Mar 03, 2024  
2022-2023 Nursing Student Handbook 
2022-2023 Nursing Student Handbook [FINAL EDITION]

MSN and Post Master’s Academic Policies and Procedures

Transfer and Matriculation Policies


A matriculated student is one who has been accepted officially into the master’s degree programs. Two master’s level courses may be taken before matriculation. Students may be required to complete supplemental course work either prior to admission or as part of the course of studies.

A non-matriculated student is one who is taking a course for credit, but has not yet been accepted officially into the master’s program. These students must submit the usual application for admission. No more than two courses earned by a student in a non-matriculated status may be applied toward the degree upon acceptance as a matriculated student.


The following guidelines have been established by the School of Nursing for acceptance of master’s level course work taken previously at Widener University or at other institutions:

  • A maximum of two master’s level courses earned at another accredited institution within the five-year period preceding admission may be accepted for transfer upon admission to the master’s program.
  • Courses taken prior to admission to the MSN program, either within or outside the university, will be accepted only if the student has earned a grade of A or B (not B-) in the courses under consideration. Grades of “Satisfactory” or “Pass” are transferable as elective courses. The process in considering requests for transfer of graduate credit is as follows:
    • An official request for transfer credit must be submitted to the Program Director. If transfer credit is requested in lieu of required courses in the program, a course syllabus must accompany the request.
    • Requests for transfer of graduate credit will be approved upon recommendation of the program director in collaboration with the faculty who is a content expert in the area.
    • Required graduate courses in statistics and conceptual models/theories may not be used for transfer credit because they are prerequisites for admission.

Grading Policies


Note: Individual instructors may elect, at their descretion, not to use plus/minus grades.

Letter Grade

Quality Points



A 4.0 93-100
A- 3.7 90-92
B+ 3.3 87-89
B   3.0 83-86
B- 2.7 80-82
C+ 2.3 77-79
C   2.0 73-76
C- 1.7 70-72
F 0.0 <70
I   Incomplete
W   Withdrawn
P/NP*   Pass/No Pass
AU   Audit: No Credit

* Only for courses offered on a Pass/No Pass basis

Academic Integrity Statement

The School of Nursing adheres to the University policy of academic integrity as stipulated in the University Student Handbook and as stated below. Student appeals related to allegations of academic fraud are heard by Academic Council of the School of Nursing.

Academic Integrity Statement

Widener University strongly supports the concepts of academic freedom and academic integrity and expects students and all other members of the Widener University community to be honest in all academic endeavors. Cheating, plagiarism, and all other forms of academic fraud are serious and unacceptable violations of university policy, as specified in the Student Handbook. Widener University expects all students to be familiar with university policies on academic honesty, and Widener will not accept a claim of ignorance - either of the policy itself or of what constitutes academic fraud as a valid defense against such a charge.

Cheating, plagiarism, and all other forms of academic fraud are serious and unacceptable violations of university policy, as specified in both the Widener University Graduate Student Handbook and the School of Nursing Graduate Student Handbook. Widener University expects all students to be familiar with university policies on academic honesty, and will not accept a claim of ignorance either of the policy itself or of what constitutes academic fraud as valid defense against such a charge.

Advisement and Academic Policies


All students are assigned a School of Nursing advisor upon admission.


Graduate students records are kept in the Graduate Nursing Office. The record contains such information as course grades, clinical evaluations, correspondence, course planning form, etc. The academic record is the property of the University. Students are permitted to view this record in the presence of their advisor. Written permission must be obtained from the student for any release of documents.


Nine credits in the fall and spring semesters and six credits in one summer session are recognized as normal course load for full-time students. Students, as adult learners, have the right to make decisions related to their learning needs. However, faculty believe a course load above nine credits for fall/spring or six credits in one summer session has potential for creating academic jeopardy. Students enrolling for more than nine credits during fall/spring semester or six credits in one summer session must have approval from their faculty advisor and the Program Director.


Students are emailed a specific date and time after which they may register at any time during the registration window. 

NOTE: A course of study should be developed with the advisor. Upon completion, the advisor will place one copy in the student’s file and provide a copy to the student assist you with course planning.


  • When a course is taken as a prerequisite for master’s study, the grade will be recorded on the transcript with an asterisk, indicating that the course is not included in calculating the master’s program grade point average.
  • Following a request from the student, including an explanation of the extenuating circumstances involved, a professor may give a course grade of incomplete (I) if circumstances justify an extension of time required to complete the course. A student with an “I” in any course that is a prerequisite to another course will not be allowed to enroll in the subsequent course until the I in the prerequisite has been removed and replaced by a satisfactory grade. An “I” must be resolved within one calendar year from the end of the semester in which the course was taken or it will convert to an F.
  • A grade of B (not B-) or higher is required fro all gradaute courses.
  • An independent study course may be taken when a required course is not available in a timely manner. Approval for the independent study is required from the student’s academic advisor and the Academic Program Director. Independent studies are offered for students requiring mastery of additional content in order to proceed. Students may request an independent study for a topic of special interest if the independent study credits are not needed to meet graduation requirements. The same approval process as noted above is required.
  • All requests for exceptions to these policies should be referred to the Academic Program Director.


A student may withdraw from a course at any time prior to the final examination and receive the grade of W. If a course offered through these programs does not include a final examination, the deadline for withdrawing from the course with a grade of W is the final class meeting for the course.


