Mary Black School of nursing

Undergraduate Student Handbook 2018-2019

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School of Nursing (SON)

From the Dean

Dear Nursing Student,

Congratulations on your acceptance to the Upper Division of the Mary Black School of Nursing at the University of South Carolina.  We wholeheartedly welcome you!  On behalf of the faculty we are excited you have chosen Nursing as your career path and that you have chosen our school to provide you with your educational foundation.  

The Mary Black School of Nursing at Upstate is nationally recognized for excellence and accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).  We are widely respected as a leading institution of higher education in the Upstate and beyond.  Your education here will prepare you for a wide variety of roles in the profession of nursing as well as graduate studies when you choose to advance your skills.  

Nurses are integral partners in the health care team and play a major role in the ever transforming delivery of health care.  The advances in technology and research have revolutionized how we care for our patients; and our educational offerings are exciting and innovative to adequately prepare you to become an active and productive member of the health care team.

We look forward to having you as a student and hope your experience at Upstate is personally and professionally rewarding for you.  The faculty and I are here to assist you in your success.

Sincerely,

Katherine M. Gibb, EdD, MSN, RN

MBSON History

The Mary Black School of Nursing is named in honor of Mrs. Mary Black Phillips and the late Miss Rosa Black in appreciation for the generosity of the Black Family for their role in securing funds for the building that houses the School of Nursing.  The School began offering the Associate Degree in Technical Nursing in 1967 with the beginning of the University.  This program closed in 2005.  The Bachelor of Science in Nursing program began in 1977 as an upper division program for registered nurses.  In 1986, the first generic four year track began.  In 2003 the University of South Carolina Upstate opened an additional campus for the University in Greenville, South Carolina at the University Center of Greenville (UCG).  Classrooms, computer laboratories, a learning resource center and faculty offices support the undergraduate program at the Greenville site.  In 2008, the Mary Black School of Nursing, Spartanburg campus, moved its offices and classrooms to the new Health Education Complex on North Campus Boulevard.  In spring 2013 the Mary Black School of Nursing received approval from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education for a Master in Science degree with an emphasis on the Clinical Nurse Leader and classes began fall 2014.

Vision, Mission and Philosophy

Mary Black School of Nursing Vision

Mary Black School of Nursing (MBSON) will become one of the Southeast's leading schools of nursing in a metropolitan university.  Students, graduates, and faculty of MBSON will be recognized at local, state, national and international levels as having a positive effect on the health of diverse individuals, families and communities of Upstate South Carolina through excellence in teaching, scholarship and professional service.

Mary Black School of Nursing Mission

Nursing, as part of the University of South Carolina Upstate, is to serve the citizens of the Upstate South Carolina by providing educational programs in nursing that are of the highest quality.  Programs offered at the Mary Black School of Nursing use a variety of teaching modalities and foster inter-institutional articulation for students who are diverse in background, age, race, ethnicity, gender, educational experiences and needs.  Programs are founded upon strong partnerships with the community, including health care organizations and health care providers in Upstate South Carolina.  The faculty of the Mary Black School of Nursing are committed to excellence in teaching, advising and in providing experiential learning opportunities that empower students to become competent professionals who give high quality nursing care to diverse populations.  The faculty provides leadership in addressing nursing educational needs and in promoting the health and welfare of the citizens of South Carolina through educational outreach, scholarship and professional service.

Philosophy

Baccalaureate nursing education at the Mary Black School of Nursing prepares individuals for professional nursing practice to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond.  The Baccalaureate Nursing Program's philosophy reflects the vision, mission and goals of the University of South Carolina Upstate and the Mary Black School of Nursing.  This philosophy includes the faculty's beliefs about human beings, the environment, health, the nursing profession, baccalaureate nursing education, the teaching-learning process, and characteristics of the professional nurse.  

The faculty believes that human beings (individuals, families, groups, aggregates, and communities) are complex, interrelated, and interdependent open systems composed of multiple subsystems.  Humans are integral with and cannot be separated from their environment.  They continuously receive and process inputs from their environment and provide outputs to that environment.  Outputs are the result of the transformation of inputs and are influenced by a human's biological, cognitive, psychological, social, cultural, and spiritual subsystems.  Human beings strive to achieve higher levels of functioning and complexity through developmental processes.  Human beings are greater than and different from the sum of their parts.  This holistic view of human beings focuses on the dynamic interaction, pattern, organizations, and relationship of subsystems and supra-systems.

The faculty believes that environmental concerns are global in nature.  The environment includes but is not limited to the political, social, economic, technologic, genetic, and ecological systems that influence or are influenced by human beings.  The environment is the context in which nursing occurs.

The faculty believes that health is a dynamic process constantly changing and existing on a continuum of wellness to illness from birth to end-of-life.  The mutual interaction of biological, cognitive, psychological, social, cultural, and spiritual subsystems results in health.  Culturally based beliefs, values and lifestyles, nature and social environments, genetic background, and developmental level all affect the client's experience and definition of health.  Optimal wellness is achieved through self-care behaviors, partnerships with families and communities, and interventions with health care providers.

The faculty believes that nursing, a subsystem of the health care delivery system, is an open system.  The score of professional nursing practice includes health promotion, maintenance, restoration, rehabilitation, as well as the prevention and detection of health alterations.  Caring is integral to professional nursing practice and extends to self and others in the provision of humanistic health care.  Professional nursing practice is both a caring art and an applied science based upon synthesis of knowledge from nursing and the liberal arts and sciences.  Through partnerships, nursing creates a sociopolitical force that promotes and enhances health and health care.

The faculty believes that teaching-learning occurs from interactions and transactions between and among students, faculty, and clients.  Learners are diverse in their biological, cognitive, psychological, social, cultural, and spiritual characteristics.  Learning is a continuous process facilitated by self-assessment, technology, and a variety of teaching methods that accommodate diverse learning styles and individual learning needs.

The faculty believes that baccalaureate nursing education is broad-based and consists of professional nursing, liberal arts, and science courses.  The baccalaureate program prepares the student to synthesize, think critically, and make clinical judgments within ethical, moral, and legal frameworks.  The program provides opportunities for students to assume responsibility for the total scope of nursing practice for diverse individuals, families, groups, aggregates, and community clients in structured and unstructured settings.  Students learn to function in a variety of roles such as: providers of care, consumers of research, collaborators, advocates, educators, leaders, and managers.  The goal of baccalaureate nursing education is to prepare innovative leaders in nursing practice.  It prepares students to integrate cutting-edge knowledge such as genetics, environmental health, and community-focused health care.  Baccalaureate nursing education prepares students to access, critique, and examine research for its implications and utilization in evidence-based nursing practice and provides the foundation for graduate education in nursing.

The faculty believes that the baccalaureate graduate synthesizes and applies broad knowledge from the liberal arts, sciences, and nursing to provide theoretical and evidence-based nursing care.  Drawing upon cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains of learning, the professional nurse uses critical thinking strategies to provide holistic care to diverse clients with simple and/or complex health needs.  The professional nurse is accountable for nursing care and acts in independent, interdependent, and dependent roles to provide and coordinate health care.  The use of complex communication skills by the baccalaureate graduate facilitates interpersonal relationships and enhances therapeutic nursing interventions to effect change.  Through life-long learning, the professional nurse incorporates new knowledge and technologies to improve care and advance nursing practice.  The baccalaureate graduate, as a leader and responsible citizen, creates the social, economic, and political systems that impact global health.

Program Description

Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program (BSN)

This professional program prepares graduates to assume entry-level positions in a variety of health care settings.  The program is divided into two components, entry as a pre-nursing major focused on meeting course pre-requisites and entry as a nursing major focused on the clinical and didactic portions of the nursing curriculum.  Required pre-nursing courses provide a broad background in general education and form the foundation for the professional nursing component of the program.  Courses taken in the last two years of the program provide the theoretical and practical basis for nursing practice in an increasingly complex health care system.  In addition to focusing on the essentials of nursing in the hospital, the curriculum also emphasizes community based and primary care.  Opportunities to provide care to diverse clients are provided.  Use of technology is integrated throughout the program.  The program prepares graduates for professional positions immediately after graduation and provides a firm foundation for graduate study.  Students who earn the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree are eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX).

