Oct 02, 2022  
2022-2023 Nursing Student Handbook 
    
2022-2023 Nursing Student Handbook

Academic Policies and Procedures


Standards for Academic Integrity

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 Wawith 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.

Definition of Violations of the Standards of Academic Integrity

Violations of the standard of Academic Integrity constitute academic fraud. Academic fraud consists of any actions that serve to undermine the integrity of the academic process, including but not limited to:

  1. unauthorized inspection or duplication of test materials;
  2. cheating, attempting to cheat, or assisting others to cheat in a classroom test, take home examination or final examination;
  3. post-test alteration of examination responses;
  4. plagiarism;
  5. electronic or computer fraud.

In addition to but not limited to the above, for the School of Nursing violations of academic integrity include:

  1. unauthorized possession or disposition of academic material not formally released by course faculty;
  2. falsifying or altering clinical/patient records or other recordings;
  3. not reporting patient safety errors, etc.;
  4. falsifying research data or data analysis; and
  5. specific clinical behaviors identified in nursing courses.

Definition of Plagiarism

One of the most common violations of the Standards for Academic Integrity is plagiarism. Plagiarism can be intentional or unintentional. However, since each student is responsible for knowing what constitutes plagiarism, unintentional plagiarism is as unacceptable as intentional plagiarism and commission of it will bring the same penalties. In many classes faculty will provide their definitions of plagiarism. In classes where a definition is not provided, students are invited to follow the standards articulated in the following statement.

Statement of Plagiarism

Plagiarism - passing off the work of others as one’s own - is a serious offense. In the academic world, plagiarism is theft. Information from sources - whether quoted, paraphrased, or summarized -must be given credit through specific in-text citations. All sources used in the preparation of an academic paper must also be listed with full biographic details at the end of the paper. It is especially important that paraphrase be both cited and put into one’s own words. Merely rearranging a sentence or changing a few words is not sufficient.

Penalties

The minimal penalty for individuals found to have engaged in academic fraud will be failure in the course.

For a second offense, the penalty will be failure in the course and expulsion from the University.

For attempting to steal or stealing an examination, students found guilty will be failed in the course and expelled from the University.

The minimal penalty for individuals in the Doctoral program will be failure in the course and expulsion from the School of Nursing.

Procedures

  1. A School of Nursing faculty member who obtains evidence of academic fraud should inform the student of this evidence, either orally or in writing. The faculty member may also provide the student with the opportunity to respond to the charges. If the faculty member cannot resolve the matter satisfactorily with the student, he or she may file a formal complaint against the student through the office of the Dean of the School of Nursing.
  2. The Dean of the School of Nursing shall notify the student in writing of the complaint, the evidence upon which the complaint is based, the penalty to be imposed, and of all rights of appeal.
  3. If the student wishes to contest the allegation of academic fraud the student may request a full hearing before the Academic Council of the School of Nursing.

Procedure for Student Request for Full Hearing

  1. The student shall address and present the request for a full hearing as a formal letter to the Chair of Academic Council within five (5) business days of receipt of the Dean’s letter. The request should include the nature of the appeal and available information to substantiate the appeal. The student’s advisor, faculty involved, appropriate Program Director and the Dean will also receive copies of the student’s letter.
  2. Upon receipt of the student’s letter, the Chair of Academic Council will convene a committee meeting within five (5) business days to review the student’s request and to schedule the hearing.
  3. The student’s advisor, faculty, appropriate Program Director, and Dean will be informed by the Chair of Academic Council, of the date, time, and place of the hearing.