Refunds for courses are determined by the University. The effective date used for all adjustment of charges will be the date that written notice of the withdrawal is received by the appropriate office of Widener University.

Progression Policies


A maximum of five (5) calendar years from the date of matriculation is allowed for completion of the requirements for the master’s degree. Students must enroll in both fall and spring semesters of the academic year through the completion of required master’s course work. Students who do not follow this policy may be dropped from the program.


Students who do not take at least one course per semester must submit a written request for a leave of absence, including the rationale, to the Program Director for the semester in which they are not enrolled. Those who do not do so may be dropped from the program.

A leave of absence will extend the time limit for completion of the master’s program by the length of the leave. The total cumulative leave time applied to extensions shall not exceed two academic years. Exceptions to the policy will be referred to the Academic Program Director.


Students who have withdrawn from the program may petition for readmission by filing a new application. Such requests must be sent to the Academic Program Director no later than 30 days prior to the start of the semester in which the student expects to enroll.

Dismissal Policies

  • Students are expected to maintain satisfactory progress towards a degree. A student’s record begins with the first course credited to the master’s degree program and includes subsequent courses.
  • Master’s students are required to maintain at least a B (3.0) average. Only students with a 3.0 or better GPA will graduate. Courses for which grades lower than B (3.0) are received may be repeated. No more than two repetitions total and only one repetition of a particular course is allowed. If a course is repeated, both grades will be recorded on the transcript, but only the most recent grade is used in calculating the grade point average. However, if a student is found to be in violation of Widener’s academic fraud policies, that student is prohibited from exercising the repeat of course option to remove the F grade (given as a result of fraud) from the GPA calculation. A student whose academic performance is considered inadequate will be dismissed from the program.
  • Conduct inconsistent with the ethical and professional standards of discipline, whether it occurs before or after matriculation, is also grounds for dismissal from the program. Such conduct includes academic fraud. A student dismissed for academic fraud may no longer enroll in the graduate programs of the university may not apply for admission into another division of the university. Please see the section entitled “Policy Regarding Academic Fraud” in the Widener University Graduate Student Catalog at

Graduation Requirements

Students are eligible to petition for graduation, based upon anticipated completion of the curricular requirements. Students must petition within the timeframe designated by the Office of the Registrar.

Due Process/Grievance Policies​


Students in the School of Nursing are afforded opportunities to express their interests, issues, and concerns through student representation as voting members on selected SON standing committees, including Undergraduate Programs Committee, Graduate Programs Committee, and Student Affairs Committee. Students may also voice concerns by completion of Course and Faculty Evaluations at the end of each course. The School of Nursing due process policy and procedure designates two formal and separate categories (or types) of student concerns.

Formal grade appeal, grievance and waiver of SON policy:

  • Student concerns about final course grade (s) must be addressed through the formal Grade Appeal Policy
  • Concerns or complaints about School of Nursing processes other than grade appeals or plagiarism are addressed through the formal Grievance Policy.

Grievance issues related to discrimination and harassment, and or violation of the Widener Compact shall be addressed by the University policies and procedures outlined in the Undergraduate and Graduate University Catalogs.


It is the policy of the School of Nursing to allow students to appeal the final course grade if they believe their grade has been derived in a manner not consistent with the fair and equitable application of evaluation criteria specified in the syllabus.

  • DEFINITION: A grade subject to the Grade Appeal Policy is a final grade the student believes to be derived in a manner not consistent the application of grading criteria found in the course syllabus and/or a grade the student believes to have been miscalculated, again based on the criteria specified within the course syllabus.
  1. Student Procedure:
    1. The student will complete the Nursing Due Process Form   and take it to the faculty of record to begin the formal grade appeal process.

    2. If meetings and discussions fail to produce a decision or resolution acceptable to the student, the student should meet with his or her faculty advisor to discuss a possible further course of action. If the decision is to pursue the Grade Appeal after the discussion with the faculty advisor, the student writes a narrative outlining the situation surrounding the grade appeal and attaches the completed Nursing Due Process Form   . The student sends the form and narrative to Academic Council through the office of the Academic Program Director.
    3. Students may remain in their present classroom courses for which they are enrolled until the appeal process is completed, however they will be unable to begin or remain in clinical.

  2. Academic Council Procedure:

    1. Upon receipt of the student’s Nursing Due Process Form    and narrative explanation, the Chair of Academic Council will convene a committee meeting within ten (10) business days to review the student’s request.

    2. After review of the Grade Appeal, the Chair of Academic Council will notify the academic program director of Undergraduate or Graduate Studies of the Council’s recommendations. The Chair will also notify the student by letter via the office of the academic program director. Widener email and regular USPS mail will be used to communicate the decision within ten (10) business days of the receipt of the student’s letter by Academic Council. The letter will consist of one of the following Committee decisions:

      1. Rejection of the Grade Appeal - If determined to be outside the jurisdiction of Academic Council, or inconsistent with the definition stated previously, beyond the designated time frame, or with insufficient grounds based on inadequate evidence, the Chair of Academic Council will notify the student through the office of the Academic Program Director within 10 business days. 

      2. Findings of the Review of the Grade Appeal - The Chair of Academic Council will notify the student through the Office of the academic program director within 10 business days. Findings are limited to the context of the definition of a grade subject to appeal.  

