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Nursing & Health Professions | Academic and Conduct Policies Specific to the Nursing Program

Academic and Conduct Policies Specific to the Nursing Program

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Admission to the Nursing Program

The policies and procedures for admission to the Trinity Nursing Program appear on Trinity’s website .

Academic Expectations

The development and promotion of professional behavior is an integral component of a professional education program.  This behavior includes preparation for, and attendance of classroom, clinical and laboratory experiences, adhering to stated deadlines, and being in class, clinical and lab at the designated time for the full duration of the course.

While the following sections provide general academic guidance, specific rules and expectations for student work in courses and clinical settings will appear in each course syllabus.   The Dean and Associate Dean/Chief Nursing Officer, and faculty reserve the right to expand and change the specific academic guidelines as necessary to maintain compliance with accreditation and licensure rules, as well as the rules and expectations of clinical partners.

The Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions and the Associate Dean/Chief Nursing Officer, along with the faculty of Nursing have broad authority and responsibility to ensure the fulfillment of academic expectations and requirements for all students.   While this Handbook provides general guidance, the Dean and Associate Dean/Chief Nursing Officer reserve the right to make decisions in particular cases that are appropriate to the circumstances and facts presented.  

Classroom, Clinical and Laboratory Attendance

Course syllabi provide specific requirements for attendance and obtaining excused absences.  Attendance in nursing class, clinical and laboratory experiences is necessary in order to master the body of knowledge needed for safe clinical practice and adequate preparation for licensure.  Therefore, students are expected to attend all course sessions, be punctual and stay for the duration of the class, clinical and laboratory experiences.

Occasionally, life events occur that prevent a student from attending a singular class.  Faculty will instruct students about notifications for the occasional absence.   However absences for extended periods of time (more than two class sessions) require specific prior permission or written documentation explaining the absence.  Examples of such absences would include extended illness, which requires medical verification; a family or professional emergency of a grave nature; a death of a family member.  Students should recognize that faculty may not be able to accept extended absences and may counsel students to drop or withdraw from classes in cases where absences will compromise their academic performance.  Associate Dean/Chief Nursing Officer and Faculty may issue additional guidelines.  Specific rules for attendance, makeup assignments and other related permissions will be specified in the respective course syllabi.

Assignments

Students are responsible for submitting requirements on the due date specified in the course syllabus, at the beginning of class unless the instructor has granted express permission in advance, to submit materials at another time.

Examinations

Examinations are to be taken as scheduled.  Only under extraordinary circumstances may an exam be missed and rescheduled.  Students are NOT to share content included on written, laboratory, or clinical examinations.  Sharing questions on examinations is a violation of the Trinity honor code and is subject to disciplinary action per the Trinity Washington University Honor Code. Students are to strictly follow faculty instructions when taking in-class or online quizzes, tests, or examinations.

Email & Moodle Communication

The nursing program uses email and Moodle as the major vehicles for communicating important information to students.  Students should check their Trinity email account and Moodle at least once each day   Faculty and students should make every attempt to respond to email and Moodle communication in a timely manner.

Behavioral Expectations

Professional Behavior and the Care of Others

As a practice profession, nursing places great trust and reliance upon individual responsibility and accountability.  Students are expected to exhibit personal and emotional characteristics consistent with a developing professional nurse role and conduct themselves in a professional manner. These behavioral expectations should be exhibited beginning with the students’ first course at Trinity.   Such expectations are also incorporated by reference into the preface to this Handbook and Trinity’s Code of Conduct for Professional Students.

Reasonable Suspicion Drug and Alcohol Policy

In the University setting, nursing students involved in clinical activities must uphold the standards of the nursing profession to ensure safe, effective, and supportive patient care.  Because an impaired nursing student may have altered judgment and skills, appropriate management of abuse and addiction is critical for nursing education and practice.

This policy addresses drug and alcohol testing of nursing students involved in clinical activities based on reasonable suspicion of drug or alcohol use.  It is the policy of Trinity Washington University to comply with Federal and District laws and regulations detailing the use and detection of drugs and alcohol.  This policy is subject to change at the sole discretion of the University and is meant to supplement other relevant University policies.