Conduct of the 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. Each party may have a School of Nursing advisor present at the hearing.
  2. The Chair of Academic Council may, at the discretion of the Chair, request any party involved in the appeal, including the advisor, to leave the hearing at any time.
  3. The full hearing may be continued at the discretion of Academic Council.
  4. Within three (3) 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.
  5. The prescribed penalty shall be imposed in cases where determination of guilt by Academic Council committee or in cases in which the student chooses not to contest the charges.
  6. The Dean of the School of Nursing will study the case, review the Academic Council’s findings and recommendations, and will render a final decision. 
  7. The Dean will communicate the final decision to the student via email to the Widener account and via Standard USPS mail. 
  8. The Dean will notify the appropriate Associate Provost (Graduate/Undergraduate) in writing of the name of the student who has been found guilty. 
  9. Appeals beyond the School of Nursing following the Academic Council’s decisions may be made by the student to the University Academic Review Board. Students should consult the University Student Handbook for board duties. Appeals to the Academic Review Board must be initiated by the student through the Office of the Associate Provost. 
  10. In the event a student is charged with academic fraud and the student is not enrolled in the course in which academic fraud in being charged, action will be taken by the Dean’s office of the school/college where the student is matriculated. 
  11. When a student is found guilty under Widener’s academic fraud policies, that student is then prohibited from exercising either the repeat-of-courses or the retroactive pass/fail options to remove the F grade (given as a result of fraud) from the GPA calculation. This restriction always applies to the particular course for which the F grade was given, as a result of academic fraud, in a particular semester. Equivalent courses taken during other semesters are not in general restricted. 
  12. A confidential, centralized listing of students disciplined for academic fraud will be maintained by the Office of the Provost. In the event of alleged second offense, the student will be informed, in writing, by the Office of the Provost of this allegation. 
  13. Names will be dropped from the list of first offenses upon graduation or at the end of seven years after the last attendance.

The above articulated steps constitute due process when students are accused of academic fraud. Minutes will be taken of all Academic Council meetings and hearings held concerning any appeal. Hearings may be tape recorded by the Chair of Academic Council. Minutes/tape recording will be kept in a secure file.

Approved by faculty September 2000 Editorial revision 7/03, 4/04, 8/09, 9/11 

Student Conduct

All students are expected to be honest, mature, and responsible and to respect the rights and property of others. The purpose of the Student Code is to promote, preserve, and protect the educational mission of the university. All students must be aware of and conform to the Widener University “Student Code of Conduct” that is published online in all Widener University Student Handbooks. The Student Code of Conduct applies to all student behavior in class, lab, clinical settings, and public places.

Nursing is a profession requiring the highest level of ethical behavior. Students are held to the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics. This code is available online at: https://www.nursingworld.org/practice-policy/nursing-excellence/ethics/code-of-ethics-for-nurses/.

Violating the Widener University Code of Conduct, the School of Nursing Code of Conduct or the American Nurses Association code of ethics is a serious offense and may result in the student’s dismissal from the School of Nursing.

In addition to the general University Student Code of Conduct, the following student behaviors may result in disciplinary action by the School of Nursing. Even a single incident of one of these behaviors may result in dismissal. This may mean permanent separation from the School of Nursing. These issues of professionally related conduct may include but are not limited to:

  • a breach of client confidentiality.
  • a behavior that jeopardizes a client, student, Widener University personnel or clinical agency personnel.
  • other unprofessional behaviors, based on faculty judgment.

Approved 5/95, Editorial Revisions 6/04, Revised 8/08

Student Policy for Using Mobile Technology Devices

Mobile Technology Devices include but are not limited to: Smart phones such as: Blackberry, Android, Iphone, and other portable devices such as laptop, Itouch and/or Ipad.

Mobile information technology devices may be used in clinical, simulation, and classrooms if permitted by the agency and faculty. If those devices also include a cell phone, instant messaging/text messaging, or camera feature, these features are NOT ALLOWED to be used in any of these settings. The use of the internet through the use of these devices in these settings is limited to educational purposes ONLY.

Students are expected to comply with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations. All patient related information (simulated and/or real) is confidential. Patient related information (simulated and/or real) is defined as all information related to the health, business, or personal matters of the patient or patient’s family. This includes but is not limited to Protected Health Information (PHI) that is based on a patient’s diagnosis, examination, treatment, observation, or conversation, and information maintained in data bases that contain diagnostic or treatment related information. (*HIPAA violations are a dismissal offense: See dismissal section in student handbook for details)

Cleaning of mobile technology devices must comply with the clinical agency’s infection control policy and procedures.

**If the device becomes contaminated it should be cleaned with the recommended disinfectant.**

If a patient is in isolation, the mobile technology device cannot be taken into the patient’s room. Hand hygiene is the best method of preventing transmission of disease.

Students who do not comply with this policy will be subject to possible consequences as stated in the SON handbook.