      3. Request for a full hearing- The student may be granted a full hearing based upon a request from the student or from the faculty.

    3. Upon request for a full hearing the student’s advisor/ mentor, faculty involved, the office of the academic program director, and Dean will be notified by the Chair of Academic Council.

    4. Confidentiality shall be maintained by all persons. This is an essential component of the grievance procedure and due process. Specific information is kept within the committee.

  3. Conduct of Hearing

    1. All parties involved in the appeal shall have the right to be present at a portion of the hearing to respond to all information presented as well as to present their side of the appeal.

    2. Within five (5) business days following the conclusion of all Academic Council meetings, the Chair shall submit a written report of the Committee’s findings and recommendations to the Dean and office of the Academic program director.

    3. Within five (5) business days the office of the academic program director will notify the student in writing of the Council’s findings with recommendations. The student has the right to appeal the Academic Council decision to the Dean within five (5) business days of the receipt of the written report from the Chair of Academic Council.

    4. Minutes will be taken of Academic Council meetings and hearings concerning any appeal. Hearings may be tape recorded by the Chair of Academic Council. Minutes/tape recording will be kept in a secure file according to the policy established by the school of nursing.



The final step in the Grade Appeal Process is to the Dean of the School of Nursing.

  1. If the student chooses to continue to pursue the grade appeal with the Dean, the student must appeal to the Dean by letter within ten (10) business days of receipt of the office of the academic program director’s letter regarding the outcome of the full hearing by Academic Council. The letter should specify the grounds for the further appeal as well as the information to substantiate the appeal.
    1. Dean’s Process
      1. The records from the Academic Council review will be requested and studied.
      2. The Dean may convene meetings with the student, faculty, or Academic Council Chair as deemed necessary within the context of the definition of a grade subject to appeal .
  2. The student will be notified of the Dean’s findings within ten (10) business days of the Dean’s receipt of the student’s letter. Students will be notified via Widener email and standard USPS mail. Copies of the Dean’s letter will be forwarded to the appropriate Associate Provost, appropriate academic program director, and Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Student Services if applicable, Course Coordinator (if applicable to program of study), Chair of Academic Council, student’s faculty mentor, and faculty member involved.
  3. The Dean’s decision regarding the student’s grade appeal is final.

Approved by faculty 9/00 Editorial Revisions, 8/01, 6/04, 5/09, 9/09 Approved revisions: 5/12, 5/16


The grievance process provides students with a mechanism to request review of decisions and actions within the School of Nursing other than grade appeal or allegations of plagiarism, discrimination, or harassment. The School of Nursing encourages the prompt resolution of student concerns. Students are encouraged to discuss specific concerns, beginning with the person most directly involved with the issue or concern. Many disputes may be resolved following a thorough discussion of the issues by the parties involved. Course related problems should be addressed by speaking directly with the involved faculty member. If the matter is not able to be resolved with the initial conversation, and if the student desires to make a formal statement of grievance, the student will initiate a formal grievance according to the following procedure:

  1. Initiate the Due Process form, beginning with a written narrative identifying the issue of concern and including documentation of the initial conversation with the School of Nursing faculty or staff member involved with the grievance.
  2. If unresolved, continue to discuss the issue of concern with the appropriate Academic Program Director.
  3. The office of the Academic Program Director will, when appropriate, suggest alternative individuals, groups, or committees through which solutions may be achieved, including but not limited to the SON Academic Council. The report of the academic program director review will be sent via Widener University and USPS mail to the student and will be copied to the Dean and other involved parties.
  4. If unresolved, continue to discuss the issue of concern with the Dean of the School of Nursing. The report of the Dean’s review will be sent via Widener University and USPS mail to the student and will be copied to the Academic Program Director, Assistant Dean of Student Services and other involved parties.
  5. The Dean’s decision is final.

Nursing Committees, Graduate Student Awards, Nursing Honor Society



Students are represented at School of Nursing Faculty meetings and on several School of Nursing Committees. Listed below are the committees with their respective functions and membership guidelines.


Student representation on School of Nursing committees is an important aspect in the development and advancement of the nursing curricula and programs. The standing committee that graduate students may serve on is the School of Nursing Graduate Program Committee. Its respective functions and student membership are outlined below.



  1. To consider, study, analyze, develop and evaluate the curriculum and course changes submitted by the faculty and/or students.
  2. To develop, review and recommend graduate curriculum changes to the faculty.
  3. To develop, review and recommend policies for graduate programs.
  4. Develop and implement admission policies for graduate programs.
  5. To review and recommend changes to the committee bylaws and submit changes to the Faculty Affairs committee by March 1 of each year.
  6. By March 1 of each year, review and recommend changes, if appropriate, to the following sections of the SON Faculty Handbook and submit changes to the Faculty Affairs committee: Goals and Outcomes of the Masters Program, Goals and Outcomes of the Doctoral Programs, Standards of Professional Practice.

Student Membership:

  1. Students will be invited by the Committee Chair to serve as directed in the Bylaws. Students represented on the School of Nursing committees shall be granted voting privileges.
  2. Student representation shall include one (1) masters, one (1) DNP, and one (1) PhD student




Eligibility for School of Nursing Awards is based on academic excellence, scholarship and community services.

