Jun 13, 2024  
2022-2023 Nursing Student Handbook 
2022-2023 Nursing Student Handbook [FINAL EDITION]

Overview of the School of Nursing


Welcome to the Widener University School of Nursing where faculty listen, lead, and transform, strengthening not only student learning opportunities but the quality of nursing education as a whole.


Widener University’s mission and values



Empowering our community of learners to discover and create better futures.


Widener University is committed to the core values of respect, integrity, and excellence. They unite us as we hold ourselves and others accountable to support them through our actions.

 We care for and honor the dignity of all in our community.

 We stand courageously, in thought and action for what is ethical.


 We hold ourselves to the highest standards and support others in our community to achieve excellence in all they do.


The School of Nursing’s mission and values reflect the broader university’s goals while encompassing the art and science of nursing.


Empowering an interprofessional community of learners to advance health through practice, scholarship, leadership, and innovation.

Core Values

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

We embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion in all that we do.


We hold ourselves to the highest standards of excellence in education, practice, scholarship, and service.


We care for and honor the dignity of all in our community and those we serve.


We hold ourselves and our community to high personal and professional ethical standards.


We embrace opportunities to advocate and innovate to advance the health of our community and the strengthening of our professions.


We believe that professionalism encompasses a professional identity that demonstrates accountability, a collaborative spirit, cultural sensitivity, humility, and social justice.

Accreditation and Approval

The baccalaureate, master’s, and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs at Widener University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 887-6791.The programs are approved by the State Board of Nurse Examiners of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, P.O. Box 2649, Harrisburg, PA 17105, (717) 783-7142.

The baccalaureate degree in nursing, master’s degree in nursing, and the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree at Widener University are approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing 2601 N 3rd St, Harrisburg, PA 17110 (717) 783-7142

Overview of Programs


We offer the Bachelor of Science in nursing degree (BSN) as a four-year program, comprising full-time day, a transfer program for those who have completed 60 credits of general education credits, accelerated second degree BSN, and RN-BSN completion options. Registered nurses who hold baccalaureate degrees in fields other than nursing may be eligible for admission to the RN-MSN option, completing a sequence of three bridge courses as a component of the option.  A Bachelor of Science in nursing is not awarded through the RN-MSN option.  Both the RN-BSN and the bridge courses of the RN-MSN options are offered fully online.



The School offers numerous masters’ level program options.  Students interested in pursuing careers as advanced practice nurses can select the Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist track, the Family (Individual across the Lifespan) Nurse Practitioner track, and the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner track. They also can opt to enroll in the master’s in Nursing Education or Executive Nurse Leadership tracks. Most of our master’s students choose part-time study, although full-time study is available. All MSN options offer post-masters’ certificates. As noted, the RN-MSN option is available for RN students who hold bachelors’ degrees in non-nursing fields.  Like the RN-MSN option, the bridge courses for all master’s program options are offered online.  


In 1983, School of Nursing faculty established the Doctor of Nursing Science (DNSc) program.  Retitled to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in 2008, the PhD is a research doctorate.  The PhD prepares nurse scholars, especially for educational leadership roles.  Complementing our PhD offerings, faculty established the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree in 2009 at the post-master’s level.  In 2014, we received state level approval for delivery of the DNP as a post-baccalaureate practice doctorate.  The DNP prepares nurses seeking clinical preparation at the highest level to deliver disease state management care and lead in complex systems.  The DNP is offered fully online; PhD courses are offered primarily in a traditional, face-to-face format.


In addition to their availability on the main campus in Chester, the Accelerated Second Deree BSN and Master’s options are available on our Harrisburg campus.  Select Master’s options will require occasional visits to the Chester campus.


School of Nursing Faculty

School of Nursing faculty hold either full-time or, if they are adjunct faculty, part-time appointments with the School. Faculty with full-time appointments may be on tenure or non-tenure track lines. Faculty on tenure leading lines must hold earned research doctorates.  Guidelines stated in our handbooks mandate that our tenure track and fully tenured faculty engage in teaching, scholarship, and service.    Faculty members on non-tenure track lines, prepared minimally at the master’s level and often holding advanced practice certification, are charged primarily with teaching.  They are encouraged to participate in all School activities and may teach across programs.  A number of the School’s non-tenure track faculty members are enrolled in doctoral programs. All full-time and adjunct faculty members are eligible for tuition remission through Widener University policy.

School of Nursing faculty members are committed, energetic, thoughtful, and well-prepared.  They truly ARE the School of Nursing, supporting the quality of education and the learning outcomes of our students.  Through their efforts, which are tireless and consistent, the School of Nursing was designated as a National League for Nursing Center of Excellence in the Advancement of the Science of Nursing Education in 2013 and redesignated again in 2018.  In 2020, the National League for Nursing designated the School of Nursing as a Center of Excellence in a second category for Enhancing Student Learning and Professional Development.