Bachelor's Degree for Registered Nurses (RN-BSN)

Registered nurses who have previously earned diplomas or associate degrees in nursing are admitted to the undergraduate program to meet requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.  Students are to complete all degree requirements on a full time basis in one calendar year of student.  The School of Nursing awards 33 hours of validated nursing credit to each registered nurse for past nursing courses.

Learning Objectives

Individuals who complete the baccalaureate program of the Mary Black School of Nursing are prepared to provide humanistic, holistic, and culturally sensitive care to diverse client systems composed of individuals of all ages, families, groups, aggregates, and communities.  The Baccalaureate Graduate practices professional  nursing care in structured and unstructured settings.

At the completion of the junior year, the student will be:

  1. critical thinker who applies knowledge from the sciences and humanities to patient care situations using the nursing process.
  2. An effective communicator who uses therapeutic communication within the nurse-patient relationship and demonstrates clarity in writing skills, well-supported by credible literature evidence.
  3. competent provider  of nursing care who designs, implements, and evaluates nursing care to meet the needs of individuals and families.
  4. professional role model who respects the privacy, dignity, and autonomy of clients and families and demonstrates personal honesty and accountability.  

At the completion of the BSN program, the graduate will be:

  1. critical thinker who uses clinical nursing judgment and ethical decision-making to design/manage/coordinate nursing care based on evidence and current research, a broad knowledge base, and standards of nursing practice.
  2. An effective communicator who uses various modalities to provide caring, competent, and holistic nursing care to diverse populations across the lifespan.
  3. competent provider of nursing care who delivers safe, holistic, therapeutic interventions with individuals, families, and communities in a variety of clinical settings.
  4. professional role model who assumes responsibility and accountability for personal and professional behaviors, ethical practice, and client advocacy.

Policies and Procedures

Core Performance Standards & Functional Abilities for Admission & Progression

The following core performance standards and minimal functional abilities based upon the Southern Council on Collegiate Education for Nursing core performance will be made available to all potential student applicants to the nursing programs; all nursing faculty, staff, and students; the South Carolina State Board for Nursing and the National League for Nursing; and all agencies where clinical practicums occur. All applicants and continuing students must meet the core performance standards and functional abilities.

Standard 1. CRITICAL THINKING AND RELATED MENTAL ABILITIES: Must have critical thinking ability sufficient for clinical judgment. Examples of necessary functional abilities associated with this standard include (not an all-inclusive list): Has the ability to interpret, investigate, communicate, and comprehend complex situations; identify cause and effect relative to clinical situations ability to make decisions and assess situations under varying degrees of stress; must be able to read and comprehend detailed charts, reports, journal articles, books, etc.; capable of performing all arithmetic functions (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, ratios, and simple algebraic equations).

Standard 2. COMMUNICATION AND INTERPERSONAL ABILITIES: Must be able to read, write, speak and comprehend English with sufficient skill to communicate effectively verbally and nonverbally. Must have interpersonal abilities sufficient to interact with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds. Examples of necessary functional abilities associated with the standard include (not all inclusive): Has the ability to establish rapport with clients and their families, peers, agency personnel, and faculty; explain treatment procedures; initiate health teaching; and document and interpret nursing actions and client responses.

Standard 3. PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES: Must have physical abilities sufficient to move from room to room and maneuver in small spaces and gross and fine motor abilities sufficient to provide safe and effective nursing care. Examples of necessary functional abilities associated with the standard include (not all inclusive): able to move around in client’s room, work spaces, treatment areas and administer CPR; calibrate and use equipment; position and transfer clients; capable of lifting up to 50 pounds independently; capable of pushing up to 200 pounds independently; capable of reaching 18 inches above head without the use of mechanical devices to elevate themselves; capable of sitting, standing, walking for extended periods of time; experience no limitations when bending, stooping, sitting, standing, walking (i.e., uses no mechanical devices to assist themselves which would impede the safety of a client); ability to move to and respond to an emergency situation in a timely manner; and able to document in a clear legible manner.

Standard 4. HEARING: Auditory ability sufficient to monitor and assess health needs. Examples of necessary functional abilities associated with this standard include (not all inclusive): Able to hear auscultatory sounds, monitor alarms, and emergency signals; able to hear soft whispers of clients and families; able to tolerate loud noise for extended periods of time. Assistive devices must correct hearing to this degree and must be worn at all times during practicums. 

Standard 5. VISUAL: Must have the visual ability sufficient for observation, assessment, and intervention necessary for nursing care. Examples of necessary functional abilities associated with this standard include (not all inclusive): Observe client responses, accurately read equipment, gauges, and monitors; vision correctable to 20/40, normal depth perception, and ability to distinguish colors; and ability to tolerate offensive visual situations.

Standard 6. SMELL: Smelling ability sufficient to monitor and assess health needs. Examples of necessary functional abilities associated with this standard include (not all inclusive): Have ability to differentiate between various types of smells and odors, and ability to tolerate offensive odors.

Electronic Devices

ELECTRONIC DEVICES
Electronic devices such as cell phones and smart watches must be turned off during class. You must speak with the Instructor prior to class for an emergency situation or extenuating circumstances for permission to utilize these devices. All devices must be placed at the front or rear of the classroom during any testing.  There will be no exceptions for any reason. Students must adhere to the clinical agency policy regarding the use of these devices.

Honor Code

Cheating will not be tolerated. Refer to The Code of Academic Integrity located in the USC Upstate Student Handbook. Examples of cheating include:

  • Any conduct during a program, course, quiz, or examination that involves the unauthorized use of written or oral information, or information obtained by any other means of communication.
  • The buying, selling, sharing of questions or theft of any examination or quiz prior to its administration.
  • The unauthorized use of any electronic or mechanical device during any program, course, quiz or examination or in connection with laboratory reports or other materials related to academic performance.
  • The unauthorized use of notes, laboratory reports, term reports, theses and written materials in whole or part.
  • The unauthorized collaboration on any test, assignment or project.

To preserve the integrity of the testing process, students are expected to abide by the following testing guidelines.  All student belongings are to be placed in the back of the room at the Greenville campus and in the front of the room at the Spartanburg campus.  Electronic devices are to be powered off. Hats and watches are not allowed during testing. Water bottles are to be placed on the floor. Students may only have a writing utensil at their computer/desk and one piece of blank paper that can used be as scratch paper during the test, if indicated by the instructor(s). The blank paper will be checked by the instructor(s) prior to the start of the test.  Prior to and during testing, the area should remain quiet so that fellow students can concentrate. When taking tests on the computer, students are not allowed to access any other websites.  Once the test is completed, students are to exit the computer program and turn in their scratch paper to the instructor(s).

USC UPSTATE STUDENT HANDBOOK and THE CODE of ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY

Student Appeals Procedures

The University of South Carolina Upstate is committed to the judicious, fair, and impartial resolution of a conflict between faculty members and students. The University is also committed to a judicious, fair, and impartial review of petitions from students who seek relief from university regulations related to academic decisions or policies.
These procedures do not extend to matters of grading student work where the substance of a complaint is simply the student’s disagreement with the grade placed on work. A student shall discuss such matters with the faculty; final authority shall remain with the faculty in matters of evaluating student work.
All decisions regarding grade changes at any step in the process are in the form of recommendations only. Only the faculty member who initiated the grade in question can change grades.
The following process is designed to provide an objective review of student complaints regarding academic grievances.

A. General Guidelines for Undergraduate Students:

  1. For a student who believes he or she has been treated unfairly or improperly during a fall semester, the student grievance process must be initiated prior to the following March 1. For a student who believes he or she has been treated unfairly or improperly during a spring semester, or a summer session the grievance process must be initiated prior to the following October 1.
  2. Those concerned will make every reasonable effort to honor all deadlines and time lines. However, individuals involved in the grievance process should take into account that conditions may exist which preclude strict adherence to the suggested time lines.
  3. All submissions to all levels of appeal and all responses must be submitted in writing on the Academic Grievance Form. An Academic Grievance Form for submitting an appeal is available in the Office of the Registrar, in the Office of Academic Affairs, and in each Dean’s office.
  4. The grievance must follow, in sequence, the procedures-outlined. If a resolution of a grievance is not forthcoming, or the time for a written response has expired, the student may wish to continue the process by forwarding the grievance to the next level. Grievance forms that have not been submitted through the proper sequence of decision-makers will not be reviewed. Students may withdraw their grievance at any time.
  5. The student may be asked for additional information or may request the opportunity to appear and discuss the appeal as the grievance is reviewed at that level.
  6. Final authority shall remain with the faculty member in matters of evaluating student work.