Dean’s Award is given annually to a student who is granted the degree of Master of Science in Nursing. This award recognizes individual leadership, scholarship and service during the course of study in the master’s program.

Criteria for Selection

  1. Completed all requirements for graduation from any of the Master of Science in Nursing Programs

  2. Minimum GPA of 3.5

  3. Evidence of Leadership in the nursing profession

  4. Evidence of Scholarly activities (writing, research, speaking, teaching)

  5. Evidence of Service in the School of Nursing and the broader community

Procedures for Consideration


  1. The Academic Program Director will circulate a list of those who will graduate and have GPAs above 3.5 to the faculty. All graduate faculty members will be requested to submit names of students they consider eligible for the Dean’s Award. 
  2. A letter of support addressing the criteria for the Award must be submitted by faculty members for each student who is nominated. Any faculty member may submit more than one name.
  3. The Dean of the School of Nursing and the Master’s Academic Program Director will select the student who, in their judgment, best meets the criteria. Faculty recommendations will be important in the final selection process.


Candidates are invited to apply for membership. An induction ceremony is held each academic year. For further information regarding the chapter and faculty counselors please refer to the Sigma Theta Tau International Eta Beta chapter website:

General Administrative Policies


 Clincal and Lab Policies


Students must complete specified requirements to enter clinical courses. These requirements are provided to the students the semester prior to entry into the clinical course by the Office of Graduate Studies.

Deadlines: Failure to meet deadlines established by the Academic Program Director may result in severe consequences, including delay of starting clinical course sequence.


School of Nursing administration will discuss criminal background information and drug/alcohol screen results of students on a need-to-know basis. This may include Widener University officials and personnel at Clinical Agencies who are responsible for placement of students. Criminal background results and drug screening results will be maintained in a file separate from the student’s academic file.

Criminal background results and drug/alcohol screen results of licensed nurses are subject to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Code Title 49. Professional and Vocation Standards issued by the Department of State. Section 14.1 (f) states that “Any hospital or health care facility, peer or colleague who has substantial evidence that a professional has an active addictive disease for which the professional is not receiving treatment, is diverting a controlled substance or is mentally or physically incompetent to carry out the duties of his license shall make or cause to be made a report to the Board”.


The curricula for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science, Post Master’s and Doctor of Nursing Practice in Nursing degrees require clinical experiences to occur within hospitals, clinics, private practices, and other healthcare organizations (Collectively “Clinical Agencies”). Many of these agencies require a criminal background check before students are permitted to engage in clinical experiences. Therefore, the School of Nursing and Clinical Agencies require a criminal background check for all students. This is to be completed during the semester immediately prior to the beginning of clinical experiences. Students may be required to complete additional background investigations during their course of study, dependent upon specific agency policies. Such requirements are beyond the control of the School of Nursing. The expenses of all background investigations are the responsibility of the student. Criminal background checks will be performed by a third-party company selected by the School of Nursing. Students will be given instructions regarding processes by the appropriate Academic Program Director. As a part of the process, students will authorize the background screening company to release results to the School of Nursing through the office of the appropriate Academic Program Director. Failure to meet deadlines established by the School of Nursing may negatively affect clinical placements. Failure to complete the background check will preclude entry into clinical courses and can result in dismissal from the program. The office of the Academic Program Director will administratively remove noncompliant students from all clinical courses. Should the criminal background check reveal convictions, further investigation will be undertaken by the School of Nursing through the office of the appropriate Academic Program Director. VIOLATIONS INVOLVING NARCOTICS OR CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES, CRIMES OF VIOLENCE (HOMICIDE, AGGRAVATED ASSAULT, CHILD OR ELDER ABUSE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE), OR LISTING ON THE NATIONAL TERRORIST WATCH LIST, OR THE SEX AND VIOLENT OFFENDER REGISTRY MAY PRECLUDE ADMISSION TO CLINICAL COURSES, WHICH WOULD NEGATE COMPLETION OF THE NURSING DEGREE. Violations of any nature may preclude the School of Nursing from placing students in clinical agencies, dependent upon the policies in place at such agencies. The School of Nursing will make every effort to place a student affected by such agency policies. HOWEVER, STUDENTS WHOSE CRIMINAL BACKGROUND FINDINGS ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE TO THE CLINICAL AGENCIES WITH WHICH THE SCHOOL OF NURSING HAS EXISTING CLINICAL AGREEMENTS MAY EXPERIENCE DISRUPTIONS TO THEIR PLAN OF STUDY OR, IN EXTREME CASES, MAY BE UNABLE TO COMPLETE THE COURSE OF STUDY IN NURSING.

Any student with a criminal background finding other than a misdemeanor will be referred to the Dean of the School of Nursing for investigation. The student will be notified by the Academic Program Director to contact the Dean directly. The student in question will not be permitted to attend clinical experiences, while the matter is under investigation the Dean will confer with the Associate Vice President for Administration as needed, and will notify faculty and student of the final decision. If a student is not able to complete clinical experiences, the student will be administratively dismissed from the program. Students with question


The School of Nursing at Widener University shall (a) support faculty in meeting their obligation to comply with section § 21.18. Standards of nursing conduct of the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing which states that “A registered nurse shall: …. Act to safeguard the patient from the incompetent, abusive or illegal practice of any individual (, retrieved October 2, 2007) and (b) assure compliance with conditions for criminal background investigations and drug screens as specified in agency contracts with the Clinical Affiliates where students gain clinical experiences. Students who are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol are deemed to be impaired and, therefore, incompetent to provide care to patients.


