Nov 29, 2020  
2020-2021 Academic Bulletin (July 2020 Ed) 
    
2020-2021 Academic Bulletin (July 2020 Ed)

Policies



Accommodations

Students desiring accommodations must provide current and relevant documentation of physical, learning, psychological, or other disabilities, if applicable. Documentation guidelines are available in the Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion (SASSI) Office, GEB, room BB9. Determination of eligibility and recommendations of accommodations must be made by Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion http://www.uthsc.edu/sassi/ . Students should call and schedule an appointment with Student Academic Support Services to determine accommodation eligibility once they are accepted into the program. Students are encouraged to notify and meet with the Program Director once the evaluation is completed.

Attendance

The educational programs at UTHSC have been developed by the faculty and staff of these colleges to provide students with the information and experiences necessary to become practicing professionals. All students are expected to attend the various educational opportunities provided for them by the college or school in which they are enrolled. Failure to attend courses jeoparidizes student progression and affects financial aid. UTHSC must report any student who is not in attendance for 30 days as “withdrawn,” whether the individuals is on a college-approved leave or not. Please refer to the CenterScope regarding attendance.

In the College of Nursing, attendance is mandatory at educational experiences including all didactic, clinical, and laboratory instruction. Attendance is required of all students at scheduled “on-campus” sessions. Additional details of course attendance requirements are in the course syllabi and will be provided to students by course faculty. Class attendance is documented for all students. For online courses, initial attendance is documented through an attendance test. Attendance in courses conducted in classroom sessions is obtained by calling roll or student sign-in. Clinical attendance is verified by preceptors or faculty in the clinical settings.

Grading System

The faculty evaluates the academic achievement, acquisition of skills, and attitudes of nursing students and uses the marks of A, B, C, D, F, WP, WF, and I, in all official reports. In certain instances, some courses may be graded on a PASS/FAIL basis. The following grade ranges are utilized in the College of Nursing:

92 - 100 = A Excellent
83 - 91 =  B Good
75 - 82 =  C Satisfactory
70 - 74 =  D Poor
  0 - 69 =  F Failure

Grades of “D” and “F” are non-passing grades.The letters “WP” or “WF” are recorded to indicate pass or failure in those instances in which a student withdraws from a course before completion, and is either passing or failing, respectively. The letter grade of “W” will be recorded when a student withdraws from a course before there has been evaluation of the student to determine whether he/she is passing or failing. If withdrawal occurs before the midpoint of a course, the grade for the dropped course is recorded as a “W” on the official transcript. If withdrawal occurs after the midpoint, but before the course is 70% completed, the grade for the dropped course is recorded as either “WP” (withdrawn passing; >75% averaged grade in the course) or “WF” (withdrawn failing; <75% averaged grade in the course) depending on the student’s grade point average in the course at the time of withdrawal. Once a course is > 70% completed, a withdrawal is not permitted except under extenuating circumstances. Any student who fails to complete the course will receive zero(s) for any uncompleted assignments and tests, and the final course grade will incorporate those zero(s) into the grade calculation.

The designation of “I” (incomplete) will be used when a student is unable to complete the course at the regular time because of a reason acceptable to the Instructor of Record (IOR). In such cases, arrangements will be made by the IOR for the student to complete the course requirements, and the grade of “I” will then be replaced by whatever grade the IOR considers the student to have earned. It is the responsibility of the student to work with the IOR in determining under what circumstances the “I” grade can be changed, however, the student must remove the “I” by the end of the following term. Failure to remove the “I” within the allowed time will result in a grade of “F” being recorded as the permanent grade.

Dropping/Adding a Course

Students who desire to add or drop a course should consult with their academic advisor and the IOR teaching the course. When students drop a course, the IOR records the withdrawal from the course and the last date of student attendance in Banner. Faculty notify the Program Director, Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and the student’s advisor regarding the course change. The advisor and student develop a revised plan of study, sign the plan of study, forward the plan of study for additional appropriate signatures, and placed in the student’s file the Program Coordinator. The majority of courses in the College of Nursing are offered once per year. Students who withdraw from a course may not be able to progress to subsequent courses, resulting in a delay in progression of 6 to 12 months. Space is limited in clinical courses; space constraints may limit the ability of the student to re-enroll in a clinical course and affect progression in the program.

