannot participate in clinical activities for that day. Lateness will be converted to absences. The following formula will be used to convert lateness to absences:

2 Occurrences of lateness in a 2 credit course = 1 absence

Clinical/practicum

Clinical courses must be taken concurrently with the corresponding theory course. All undergraduate students must achieve a grade of “C” or above in the theory course and clinical course in order to progress to the next level in nursing.

Insurance

All students are required to be covered by professional student liability insurance. The University purchases insurance on the student’s behalf. Fees for the insurance are included in the student’s tuition bill. Registered Nurse students are also encouraged to independently purchase professional liability insurance.

Students may purchase liability insurance from any company of their choosing. The following company provides insurance policies for nursing students.

NSO (Nursing Service Organization) Malpractice Insurance

159 E. County Line RD

Hartford, PA 19040

Phone: 1-800-247-1500     Fax: 1-800-739-8818 Email: service@nso.com

Health Requirements

The Department of Nursing (DON) does not discriminate on the basis of physical disabilities. However, any applicant with a physical or emotional problem that may impact clinical or classroom performance must notify the academic advisor in the DON upon submission of application to the DON.

The DON requires submission of the following information prior to enrolling into clinical nursing courses:

  1. The completed BSU Physical Examination/Health History Form
  2. Immunization History – Documentation required
  3. Polio series completed
  4. DTP series completed
  5. Tetanus Booster: Td within 10 years of completion of DTP series, and thereafter
  6. MMR Titer or MMR Vaccinations #1 and # 2 if you are non-immune
  7. Hepatitis B Series – 3 doses (Strongly Recommended) or a Signed Waiver
  8. Varicella Titer or Varicella Vaccination if you are non-immune
  9. Current Documentation of negative PPD (within one year) or documentation of a normal Chest X-ray within the last five years.
  10. Completed criminal background clearance through Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS)

Some services, including PPD tests and immunizations are available to students at the Wellness Center on campus for a nominal fee. Contact the wellness center at (301) 860-4171 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

All of the above documentation must be submitted to the course faculty by the date assigned.  The deadline will be strictly enforced; there is no grace period.  Students will be notified in writing if they do not meet the above requirements.  Students will not be allowed to attend clinical if the above requirements have not been met (these will be counted as absences/ see absence policy).

Professional Documentation for Clinical Experiences – Prior to starting the clinical all students are required to submit and maintain a copy of:

  1. Documentation of current CPR certification (American Heart Association BLS – Health Care Provider course)
  2. All students who are Registered Nurses are required to maintain a current Maryland nurse’s license that substantiate their legal standing for    the practice of nursing and current nurse liability insurance.
  3. Student Nurse Liability Insurance may also be required for traditional nursing  students.

Clinical Course Policies – The following policies apply to BS clinical courses:

  1. Clinical site assignments for students are made at the discretion of the course faculty member.
  2. If the student is placed in an agency where he/she is employed, the clinical assignment will not be on the unit where he/she is currently employed.
  3. Students are responsible for their own transportation to clinical sites. The DON uses a variety of healthcare agencies for clinical placements. These agencies are located in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area.

Uniforms

All Students

All students will purchase the designated BSU nursing student uniform (pants with tops or dress) with BSU patch in the semester before beginning clinical. The BSU patch must be sewn on the Left sleeve at the shoulder line.

  1. Identification badge with student’s name and picture must be worn at all time 
  2. Hair must be worn above the uniform collar. If hair length is below the collar, it   must be worn pinned up or tied back.
  3. Full length white lab coats or washable white or navy blue sweaters may be     worn in the clinical area.  Students are expected to remove their sweater or    lab coat when providing direct client care.
  4. Fingernails must be without polish and no longer than ¼ of an inch.  Polished,   designer and artificial nails are not permitted.
  5. Jewelry is limited to one pair of stud earrings, wedding rings, & watch.
  6. Students must maintain appropriate personal hygiene; strongly scented     cosmetics are not permitted.
  7. All white leather shoes with closed toe and closed, low heel are required.
  8. Lab coats must be worn when not in uniform during visits to the clinical areas    when care will not be given.  Name pins and the DON patch must be worn on    the lab coats and students must introduce themselves to staff.  Blue jeans     may NOT be  worn under lab coats.  Lab coats must be white and full length. 