9/16/2011 approved by Graduate and Undergraduate Program Committees 9/30/2011 approved by Full Faculty

Admission/Transfer/Matriculation Policies

ADMISSIONS P0ST MASTER’S DNP

Graduates an accredited master’s programs are invited to apply for admission by submitting evidence of:

  •  A completed online application
  • Transcripts from all previously attended higher education institutions
  •  Minimum of 500 clinical clock hours in master’s level course work
  •  A minimum of 3.2 grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale) in the MSN program.
  •  A graduate statistics course with a grade of at least C (2.0)
  • Two references—one from an educator or an advanced practice nurse and one from an employer with a graduate degree
  • Goal Statement that highlights the applicant’s interests with emphasis on health care practice improvement.
  • Interview with a School of Nursing faculty member (this is arranged after a preliminary review of application materials)
  • Current national APRN certification in an advanced practice nursing role and populations as appropriate
  • Valid licenses RN and APRN licenses
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Graduate level epidemiology course pre-/co-requisite.
  • GRE scores are not required. International applicants, as well as applicants whose native language is not English, must submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores with a minimum score of 213 for computer-based test or 550 for paper test.

More information can also be found online at https://www.widener.edu/student-experience/student-success-support/international-student-support.International Student Services Office at 610-499-4499.

ADMISSIONS POST BACCALAUREATE RN TO DNP FAMILY (INDIVIDUAL ACROSS THE LIFESPAN) CRNP OPTION AND POST BACCALAUREATE RN TO DNP ADULT-GERONTOLOGY CNS OPTION

Graduates of nationally accredited Baccalaureate programs are eligible to apply for admissions by submitted evidence of:

  • Completed online application
  • Transcripts from all previously attended higher education institutions
  • Minimum of 500 clinical clock hours in master’s level course work
  • A minimum of 3.0 grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale) in the MSN program.
  • A graduate statistics course with a grade of at least C (2.0)
  • Two references—one from an educator or an advanced practice nurse and one from an employer with a graduate degree
  • Goal Statement that highlights the applicant’s interests with emphasis on health care practice improvement.
  • Interview with a School of Nursing faculty member (this is arranged after a preliminary review if application materials)
  • Current national APRN certification in an advanced practice nursing role and populations as appropriate
  • Valid licenses RN
  • Curriculum vitae

MATRICULATION

A matriculated student is one who has been accepted officially into the doctoral degree program. Two doctoral 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 doctoral 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.

TRANSFER OF CREDITS

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

  • A maximum of two doctoral level courses earned at another accredited institution within the five-year period preceding admission may be accepted for transfer upon admission to the doctoral program.
  • Once admitted, a student may only take one course for transfer credit at another institution.
  • Courses taken prior to admission to the DNP program, either within or outside the university, will be accepted only if the student has earned a grade of A or 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 Academic Program Director in collaboration with the faculty expert on the topic.
    • Required graduate courses in statistics and conceptual models/theories may not be used for transfer credit because they are prerequisites for admission.

Grading Policies

GRADING SCALE FOR THE SCHOOL OF NURSING GRADUTE COURSES

GRADE QUALITY POINTS PERCENTAGE RANGE
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/Not Pass  
AU Audit (No Credit)  

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

Advisement

ACADEMIC ADVISING

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

ACADEMIC RECORDS

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.

COURSE OVERLOAD

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.

REGISTRATION

 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 your advisor. Your advisor will place 1 copy in your file and you will retain 1 copy to assist you with your course planning.

SPECIAL ACADEMIC POLICIES 

  • When a course is taken as a prerequisite for doctoral study, the grade will be recorded on the transcript with an asterisk, indicating that the course is not included in calculating the doctoral program grade point average.
  • Pass/no pass grading is used for grading in “Capstone Advisement.” Pass/no pass grading is optional for elective courses and the option must be exercised prior to the second class meeting. All other courses must be taken for a letter grade.
  • Following a require 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.
  • 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 Program Director. Independent studies are offered for students requiring mastery of additional content in order to proceed with the capstone project. 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 Program Director.