Students who experience “prolonged absences” which exceed the requirements of the course and/or program as published in the course syllabus may require that the student withdraw from the College and University.  In order to comply with federal guidelines that require timely reporting of changes in student status for any student receiving federal financial aid, UTHSC requires that colleges report all student withdrawals to the Office of the Registrar as soon as they become aware of the change in student status, whether the change relates to a student-initiated withdrawal; administrative withdrawal initiated by the Dean or designee, that may be an academic and/or non-cademic decision; medical withdrawal that may be voluntary or involuntary; or military withdrawal. Students should be aware that depending on the timing and nature of the withdrawal, any resulting change in total enrolled credit hours could affect enrollment status, eligibility for tuition refunds or financial aid, student loan repayments, and subsequent grades appearing on the student’s official transcript. Please see the CenterScope for additional information regarding the UTHSC policy regarding adding or dropping courses.

The duration of courses in the College of Nursing ranges from 9-18 weeks during the Fall and Spring terms, and courses last 8 weeks during the Summer term. Dates to withdraw and receive a “W” (see designation between a “W” and “WP/WF” above) and last dates to withdraw from courses are listed on the College of Nursing Academic Calendar: http://www.uthsc.edu/nursing/current-students/academic-calendar/.

Auditing a Course

Students may audit didactic and laboratory courses with the permission of the Program Director and IOR. Auditing of clinical experiences is not allowed. The Program Director, IOR, and student discuss assignments to be completed by the student as part of the auditing process. With permission of the IOR and Program Director, the student may take unit exams, standardized tests, complete simulations, and other assignments. Individuals who are required to audit a course may be required to achieve predetermined scores on unit exams, standardized tests, or assignments in order to progress to the next series of courses. The student is responsible for any costs associated with books, supplies, and other assignments.

Withdrawal and Reinstatement

All College of Nursing (CON) students admitted to a program are required to maintain an “active status” through continuous enrollment from the first semester/term of entry until graduation.  Any “break” in a student’s continuous enrollment is considered a withdrawal.  Details regarding the procedures for the various types of withdrawals and reinstatement are outlined in “Student Procedure: Withdrawal Policy” accessible at https://uthsc.policymedical.net/policymed/anonymous/docViewer?stoken=de47aa28-16aa-408b-9c96-cb04f232964f&dtoken=65231cb0-483a-4ce1-963d-0caa040807d0.

A “Change of Student Status” workflow request must be completed when a student, officially withdraws from the program or when a student is dismissed.  When a withdrawal is granted, the form must be completed to assure appropriate administrative offices are notified of the student’s withdrawal. The student must contact the college’s Office of Academic Affairs & discuss the reason for the withdrawal request. The Executive Associate Dean of Academic Affairs initiates the withdrawal process by communicating with the respective Program Coordinator that a withdrawal workflow process should be completed which notifies the Registrar’s Office of the student withdrawal including the reason for withdrawal or dismissal, date student last attended the course(s), effective date of withdrawal from the program, and the possibility of student reinstatement. 

Students who have been withdrawn may be eligible to seek reinstatement. To seek reinstatement, students must communicate with the Executive Associate Dean of Academic Affairs who authorizes the reinstatement through communication with the Admissions Office.  The student receives a communication with a hyperlink to submit an online Application for Reinstatement.   Applications for reinstatement must be submitted no later than six weeks prior to the start of the term for which they seek to be reinstated. The reinstatement application may require additional documentation from a student, immunization compliance, transcripts from other institutions attended since their last enrollment at the UTHSC, and other documentation required by the College as a condition of reinstatement. A criminal background check and drug screen is mandatory for all reinstated students.  International students should be aware additional documentation might be needed according to federal guidelines. 