B. The grievance process when the grievance involves admissions, academic suspension, or financial aid

  1. If the initial grievance concerns admissions to the university, the student contacts the Admissions Office. The Admissions Office advises the student of the appeal process involving the Admissions and Petitions Committee.
  2. If the initial grievance concerns admission to an academic program, the student contacts the dean of the school or college in which admission is being sought. The dean advises the student of the appeal process involving admission to a specific academic program.
  3. If the initial grievance concerns an academic suspension policy, the student contacts the Records Office. The Records Office advises the student of the appeal process involving the Admissions and Petitions Committee.
  4. If the initial grievance concerns a financial aid policy, the student contacts the Financial Aid Office. The Financial Aid Office advises the student of the appeal process involving the Student Financial Aid Committee.

C. The grievance process when the initial decision-maker is a faculty member or a faculty committee.

  1. Grievances should not be filed when the substance of a complaint is simply the student’s disagreement with the evaluation of the student’s work. Final authority shall remain with the faculty in matters of evaluating student work.
  2. The student must first discuss the complaint with the initial decision maker or faculty committee involved for resolution. The purpose of this meeting is to attempt to reach a mutual understanding of the student’s situation and the faculty member’s actions and to resolve differences in an informal, cooperative manner.
  3. If there is no resolution, the student should complete the Academic Grievance Form and submit it to the faculty member or to the Student Affairs committee for the Mary Black School of Nursing. The faculty member or Student Affairs committee must create an Academic Grievance Folder containing the Academic Grievance Form. All related documentation must be added to this folder through all levels of the grievance process.
  4. The Student Affairs committee will address the appeal at the next scheduled meeting. If resolution is not forthcoming within 10 calendar days after the committee meeting, the student may proceed to the next step.
  5. The student may appeal to the Associate Dean on the Spartanburg campus or the Assistant Dean on the Greenville campus of the academic area where the grieved decision originated. The appeal to this individual must be submitted by the student within 5 calendar days after the response from the initial decision-maker. If resolution is not forthcoming within 10 calendar days after submission of the Academic Grievance Form, the student may proceed to the next step.
  6. The student may submit to the Dean a written intent to appeal to an Academic Grievance Panel. Within 5 calendar days of receipt of the written appeal, the dean shall appoint three faculty to an Academic Grievance Panel. Within 15 calendar days of appointment, the Academic Grievance Panel shall gather all relevant material, convene the panel and make its recommendation to the dean. The Chair of the Academic Grievance Panel will notify the student, faculty member, Associate Dean on the Spartanburg campus or the Assistant Dean on the Greenville campus, and dean of the decision of the panel. If resolution is not forthcoming within 15 calendar days after appointment of Academic Grievance Panel, the student may appeal to the next step.
  7. The student may appeal to the dean of the appropriate school or college in which the grieved decisions originated. If resolution is not forthcoming within 10 calendar days after submission of the Academic Grievance Form, the student may proceed to the next step.
  8. The student may appeal to the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The appeal must take place within 5 calendar days of the decision by the Academic Grievance Panel. The Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs has ten calendar days to respond to the student and forward copies of that response to all individual's involved at all prior levels of appeal.
  9. Further appeal may be made to the Chancellor, the President of the University of South Carolina, and the Board of Trustees in accordance with university policies, procedures, and bylaws.

D. The grievance process when the initial decision-maker is the dean

  1. The student may submit an Academic Grievance Form to the dean or the dean’s designee of the appropriate school of college where the academic decision or policy dispute resides. If resolution is not forthcoming within 10 calendar days after submission of the Academic Grievance Form, the student may proceed to the next step.
  2. The student may appeal to the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The appeal must take place within 5 calendar days of the decision by the dean. The Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs has 10 calendar days to respond to the student and forward copies of that response to all individual's at each level.
  3. If resolution is not forthcoming, within 10 calendar days, further appeal may be made to the Chancellor, the President of the University of South Carolina, and the Board of Trustees in accordance with university policies, procedures, and by-laws. Appeal forms are available in the administrative offices.

Student Forms

Advisement Policy

The responsibility for completion of requirements for the degree lies with the student. Students and their major advisor are responsible for evaluating progress toward the degree and for interpreting and applying major requirements. All students must be advised prior to registration. For academic advisement, each student is assigned a faculty advisor in the School of Nursing and posted in SSC under the “View Student Information” link under the Student Records menu.

Procedure for Advisement

Each semester students should communicate with their advisor about academic plans. They should plan to meet with their advisor at least once each semester to discuss and update their file. A student should consult with the assigned advisor before dropping or adding a course so that curriculum requirements are met and the program of study is completed in a timely manner. Faculties' office hours are posted outside their office and during advisement week additional hours will be offered to accommodate students for advisement. If the hours posted are not convenient, it is the student’s responsibility to contact his/her advisor (email, telephone) and arrange an acceptable time.

During pre-registration/advisement, students must meet with the assigned advisor or attend a group advisement session to select appropriate courses and plan their schedule for the subsequent semester. Prior to the advisement appointment the student should consult the online schedule of courses and determine a tentative schedule. Once the advisement is completed, the advisement hold will be removed and the student can register for the selected courses. The student must also meet with the advisor the semester prior to the anticipated graduation semester to ensure that all courses required for the degree are included on the official transcript.

Upper Division Progression Policy
  1. Nursing courses are sequential, and any student who fails to take nursing courses in sequence cannot progress in the program.
  2. Students must achieve a grade of “C” or higher in every nursing course to progress in the program.
  3. Students who earn less than a “C” will be required to repeat that course prior to enrolling in any subsequent course. Students who then earn a second grade below “C” in any nursing course will be permanently dismissed from the program.
  4. Students are allowed two attempts to successfully complete nursing courses. Withdrawal from a nursing course for any reason in which a grade is assigned including (W) or (WF) will count as one attempt in the course. A second attempt to take the same course will exhaust the student's repeat option.
  5. Students who earn a grade less than C in any nursing course or receive a W or WF will be required to repeat that course earning a C or better prior to enrolling in any subsequent course. Students can enroll in or continue in courses that are on the same level as long as the course that needs to be repeated is not a prerequisite or co-requisite. All 300-level courses must be completed satisfactorily before enrolling in any 400-level courses.
  6. Students must complete the program of required nursing course within four years of initial entry into the program. Students who exceed the four year time limit will be dismissed from the program.
Grading Scale

The grading scale for all nursing courses in the baccalaureate program at USC Upstate is:

A 92-100     B 85-88     C 75-81     D 65-71
B+   89-91 C+   82-84 D+   72-74 F   below 65


Successful completion of nursing courses require that students earn a 75% cumulative average on unit and final exams. Failure to attain these results will lead to a course failure. Students must consult their syllabi for full details for each course.

The final grade will be rounded using the tenth place only, except when the grade is a 74.5. Grades will not be rounded up so that a student can pass a course. (Example: If the final grade average is 92.5, the final grade will be rounded up to 93. If the final grade average is 92.45, the final grade will remain 92.

Dress Code

Personal appearance is a critical factor in the professional image of a baccalaureate nurse. The approved student uniform is versatile to meet the appropriate requirements of clinical facilities. Unless otherwise stated, students are required to wear the official uniform while in the clinical area.