If a faculty member has reasonable suspicion that a nursing student is impaired due to drug or alcohol use, that faculty member should consult with the Director of Nursing.   The Director may also consult with other university authorities depending upon the circumstances.  The Director may require the student to take a drug test at the student’s own expense.  Depending upon the results of the test, the Director may recommend additional disciplinary action to the Dean or Provost.  A student’s refusal to take a drug test may incur disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the program.

Students must also know that the clinical site may require a drug test at any time.  Students are responsible for complete cooperation with and fulfillment of all requirements of the clinical site supervisors.

Academic Honesty

Trinity expects all students to uphold the highest standards for academic honesty and integrity.  Trinity’s Honor System, dating to the earliest classes to attend Trinity, is a longstanding tradition that embodies the ethical and moral values of the university.

Nursing students must embrace Trinity’s Honor System and demonstrate the ability to uphold the standard of integrity, including the standards set forth in Trinity’s Academic Honesty Policy.

Academic Progression

Graduation Criteria (BSN) Degree

The requirements to graduate from Trinity with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree include the successful completion of:

  •  A minimum of 128 credits (45 of the final 60 credits must be taken at Trinity; RN to BSN and second baccalaureate students must complete at least 32 credits at Trinity.)
  • All requirements of the Core Curriculum/General Education Courses
  • All specific courses required for the major with a grade of C or better including all Core or General Education requirements
  • A minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or better

Please see the University Catalog for further information regarding graduation from Trinity.

 Course Sequencing

Students must successfully complete all pre-requisite courses prior to advancing to the next course.  Nursing course sequencing is designed to ensure that the student moves logically from simple to complex skills and has demonstrated mastery at each step.  The sequence appears in the registration system and Nursing advisors will work with students to plan their programs accordingly.

Grades for Progression

BSN students must earn a minimum of C (78%) as a final course grade in all nursing (NURS) courses.  A final grade below a C will result in failure of the course.  Any grade involving a numerical fraction is NOT rounded up at the end of the semester in the final course grade.

A nursing student may fail or withdraw from no more than one nursing course (NURS prefix).  If a student fails or withdraws from a nursing course, the student may repeat the nursing course only once. Students may repeat no more than one nursing course.  Failing or withdrawing from a second nursing course will result in dismissal from the Nursing Program.

Academic Probation

Undergraduate students must maintain a 2.5 overall GPA in order to progress in the nursing program.  Students may be placed on academic probation if their cumulative GPA falls below 2.5.

Academic probation indicates that the student is no longer in good academic standing and the student’s eligibility to continue studies in nursing is under question.

A student may remain on academic probation for no more than one semester.  Failure to raise the GPA to the minimum standard of 2.5 during a student’s semester on academic probation may result in dismissal from the Nursing Program.

A student on academic probation may not register for more than 14 credit hours in a Fall or Spring Semester, or 6 credit hours in the Summer semester.  Students on academic probation in Nursing may not take courses in Winter Term or May Term.

Grade Appeals

Students may only appeal a final grade of “F” in a course.

Students choosing to appeal a final course grade must follow the Grade Appeal Policy

Students who are dismissed from Trinity for academic reasons have the right to submit written appeals to the Provost, who reviews the cases and makes recommendations to the President, who has final authority in all dismissal cases.   The right to submit written appeals does not include the right to a hearing.   The Provost and President review the case materials, and the President sends a letter to the student confirming the final decision.  There are no other avenues of appeal from the President’s decision in a case involving dismissal.

ATI Comprehensive Assessment Review Program

All nursing students are required to participate in the ATI Comprehensive Assessment Review Program and complete their ATI practice test assignments as assigned by instructors and as listed on their course syllabus.

For courses that teach content covered on the NCLEX-RN, successful attainment of a Level II on the ATI Final Proctored Test must be achieved to progress forward in the program

For courses that include the ATI Proctored Test, students have only two opportunities to take the ATI Proctored Tests. If a student does not achieve a Level II after the first attempt, she/he will take another ATI test the following week after completing a focused review. If a student does not achieve a Level II on your 2nd try, the student will not progress forward in the course and it will result in a failing grade.

The ATI proctored tests are separate from a student’s final course grade.  If a student fails a course itself, that grade will stand and the student will not be able to take the ATI Proctored Test.