Additional documentation for students with a Medical Withdrawal may be required, as part of an individualized evaluation, to provide evidence that the student is ready to resume studies and academic responsibilities. Such evidence may include, for instance, documentation of attempts to resolve issues that led to the leave, release of academic records to inform the treating physician, release of treatment records, consultation with or clearance from University Health Services, consultation with SASSI to determine if reasonable accommodations are available, as well as a demonstrated ability to safely handle the stresses that arise from an intense, complex, and fast paced advanced course of study at UTHSC and clinical sites. All returning students must meet the essential eligibility requirements and technical standards of the college/program. The student will be notified of the reinstatement decision, conditions, and appeal rights.

Students withdrawn from the University will continue to have access to their UTHSC email for one year after the withdrawal date. However, students withdrawn may not use instructional services and/or university facilities. The UTHSC badge, and associated privileges such as parking and facilities access will be deactivated upon withdrawal. The last date of attendance in courses is recorded by faculty and grades (W, WF, or WP) are assigned based on the student’s academic performance and amount of the course completed. The Executive Associate Dean of Academic Affairs reviews and initiates the workflow request to the Registrar for processing. 

Students who withdraw must discharge university obligations, such as payment of tuition and fees, return of borrowed equipment, books, and other materials. Consultation with a financial aid counselor is required as part of the withdrawal process.

Accommodations for Religious Beliefs, Practices, and Observances

The College of Nursing respects the rights of students to observe their religious beliefs and practices. The college will endeavor to provide reasonable accommodations relating to religious beliefs and practices in response to a formal written student request. However, accommodations cannot be guaranteed in instances where such would create an undue burden on faculty, a disproportionate negative effect on other students who are participating in the scheduled educational activity, or jeopardize patient care. For example, clinical experience are contracted with external agencies and opportunities for alternative dates or times may not be possible.

Students are encouraged to be proactive in reviewing college, program, and course specific assignments/activities in advance of matriculation/registration to determine whether these requirements might in some way conflict with their religious beliefs, practices or observances. Should such conflicts be in evidence, students should discuss possible options with the appropriate college official or faculty member. Reasonable accommodations may not be feasible in instances where there is a direct and insurmountable conflict between religious beliefs or observances and requirements of a given program.

Each term, the student must submit an email request to the IOR, Program Director and Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at least 30 days in advance of the requested accommodation. Approvals are required in order to miss class, clinical or tests due to religious beliefs, practices, or observations. It remains the student’s responsibility to meet all course obligations.  

Students are obligated to abide by the policies and procedures on religious practices and observances of any given patient-care institution (i.e., hospital, clinical setting) in which they are completing a portion of their educational experience. If a potential conflict between a student’s religious beliefs, practices or observations and institutional policy is identified, the student is to bring such to the attention of the IOR and Program Director as soon as possible.

It is the IOR and Program Director’s responsibility to negotiate with a student the parameters of reasonable accommodations. The accommodations should be no more difficult than the originally scheduled activity or assignment. Instructors or programs directors are not obligated to provide materials or experiences to students that would not normally be provided to all other students.  In the event a student and IOR or Program Director cannot reach an agreement regarding reasonable accommodations, the student may request a review of the request by the Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Nursing. The decision of the Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will be final.

Student Drug and Alcohol Policy

College of Nursing students who violate the UTHSC policy on drug and alcohol use are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including permanent dismissal, as well as fines and imprisonment (in accordance with Federal and State laws). In accordance with UTHSC policies related to Maintenance of Professional and Ethical Standards (see CenterScope), violation of drug and alcohol may result in students being referred for local prosecution and/or requirements for participation in an approved drug or alcohol abuse assistance or rehabilitation program. The College of Nursing may be required to divulge information to the State Board of Nursing, certification agencies, or clinical agencies.