Uniform Requirements

  • Long black scrub pants and a black belt if needed
  • An embroidered green scrub top
  • A white laboratory coat (long sleeves, medium length) is to be worn with the uniform.
  • If a student wished (s)he may wear a long sleeve black shirt under the scrub top for warmth
  • Scrub tops must be purchased from the university bookstore with “The School of Nursing” and “USC Upstate” embroidered on the left front of the scrub top.  Pants and lab coats are also available in the university bookstore.
  • Plain, black professional shoes should be worn.  Students may wear all black athletic shoes with no other color.  Black socks should be worn with the black shoes.
  • In order to maintain consistency in appearance, students are required to purchase lab coats from the same manufacturer. However, students can purchase the lab coat from any vendor they choose. The information for the manufacturer and item number are listed below. 

Lab Coat Specifications

  • Men should wear a white, 3 pocket lab coat that is 30” in length. META Labwear #15103
  • Women should wear a white, 3 pocket lab coat that is 28” in length. META Labwear # 15104
  • The Baccalaureate Program emblem is purchased from the USC Upstate Bookstore and sewn on the lab coat on the left sleeve 1 1/2 inches from the shoulder seam on the jacket.
  • The nametag is worn on the left side of the front of the jacket (or moved to the left side of the scrub top when the jacket is removed).  BSN name tags are obtained from Anderson Stamp and Engraving.

Other

  • Hairstyle (must be clean, neat, and off the collar) - no feathers or non-human colors are acceptable
  • Beards must be short and neatly trimmed
  • Jewelry (singular, small non-dangling earrings are acceptable; nose, lips, eyebrow, excessive ear and/or tongue piercing are not considered professional and are not allowed in the clinical area); all visible tattoos must be covered; no bracelets; wedding rings must be a flat band with no engravings.
  • Fingernails (short, no artificial, no tips, no polish) and cologne/perfume (none)
  • Casual dress (in designated areas)
Unsafe/Safe Practice

The following may be considered as unsafe practice by students:

  1. Failure to use nursing process effectively, demonstrated by such behaviors as lack of knowledge of the client’s diagnoses, treatments or medications; failure to follow safety precautions for client, acts of omission, including the documentation of care.
  2. Attending any class, clinical, or lab while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  3. Failure to recognize the influence of own attitudes and behavior on the care of clients.
  4. Deliberately giving false or inaccurate information regarding nursing care.
  5. Failure to assume responsibility for completing nursing care.
  6. Performing interventions without adequate preparation or needed supervision.

The consequences of unsafe behavior are determined by the nature of the behavior exhibited and the situation in which it occurs.

  1. Unsafe practice may result in immediate failure.
  2. Students may be sent home for the clinical day and given an unexcused absence.
  3. Repeated unsafe behaviors or failure to correct an unsafe behavior will result in failure. The student will not be allowed to continue in the clinical practicum and must withdraw from the co requisite didactic nursing course

A student may fail a clinical course prior to the completion of the course under certain circumstances. A student whose conduct is judged to be unsafe may be dismissed at any time from a clinical unit. Unsafe performance is defined as behavior that is actually or potentially injurious to patients or staff and is out of the range of ordinary student mistakes. Dismissal for the remainder of the course results in a failing grade for the course as does any failure to meet course objectives. 

Grievous Behavior Policy 

Students whose behavior in the clinical setting is judged to be both unsafe, inappropriate and detrimental to patients, staff and other students including any violation of their patient's confidentiality (HIPAA) will receive a failing grade in the course and be released from the program and required to withdraw from all courses within the School of Nursing. This behavior will be assessed by both the instructor and Associate dean and/or dean and the student will be notified verbally and in writing. Violation of a patient’s confidentiality HIPAA may result in removal from a course or from the program. 

Criminal Record Background Checks & Student Arrests

Criminal Background Checks

Clinical agencies are requiring all students to have a criminal background check (CBC). This CBC must be submitted at the time of admission to the upper division of the nursing program. The federal and state CBC policy for USC Upstate Mary Black School of Nursing has been developed based on DHEC procedures for Conducting State and Federal Criminal Background Checks for Direct Caregivers. If a student has been found guilty or has pleaded no contest to substance abuse, child or adult abuse, sexual assault, assault with a deadly weapon, neglect or mistreatment of residents/patients/clients or misappropriation of residents/patients/clients property, the facility cannot permit that student to work as a direct caregiver. The student assumes the cost of these requirements.

Student Arrest Policy

Students who are apprehended and/or charged by law enforcement agencies with criminal conduct on or off campus are required to inform the dean of students and the dean of the School of Nursing of such matters within five working days. Failure to do so may result in dismissal from the nursing program.

Substance Abuse & Drug and Alcohol Testing

I.  Required Adherence to University's Drug-Free Campus and Work Place Policy

The University is committed to maintain a drug-free workplace and academic environment; therefore, the use of illegal drugs by members of the School of Nursing community will not be tolerated. Accordingly, the University has adopted a Drug-Free Campus Policy that requires students attending or participating in University-sponsored activities to do so free from the presence of illegal drugs. All Mary Black School of Nursing students must become familiar with and comply with this university-wide policy, such as student nursing activities at affiliating clinical agencies. In addition, all students are subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws addressing illegal drug and alcohol use, which are briefly described in the above-mentioned policy, as well as in the University's Student Code of Conduct. The Mary Black School of Nursing Substance Abuse Policy and Drug/Alcohol Testing Policy, as described below, is intended to complement the University's Policy.

II. Purpose of Substance Abuse and Drug/Alcohol Testing Policy

For obvious health and safety concerns, nurses must conduct health care and educational activities fully in control of their manual dexterity and skills, mental faculties, and judgment. The presence or use of drugs or alcohol, lawful or otherwise, which interferes with the judgment or motor coordination of nursing students in a health care setting poses an unacceptable risk for patients, colleagues, the University, and affiliating clinical agencies. Preventing and/or detecting substance abuse, as defined below, is particularly critical in the Mary Black School of Nursing's Upper Division of the BSN program where students spend a considerable amount of time learning patient care in a variety of clinical settings. The School of Nursing recognizes its responsibility to endeavor to provide a safe, efficient academic environment for students and to cooperate with clinical agencies in providing for the safe and effective care of their patients during nursing students' clinical experiences in their facilities. Therefore, the following policy has been adopted to:

  1. Prescribe substance abuse and/or activities or behaviors that: a) are prohibited by the University's Drug-Free Campus Policy, or b) which may subject the involved student, other individuals, and the University to legal penalties or consequences, or c) which may cause a deterioration of the atmosphere and circumstances under which the care of patients and the nursing educational programs are conducted;
  2. Identify students in the upper division of the BSN program who may have a drug or alcohol-related impairment or conviction that may impact their ability to learn safe nursing care practices or that may create unacceptable risks for the University or clinical agencies in which students have clinical experiences;
  3. Cooperate with affiliating clinical agencies by requiring nursing students reporting to such agencies to consent voluntarily to allow those agencies to drug test the student in accordance with their policies, and to disclose any drug testing results to appropriate Mary Black School of Nursing officials.

III. Definitions of Terms Used in Policy

Drug testing means the scientific analysis of urine, blood, breath, saliva, hair, tissue, and other specimens of the human body for the purpose of detecting a drug or alcohol.

Illegal drug means any drug which is not legally obtainable; any drug which is legally obtainable but has not been legally obtained; any prescribed drug not legally obtained; any prescribed drug not being used for the prescribed purpose or by the person for whom it was prescribed; any over-the-counter drug being used at a dosage level other than that recommended by the manufacturer, or being used for a purpose other than the purpose intended by the manufacturer; and any drug being used for a purpose or by a person not in accordance with bona fide medical therapy. Examples of illegal drugs include, but are not limited to, stimulants, depressants, narcotic or hallucinogenic drugs, cannabis substances, such as marijuana and hashish, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, phencyclidine (PCP), and so-called designer drugs and look-alike drugs.

Impaired means that a person's mental or physical capabilities are reduced below their normal levels (with or without any reasonable accommodation for a disability). An impaired student manifests deterioration in the level of function as compared to that previously observed, or the student does not function at a level normally expected under the prevailing circumstances. Impairment may exist in one or more multiple domains, including psychomotor activity and skills, conceptual or factual recall, integrative or synthetic thought processes, judgment, attentiveness, demeanor and attitudes as manifested in speech or actions. Impairment will include addiction to and / or physical dependence upon chemical substances.