Additional information about the School of Nursing can be found at https://www.widener.edu/academics/colleges-schools/school-nursing.

Standards of Practice 

The School of Nursing’s mission is responsive to an identified set of professional nursing standards and guidelines. The SON programs, including Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing, and the Doctor of Nursing Practice, are designed in accordance with the Standards for Accreditation of Baccalaureate and Graduate Degree Nursing Programs (CCNE, 2018). All programs incorporate Nursing’s Social Policy Statement (ANA, 2019), the ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements (2015), Quality and Safety Education in Nursing Graduate Competencies (QSEN, 2012), the ANA Principles for Social Networking and the Nurse (2011), and The TIGER Initiative: Collaborating to Integrate Evidence and Informatics into Nursing Practice and Education: An Executive Summary (Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform [TIGER], 2009).

The Baccalaureate programs are guided by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Essentials for Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice (AACN, 2008), and the American Nurses Association Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice 4th edition (ANA, 2021).  

The Master of Science in Nursing programs are guided by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Essentials of Master’s Education for Advanced Practice Nursing (AACN, 2011). In addition, specific programs augment these standards with specialty standards. These include the following: National Organization of Nursing Practitioner Faculties Nurse Practitioner Core Competencies with Curricular Content (NONPF, 2017) , National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties Nurse Practitioner Primary Care Competencies in Specialty Area: Family (NONPF, 2013); Adult Gerontology Acute Care and Primary Care NP Competencies (NONPF, 2016); National Task Force on Quality Nurse Practitioner Education, Criteria for Evaluation of Nurse Practitioner Programs (NTF, 2012, 2016); Association of Community Health Nursing Educators, Graduate Education for Advanced Practice in Community Public Health Nursing (ACHN, 2003); National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists Statement on Clinical Nurse Specialist Practice and Education (NACNS, 2019).          

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is guided by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Practice (AACN, 2006); Common Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Doctoral-Level Competencies (NONPF, 2017); National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialist, Core Practice Doctorate Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Competencies (NACNS, 2009), and the Quality and Safety Education in Nursing Graduate Competencies (QSEN, 2012).

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program is guided by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, The Research-Focused Doctoral Program in Nursing: Pathways to Excellence (AACN, 2010). 

In 2021, The American Association of Colleges of Nursing developed the The Essentials: Core Competencies for Professional Nursing Education.  Although not in effect to date, these essentials will guide future curricular revisions in the School of Nursing. 

Baccalaureate, master’s programs, and BSN-DNP programs adhere to the statutes and regulations of the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing (PA SBON).

Widener University Community Nursing Clinics

Since 2011, the nursing clinic, housed at CityTeam, has been offering pro bono health care to uninsured/underinsured residents of CityTeam, the City of Chester, and the surrounding communities. During the tremendous uncertainty of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Widener Community Nursing Clinic pivoted to meet the rising demand of patient care. In partnership with CityTeam Chester, the Nursing Clinic began offering telemedicine services by phone to continue meeting the needs of our patients. The team of volunteer registered nurses and nurse practitioners were accessible by phone for existing patients to deliver remote health care management and advice. Additionally, patients were able to use the temporary telemedicine service to refill prescriptions and arrange to safely pick up prescriptions at the clinic. 

In response to the needs of the people in the local community, a second community nursing clinic site was established during the pandemic at the Chester Senior Center. At this site, patients are able to be seen in person by a certified registered nurse practitioner using appropriate COVID-protocols.

Additionally, well before the pandemic, a third Widener Community Nursing Clinic site was being developed as the Wellness Center at St. Paul’s. The Wellness Center at St. Paul’s is the realization of visionary leadership of both Widener School of Nursing Faculty and the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania and in response to the needs of the underinsured and uninsured people in the local community.

For many area residents, the clinic sites serve as their sole health care provider

The nursing clinic sites also provide nursing students, with experience in a non-hospital setting. The clinic is staffed by nurse practitioners and registered nurses from the School of Nursing faculty, as well as by students, alumni, and community volunteers.

The clinic provides the following services:

  • Physical examinations
  • Episodic and chronic medical care
  • Health promotion and illness prevention
  • Referrals to support groups and other needed resources
  • Essential education programs and individual patient education

The Widener Community Nursing Clinic is a member of the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics. In 2020 and 2021, the Widener Community Nursing Clinic received a Gold Rating, which is the highest rating, for meeting quality standards in meeting the needs of underinsured and uninsured patient populations. For more information visit the Widener University Community Nursing Clinic website.


