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.
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 UTHSC must report any student who is not in attendance for 30 days as “withdrawn,” whether the individuals is on a collge-approved leave or not. Please refer to the CenterScope regarding attendance (http://catalog.uthsc.edu/index.php?catoid=8)
In the College of Nursing, attendance is required at educational experiences such as laboratories and related instruction, clinical activities, and small group conferences. In the College of Nursing, attendance is mandatory for all laboratory and clinical experiences. Attendance is required of all students at scheduled “on-campus” sessions. Additional details of course attendance requirements are in the courses syllabus 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.
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
83 - 91 = B
75 - 82 = C
70 - 74 = D
0 - 69 = F
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 course coordinator. In such cases, arrangements will be made by the coordinator for the student to complete the course requirements, and the grade of “I” will then be replaced by whatever grade the course coordinator considers the student to have earned. It is the responsibility of the student to work with the course coordinator 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 faculty member teaching the course. When students drop a course, faculty record the withdrawal from the course and the last date of student attendance in Banner. Faculty notify the Program Director, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and the student’s advisor regarding the course change. The advisor and student develop a new plan of study, sign the plan of study, and forward it to the Program Coordinator for inclusion in the student’s file. Courses in the College of Nursing are typically offered once per year. Individuals who withdraw from a course may not be able to progress to the next set of 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.
Leave of absences are granted in extenuating circumstances. The student should meet with the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, their advisor, and the concentration coordinator to determine whether it is feasible for the student to return to the program. Students who request a leave of absence for 6 months or longer may need to audit or re-take courses to provide foundational knowledge.
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-requested withdrawal or a withdrawal due to non-attendance by the student. Students should be aware that depending on the timing and nature of the requested change, 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 (http://catalog.uthsc.edu//content.php?navoid=298&catoid=4).
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 course faculty member. Auditing of clinical experiences is not allowed. The program director, faculty member and student discuss assignments to be completed by the student as part of the auditing process. With permission of the faculty member 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.
Leave of Absence, Withdrawal, and Readmission
Students are required to register for coursework each term once they have been admitted to the program. Requests for a leave of absence should be based upon compelling nonacademic reasons. Short term leave, less than one week in duration, for illness, accident, bereavement, or other personal matters, may be granted by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs upon recommendation of course faculty and program director. A plan to remediate learning activities must be agreed upon in writing (official UTHSC email is acceptable) by the program director and student. An extended leave of absence may be granted for up to a 6 month period of time when the college recommends/requires a student leave, or the student requests leave due to medical events or conditions, family leave, or military service. In certain circumstances, such as in cases in which a student is required to repeat an academic year, the actual leave period may be greater than 6 months. The student is considered to be “withdrawn” from the university during an extended leave of absence. An extended leave of absence requires approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Requests for a leave of absence may be denied, requiring the student to seek readmission.
Return after an extended leave requires approval of the program director and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; and for absences longer than 6 months, the student may be required to reapply for admission. Such admission is not granted automatically and is dependent on the student’s academic and disciplinary records and space availability. Special considerations will be given to veterans requesting return after completing military service. Students who withdraw from classes will be considered withdrawn from the university.
A “Change of Student Status” form must be completed when a student is dismissed, secures an approved leave of absence, or officially withdraws from the program. When a leave of absence is granted, the form must be completed to assure appropriate administrative offices are notified of the leave of absence or withdrawal of the student. The student contacts the college’s Office of Academic Affairs and discusses the reason for the withdrawal request. The student completes their portion of the “Change of Student Status Form”. The Academic Affairs Coordinator notifies the Registrar’s Office of the student withdrawal. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs completes the Change of Student Status Form for submission to the Registrar, 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 readmission. If the student anticipates returning to the program, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs records an anticipated return date, whether reapplication is required, and request for student to retain their UT identification and student number, access to Blackboard and email as appropriate, 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 Academic Affairs Coordinator submits the signed forms to the Registrar for processing. In the event of a dismissal, a copy of the dismissal letter is provided to the Registrar.
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 course instructor, program director and 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 instructor and program director as soon as possible.
It is the course instructor 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 instructor or program director cannot reach an agreement regarding reasonable accommodations, the student may request a review of the request by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Nursing.. The decision of the 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, http://catalog.uthsc.edu//content.php?navoid=298&catoid=4), 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. Yearly drug screenings are conducted as part of the matriculation criteria. The student is responsible for payment of such testing. In addition, agencies may 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 (http://catalog.uthsc.edu//content.php?navoid=298&catoid=4). 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, 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.
- If the student feels comfortable addressing the matter directly, the student should attempt to explain his/her concerns to the offending individual.
- 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.
- 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.
In accordance with College of Nursing test policy, students in the BSN and MSN programs must have an average of 75% on all tests in order to successfully complete the course. The test grade average is a weighted grade. Papers, projects, learning modules, etc. may not be used to pass a course. The weighted test grade average will be obtained first and then other grades added, provided the student has at least a 75% test average.
The BSN and MSN Programs have adopted a no make-up test policy. Students are expected to take tests as scheduled. Any student who will be absent from an examination must notify faculty as soon as possible. There will be no make-up exam. Instead, the weight of the first missed test will be added to the final exam.
Students taking exams agree to abide by the Honor Code. In the prelicensure BSN and MSN program, the majority of exams are proctored with the exams taken in the UTSHC computer center. For the post-licensure programs (RN-BSN, BSNs enrolled in the MSN-CNL program, DNP program) a mix of unproctored and proctored exams are given. The majority of exams in the post-licensure programs are administered through Blackboard or ExamSoft and are time-limited.
Standardized Tests: Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI) Testing
Students enrolled in select courses in the BSN and MSN Programs are required to complete RN Content Mastery Exams from Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI). Results of the ATI exams are used to provide feedback to students and educators to predict competency in specific content areas, predict success on the RN licensure exam, and to guide focused review. Students scoring below a Level 2 are required to meet with course faculty and their advisor to develop a remediation plan. Students complete a comprehensive ATI exam in preparation for the nursing licensing examination.
Student Identification and Dress Code
All students are required to wear the UT identification badges that are made during registration. 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 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 or videoconferencing sessions 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.