These policies apply to all Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) School of Nursing students. Nursing students are expected to follow these policies as well as the student policies identified in the PLU Student Code of Conduct policy manual. Please read the PLU Student Code of Conduct (http://www.plu.edu/student-handbook/code-of-conduct/).
The student is responsible for complying with School of Nursing pre-and co-requisite policies. If a student begins a nursing course but has not yet met the prerequisite conditions or terms expected for the course, he or she will be disenrolled from that course. Students should refer to the PLU Catalog, their individual academic program contracts, and academic advisor for more information.
Textbooks are a major resource for your professional development. Students will be responsible for materials and content assigned, even if it is not directly covered in class. Textbooks purchased for nursing courses may be required in subsequent courses or be needed as reference materials for NCLEX preparation. Nursing students are strongly discouraged from selling their textbooks.
PLU’s School of Nursing accreditation requires the use of external independent measures of student performance. This enables student performance to be compared to that of students at other nursing programs across the country.
Nursing education is academically rigorous, culminating in a comprehensive national licensure exam. Every student admitted to the PLU School of Nursing is expected to obtain RN licensure. To assist students and faculty in assuring success, the School of Nursing uses both internal and external assessment of a student's progress.
The testing package currently in use for all BSN and Entry-Level students in the School of Nursing, from Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI), includes multiple resources for students and faculty, including secured tests in major areas of study, online review modules and unproctored tests. The cost of ATI testing and resources is included in student lab fees.
The testing resources available from ATI are used as external assessments, providing students an opportunity to identify areas where additional academic work is needed and to support student success. Faculty will use the results of these tests to evaluate student progression. In some courses the test is required as part of the class grade.
Test scores are available to students via the ATI website. Faculty advisors are available to review ATI results with all students. If a student performs below expectations on external testing, the student is responsible for seeking remediation (with faculty guidance), which may take the form of self-study, re-testing, use of PLU resources, a class or other opportunities.Students set up an account, check test results, and take unproctored exams at http://www.atitesting.com. Contact ATI with questions about system problems at 1-800-667-7531.
Portfolios are increasingly used by state nursing boards to document professional development and currency after graduation.
Online portfolios document achievement of the undergraduate nursing program objectives. By creating the portfolio, students develop self-assessment skills as they reflect on work they have done and how the work represents what they have learned. The portfolio is a synthesis of knowledge gained and clinical experiences.
Students begin building their portfolios during the Sophomore II semester and add to them throughout the nursing program. Each semester students are expected to meet with their advisors to review and discuss the progress of their portfolios, which are completed during the Senior II semester.After graduation from PLU, the portfolio may be used as a resource during job interviews and for applications to graduate school.
All nursing examinations must be taken at the designated time and place. Students must notify the instructor prior to the exam if an emergency occurs which prevents them from taking the exam. In addition, the student is responsible to follow up by contacting the instructor (within 24 hours of the missed exam) to ensure arrangements for a make-up exam. The time of the make-up exam, if permitted, will be at the discretion of the instructor.
Students enrolled in non-nursing courses with final examinations that conflict with their nursing examinations may seek permission to take the nursing examination during the designated make-up examination date and time. However, the student may be required to validate the conflict with supporting evidence.Anyone discovered to be in any way dishonest during an exam will at minimum receive a grade of 0 (zero) on that exam. For other possible sanctions, refer to the university’s academic dishonesty policy.
The School of Nursing at Pacific Lutheran University is approved by the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission. Only graduates of approved programs are eligible to apply for and sit for the licensing examination (within two years of graduation). If modifications to the program of study during become necessary, the School is required by law to indicate on the transcript that the student has graduated from a limited program, and to describe those modifications. The Commission then determines whether the individual who graduated from the nursing program is approved. If the Commission determines that the modified program was so limited as not to represent the approved program, the graduate would not be eligible to sit for the licensing examination.
Ultimately, the expectation for all nursing program graduates is that they are able to perform both physically and psychologically in a general nursing staff role in accordance with the expectations of employers and accrediting bodies.For further information, contact the Dean of the School of Nursing at Pacific Lutheran University and the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission, P. O. Box 47864, Olympia, Washington 98504-7864.
All students will be assigned a nursing faculty advisor during their first semester in the School of Nursing. The faculty advisor may advise them academically and professionally and serve as the student’s advocate. The faculty advisor’s role is not to be a personal friend or therapist.
While only two meetings with advisors are required, students should plan to meet with their advisors at least once each semester to check their progress and discuss any issues or concerns. The first required meeting is during the Sophomore I semester when students map out an academic plan and sign their academic program contract (APC) to declare nursing as their major. The second required meeting is the nursing junior review, which takes place during the junior I semester. Student and advisor review the individual’s academic record, ATI scores, progress on portfolio, and graduation requirements.