WITHDRAWAL

Student may withdraw from the 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

ACADEMIC PROGESS TIME LIMIT

A maximum of seven (7) calendar years from the date of matriculation is allowed for completion of the requirements for the doctoral degree. Students must enroll in both fall and spring semesters of the academic year through the completion of required DNP course work. Students must register for “DNP Project Advisement” each fall, spring, and summer until the DNP project is completed. Students who do not follow this policy may be dropped from the program.

LEAVE OF ABSENCE (LOA)

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 will be dropped from the program.

A leave of absence will extend the time limit for completion of the doctoral 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 Program Director.

REINSTATEMENT TO THE PROGRAM

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

Dismissal Policies

DISMISSAL POLICIES

  • Students are expected to maintain satisfactory progress towards a degree. A student’s doctoral studies record begins with the first course credited to the doctoral degree program and includes subsequent courses.
  • DNP 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; not B-) are received must 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.

Practice Project Policies and Procedures

I. INTRODUCTION

The purpose of the project is to provide a formal written document describing in detail the nature and scope of the capstone project. The project will also highlight contribution to health care system quality improvement.

It is the responsibility of the student, throughout the program, to explore evidenced-based practice change topics as a focus for the capstone. By the time students enroll in the DNP clinical course sequence it is anticipated that they will have identified a scholarly project. At the completion of the (NURS 886), DNP students are expected to have finished the proposal and selected a DNP Project Advisor.

II. DNP PROJECT PROCEDURES

The DNP student will prepare an exhaustive document that substantiates that advanced practice competencies have been achieved. The DNP project may include but is not limited to an individual comprehensive disease management care case study, population systems change projects, health promotion/disease management program design and evaluation, translation of research into practice and quality improvement inquiry. The DNP Project will be individualized to the career focus of the DNP student and supervised by the DNP Project advisors. The DNP project topic will be selected by the DNP student and approved by the DNP Project Advisors. The DNP student will design the project in NURS 885 DNP I, present a written proposal for the capstone project in NURS 886 DNP II prior to the capstone semester, and carry-out the DNP projects during N887 DNP III and N889 DNP Project Advisement (as needed). The completed projects will be presented at the DNP Project presentation session(s). Documentation of DNP project will include an introduction, problem statement, purpose, implications for advanced practice nursing and implications for health care system change, background and significance of the clinical issue, critical appraisal of the evidence, evaluate and synthesize the evidence to determine best practice, methods and procedures to carry-out the capstone project and answer practice related questions. Documentation will also include an impact analysis including challenges and opportunities for nursing. Depending on the nature of the project then, IRB approval may be required. Finally, the DNP student will document how the project substantiates that the DNP Essentials, population role core competences and Common Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Doctoral-Level Competencies competencies have been achieved and how the project substantially contributes to health care improvement. A sustainability and dissemination plan of project outcomes will be documented. To summarize:

  1. The DNP Project will be individualized to the career focus of the DNP student.
  2. The DNP Project will be supervised by the DNP Project Advisors.
  3. The capstone project topic will be selected by the DNP student and approved by the DNP Project Advisors. 
  4. The DNP student will design the DNP project in NURS 885 DNP I and present a written proposal for the DNP project in NURS 886 DNP II prior to the final DNP Project completion semester.
  5. The DNP student will carry-out the project during NURS 887 DNP III and NURS 889 DNP Project Advisement if needed.
  6. Completed projects will be presented at the DNP Project Presentation session(s).

DNP students who do not have an approved DNP project proposal within 2 years of enrollment in DNP II (NURS 886) may be required to repeat enrollment in NURS 886 the next time it is offered, at the discretion of the DNP Project Advisors.

III. DNP PROJECT DOCUMENTATION

Documentation of capstone project will include:

  1. Title Page
  2.  Abstract
  3. Table of Contents
  4. Chapter 1: Introduction Problem Statement Purpose Implications for Advanced Practice Nursing and Health Care System Change
  5. Chapter 2: Background and Significance of the Clinical Issue Search Strategy Critical Appraisal of the Evidence Evaluation and Synthesis of the Evidence
  6. Chapter 3:  Methodology Methods and procedures to carry-out the capstone project and answer practice related questions will be presented. If the project involves data collection, then IRB approval must be obtained.
  7. Chapter 4: Impact Analysis/Results of the Capstone Project including challenges and opportunities for nursing will be documented in this chapter.
  8. Chapter 5: The DNP student will document how the project substantiates how the DNP Essentials and their population-focused competencies have been achieved and how the project contributes to practice improvement. The potential for replicability and a plan for future projects will be documented. A dissemination plan of project outcomes will be documented.