Women

All skirts or dresses must be at an appropriate length for bending and stretching activities.  Students will be dismissed from clinical if the instructor considers the uniform too short.

  1. Pantsuits may be worn.
  2. A full length non-cling slip must be worn under the uniform dress.
  3. White stockings or panty hose are to be worn with dresses.
  4. White knee high stockings may be worn with pants.

Men

  1. White pants and top.
  2. Pants must be fitted and an appropriate length.
  3. White socks must be worn with pants.

Uniforms during Community Health and Psychiatric Mental Health Experience

  1. Nursing students adhere to the course-specific uniform policy. Information regarding the policies will be given to students by course faculty.

 Failure to adhere to these uniform requirements may result in  dismissal from  the clinical area, and will be reflected in the clinical evaluation.

Equipment Required for Clinical Experiences

  1. A watch with a sweep second hand.
  2. A stethoscope with bell and diaphragm.
  3. Black ink pen.
  4. Other equipment as specified in the course syllabus.

Accidents During Clinical Experience

If a nursing student is injured during the clinical experience he/she should report immediately to the faculty and charge nurse on the unit.  Students may be required to go to Employee Health or the Emergency Department depending on the severity of the injury and the policies of the agency.

Fees for these visits may not be covered by the agency and students are required to maintain their own health insurance.

Standard Precautions – Students are required to implement Standard Precautions in all clinical settings where they may come into contact with blood and other body fluids. Standard Precautions should be used when in contact with human tissues, cerebrospinal, synovial, pleural, peritoneal, pericardial, and amniotic fluids.  Students who are exposed to body fluids while in the clinical/practicum setting should notify the preceptor, responsible faculty, and the appropriate supervisory person in the agency.  The student should follow-up with procedures available for employees of the clinical facility.  This includes the right to request patient testing, individual counseling, and obtaining follow-up information for health care.

Procedures for Handling Blood and Body fluids:

  1. Handle all blood and body fluids following Standard Precautions.
  2. Wash hands and other skin surfaces before and immediately after contact with body fluids.
  3. Wear protective barriers appropriate for the procedure being performed when anticipating exposure to body fluids.
  4. Use gowns for splashes, goggles and masks for splatters, and gloves when handling fluids.
  5. Do no recap or manipulate needles or sharps in any way.  Place them immediately in puncture resistant containers after use.
  6. Place resuscitation equipment where respiratory arrest is predictable. Refrain from direct client care if you have exudative lesions.

Reporting of Illness/Absence:

  1. It is the responsibility of the student to follow the course instructor’s procedure to report absence due to illness.
  2. When the student is hospitalized, the DON must be notified immediately.
  3. Students who have experienced a hospitalization or extensive illness (3 days) must submit to the course faculty in writing, an official statement from the health care provider permitting return to clinical practicum.

Pregnancy

  1. A student who is pregnant may continue in clinical experiences as long as her health status is satisfactory and she is able to complete her clinical assignments.
  2. Students who are pregnant should consult with the faculty member in advance of their clinical assignment.  Some agency regulations determine assignments during pregnancy.
  3. For the safety of the student who is pregnant, she must not enter areas where radioisotopes or x-ray therapy is being administered.
  4. Students who deliver during the semester must present in writing an official statement of health clearance from the health care provider permitting return to clinical practicum.

The Department of Nursing reserves the right to update and change the above policies at any time.  A copy of the policies is posted on the department’s web site.  It is the students’ responsibility to stay current and informed of the changes.  If any changes occur students will be notified and they will be able to view the changes on the department’s web site. Significant changes made to the policies will require students to sign and date a new acknowledgement form.  All new nursing students are to read the policies and sign and date the acknowledgement form attached.  This must be submitted on your first day of class.

References

Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor.  (2001).  Occupational exposure to blood borne pathogens.  Federal Register (66 FR    5325).  Washington, D.D.:  retrieved August 24, 2004 from:   http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS &p_id=10051

American Association of Colleges of Nursing.  (1997).  Position statement policy and  guidelines for prevention and management of Human Immunodeficiency Virus and  Hepatitis B Virus infection in the nursing education community.  The Journal of  Professional Nursing, 13, 325-328.