Students are referred to the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing website:


Clinical nursing experiences require a keen intellect and mental acuity. Students must present themselves to their clinical sites free from the influences of alcohol and chemical substances that would impair their judgment. Faculty in the clinical courses must be prepared to recognize and manage impairment that may result from use of drugs and/or alcohol.

Some common, but not all-inclusive, signs of impairment are:

• Noticeable mood changes;

• Repeated lateness for clinical experiences;

• Isolation, withdrawal, or avoidance of students or faculty;

• Increased frequency of trips to the bathroom;

• Unexplained absences from the clinical unit;

• Physical signs such as shakiness, tremors, dilated or constricted pupils, slurred speech, unsteady gait, or disheveled appearance (adapted from the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing Newsletter, summer 2007).

Faculty who observe clustering of such signs, repeated patterning of signs, or who detect odors consistent with alcohol consumption/marijuana use must take action to preserve the well-being of patients and the student. Faculty are encouraged to seek a second opinion as appropriate to the situation, including other faculty members or preceptors at the same institution, or phone consultation with the Course Coordinator or appropriate Academic Program Director. Procedure:

  1. The student will be removed from the clinical placement at the discretion of the faculty member who is responsible for the clinical experience. The faculty member may confer with other personnel involved with the student as indicated by the circumstances.
  2. The faculty member will contact the Course Coordinator immediately to report the situation. The Course Coordinator will contact the appropriate Program Director immediately. Should the Academic Program Director be unavailable, the Dean of the School of Nursing shall be notified.
  3. The student shall be assessed by the faculty member to determine the setting most appropriate for the collection of a drug screen and/or alcohol screen. These settings include:
    1. the third party lab selected by the School of Nursing, via transport by Widener Campus Safety if the student exhibits no signs requiring emergency treatment,
    2. the immediate clinical setting if it is an acute care setting and the student exhibits signs that require immediate emergency management,
    3. the Crozer Emergency Department via ambulance if the student exhibits signs that require immediate emergency management and the clinical setting is other than an acute care facility, or
    4. the Crozer Emergency Department via Widener Campus Safety if the student requires treatment, but exhibits no signs requiring immediate emergency management.
  4. The faculty member or designee will contact 911 or Widener Campus Safety as needed to provide transportation.
  5. Chain of Custody forms to accompany samples may be obtained from the Undergraduate or Graduate secretary’s office. The form will be given to the emergency department in the immediate clinical facility, or will be given to the responding Widener Campus Safety Officer.
  6. At the conclusion of treatment, Widener Campus Safety will transport students from Crozer Emergency Department or the immediate clinical setting to the main campus in Chester. Further transportation is the responsibility of the student.
  7. A student who is removed from the clinical setting for reasons set forth in this section will be temporarily suspended from further clinical experiences in all clinical courses.
  8. In order to lift suspension, the student must provide a statement signed by the health care provider indicating that the student is able to perform in the role of the student nurse, and must authorize release of the drug and alcohol screen results to the appropriate Academic Program Director. A positive drug or alcohol screen is not acceptable.
  9. A student with a positive drug or alcohol screen not supported by a legitimate prescription will remain suspended from the clinical setting for the duration of the semester, which will preclude course completion and result in failure of the clinical course(s).
  10. Students may be dismissed from the School of Nursing for such an offense.
  11. Any student who is dismissed from the School of Nursing for reason of positive drug or alcohol screen may re-apply. The student must provide documentation from an appropriate healthcare provider that he or she has undergone appropriate treatment/rehabilitation.
  12. A student, who is readmitted, must comply with unannounced drug and/or alcohol screens to be conducted at an independent laboratory identified by the School of Nursing within a 6-hour period after notification. All drug or alcohol screens must return with negative results. Any positive result or failure to comply with testing will result in dismissal from the School of Nursing.
  13. The student is required to continue counseling or other interventions as specified by his/her health care provider and/or the School of Nursing. Compliance with interventions will be documented by the health care provider in a letter to the appropriate Associate Dean on a periodic basis to be determined by the Associate Dean and stipulated in a contract developed and signed at the time of readmission. Failure to comply will result in final expulsion, after which the student will be ineligible to return to the School of Nursing.
  14. This policy sets forth consequences and requirements in the School of Nursing; any student who has a positive drug or alcohol screen while in the clinical setting will be referred to Widener University’s Dean of Students, and all university policies will apply.
  15. Students are responsible for all expenses for drug and alcohol screens and for related treatment.
  16. Any student who refuses to submit to drug or alcohol screening as stipulated in this policy shall be ineligible to return to clinical, which will preclude course completion and result in failure of the course.


A School of Nursing Student Incident Report is filed when any unusual event occurs (such as needle sticks, falls, being struck by a patient, etc.) which may cause harm to students. The Academic Program Director should be notified as soon as the faculty member has knowledge of such an event. The completed form should then be sent to the office of the Academic Program Director for processing. Incidents involving exposure to infectious disease, hazardous material, or serious injury must be reported to the Academic Program Director and University Health Services immediately. Clinical instructors must contact the course coordinator who will contact the Academic Program Director. A call to University Health Center will be made. The incident report will be transmitted on the scene or next business day depending on time of occurrence.