Nursing student means any individual formally enrolled in the Mary Black School of Nursing in pursuit of the BSN degree, including registered nurses (RN) and students taking courses via distance education, special students, either alone or in combination with any other degree, regardless of the specific location of the student.

Substance abuse means the manufacture, use, sale, purchase, distribution, transfer, or possession of an illegal drug by any nursing student while on University or affiliated clinical site premises or while participating in any University or affiliated clinical site- sponsored or related activity, including any nursing-related course or clinical training activity.

IV. Policy Requirements

Drug and Alcohol Prescriptions and Duty to Notify of Drug/Alcohol Convictions

  1. Substance abuse as defined in this policy, or a violation of any term of the University of South Carolina Upstate Campus policy while engaged in any clinical experience is strictly prohibited. All students enrolled in the Mary Black School of Nursing courses or programs are required to abide by these rules when reporting to nursing-related courses and clinical experiences and while at affiliating clinical agencies (including parking lots and grounds). Nursing students who violate these rules will be deemed to be unable to meet the essential qualifications/functions of the nursing curriculum.
  2. Under no circumstance should nursing students participate in nursing-related courses or clinical activities while they are impaired.
  3. Nursing students determined by appropriate Mary Black School of Nursing officials to have violated these prescriptions may be dismissed from the School of Nursing.
  4. A violation by any nursing student of any state or federal statute, or regulation established pursuant to such statute, pertaining to the manufacture, improper possession, sale, use, or distribution of a drug or alcohol is strictly prohibited. Such violation, if substantiated, will result in the student's dismissal from the Mary Black School of Nursing. A nursing student who fails to notify the Dean of the Mary Black School of Nursing within five days of an administrative action or legal conviction for any such violation will be subject to dismissal from the Mary Black School of Nursing.

Required Disclosure of Drug Use/Non-Use for Students in the Upper Division of the BSN Program

  1. Students in the Upper Division of the BSN program will be required to provide (among all other items of information) a signed statement that he or she does or does not engage in substance abuse activities as defined herein. Further, he or she must indicate any legal convictions pertaining to the manufacture, use, possession, sale or other distribution of illegal or legally controlled substances; pertaining to or related to the abuse of alcohol or any other chemical substance; and the consequences of any such conviction(s).
  2. Whenever a nursing student's academic or clinical performance is impaired, particularly in the clinical setting, the University reserves the right to require the student to submit to drug testing.
  3. Failure to provide the above required information, past legal convictions for activities related to illegal or legally controlled substances, and/or information or evidence that reasonably establishes a past pattern of chemical substance abuse will be grounds for dismissal from the program. However, prior convictions related to chemical substances will be considered along with all other information pertaining to the individual, and will not produce automatic dismissal from the program. Discovery that false or fraudulent or misleading information was provided prior to matriculation will be grounds for dismissal from the program.

Student's Agreement to Submit to Drug Testing by Affiliating Clinical Agencies and to Consent to Release of Test Results to College Officials

  1. For all affiliating clinical agencies which require nursing students to be subject to the agency's drug/alcohol testing policies (including but not limited to pre-employment or pre-clinical placement testing or when there is reasonable suspicion to believe that a student may be impaired or is or has been engaged in substance abuse as defined herein), the student may be tested in accordance with the affiliating agency's policies.
  2. Prior to being assigned to an affiliating clinical agency and as a pre-requisite for placement at any affiliating clinical agency, the nursing student shall sign a consent: a) to abide by the drug/alcohol policies and drug testing policies of each affiliating clinical agency in which a student is assigned; b) to submit to any drug/alcohol testing required by the affiliating clinical agency; and c) to release a copy of any and all drug/alcohol test results to the Mary Black School of Nursing Dean and/or other appropriate School of Nursing officials. Failure to sign such a consent shall be grounds for non-placement at an affiliating clinical agency and may result in a dismissal from the program.
  3. The cost of all drug/alcohol testing required by affiliating clinical agencies shall be borne by the student or affiliating clinical agency, as determined by the affiliating clinical agency. Neither the University nor the Mary Black School of Nursing, or any of its officers or employees, shall absorb drug/alcohol testing costs arising out of any nursing student's placement at an affiliating clinical agency.
  4. A positive substance abuse test shall result in delayed progression in the program on the basis that the student is not able to meet the course objectives for classroom and/or clinical experiences. In addition, the student will be reported to the Dean of Students in accord with University policy. The Dean of the Mary Black School of Nursing will notify a student who has a positive drug test. If a student tests positive for a prescribed drug, however, the person must obtain a written statement from a qualified physician stating that the drug level is within prescribed limits and that the level does not indicate abuse. The physician must indicate that the drug will not interfere with safe practice in the clinical area.
  5. A student's failure to submit to a required drug screen, or attempting to tamper with, contaminate, or switch a sample will result in the student not being allowed to meet objectives for the course; therefore, progression in the program will not be permitted.

The Drug Testing Procedure set forth below will be followed:

  1. Drug tests will be arranged by the Mary Black School of Nursing in accordance with clinical agency requirements.
  2. Tests will be conducted by a qualified laboratory in accordance with established methods and procedures. Confidentiality of the student as well as the validity of the sample will be protected by the testing facility. The procedure for collection as determined by the collection site will involve a witness to the voiding of the urine sample, securable urine containers, and chain of custody procedures that ensure that the samples identified to a nursing student actually contain materials from that student, that the samples are protected from tampering, and that the analysis of them is done in accordance with reasonable and accepted medical standards.
  3. The test shall screen for the use of drugs whose use is either illegal, or which are prone to abuse, as determined at the discretion of the Medical Review Officer of the testing facility, or for the use of any drugs which are reasonably suspected of being abused or used by the student.
  4. Presumed positives will be confirmed by the best currently available techniques. If the test is positive, the entirety of the available evidence, including health history, will be used to determine the presence or absence of substance abuse. Positive test results shall be documented in the student's nursing records in the Mary Black School of Nursing.
  5. The Dean of the Mary Black School of Nursing will be notified of all test results.  
  6. If the initial screening test is negative, that fact will be noted in the student's record. Unless there is compelling evidence to do otherwise, the preliminary investigation will cease and the student will be released from further action.  A nursing student will be dismissed from the Mary Black School of Nursing if the student refuses to submit to drug testing based upon reasonable suspicion.
  7. Licensed nursing students who refuse to submit to drug/alcohol testing or who have positive drug test results will also be reported to the appropriate state board of nursing. Full reinstatement of licensure will be required for an unrestricted return to the educational program.

Student Self Disclosure of Prohibited Substance Use

A student who self-identifies use of a prohibited substance and is requesting help to deal with the problem should contact the Dean of the Mary Black School of Nursing. The Dean will institute the drug testing procedure as described in this policy. The cost of all drug/alcohol testing required by the Mary Black School of Nursing shall be borne by the student. Neither the University of South Carolina Upstate or the Mary Black School of Nursing, or any of its officers or employees, shall absorb drug/alcohol testing cost arising out of any nursing student's placement at an affiliating clinical agency.
A student who has a positive test for prohibited substances will be denied progression in any program of the Mary Black School of Nursing. The student's name and test results will be sent to the Dean of Students at USC Upstate. The student will comply with all subsequent University policies and procedures (see Student Handbook). The student may re-enter the nursing program after 6 months, if subsequent drug testing is negative. The returning student will be subject to random drug screening in compliance with the University policy.

Confidentiality

All drug testing results will be treated by the Mary Black School of Nursing as information that is received in confidence and shall not be disclosed to third parties unless disclosure is required by law, the information is needed by appropriate school officials to perform their job functions, disclosure is needed to override public health and safety concerns, or the student has consented in writing to the release of the information. The School and the University shall have the right to use and disclose the results of drug testing required by this policy in connection with internal academic purposes and in connection with the defense of any student grievance and any claims filed by a student, or by his/her personal representative, in any court of law or with any state or federal administrative agency.