Colleges bear the responsibility of assuring students entering the clinical setting are ‘fit for duty’ as well as attending issues that could affect patient safety or student success. Screenings for drug use are conducted prior to matriculation into the College of Nursing programs. Annual drug screenings are conducted as part of the matriculation criteria. The student is responsible for payment of such testing. In addition, most agencies require additional or random drug and/or alcohol testing of a student while in or on the clinical site’s premises. Students participating in patient care in such settings as a part of their education must conform to that site’s policies and requirements.

Students taking over-the-counter or prescribed medication are responsible for understanding the effect that the medication may have on their performance or personal behavior and the possibility that usage of these medications might lead to an adverse finding on a drug screen. Students in such circumstances are strongly advised to report the use of such substances to their Program Director and/or University Health Service if they suspect that their performance may be impaired and/or if their behavior has caused college officials to require them to provide blood, urine or breath samples for analysis.

The College of Nursing may require a student to undergo an immediate blood, urine or breath analysis under any of, but not limited to, the following circumstances and conditions:

  • When there is reasonable suspicion that the individual is under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, stimulants, sedatives, hallucinogens, marijuana or other chemical substances;
  • Following a work-related injury;
  • Observation of poor judgment or careless acts, that caused or had the potential to cause patient injury, or that had, or had the potential to jeopardize the safety of others, or that had resulted in damage to property and/or equipment;
  • Suspected diversion of controlled substances (e.g. use or possession of a prescription drug without a prescription, sale or distribution of a prescription drug, or theft of a prescription drug) including, but not limited to, anti-anxiety agents or psychostimulants (such as Adderal, Dexedrine and Ritalin).
  • Individuals who refuse to undergo an immediate drug and alcohol screen may be subject to immediate disciplinary actions, up to and including dismissal.

Until proven otherwise, an individual with a preliminary positive drug or alcohol screen is presumed to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol and subject to intervention or sanction by the College of Nursing. The type of intervention or sanction will be dependent on the setting in which the incident occurred, the degree of impairment observed and the actual level of banned substance detected. Additional confirmatory testing or monitoring would likely be required to determine the need for additional sanctions/treatment beyond temporary removal from the setting in which change in, and/or abnormal behavior was observed.

Intervention Process for Cases of Substance Use

The College of Nursing intervention process is consistent with the UTHSC policy outlined in the CenterScope. Individuals with a history of drug or alcohol use, including those who were required by the college to seek treatment as a condition of continued enrollment, may be required to have periodic testing for drugs or alcohol at the student’s expense.

The following general guidelines will be followed when the College of Nursing determines that a student is unduly affected by substance use/abuse/dependence:

Students who exhibit evidence of substance use/abuse/dependence and have a positive drug screen will be referred for assistance through the Student Assistance Program and/or other health care programs for voluntary evaluation and care. If the student is licensed as a nurse in Tennessee, the College of Nursing will refer the student to the Tennessee Professional Assistance Program (TnPAP), a voluntary program that offers consultation, referral and monitoring for nurses whose practice is impaired or potentially impaired. The College of Nursing will notify the Professional Assistance Programs and/or the State Board of Nursing when positive drug screens occur in students who are licensed in other states as registered nurses or advanced practice nurses. Licensed nurses may be subject to disciplinary action of the State Board of Nursing.

The student who exhibits evidence of substance use will not be allowed to attend clinical. The student may be required to take a leave of absence (normally for a period not to exceed 12 months) for evaluation and care by a treating clinician who will be permitted to confirm compliance with recommended treatments and to confirm readiness of the student to return.

Any student on leave to address substance use/abuse/dependence will not be allowed to resume active enrollment without a written positive recommendation from his/her treating health care provider(s).

  • The student must provide evidence of successful completion of treatment program and sustained active recovery/sobriety.
  • The student must present documentation that they are substance free, presently involved in an after-care program and fit to resume their education without restrictions.
  • The student must sign a statement that they are willing (or be willing) to provide periodic unannounced urine screens during the remainder of their educational experience at the HSC.
  • Any student who fails to complete recommended care and treatment and/or whose readiness to resume his/her academic program is not confirmed by his/her health care provider will be subject to dismissal. 