“An exposure that might place a health care professional at risk for HIV is defined as a percutaneous injury (e.g. a needle-stick or cut with a sharp object) or contact of mucous membrane or non-intact skin (e.g. exposed skin that is chapped, abraded, or afflicted with dermatitis) with blood, tissue, or other body fluids that are potentially infectious” Students who sustain a needle-stick injury, or get blood or other potentially infectious materials in their eyes, nose, mouth, or on broken skin should “immediately flood the exposed area with water and clean any wound with soap and water or a skin disinfectant if available” (


In accordance with the Widener University Policy, all students attending any on campus classes or functions must have received the COVID vaccine and uploaded the verification card into the University Health Services Portal. That portal can be accessed through the university coronavirus information portal

Preparticipation Considerations.

Prior to beginning on campus for face-to-face lab experiences and/or in the clinical setting  you must review and complete the 1.5 hours of instructional materials and videos covering COVID-19 Pandemic and Personal Protective Equipment and upload into Course Canvas as directed by the Course Coordinator. You must sign and upload this Attestation Form before being permitted to participate in lab and/or clinical experiences. 

Procedures for COVID-19 Simulation Lab Experiences 

All of the spaces will have a dedicated sink for regular handwashing and a dedicated entrance and exit door and will be:

  • FH 205 (8 students) – there are 2 nearby bathroom sinks  
  • FH 212 (8 students) - room has a sink
  • FH 218 (12 students)- room has a sink

You and your lab section will arrive and leave through the same assigned entry and exit in a manner that maintains appropriate social distancing: Founders Hall Front Entrance – Room 218; Founders Hall Back Entrance – Rooms 205 & 212. 

Reporting to Assigned Sim Lab Areas in Founders Hall - Center for Simulation

Once granted entry into the Simulation Center, you will be directed to a hand sanitizing station and then will proceed directly to your designated lab dictated by signage and staff.  There will be one lab instructor assigned to each group of 8 or less students. This will minimize physical contact, minimize potential for exposure, and allow for contact tracing should exposure occur.

You are encouraged to bring your own water bottle, your own stethoscope, and writing instruments. Do not share. Be sure to disinfect your equipment.  Food is not permitted in the labs. While lab experiences will require closer personal contact, you are encouraged to maintain 6 feet social distance with others in your space as much as possible. 

Upon completion of the lab experience, you will assist in the wiping down of all surfaces and equipment with provided disinfectant.  You will exit in a manner that maintains appropriate social distancing via the same door that was used to enter the building.  The Sim Center Staff will perform a deep clean of all labs prior to the next day sessions.

Responsibility and Professionalism.

You are healthcare students in a graduate nursing program.  You are equipped with the knowledge and tools to conduct yourselves in a safe and protective manner within the lab/healthcare environment.  We call upon each of you to conduct yourselves in a safe and protective manner while outside of the lab experiences as well.  For these on campus labs, minimizing risk of outside exposure is paramount for yourself and your classmates. Practice social distancing, handwashing, and face coverings while out in public.  Please communicate freely with your Program Director of any concerns or questions you may have along the way.  Our goal as your faculty is to further your education toward your goal of becoming a master’s nurse in a timely, safe, healthy and competent manner.


Students with a known latex allergy must inform the Office of the Academic Program Director and note this information on their student health forms. Students are also responsible to inform each faculty member/instructor of their allergy and of the recommended accommodations at the onset of each new clinical or laboratory rotation. Where appropriate, non-latex gloves will be utilized. Students are responsible for knowing which article/equipment in the work environment may contain latex and cause an adverse reaction.


Students whose healthcare provider has prescribed a medication or controlled substance that could impair clinical functioning must inform the course coordinator and appropriate Academic Program Director in writing at the beginning of each clinical course. In addition, the student must provide a written statement from the healthcare provider indicating that the student is physically and mentally fit to provide care in the clinical setting. The School of Nursing requires such notification for the protection of students and their patients. This documentation is to be sent to University Health Services.


The CSCT, located on the 1st and 2nd floor of the Founders Hall is for the use of all nursing students attending Widener University. Its purpose is to provide students with instructional resources for selected courses and supplement nursing courses. Flexible CSCT hours are scheduled each semester to enable students to meet course expectations and requirements.

For further information, call the CSCT at 610-499-4616 or the Director at 610-499-4215.


  1. Widener SON faculty and students are the guests of our clinical agencies. As such, the utmost care is required to adhere to professional dress, conduct and agency policies.
  2. Students are expected to comply with clinical agency policies related to identification badges,confidentiality, HIPAA privacy regulations, criminal record check, drug free work environment, health records, immunizations, parking, meals, and mandatory procedural reviews, etc. Failure to comply with clinical agency policies may result in denial of clinical experience. Clinical agencies may require the students’ signature, verifying their understanding of specific policies.
  3. Clinical agencies have the right to remove students from duty when in the judgment of the agency they cannot carry out their duties due to physical or mental impairment. If such impairment is suspected to be due to drug and/or alcohol use, the agency may require drug testing and/or alcohol and/or counseling. If the student refuses, the agency may request the student be removed.
  4. The School may be required to provide agencies with the names and specific records of students.
  5. Clinical agencies have the right to bar SON students and/or faculty from the agency. Such an occurrence is to be reported immediately to the Academic Program Director and Dean, who will then investigate the issues leading to such action.
  6. A Criminal Record Check, a Child Abuse History Clearance, and a Drug and Alcohol Screening are required for all nursing students.
  7. Students are expected to wear a lab coat, University ID badge, and name pin to all clinical rotations, unless otherwise specified by the course coordinator.
  8. Clincal agencies will likely have additional COVID-19 screening procedures. In order to participate in a clinical experience, the gradaute student will be expected to adhere to agency COVID-19 procedures. This may include (but is not limited to) watching additional training videos, attestation to having no symptoms, temperature screening, and providing a negative nasal swab in advance of clinical participation. Should a nasal swab for COVID-19 be required, this will be done at the students’s expense. 