Widener University Historical Overview of School of Nursing Programs

Undergraduate Programs Date Initiated Date Ended
Full time day undergraduate program 1966 Current
Full time evening weekend Accelerated Program 2016 Current
RN/BSN Evening program 1978 2011
RN/BSN Program expanded to a weekend program 1982 2010
RN/BSN Program moved to hybrid format 2009 2014
RN/BSN Online 2014 Current
BSN/MSN 1990 Current
Part-time generic evening program 1990 2014


Graduate Programs Date Initiated Date Ended
          Master’s Programs    
Burn, Emergency Trauma Nursing CNS+ 1979 1993
Nursing Service Administration * 1980 1996
Oncology Nursing CNS 1980 1989
Pediatric Oncology Nurse Practitioner 1985 1989
Critical Care Nursing CNS+ 1988 1993
Adult Nursing CNS** 1988 2010
Adult Health Nursing  CNS 1990 2010
Emergency/Critical Care Nursing CNS 1993 2010
Family Nurse Practitioner 1993 2009
Nursing Administration 1994 2014
Community-Based Nursing CNS 1996 2010
Post-Master’s Certificate options 1998 Current
RN/MSN 1999 Current
Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing CNS 2001 2011
Family (Individual across the Lifespan) CRNP 2010 Current
Executive Nurse Leader 2014 Current
Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist 2010 Current
         Doctoral Programs    
Doctor of Nursing Science (DNSc) 1983 2008
Accelerated MSN/DNSc/PhD Program 2004 Current
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (retitled DNSc) 2009 Current
Doctor of Nursing Practice 2009 Current
Post Baccalaureate RN to DNP 2014 Current

These two programs were combined to create the Emergency/Critical Program

*  Name changed to Nursing Administration in 1994

** Name changed to Adult Health Nursing in 1990





This Handbook will provide you with information about the programs of study and the policies and procedures specific to our School of Nursing. It should be used as a supplement to the Widener University Bulletin, Widener University Student Handbook, the School of Nursing Fact Books, and other University Publications. As such, the policies, procedures, regulations, requirements, standard of conduct and other information contained in such other publications are not reprinted herein, but are incorporated by reference herein as if all of the foregoing were set forth at length. All students are obliged to be familiar with and to comply with all of the policies, procedures, regulations, requirements, standards of conduct and other information set forth in such other publications. 

The contents of this Handbook provide for the continuing integrity of the programs of study in the School of Nursing, thereby preparing you, the student, for professional roles. The University and the School of Nursing reserve the right and authority at any time to alter any of all of the statements contained herein, to modify the requirements for admission and graduation, to change or discontinue programs of study, to amend any regulation or policy affecting the student body, to increase tuition and fees, to deny admission, to revoke an offer of admissions, and to dismiss from the University any student at any time, if it is deemed by the University or the School of Nursing to be in the best interest of the University, the School of Nursing, the university community, or the student to do so. The provisions of this publication are subject to change without notice, and nothing in this publication may be considered as setting forth terms of a contract between a student or prospective student and Widener University. 


The following statement is taken from the “The Professional Nursing Law” as enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Professional Nursing Law can be found at PA Code for Registered Nurse.  

“The ‘Practice of Professional Nursing’ means diagnosing and treating human responses to actual or potential health problems through such services as case finding, health teaching, health counseling, and provision of care supportive to or restorative of life and well-being, and executing medical regimens as prescribed by a licensed physician or dentist. The foregoing shall not be deemed to include acts of medical diagnosis or prescription of medical therapeutic or corrective measures, except as performed by a certified registered nurse practitioner acting in accordance with rules and regulations promulgated by the Board”. For additional information, click on the PA Professional Code for Nurses.  



The Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements (ANA 2015) was developed as a guide for carrying out nursing responsibilities in a manner consistent with quality in nursing care and the ethical obligations of the profession. Students at Widener University are responsible for understanding and adhering to the Code of Ethics.  Additional information on the Code can be found at Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements.  



Widener University School of Nursing is committed to fostering a culture of inclusivity and equity throughout our programs, our nursing practice, and in our workplace. The School of Nursing’s unique, powerhouse programs serve the needs of diverse students at all stages of their careers. We’re All Widener. That’s not just a saying here; it’s a way of life. It represents the culture of our university - a powerful call for respect, mutual understanding, and unity. Here you’ll be embraced and supported by a welcoming and inclusive community regardless of your race, ethnicity, national origin, gender and sexual identity, socioeconomic status, ability, religion, political affiliation, among other things. You’ll join a community of students and scholars who hail from across the country and around the world. Our community is woven together by diverse backgrounds, life experiences, and perspectives, and our classrooms, residence halls, and social spaces are enriched by this variety. You’ll interact with people and engage in the kinds of transformational moments that broaden your own worldview and prepare you for the world and workforce you’re about to enter. 

For more information about Diversity and Inclusivity, please click here.