One copy of the completed DNP Project must be presented to the Graduate Nursing Office and one copy must be presented to the Director of the DNP Program.

DNP PROJECT ADVISEMENT

The doctoral student may be required to take Advisement (NURS 889) until successful completion of the capstone project and completion of program requirements. Students may be required by their advisor to complete additional elective coursework over and above the minimum course requirements in support of the content area or research methodology. See Graduate Catalog for additional policies and the project guidelines for additional information.

DNP PROJECT ADVISORS

The DNP Project Advisors will be officially appointed by the Director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program, on the basis of a written request submitted by the student and a signed Consent to Serve form. The DNP Project will be supervised by the DNP Project Advisors. These forms are available in the Graduate Nursing Office.

REVIEW PROCEDURES FOR HUMAN SUBJECTS PROTECTION

A DNP project that involves data collection may require permission from the Widener University Institutional Review Board (IRB) as appropriate following the procedure established by that Board for the protection of human subjects.

Human subjects review procedures and forms may be obtained online at http://www.widener.edu/irb. It is the student’s responsibility to provide the DNP Project Advisor with a signed approval from the IRB.

DNP PROJECT REPORT

The outline for the DNP project may vary depending upon the type of project undertaken. It also may vary depending upon the specific problem being addressed. The final form of the written project is decided in conjunction with the DNP Project Advisors.

In preparing the capstone project document it is necessary to refer to the information available in the APA Manual (7th ed.).

GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

In order to be cleared for graduation, students must submit required corrected copies of the completed DNP Project to the Graduate Nursing Office at least four weeks before graduation

Note: If anticipated graduation date is missed a new petition for graduation must be completed and submitted to the Graduate Nursing Office. The Registrar’s office will not issue a graduation diploma without a petition for the appropriate semester.

SDB 5/17/10 SDB 11/22/09 Revised MBW/SDB 9/8/10

Graduate Program Committee 9/10/10

Revised MBW/SDB 10-27-10 Revised SDB/2014 Revised SDB/2015 Revised SDB/MP/2020

Graduation Policies

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

Students must complete at least 37 credits of approved DNP course work beyond the master’s level requirements in nursing. Students must also successfully complete the DNP project. Only doctoral courses will be accepted for doctoral transfer credit. Please note that a waiver of any requirement must be approved in writing by the Program Director.

PETITION FOR GRADUATION

A student anticipating graduation must submit a graduation petition by the end of the pre-registration period in the semester prior to the one in which his/her program will be completed. Incomplete grades must be removed by May 1, August 1, or December 1 in order for your petition to be completed in time for graduation.

A student must re-petition (complete another Graduation Petition form) if graduation does not occur in the semester of the original petition. Forms are available online. A one time petition for graduation fee must be remitted with the petition as designated by the registrar’s office.

NOTE: A graduation fee will be charged that includes the cost of the diploma and doctoral hood component of the academic regalia.

Due Process Policy

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 three 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
  •  Requests for exceptions to existing policies may be addressed through the Waiver of Policy process.
  • Concerns or complaints about School of Nursing processes other than grade appeals, 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.

FORMAL GRADE APPEAL POLICY

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 with the fair and equitable 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.

I. 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 mentor to discuss a possible further course of action. If the decision is to pursue the Grade Appeal after the discussion with the faculty mentor, the student writes a narrative outlining the situation surrounding the grade appeal and attaches the completed Due Process Form. The student sends the form and narrative to Academic Council through the office of the academic program director.
    1. 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.

II. 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, 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 appropriate 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 Academic Council may determine that a full hearing be arranged based upon the need for further information from the student or from the faculty
  3. Upon request for a full hearing the student’s advisor/ mentor, faculty involved, 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.

III. 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. The student may have a School of Nursing advisor/mentor present at the hearing.
  2. The role of the Advisor/mentor is to support the grievant, assure that the grievance procedure is followed, and that the grievant is receiving due process. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.