The Evaluation Process

Evaluation is an ongoing process aimed at assisting the student in meeting course and program objectives.  Students and faculty engage in a collaborative process of evaluating student progress throughout the program.  Evaluation processes are explained in each course syllabus and at the beginning of each class or clinical experience.  Faculty will assign grades for each course based on the extent to which the student meets outcome objectives.

Students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in order to successfully pass the required pre-requisite and nursing courses.  Failure to meet established standards in any one of these areas may constitute failure of the course.  Requirements for meeting these standards are identified in each course syllabus.

Undergraduate Nursing Grading Scale for all NURS courses

96 -100 = A
93 – 95 = A-
90 – 92 = B+
87 – 89 = B
84 – 86 = B-
81 – 83 = C+
78 – 80 = C
>77.9   = F

Incomplete Work

Students who have not completed the requirements of a course for legitimate reasons may receive a provisional grade of incomplete upon the instructor’s agreement.  The student and instructor must fill out and sign the contract form for an incomplete grade, stipulating the work to be completed, no later than the end of the final examination period, before the grade and credit for the course will be recorded.

Students must complete all work as specified in the contract within four weeks of the final exam period, whether they register for courses in the subsequent semester or not.  All summer sessions constitute one semester.  If the incomplete grade is not removed before the end of the succeeding semester, the grade of incomplete (I) will automatically convert to a grade of “F” (Failure).

Student Evaluation

The Nursing Program may choose to use a variety of assessment modalities including standardized instruments developed externally and internally to assess student progress and satisfaction of requirements.

Clinical Evaluations

At the beginning of each clinical course, it is the student’s responsibility to review and become familiar with the clinical performance objectives and competencies that are expected for the course, using tools that the nursing faculty adopts.

Students will complete a self-evaluation at the end of each clinical course, using tools that the nursing faculty adopts.  Following submission of the student’s self- evaluation, the final clinical course grade will be evaluated by the clinical instructor.

The final clinical course grade will be reviewed with each student and signed by both the student and the clinical instructor, in an “end-of-course” clinical evaluation conference.  The student’s signature does not indicate agreement, only that the student received the evaluation.  Students may add comments to the final evaluation.

The final clinical course evaluation and grade, and the student’s self-evaluation are kept on file as part of the student’s academic record in the Nursing Program Office.

 Faculty, Course & Program Evaluations

Programmatic evaluation is one of many professional behaviors expected of nurses.  As such, students are expected to participate in program evaluation activities.  Students’ constructive  feedback provide vital information necessary to improve the Nursing Program.  During the program, students will be asked to participate in:

a) Course evaluations:  completed at the end of every semester for each nursing course to evaluate the effectiveness of the course in meeting course objectives as well as faculty teaching effectiveness; completed at the end of each nursing course;

b) Clinical Course Experiences: completed at the end of each clinical course experience

c) Clinical agency placement sites: completed at the conclusion of each clinical course.

The Nursing Program engages in ongoing evaluation as a means by which to monitor its effectiveness in preparing graduates for the nursing profession.  Students, graduates, and employers will be participate in Exit Interviews (completed in the final semester of the nursing program) and Graduation surveys completed in the final semester of the nursing program. Post graduation surveys will be administered to graduates at one year post graduation and their employers at one and three years post graduation.

Academic Advisement

Academic advisement is a support service provided to all students. Students are assigned a Nursing academic advisor upon acceptance into the Nursing Program who will assist them with academic planning and interpretation of academic policies and procedures.  The Nursing academic advisor will assist students to explore academic interests, to recognize academic strengths, and to identify resources to address weaknesses related to the Nursing program.

  •  Incoming nursing students must meet with their advisor in order to enroll in courses.
  • Students are expected to contact their advisor at least once per semester in advance of the registration period for the next semester to ensure that they are following the nursing program academic plan and making progress toward the completion of their degree.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to periodically (beginning and end of each semester) to review Self -Service for accuracy of their information. In the event an inaccuracy is found, students are responsible for contacting the appropriate office for resolution.

Registration Requirements

The required courses for each degree program track are found on the Trinity Website via links to the nursing program and then to the specific degree.