V.  Procedures for Readmission after Positive Drug Test

Readmission Prerequisites

A student who is denied progression in the Mary Black School of Nursing due to a positive drug test will be considered for readmission if the following conditions are met:

  1. Submission of a verifiable letter from the Counseling Services of USC Upstate or from a recognized drug treatment agency stating that the student has successfully completed a substance abuse program.
  2. Submission to a drug test prior to readmission. This drug test will be at the student's expense. A positive drug test will result in ineligibility for readmission.
  3. Submission to drug tests as requested by the Mary Black School of Nursing or clinical agencies after readmission, in accord with the policies of the University.

Incidence of Re-occurrence after Readmission

A student who is readmitted to the nursing program and thereafter tests positive for any drug/alcohol test or is otherwise determined to have engaged in substance abuse as defined herein will be permanently dismissed from the program and will be ineligible to return. Furthermore, the student will be ineligible to receive a letter of good standing from the nursing program.

Appeal Process

A nursing student may appeal the School decision to dismiss or not readmit a student through the established Grievance Procedure.

ATI Examination Policy

Mary Black School of Nursing has chosen ATI Competency Specialty Examinations as the standard measurement testing for its BSN program. ATI is a nationally recognized leader in testing of students to indicate not only learned content, but also mastery in subject matter.

Standardized testing assists students by determining strengths and weaknesses in content and application in each course. This allows a student to focus on their individual learning needs in each content area.

Varying courses will have ATI competency examinations as part of the grading and progression in the course. Students in these courses should check their Course Syllabus for information about testing and grading for the course. If you have any questions, please direct those to your course faculty.

Program Information

BSN Four-Year Track Curriculum
  Freshman Year                       
  Fall       Spring    
  English 101   3   English 102   3
  BIOL 243/L   4   BIOL 244/L   4
  Mathematics 120 or higher   3   History 101, 102, 105, or 106   3
  Computer Science 138   3   Psychology 101   3
  Elective   3   Elective   3
  Semester total   16   Semester total   16
               
  Sophomore Year            
  Fall       Spring    
  CHEM 109/L   4   BIOL 250/L   4
  Psychology 302   3   Foreign Language 101   3
  Speech 201/R   3   Statistics   3
  Fine Arts   3   Nutrition   3
  Pathophysiology   3   Semester total   13
   Semester total   16        
               
  Junior Year            
  First Semester       Second Semester    
  NURS 306 Intro to Professional Nursing   3   NURS 330 Health Alterations I   6
  NURS 310 Health Assessment   3   NURS 330P Health Alt. I Practicum   0
  NURS 320 Foundations of Nursing   3   NURS 340 Nursing of Childbearing Families   5
  NURS 320P Foundations Practicum   3   NURS 340P Nsg. of Childbearing Practicum   0
  NURS 375 Pharmacology   3   NURS 360 Child Health Nursing   5
  Semester total   15   NURS 360P Child Health Nsg. Practicum   0
          Semester total   16
  Senior Year            
  First Semester       Second Semester    
  NURS 410 Health Alterations II    6   NURS 450 Health Alterations III   5
  NURS 410P Health Alt. II Practicum    0   NURS 450P Health Alt III Practicum   0
  NURS 425 Evidence-Based Practice    3   NURS 461 Community & Public Health   6
  NURS 430 Leadership in Nsg. Practice    3   NURS 461P Com. & Pub. Health Practicum   0
  NURS 441 Psychiatric Mental Health Nsg.    6   NURS 497 Issues in Professional Nursing   2
  NURS 441P Psyc Mental Health Practicum    0   NURS 499P Senior Practicum in Prof. Nsg.   3
  Semester total   18   Semester total   16
               
          Total Hours Required   126
               
BSN Four-Year Track: Part-Time Curriculum
Junior Year Nursing Courses
               
First Semester       Second Semester      
NURS 306 Intro to Prof Nursing   3       NURS 310 Health Assessment   3  
NURS 375 Pharmacology   3   NURS 320 Foundations of Nursing   3  
Semester total   6   NURS 320P Foundations of Nsg Practicum   3  
        Semester total   9  
               
Third Semester       Fourth Semester      
NURS 330 Health Alterations I   6   NURS 340 Nursing of Childbearing Families   5  
NURS 330P Health Alt. I Practicum   0   NURS 340P Nsg of Childbearing Fam Practicum   0  
Semester total   6   NURS 360 Child Health Nursing   5  
        NURS 360P Child Health Nursing Practicum   0  
        Semester total   10  
               
Senior Year Nursing Courses
               
Fifth Semester       Sixth Semester      
NURS 410 Health Alterations II   6   NURS 430 Leadership   3  
NURS 410P Health Alt. II Practicum   0   NURS 441 Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing   6  
NURS 425 Evidence-Based Practice   3   NURS 441P Psyc Mental Health Nsg Practicum   0  
Semester total   9   Semester total   9  
               
Seventh Semester       Eighth Semester      
NURS 450 Health Alterations III   5   NURS 461 Community & Public Health Nursing   6  
NURS 450P Health Alt. III Practicum   0   NURS 461P Com. & Pub. Health Practicum   0  
Semester Total   5   NURS 497 Issues in Professional Nursing   2  
        NURS 499P Senior Practicum in Prof. Nsg.   3 (+124 clock hours)
        Semester total   11  
               
RN-BSN Curriculum
Prerequisite Credit:    
General Education Support Courses, Electives   61
Advanced Placement Credit for ADN Courses   33
     
Nursing Courses    
NURS 310 Health Assessment   3
NURS 350 Professional Nursing Role Transition   3
NURS 420 Current Topics in Nursing - A   3
NURS 420 Current Topics in Nursing - B   3
NURS 425 Evidence-Bsed Practice   3
NURS 427 Informatics   3
NURS 428 Quality Initiatives   3
NURS 430 Leadership in Nursing Practice   3
NURS 461 Community & Public Health Nursing   6
NURS 461P Com & Pub Health Practicum   0
NURS497 Issues in Professional Nursing   2
Total Hours Required   126
Organizations and Committees

USC UPSTATE Student Nurses Association
The Student Nurses Association (SNA) is a local chapter of the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA). The NSNA is the only national organization for nursing students and the largest independent student organization in the United States. Membership to the SNA and NSNA is open to all students in programs leading to initial licensure as a registered nurse. There are national, state and local dues. 

Sigma Theta Tau
The Mu Rho Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society in Nursing, was established in March 8, 1992. The purposes of the organization are to recognize the achievement of scholarship of superior quality, to recognize the development of leadership qualities, to foster high professional standards, to encourage and support research and other creative work in nursing, and to strengthen commitment on the part of individuals to the ideas and purposes of the profession of nursing.  

SON Committee Responsibilities/Class Representatives
Students may be selected to serve as the class representatives for the academic school year. The specific number of students required is based on the membership composition for each committee. Students serve on the following SON committees: Student Affairs, Assessment Committee, and Curriculum Committee.

Student Awards

For the following awards, faculty will nominate and vote for students in each of the categories of honors scholars.

Honors Scholars
The School of Nursing faculty recognize eight Honors Scholars based on grade point average (minimum 3.5 GPA cumulative), senior standing in the major and general academic excellence. Two awards are presented in each category to graduates from the 4-year track for Academic Excellence, Clinical Excellence and three awards are presented in Leadership Excellence; two awards for 4-year students, and one award for a student in the RN completion track. The graduating RN students for the academic year will be recognized at the Awards ceremony. One additional award, the Dean’s Award will also be presented.