IV. Grade Appeal to the Dean of 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 by faculty 9/11

Grievance Process

The grievance process provides students with a mechanism to request review of decisions and actions within the School of Nursing other than grade appeals 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 of concern. Many disputes may be resolved following a thorough discussion of the issues by the parties involved. Course related problems should be first 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 (Appendix D), 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 in step 1, continue to discuss the issue of concern with the Course Coordinator (pre-licensure program), Level Coordinator (pre- licensure program), and/or Program Coordinator (FNP program only). If this individual is different from the person referenced in step 1. Such consultations will be documented on the Due Process form and with additional narrative documentation as is necessary. 
  3. If unresolved in step 2, continue to discuss the issue of concern with the appropriate Academic Program Director. 
  4. 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 made in writing via USPS mail and Widener email, and will be copied to the Dean and other involved parties. 
  5. If unresolved in step 4, continue to discuss the issue of concern with the Dean of the School of Nursing. The report of the Dean’s review will be made in writing via USPS mail and Widener email, and will be copied to the appropriate Academic Program Director and other involved parties. 

Waiver of School of Nursing Academic Policy

WAIVER OF SCHOOL OF NURSING ACADEMIC POLICY

A waiver may be sought when a student seeks an exception to a School of Nursing policy. Requests for waivers are considered by the SON Academic Council on an individual basis and are not generalized to the student body.

Outcomes of requests for waiver will be reported to the faculty.

The student will complete the Nursing Due Process Form    along with a narrative and take it to the office of the Associate Dean to be forwarded to the Chair of Academic Council to begin the formal wavier process.

  1. Upon receipt of the student’s 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 Waiver of policy appeal, the Chair of Academic Council will notify the appropriate Academic Program Director of the Council’s recommendations. The Chair will also notify the student by letter via the office of the Academic Program Director. 
  3. 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. 
  4. If the student chooses to appeal to the Dean, the student must appeal to the Dean by letter within ten (10) business days of receipt 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. 
  5. Students are able to remain in the courses for which they are enrolled until the appeal process is completed. 
  6. The Dean’s decision is final and will be communicated to the student via the Widener email account and standard USPS mail.

Reviewed 6/04, 5/06, 8/08, 9/11 

Shared Governance/Committees

Listed below are the School of Nursing committees with their respective functions and membership guidelines.

SCHOOL OF NURSING FACULTY COMMITTEE

Functions:

  1. To provide excellence in teaching and mentorship to the students of the School of Nursing.
  2. To provide excellence in scholarship in areas which contribute to the continued development of nursing education and science.
  3. To provide excellence in academic citizenship within the School of Nursing and Widener University.
  4. To provide excellence in citizenship within the communities we serve.
  5. To formulate policies which are consistent with the goals of the School of Nursing and Widener University.
  6. To promote and develop relationships that mutually benefit the students, the School of Nursing, Widener University and the communities we serve.

Membership:

  1. All persons appointed to administer or teach 50% of the time or more in the undergraduate and/or graduate programs of the School of Nursing.
  2. The Director of the CSCLT and the Assistant Dean of Student Services shall be granted voting privileges in the School of Nursing Faculty meetings.
  3. Students will be invited by the Committee Chair to serve on committees as directed in the Bylaws. Students represented on the School of Nursing committees shall be granted voting privileges and be selected as follows:
    • Undergraduate Program Committee: One undergraduate junior and one senior student shall be appointed to this committee.
    • Recruitment and Student Affairs Committee: One undergraduate junior or senior student shall be appointed to this committee.
    • Graduate Program Committee: One masters and one doctoral student shall be appointed to this committee.

SCHOOL OF NURSING COMMITTEE

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.

GRADUATE PROGRAM COMMITTEE

Functions:

  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

2 a,b,c,d,e,f Approved 5/11 Reviewed updated 9/16

Graduate Student Award and Nursing Honor Society

Dean’s Award for Excellence: DNP

The Dean’s Award for Doctor of Nursing Practice Excellence is given annually to a student who is granted the degree of Doctor of Nursing Practice. This award recognizes a student whose practice improvement project is exceptional and exemplifies high standards of scholarship and knowledge development.

DNP projects will be considered based on the following criteria.