The School of Nursing is responsible for protection of students and the patients for whom they care for by assuring that each student meets the The Essential Functions for Nursing Practice    identified in the Handbook. Students in clinical rotations, who have a significant health issue that precludes attendance or that may impair ability to function effectively in the clinical setting, must assure that their health care provider provide a statement of medical clearance, including any functional limitations specific to the The Essential Functions for Nursing Practice   , to University Health Services. The Director of Student Health Services will communicate with the appropriate Academic Program Director and/or Dean (in the absence of the Academic Program Director) to provide a recommendation for clearance for return to the academic or clinical setting. The Academic Program Director/Dean (in the absence of the Academic Program Director) will communicate with faculty to let them know when students are cleared to return to the clinical setting. Faculty should expect students experiencing the following conditions, or others of a similar severity to require clearance from University Health Services prior to returning:

  1. High risk pregnancy
  2. Myocardial infarction
  3. Stroke
  4. Other major medical conditions
  5. Major surgery
  6. Fractures
  7. Infectious disease other than cold or flu.
  8. Chemotherapy/radiation therapy.
  9. Major trauma.
  10. Head injury

Students experiencing these conditions must initiate the clearance process through University Health Services. Faculty who may become aware of a student experiencing these conditions must notify the appropriate Academic Program Director.

Students who miss clinical as a result of illness/injury will be afforded the opportunity to make-up clinical without incurring addition expense if only a limited number of experiences are missed. Students who miss a significant number of clinical days will discuss this matter with faculty members to determine whether the number of days missed will necessitate withdrawal from the course. Elective interventions must be scheduled outside the scheduled dates of the academic semester. Students who miss clinical due to elective procedures will need to withdraw from the course and are subject to progression policies.

Students who are experiencing significant health issues are eligible for a leave of absence. The student must contact the appropriate School of Nursing Academic Program Director (Graduate or Undergraduate), who will advise the student regarding the process for such a request through the office for the Graduate or Undergraduate Associate Provost.


MSN and Post MSN certificate students who are unable to attend clinical experiences as planned due to illness or personal emergency must notify their preceptors as soon as possible, but not later than two hours prior to the planned experience.


It is the student’s responsibility to be on time for clinical experiences. In the event of unavoidable lateness students must call their preceptors and notify them that they will be late. Due to the nature of traffic in the Tri-State area, students should plan travel time to include potential delays of up to thirty minutes.


Both the theory and clinical/laboratory portions of a nursing course must be successfully completed to earn a passing grade. A failing clinical grade will result in a final course grade of ‘F’, regardless of the theory grade.


Confidentiality is both an ethical and legal responsibility of all professional nurses. Annual review of the HIPAA Privacy Regulations is required. Students are to maintain the confidentiality of all clients. Information concerning any client’s identity, diagnosis, treatment, family problem or life style is considered confidential and shall not be discussed or otherwise passed on to any individuals outside of the agency.


A current 2-year certification from the American Heart Association Healthcare Provider or the American Red Cross Association Healthcare Provider (BLS). The course should include 1 man CPR, 2 man CPR, child and infant CPR, management of obstructed airway for both conscious and unconscious victims, and automatic external defibrillation. Students must have a valid CPR card during the entire nursing program.

Proof of certification is submitted with other clinical requirements as designated by the Academic Program Director.


A School of Nursing faculty member has full and unmitigated authority to deny, based upon the faculty member’s judgment, a student’s participation in any School-approved clinical nursing experience activity. Students will have the right to a full hearing before the School’s Academic Council. The hearing will be held in an expeditious manner.


Should a health problem arise during a clinical experience, students will be referred to the nearest appropriate acute care facility. Students are responsible for all medical costs incurred; the University will not assume this responsibility. Prior to returning to the clinical, the student must be cleared through University Health Services.


Students must meet the “The Essential Functions for Nursing Practice   ” specified in this Handbook.

Approved 5/93, revised 6/02, 10/07, 8/08, edited DMC 9/11


All medical costs are the responsibility of the student. Therefore, students are required to have health insurance. Verification of this insurance is required annually.


  1. Health requirements are required to meet the contractual stipulations of the clinical agencies in which clinical experiences take place.
  2. Students will be instructed to access the CastleBranch website to fulfill these requirements.


Malpractice insurance is required of all clinical nursing students. Proof of malpractice insurance is required.


Personal safety is a matter of concern to everyone. Most clinical agencies have policies regarding personal safety. Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with these guidelines and using good judgment. 

In general, use the following guidelines:

• Concerns related to safety shall be discussed with the faculty member.

• Faculty/preceptor instruction related to safety shall be followed.