Preventing Student Mistreatment

The university and College of Nursing strive to provide an atmosphere that is conducive to learning and that strongly discourages any behavior that is incompatible with a positive and supportive learning environment. An atmosphere of mutual respect and collegiality is expected among faculty, staff, and students to foster professional and collegial attitudes and promote effective learning. Negative interactions may include: Sexual harassment; discrimination based on race, gender, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation, disabilities or age; or purposeful humiliation, verbal abuse, threats, or psychological punishments. Faculty or staff mistreatment of students may involve:

  • speaks insultingly or unjustifiably harshly;
  • belittles or humiliates;
  • threatens physical harm;
  • physical attacks (e.g., hits, slaps, kicks);
  • demands personal services (e.g., shopping, baby-sitting);
  • threatens to lower the student’s grade for reasons other than course/clinical performance.

Such actions are unprofessional, contrary to the spirit of learning, and violate the trust between teacher and learner.

The process of addressing incidents of student mistreatment include the following options.

  1. If the student feels comfortable addressing the matter directly, the student should attempt to explain his/her concerns to the offending individual.
  2. If the student is reluctant to approach the accuser directly, the student should report his/her concerns to a faculty member or to a college official.
  3. If warranted, the college officials may request further investigation by the Student Conduct Officer, who will interview all parties and make a recommendation to the college as to possible resolution.

Confidentiality and Protection from Retaliation: Every effort will be made to protect alleged victims of mistreatment from retaliation if they seek redress. Although it is impossible to guarantee freedom from retaliation, it is possible to take steps to try to prevent it and to set up a process for responding to it. To help prevent retaliation, those who are accused of mistreatment will be informed that retaliation is regarded as a form of mistreatment. Accusations that retaliation has occurred will be handled in the same manner as accusations concerning other forms of mistreatment.

Exam Policy

The BSN Program has a no make-up test policy.  There will be no make-up exam.  Several courses in the DNP Program also have a similar policy.  The “weight” of the first missed exam will be added to the final exam.  All students in all academic programs are expected to take exams as scheduled. Any student who will be absent from an exam must notify faculty as soon as possible, preferably prior to the exam administration.

Standardized Tests: Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI) Testing

Students enrolled in select courses in the BSN program are required to complete specific standardized exams from Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI). Results of the ATI exams are used to provide feedback for students and educators to predict competency in specific content areas, predict success on the RN licensure exam, and to guide focused review. Practice assessments are used to determine specific remediation which is required to be completed for admission to the standardized exam.

Student Identification and Dress Code

All students are required to wear the UT identification badges. Such cards are to be worn in a visible fashion while on-campus and must be presented to UTHSC police officers, administration, or faculty upon request. Students enrolled in online programs must wear their UT identification badge during the on-campus sessions and when on the UT campus for other purposes (i.e., use of library, financial aid counseling, etc.). If a student’s identification badge is lost or misplaced, a new one must be acquired from the Campus Police Office for a fee. Students are expected to adhere to the dress code policy of the program in which they are enrolled. Dress requirements are explained during each program’s orientation.

All students are required to wear their UTHSC picture identification at clinical sites. Student placement in clinical sites is verified by preceptors, and faculty conduct clinical site visits and/or virtual technology with the student and preceptors.

Transfer of Credits

Transfer hours will be considered on an individual basis. After admission, students may request transfer of credits to UTHSC by contacting the College of Nursing Office of Academic Affairs. Transfer credits toward a bachelor’s degree are granted only for courses in which a grade of “C” or better was earned. Only graduate courses completed with a grade of “B” or better and accepted by the student’s major department in the College of Nursing will be considered for transfer credit. As a rule, 9 credit hours may be accepted for transfer into educational programs in the College of Nursing. Grades earned in courses accepted for transfer credit are not included in the student’s UTHSC grade point average calculation.