  1. The practice improvement is significant for the discipline of nursing and health care system improvement.
  2. The practice improvement reflects clearly defined conceptual or theoretical basis. 
  3. The practice improvement methods are valid and consistent with the evidence-based practice.
  4. The project impact contributes to health care systems improvement.

Procedures for Consideration

  1. The Academic Program Director will circulate a list of those will complete the DNP program by May to the faculty. All graduate faculty members will be requested to submit names of students they consider eligible for the Dean’s Award. Students can self- nominate. 
  2. Faculty members for each student who is nominated must submit a letter of support addressing the criteria for the Award. Any faculty member may submit more than one student name. 
  3. The Dean of the School of Nursing and appropriate Academic Program Director will select the student who, in their judgment, best meets the criteria for the program. Faculty recommendations will be important in the final selection process.

Edit 11/30/12

SIGMA THETA TAU INTERNATIONAL NURSING HONOR SOCIETY: ETA BETA CHAPTER

A Eta Beta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, International, the Nursing Honor Society, was established in 1984. The purposes of the Society include:

  1. Recognizing superior achievement;
  2. Developing leadership qualities;
  3. Fostering high professional standards;
  4. Encouraging exploration, innovation and research in nursing;
  5. Strengthening commitment to the ideals and purposes of the profession.

Membership:

The requirements for membership on the graduate level include:

  1. A minimum academic average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.
  2. Completion of at least one quarter of the curriculum requirements and in good academic standing.
  3. Submission of a curriculum vitae and a 250-word essay describing leadership abilities in school or work environments and a plan to demonstrate this leadership in the nursing honor society.

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. https://etabeta.sigmanursing.org/etabetachapter/aboutus/aboutus92

General Administrative Polices and Procedures

See General University Information   

DNP Program Practicum, Preceptor/Mentor, and Clinical Agency Information

ADVANCED CLINICAL (AP) PRACTICUM INFORMATION
There are three advanced practice (AP) clinical courses in the Post-Master’s DNP (LEVEL II)
curriculum.

  1. NURS 885 Doctor of Nursing Practice I (4 credits)
  2. NURS 886 Doctor of Nursing Practice II (6 credits)
  3. NURS 887, Doctor of Nursing Practice III – DNP Project (6 credits).

These three courses provide 560 hours above the minimum 500 clinical hours required in the master’s nursing curriculum.


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

  1. Direct practice experiences
  2. Leadership experiences
  3. Site visits
  4. Consultation with experts
  5. Health policy
  6. Evidence-based and specialty related conference attendance
  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, DNP competencies, the Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced
Practice Nursing (AACN, 2006) and the DNP Project. 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 inquiry. Preceptors/mentors must agree to
advise and facilitate the student towards the achievement of goals, objectives, DNP Essentials
and population focused competencies. The preceptor/mentor may be an external member of
the DNP Project advisement team.


PRECEPTOR/MENTOR CRITERIA

Professional qualifications include:

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

Responsibilities include:

  1. Completing a program orientation module
  2. Understanding the role of the preceptor/mentor
  3. Providing an environment conductive to learning consistent with the mission of Widener University School of Nursing, program outcomes and competencies.
  4. Providing opportunities for achievement of goals and competencies for the DNP program 
  5. Availability to the student for consultation and advisement 
  6. Offering constructive/useful feedback 
  7. Providing effective advisement/consultation and support 
  8. Providing 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 DNP program faculty

CLINICAL AGENCY CRITERIA

  1. Completes a current clinical agency agreement or Letter of Agreement with Widener University School of Nursing. 
  2. Service to diverse clients and populations and in a medically underserved area preferred. 
  3. Provision of an environment conducive to learning consistent with the mission and goals of widener University School of Nursing of the DNP program and facilitative of the course objectives and student learning outcomes/competencies.

SDB:eab
11-8-10
SDB: 12/1/15

DNP Program Practicum, Preceptor/Mentor, and Clinical Agency Forms

 

CLINCIAL/LAB POLICIES

CLINICAL REQUIREMENTS

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 dismissal from the program.

CONFIDENTIALITY OF CRIMINAL BACKGROUND

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”.

CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK

The curricula for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science, 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 Associate Dean. 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 final decision. If a student is not able to complete clinical experiences, the student will be administratively dismissed from the program. 