  •  Students must adhere to the program plan approved by their academic advisor.
  • Students who do not follow the approved academic plan may not be able to complete their program of study by their projected date.
  • Students are responsible for registering for each semester on time, meeting pre-requisites for each course for which they register and being cleared for clinical requirements when registering for clinical and related didactic courses.
  • Some nursing courses are offered during either the Fall or Spring semester as opposed to both semesters; some nursing courses are also offered during the Summer session.  Courses may be offered in day, evening, or weekend (Saturday and/or Sunday) schedules.
  • The schedule for clinical rotations will include day, evening and or weekend (Saturday and Sunday) and may require travel outside the DC Metropolitan area.
  • Students who are unable to take a nursing course in the semester it is scheduled should consult with their academic advisor regarding the impact on their academic progression.

Meeting with Faculty

Students who wish to meet with faculty in person may book an appointment during the faculty member’s office hours or contact faculty directly via email or phone to request an appointment at a mutually convenient time.

Student’s Academic Program of Study

  • The student has primary responsibility for ensuring that adherence to the prescribed academic plan.  Central to this responsibility is the appropriate use of Self-Service, academic advisement and adherence to registration requirements. Students are expected to know how to use the online registration functionalities to manage their academic program, including accessing the course catalog, schedule of classes and registration processes.
  • Trinity supports the Moodle platform for web-enhanced or blended courses. Students must be able to effectively use Moodle for their coursework. Selected textbooks have accompanying online or computerized elements. Students are expected to learn how to use these elements and “plug ins”.

Academic counseling for students who are failing

  • As noted in the Trinity Academic Catalog, “Trinity is committed to providing all students with a wide array of services and support to help them succeed academically…..”. The Academic Support Center is available to all students enrolled in the university and offers a number of programs to assist students with academic difficulties. These services and programs include, but are not limited to study skills, test-taking skills, testing anxiety workshops, student life planning, support services for students with disabilities, and one-on-one tutoring.
  • Students who are not passing at mid-term of the semester will receive an academic warning from the course instructor and must meet with the instructor teaching the course to develop a remediation plan which may include a learning contract. See Section IID on Academic Progression.

Course Cancellation

Trinity reserves the right to cancel courses during the add/drop period if enrollment is low.  Every effort will be made to assist the student to identify an alternate course or to help the student adjust their academic plan so that their progression is not unduly delayed.

Dismissal from the Nursing Program

Students may be dismissed from the Trinity Nursing Program for reasons including:

a) Failure to satisfy the academic standards specified in the preceding section;

b) Any violation of Trinity’s policies that specify dismissal, including the Academic Honesty Policy, Student Code of Conduct, and other relevant policies cited at the outset of this document;

c) Unsafe, unprofessional or unethical conduct in a clinical setting;

d) Inability to obtain a clinical placement because the clinical agency declines to accept the student for placement as a result of the criminal background check or other issues that arise in fulfilling the requirements for clinical placement.  Students who cannot obtain clinical placements cannot continue in the Nursing Program regardless of their grade point averages or performance in didactic courses.

Trinity’s policies on student conduct include appeals procedures for disciplinary dismissals.  Students who face dismissal for failing to meet academic standards will have notice of their academic standing through the publication of the rules for academic progress, including the 2.5 minimum grade point average, and the one-semester academic probation process.  Students who must go on probation will also sign a learning contract that specifies the terms for their improvement.  Failure to fulfill the terms of the learning contract, including meeting the minimum academic requirements, results in dismissal.  Such dismissal is not appealable.

Students who face dismissal for professional conduct reasons, e.g., unsafe or unethical conduct in clinical settings, may follow the standard process for appealing disciplinary decisions   This includes a written statement explaining the action in question.   The Dean of NHP and Director of Nursing will hold a hearing with the student to review the matter.   The Dean and Director will determine whether the student may continue in the program and they will so inform the student.  The student may appeal a dismissal notice to the Provost, who reviews the case and makes a recommendation to the President, whose review of the case and decision is final.

When clinical placement agencies refuse to accept a student for placement, the student does not have an appeal right through Trinity.   Trinity has contracts with the agencies that extend the right to the agency to make decisions about clinical students.

 

 

 

 


For more information about Trinity's School of Nursing and Health Professions, please contact the Office of Admissions at (800) 492-6882 or via e-mail at admissions@trinitydc.edu.

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