• Agency guidelines shall be followed.


The appearance of a student in the School of Nursing communicates definite messages about the profession and the School. As a student, professional attire may be required for School of Nursing activities.

Professional attire includes:

  1. Minimal jewelry, closed-toe shoes, and modest choices for necklines and hemlines. No jeans are permitted.
  2. Widener University student name pins and University ID’s must be visible at all times.
  3. Hair must be styled off the face and collar.
  4. Beards and mustaches must be neatly groomed.
  5. Make-up is permitted in moderation.
  6. Fingernails must not extend beyond the end of the finger. Nail polish is not permitted. 
  7. Artificial nails or nail extenders are not permitted. See CDC information at
  8. Tattoos must not be visible.
  9. Wedding bands, watches, and one small post earring per ear are the only articles of jewelry permitted. No additional body adornments are permitted.
  10. Students may wear a head covering as required by their religious beliefs.




Program Practicum, Preceptor/Mentor, and Clincal Agency Information


Practicum experiences must be pre-approved by program faculty and may include but are not limited to the following activities:

  1. Direct practice experiences (majority of experiences in this domain)
  2. Leadership experiences
  3. Site visits
  4. Consultation with experts
  5. Health policy
  6. Evidence-based and specialty related conference attendance (limited to once per clinical course – prior approval needed)
  7. Quality improvement and system change activities
  8. Development of education/support groups

The practicum hours are related to the student’s individual goals, course objectives, student learning outcomes, MSN APRN competencies, and the Essentials of Master’s Education for Advanced Practice Nursing (AACN,2011).

Students are mentored by the Widener University School of Nursing (SON) Faculty and selected practicum preceptors/mentors. Students will select preceptors/mentors in collaboration with the faculty who are content experts in the selected area of clinical practice.

Preceptors/mentors must agree to advise and facilitate the student towards the achievement of goals, objectives and MSN APRN competencies.


Preceptor Professional qualifications include:

  1. Master’s degree required.
  2. Documentation of a current curriculum vitae, license(s); certification, as appropriate; and malpractice insurance in advanced practice role to the Graduate Nursing Office. Documentation needs to be received before the beginning of the semester in which the AP course is offered.
  3. Current practice in an area relevant to course objectives and student learning outcomes.

Preceptor Responsibilities Individuals serving as preceptors will be affiliated with clinical sites with which Widener University has established formal contracts. Individuals serving as preceptors have the following responsibilities:

  1. Review program orientation materials, including mission, strategic goals, syllabi, expected student outcomes, student evaluation form, and clinical hour log;
  2. Assure understanding the role of the preceptor/mentor, asking questions as needed;
  3. Provide an environment conductive to learning consistent with the mission of Widener University School of Nursing, program outcomes and competencies;
  4. Provide opportunities for achievement of goals and competencies for the MSN FNP or CNS program, as applicable to the student’s major;
  5. Provide consultation to the student as appropriate to the level within the program;
  6. Offer constructive/useful feedback
  7. Provide an evaluation of student performance for each clinical experience and at the end of the experience using forms provided by Widener University School of Nursing graduate program in collaboration with the Widener University MSN FNP or CNS program faculty


Clinical agencies shall:

  1. Complete a current clinical agency agreement with Widener University School of Nursing.
  2. Provide an environment conducive to learning consistent with the mission and goals of Widener University School of Nursing of the MSN FNP, CNS, AGACNP Nursing Education, or ENL program and facilitative of the course objectives and student learning outcomes/competencies.

Pre-Clinical Requirements for Students Scheduled for Graduate and Undergraduate Clinical Courses

The following pre-clinical requirements apply to BSN, MSN, and DNP students. These requirements must be met for you to participate in required clinical experiences.

The requirements to be met are as follows:

  1. Requirements met through Castlebranch Agency
    • Criminal background check
    • Substance abuse screen – 10 panel urine drug screen
    • See enclosed policy “Requirements for Criminal Background Investigations and Drug and Alcohol Screening for Students in Clinical Courses”
  2. Requirements to be submitted to Castlebranch Agency (DEADLINE: as determined by the Graduate Clinical Placement Manager and Program DIrectors)
    • CPR Certification inclusive of infant, child, adult, 2 person, and AED
    • Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance (within 12 months of beginning clinical)
    • FBI Criminal Background Check
    • Documentation of Health Insurance Coverage (copies of current coverage)
    • Pre-Clinical Health History
    • Pre-Clinical Physical exam to determine
    • Ability to perform essential functions
    • Health insurance portability- HIPAA Acknowledgement
    • Documentation of immunization of serologic immunity and tuberculosis screening.
    • Annual Flu vaccination each Fall.
  3. Student Responsibilities
    • Photo ID/ Widener University Name tag to be worn at all times while in clinical setting (name tag available through Widener University Bookstore)
  4. Additional Requirements for RN/BSN, Master’s and Post Master’s Students
    • Proof of licensure as a Registered Nurse in PA for RN/BSN students and CNS students; FNP and AGACNP students required to be licensed in PA plus either NJ or DE license to facilitate clinical placements.
    • Malpractice insurance within acceptable limits for specialty.

Please be sure to submit your documentation well in advance of the designated deadline prior to the start of clinical courses

The Essential Functions for Nursing Practice 

See The Essential Functions for Nursing Practice