  • Academic Excellence Awards:  Two are presented to 4-year track students with excellent academic achievement based on grade point average. Other factors considered may include the grade point average for courses taken at USC Upstate, the grade point average for courses in the nursing major, outside activities and time for degree completion.
  • Clinical Excellence Awards:  Two are presented to 4-year track students who exhibit excellent clinical practice by :
    • Establishes caring interpersonal relationships with clients
    • Functions as a client advocate in clinical interventions
    • Displays a knowledge base necessary for strong critical thinking behaviors in client interactions
    • Displays creativity during clinical experiences
    • Exhibits a high degree of clinical accountability and responsibility
    • Provides clinical role modeling behaviors for peers
    • Possesses strong communication skills in the clinical setting
    • Exhibits leadership skills in peer and community relations.
  • Leadership Excellence Awards:  Three are presented to two 4-year track students and one student in the RN completion track in recognition of outstanding leadership. The criteria for the recipient for each track are:
    • Graduating 4-Year Track Student - In addition to meeting the required minimal GPA of 3.5, the student will exhibit leadership in pre-professional activities. These may include service in leadership capacities in the Student Nurses Association; service on School and University committees; community activities; leadership, support, and sharing of special expertise with student peers, or other activities that represent service and commitment to the betterment of society and their chosen profession. 
    • Graduating RN Completion Student - In addition to meeting the required minimal GPA of 3.5, the student will exhibit leadership in professional activities. These may include service in professional nursing associations and societies; service on School and University committees; community activities that are related to their professional role; leadership, support, and sharing of special expertise with student peers; or other activities that represent service and commitment to the betterment of society and their chosen profession.
  • Dean's Award - The student receiving the Dean's Award will exemplify outstanding academic and professional achievement. This student will:
    • Be a senior student anticipating completion of degree requirements
    • Have outstanding overall academic and clinical achievement
    • Exhibit leadership in pre-professional (e.g., leadership in the Student Nurses Association; service on faculty or University committees; community activities) or professional activities (in the case of RN students, South Carolina Nurses Association or other nursing specialty activities; nursing service to the community).
    • The Dean will select this student with input from the faculty.

Outstanding Academic Achievement Award
Students who earn the highest GPA (Outstanding Academic Achievement Award) will automatically receive awards based on the following criteria and need no faculty nomination or vote.  The School of Nursing faculty recognize two graduating students, one from the 4 year track and one from the RN completion track, for the highest academic achievement in the graduating class. Graduating RN-BSN track students for the academic year will be recognized at the May nursing ceremony. In the case of more than one student with the highest academic performance as indicated by the overall grade point average, additional factors considered in selecting the recipient are: the grade point average for courses taken at USC Upstate, the grade point average for courses within the nursing major, outside activities, and time for degree completion.

Special Tests and Exams

Standardized Testing (Four Year Students)
Students will be required to take national standardized tests throughout the program. Specific information will be located in the appropriate class syllabi.

Drug Computation Competency Guidelines
Program based drug computation competency exams are required by all students each semester except first semester juniors who will demonstrate drug computation competency throughout the semester.  First semester juniors will demonstrate drug competency per the course syllabus

  • Competency for juniors is 95% accuracy.
  • Competency for seniors is 100% accuracy.

The program based drug calculation competency tests are separate from individual course requirements and will be administered separately from course tests. The test is timed - maximum of one hour. Calculators are allowed via the testing computer when administered electronically and the competency exam may be administered via paper & pencil, via the computer or a combination of the two. A grade of pass or fail will be recorded in the student’s file with a passing score reflecting competency. Depending on the schedule, computation competency exams may be administered outside of class times; or they may be within campus orientation times. Students may take the competency test two (2) times in order to receive a passing grade but each test will be different. The requirement must be met before the student can attend clinical. Students who fail to meet the drug competency policy must withdraw from both class and clinical co-requisite courses.  

Drug Test Specifics

  • Dimensional Analysis will be the method used to teach drug calculations in the School of Nursing.
  • Students who have learned to calculate drugs using other methods will not be required to convert to Dimensional Analysis if they demonstrate that they can competently use other methods.
  • Students may use calculators via the testing computer.
  • Rounding rules may vary in specialty areas and faculty will teach those variations in specific courses.
  • All problems must be set up and the work must be shown on the test paper. (Shown work will allow faculty to determine where errors in calculation may occur. Answers entered in the computer will be accepted as the student’s final answer regardless of answer written on test paper. The test paper is a tool used to demonstrate competency of calculation method used.
  • Rounding Rules associated with medication calculation can be found in the MBSON student Blackboard.
Projected Expenses
Projected Expenses for Nursing Students
The following are projected expenses: prices subject to change
 
Materials Cost
Classroom materials, books, room, board         Varies
Uniforms & USC Upstate Emblems Varies
Stethoscope ~$35.00-$55.00
Standardized Testing Varies, ~$290-$425/semester
Annual OSHA/HIPAA Training Up to $10.00
   
Graduation  
Regalia Cap/Gown/Tassel ~$30.00
School Pin ~$60.00-$180.00
Graduation Invitations (optional) ~$40.00
NCLEX Examination & Licensure Fee ~$350.00
Clinical Practicums & Nursing Requirements

Confidentiality
Students will be providing nursing care to clients in health care agencies and in their homes in the community. Because the law protects client information, students are to maintain the confidentiality of all clients. For some clinical agencies students will be asked to sign agency specific confidentiality forms. At no time are students to photocopy any part of the client's chart or remove components of the chart. No client identification information can be written down in connection with the data that students may obtain in order to provide necessary and safe care. If additional material regarding a client is necessary for a report/paper and the chart is in medical records, the student may obtain access to medical records by completing the proper form. A breach in patient confidentiality may result in failure of the course and dismissal from the program.

CPR Certification
Before beginning clinical in a health care agency, every student is required to have current CPR certification. The certification must be current the entire time that the student is enrolled in the nursing program. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation classes must be the Healthcare BLS through the American Heart Association.

Equipment For Clinical
Students are required to have the following items as a nursing student: Stethoscope (with bell and diaphragm), name tag, nursing scissors, penlight, black ink pen, calculator & wrist watch with a second hand or digital watch with a stopwatch.

Health Insurance
Personal health insurance is required and is available through USC Upstate’s Student Services or through SNA as well as private carriers. Students are covered by the University’s Workman’s Compensation policy while they are performing activities associated with clinical practicum. In the event of an injury, students would complete the Worker’s Compensation documentation.

Liability Insurance
Students are covered for clinical practicum by the University; however, it is strongly recommended that registered nurse students carry their own liability and malpractice insurance.

Hepatitis B Vaccine, TST, TDAP, Varicella, MMR, Flu Vaccine
Students are strongly encouraged to receive the Hepatitis B vaccine to develop immunity to this form of viral hepatitis. A series of three doses is required to achieve immunity. A titer must be provided to prove immunity. This vaccine and titer are available from one’s personal health care provider or the titer is available at the USC UPSTATE Health Services. Please contact Health Services for cost and to schedule an appointment. Students who do not take the Hepatitis B vaccine are required to sign a waiver.

Immunizations that are required are the Varicella, MMR, and Tdap within the last 10 years.  Students must also have an annual flu vaccine.  

Students must complete a two-step TST and then an annual one-step TST thereafter. If a student's TST expires, he/she must begin again with a two-step TST. Students are required to have follow-up care if the TST test results are positive.

NOTE: Please contact Health Services regarding pricing and to schedule an appointment.  .

Clinical Agency Requirements
In order to document care using computerized systems in some health care facilities, student social security numbers are released to an authorized individual.

All students must meet all annual agency OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and HIPAA requirements. These include patient confidentiality, fire, safety, hazardous materials, and infections. A completed health form from the clinical agency may also be required. Some clinical agencies will require students to complete an agency-specific HIPAA and/or OSHA tests as well. Additionally, students must submit data for a Criminal Records Background check at the time of admission and submit to a urine drug screen. The costs for these tests are born by the student.

Physical Assessment
Students are required to submit a physical assessment once they are admitted to the program. This documentation is due by the date specified during orientation. The exam is available from the USC UPSTATE Health Services.  Some clinical agencies require students to pass a urine/blood drug screen before participating in a practicum in their agency. The student may be expected to assume the cost of the urine/blood drug screen.

Transportation to Practicum Experiences
Students are expected to provide their own transportation for all practicum experiences.
Students may be assigned to clinical placements within a 75 mile radius from campus and on days, evenings, and weekends.

Enrollments in Clinical Sections
The School of Nursing reserves the right to make administrative changes to clinical placements as necessary. Clinicals could be scheduled any day of the week and/or weekend and vary each semester.

Nursing Fee
In 2006, the Board of Trustees approved the establishment of a nursing fee. The fee is applicable to all courses with a nursing prefix. The fee will be assessed at $40.00 per nursing credit hour.