DRUG AND ALCOHOL SCREENING POLICY 

The School of Nursing at Widener University shall

  1. 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 (http://www.pacodeandbulletin.gov/21.18a, retrieved October 2, 2007)
  2. 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.

IMPAIRED BEHAVIOR IN CLINICAL COURSES

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 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 Associate Dean 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 Crozer Emergency Department via Widener Campus Safety if the student requires treatment, but exhibits no signs requiring immediate emergency management. 
    2. 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, 
    3. the immediate clinical setting if it is an acute care setting and the student exhibits signs that require immediate emergency management, 
    4. 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,
  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.

INCIDENT REPORT FOR STUDENTS

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.

BLOOD AND BODY FLUID EXPOSURES/NEEDLE STICK INJURIES

“An exposure that might place a health care professional at risk for HIV is defined as a percutaneous injury (e.g. a needlestick or cut with a sharp object) or contact of mucous membrane or nonintact skin (e.g. exposed skin that is chapped, abraded, or afflicted with dermatitis) with blood, tissue, or other body fluids that are potentially infectious” (CDC, 2005, pg 2). Students who sustain a needletick 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” (https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/bloodbornepathogens/worker_protections.html)

LATEX ALLERGY

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.

MEDICAL CONDITIONS REQUIRING MEDICATION

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.

CENTER FOR SIMULATION AND COMPUTERIZED TESTING

The CSCT, located on the 1st and 2nd floor of the New Academic Building 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.

AGENCY REQUIREMENTS

  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,
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. The School may be required to provide agencies with the names and specific records of students.
  6. 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.
  7. A Criminal Record Check, a Child Abuse History Clearance, and a Drug and Alcohol Screening are required for all nursing students.
  8. Students are expected to wear the designated School of Nursing uniform, University ID badge, and name pin to all clinical rotations, unless otherwise specified by the course coordinator.

HEALTH CONDITIONS REQUIRING UNIVERSITY HEALTH CLEARANCE

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 School of Nursing Essential Functions identified in the Appendices of this 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 physicians provide a statement of medical clearance, including any functional limitations specific to the School of Nursing Essential Functions, 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 hours 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, who will advise the student regarding the process for such a request through the office for the Associate Provost.

CLINICAL ABSENCES DNP

Students who are unable to attend clinical experiences as planned due to illness or personal emergency must notify their preceptor as soon as possible, but not later than two hours prior to the planned experience.

Approved FF 5/11

CLINICAL LATENESS

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.

CLINICAL/THEORY COURSES

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

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.

CPR REQUIREMENT

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.

DENIAL OF CLINICAL EXPERIENCE

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.

EMERGENCY CARE

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.

ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENTS

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

HEALTH INSURANCE

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

HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

  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 CertifiedBackground website to fulfill these requirements.

MALPRACTICE INSURANCE

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

PERSONAL SAFETY

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. Students may have independent clinical community assignments where the student will not be accompanied by an instructor.

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.

PROFESSIONAL ATTIRE

Professional attire includes:

  • Attire should include closed-toe shoes, and modest choices for necklines and hemlines. No jeans are permitted. 
  • Impeccable personal grooming is required. 
  • Hair must be styled off the face and collar. 
  • Beards and mustaches must be neatly groomed.
  • Make-up is permitted in moderation. 
  • Fingernails must not extend beyond the end of the finger. Nail polish is not permitted.
  • Artificial nails or nail extenders are not permitted. See CDC information at www.cdc.gov 
  • Tattoos must not be visible. 
  • Wedding bands, watches, and one small post earring per ear are the only articles of jewelry permitted. No additional body adornments are permitted.
  • Students may wear a head covering as required by their religious beliefs. 
  • Widener University student name pins and University IDs must be visible at all times.

Revised 6/04, 9/05, 9/06, 4/11, 5/11; revised for DNP Handbook SDB/DRG 9/11

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 Certified Background
    • 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 Certified Background: (DEADLINE: May 1st)
    • 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 
    • A titer package is available through Widener University Student Health 
    • 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 and Master’s Students 
    • Proof of licensure as a Registered Nurse in PA for RN/BSN students and CNS students; FNP 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 in advance of the designated deadline of May 1st.