Graduation and Licensure Exam

Graduation

Students graduating are to submit their application for graduation online through Self Service Carolina by posted deadlines from the Registrar’s office. Prior to submitting the form students are responsible for making an appointment with their advisor to review their course listings on the official transcript. The advisor will verify if all required courses have been taken. Grades for all transfer work must appear on the official transcript. Students are responsible for seeing that all transfer work appears on their official transcript.

Approximate costs for academic regalia, nursing pin & invitations are found under expenses for nursing.

Information regarding the University Graduation Ceremony can be found online.  

Academic honors are determined by the University registrar in compliance with criteria as stated in the academic catalog. Academic Honors are based on the student's academic record at the conclusion of the preceding semester.  

Licensure

Upon successful completion of the baccalaureate nursing program, graduates will be eligible to apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) for licensure as a registered nurse.

Each licensure applicant shall furnish to the State Board of Nursing for South Carolina (BONSC) satisfactory evidence of the following:

  • Attainment of eighteenth birthday.
  • Completion of at least four years of work in a high school accredited by the State Board of Education in the state in which the school is located, or completion of the equivalent of such work.
  • Completion of a course of study in an approved nursing education program.
  • Satisfaction of other preliminary qualification requirements as the BONSC may prescribe.

Any person seeking licensure, who has been convicted of a crime, excluding minor traffic violations, must submit application to the BONSC 90 days prior to the completion of the nursing program. The BONSC may deny licensure based on conduct or other misconduct.

Applicants for licensure who, while enrolled in the nursing program, have had non-academic counseling or had disciplinary action taken against them because of problems with alcohol, drugs, mental or physical impairment must report the counseling or disciplinary action to the Board of Nursing for South Carolina.

Costs for licensure are found under expenses for nursing students.

Students applying for licensure in a state other than South Carolina are responsible for obtaining the necessary forms and requirements from that state. Information for licensure throughout the United States can be obtained at the National Council of State Boards of Nursing

Legal Standards

Progression through the BSN curriculum does not guarantee eligibility to write the NCLEX-RN. If you have ever been convicted of a crime (excluding minor traffic violations) that involved paying a fine, forfeiting a bond, a suspended sentence, or receiving a pardon, you must notify the State Board of Nursing. Failure to report a past conviction is grounds for disciplinary action.  NCLEX-RN applicants who have past criminal convictions must undergo Disciplinary Review by the State Board of Nursing for South Carolina prior to taking the NCLEX-RN: If the circumstances of a conviction apply to you, contact the State Board of Nursing for current policies and procedures applicable to your situation  

Simulation Center

Simulation Center

The Mary Black School of Nursing has two simulation centers. In the Mary Black School of Nursing on the Spartanburg campus, the Center consists of nursing skills labs and computerized simulation labs. On the Greenville campus at the University Center the Simulation Center is similarly equipped. The resource centers are shared by students in the Baccalaureate Degree Program and those enrolled in the RN-BSN program. The facilities are open daily Monday through Friday. Hours of operation are posted at the door to the facility. Notices of closing of the facilities are posted at the facility as soon as the need for closing is recognized. Simulation Center personnel are available to assist students on a 1:1 basis and in small groups.

Numerous models, manikins, and simulators are available for classroom demonstration and student practice. Equipment used for viewing learning materials is located in the simulation center. Materials are to be used by students in Center only, except by special permission granted under unusual circumstances. Nursing students may sign out programs and equipment for curriculum needs only at the discretion of the Simulation Center Coordinator. Arrangements should be made as early as possible and finalized at least 24 hours prior to use.

Simulation Center resources are treated as library resources and should be signed out by the user when allowed, returned promptly, and signed in by Simulation Center faculty or student worker. Materials not returned by a student will result in withholding of the student's grades at the end of the semester and inability to register for the next semester. Continued delinquency will be reported to Campus Police for investigation.

Skills labs are located in the Simulation Center. These labs are used for individual and class instruction, evaluation, and student practice. Labs are equipped with beds and manikins needed for faculty and student use. Because the labs are heavily scheduled for campus clinical sessions, students should plan ahead and check the availability of space within one of the skills labs when planning to practice psychomotor skills.

Students are required to submit a Confidentiality Agreement and Authorization to be Photographed and Videotaped every four semesters.

At no time is food or liquids allowed in the School of Nursing Simulation Centers.

Standards and Guidelines

American Association of Colleges of Nursing Essentials of Baccalaureate Education

The curriculum of School of Nursing reflects professional nursing standards and guidelines. The curriculum incorporates knowledge and skills of both the standards of the American Nurses Association (Scope and Standards of Practice, 2010) and the Essentials of Baccalaureate Education in Professional Nursing, AACN 2008

American Nurses Association

STANDARDS OF PRACTICE
The Standards of Practice describe a competent level of nursing care as demonstrated by the critical thinking model known as the nursing process. The nursing process includes the components of assessment, diagnosis, outcomes identification, planning, implementation, and evaluation. Accordingly, the nursing process encompasses significant actions taken by registered nurses and forms the foundation of the nurse’s decision-making. 

  • Standard 1. Assessment:  The registered nurse collects comprehensive data pertinent to the health care consumer’s health and/or situation. 
  • Standard 2. Diagnosis:  The registered nurse analyzes the assessment data to determine the diagnoses or the issues. 
  • Standard 3. Outcomes Identification:  The registered nurse identifies expected outcomes for a plan individualized to the health care consumer or the situation. 
  • Standard 4. Planning:  The registered nurse develops a plan that prescribes strategies and alternatives to attain expected outcomes. 
  • Standard 5. Implementation:  The registered nurse implements the identified plan.
    • Standard 5A: Coordination of Care:  The registered nurse coordinates care delivery. 
    • Standard 5B: Health Teaching and Health Promotion:  The registered nurse employs strategies to promote health and a safe environment. 
    • Standard 5C: Consultation:  The graduate-level prepared specialty nurse or advanced practice registered nurse provides consultation to influence the identified plan, enhance the abilities of others, and effect change. 
    • Standard 5D: Prescriptive Authority and Treatment:  The advanced practice registered nurse uses prescriptive authority, procedures, referrals, treatments, and therapies in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations.
  • Standard 6. Evaluation:  The registered nurse evaluates progress toward attainment of outcomes.

STANDARDS OF PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE
The Standards of Professional Performance describe a competent level of behavior in the professional role, including activities related to ethics, education, evidence-based practice and research, quality of practice, communication, leadership, collaboration, professional practice evaluation, resource utilization, and environmental health. All registered nurses are expected to engage in professional r o l e activities, including leadership, appropriate to their education and position. Registered nurses are accountable for their professional actions to themselves, their health care consumers, their peers, and ultimately to society.

  • Standard 7. Ethics:  The registered nurse practices ethically 
  • Standard 8. Education:  The registered nurse attains knowledge and competency that reflects current nursing practice. 
  • Standard 9. Evidence Based Practice and Research:  The registered nurse integrates evidence and research findings into practice. 
  • Standard 10. Quality of Practice:  The registered nurse contributes to the quality of practice. 
  • Standard 11. Communication:  The registered nurse communicates effectively in all areas of practice. 
  • Standard 12. Leadership:  The registered nurse demonstrates leadership in the professional practice setting and the profession. 
  • Standard 13. Collaboration:  The registered nurse collaborates with health care consumer, family, and others in the conduct of nursing practice. 
  • Standard 14. Professional practice Evaluation:  The registered nurse evaluates her or his own nursing practice in relation to professional practice standards and guidelines, relevant statutes, rules, and regulations. 
  • Standard 15. Resource Utilization:  The registered nurse utilizes appropriate resources to plan and provide nursing services that are safe, effective, and financially responsible. 
  • Standard 16. Environmental Health:  The registered nurse practices in an environmentally safe and healthy manner.
The Code of Ethics for Nurses

The Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements, or “The Code”, is a vital tool for nurses now and in the future. While the foundational values of nursing do not change, The Code is regularly updated to reflect changes in health care structure, financing, and delivery. It supports nurses in providing consistently respectful, humane, and dignified care. These values are often second nature to nurses’ caregiving but are frequently challenged by the failings in U.S. health care and by negative social determinants of health