Please note that the nursing junior review is different from the PLU junior review. The PLU junior review takes place once a student has completed 60 credits and is a requirement of the Office of the Registrar. It involves a Google form that the student completes independently. The nursing junior review takes place during the Junior I semester within the School of Nursing, is specific to nursing, and requires a meeting with an advisor. Both junior reviews are mandatory and one cannot substitute for the other. Graduate students should meet with their advisors twice during the program: once during their first or second semester, and again during the semester before graduation, and as needed. The School of Nursing reserves the right to reassign students to a new faculty advisor when need arises. Such changes most often occur when faculty leave the department, when new faculty are hired, and/or when a faculty member’s availability and/or status changes.Students are also allowed to request a change of advisor. A change of advisor form is available from the admissions coordinator. Do keep in mind that change of advisor requests are not granted unconditionally. Students benefit greatly from working with the same advisor for their 3 years in the School of Nursing. Doing so ensures that one faculty member is familiar with the student’s individual goals and academic progress while also facilitating consistency in advising. Students desiring a change of advisor must contact the Admissions Coordinator to discuss why they would like this change. All changes of advisor must be approved by the dean. A student wishing to work with a specific advisor should contact this faculty member first to see if they are able to accept additional advisees.
Several sets of expectations are involved: agency expectations, faculty expectations, School of Nursing expectations, community expectations, and patient and patient’s family expectations. These sets of expectations may come into conflict with one another. Students need to navigate among all of these.
All students should expect to receive feedback (written, oral, or both) from faculty regarding their performance. The length of a clinical rotation will dictate the frequency of formal evaluation sessions, but in all clinicals students are evaluated at least twice -- at the middle and end of the course. Students should be aware that documentation of the performance of all students is ongoing. Students are considered to be guests during clinicals in any agency and must abide by the agency’s rules at all times.Students who are not meeting minimum standards of performance are counseled in a timely manner by the instructor and are given written notification of their unsatisfactory performance. Students may at any point be removed temporarily or permanently from clinicals for egregious or dangerous conduct.
Nursing students are expected to attend all classes, to be in the clinical areas as assigned, and to be on time. Faculty may set other attendance requirements for particular classes or clinicals. A minimum number of clinical hours is required to complete clinical rotations. Absences for any reason, excused or not, may adversely affect the course grade. Unexplained/unexcused absences may result in failure and will definitely affect the student's grade.
The laboratory component of nursing courses is an integral part of the nursing program. Successful demonstration of technical nursing skills in the lab is vital to ensure safe nursing practice in the clinical agencies. Therefore, attendance at all scheduled lab demonstrations, practices and tests is mandatory.If an absence is unavoidable, the student is responsible for remedial work to master the material or activity missed, as well as for notifying the instructor(s) in a timely, appropriate manner. If a scheduled test is missed, there is no guarantee that it can be rescheduled; this may adversely affect the final course grade.
Progression is dependent upon satisfactory completion of the prescribed sequence of courses. A minimum of "C" (2.0 on a 4.0 scale) for undergraduate and “B” (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) for graduate students must be achieved in all required prerequisite and nursing courses before students may progress to the next sequence of nursing courses.
Students who receive less than a "C" (2.0 on a 4.0 scale) in any nursing course must repeat that course in its entirety in order to continue in the program. Required courses may be repeated only once. To assure that a student is performing at a satisfactory level and is meeting course objectives, he or she may be assigned additional clinical hours and/or projects.
Students who earn a "C-" or below in a repeated nursing course are not permitted to enroll in the course a third time; they are dismissed from the nursing program.
If a student earns less than a C (2.0 on a 4.0 scale), this is defined as failing a course in the nursing major. Withdrawing from a nursing course in failing status counts as failing the course. Two or more failures in nursing courses will result in dismissal from the nursing major. This means that if a student fails two or more nursing courses; fails the same course twice; withdraws from two or more nursing courses in failing status; or fails two nursing courses taken during different terms (summer, fall, J-term, and/or spring), then that student will be dismissed from the nursing major and not permitted to progress in the nursing major or take other nursing courses.
Students completing Junior I courses during the fall semester are required to keep the following J-Term (the J-Term between the Junior I and Junior II semesters) open for a clinical nursing course. While not all nursing students will take a clinical course during J-Term, some will be required to take it to ensure adequate clinical placement. Students should not plan a Study Away, schedule vacations, or take on any additional obligations for this J-Term until after the completion of fall semester finals.
Some courses required for completion of the nursing major are offered in academic departments other than the School of Nursing. These courses are administered by the respective departments with regard to scheduling, evaluation, grading, etc. Grades earned in such courses cannot be disputed through the School of Nursing process outlined here, and must be addressed with the respective academic department as appropriate.
Documented, proven discrimination and/or harassment based on disability will not be tolerated. However, certain physical and psychological expectations exist for those students enrolled in nursing courses, per the Physical And Psychological Expectations Of Nursing Students Preparing For Professional Nursing Practice. A student’s inability to fulfill program requirements, due in part or in whole to physical and/or psychological limitations, may affect the student’s grade in a nursing course or courses. Such grades do not necessarily imply discrimination and/or harassment on the part of the faculty member assigning such grades.
Refer also the PLU Student Code of Conduct.
V.B.5.c. Grade Dispute Policy (click for link to easy-to-read PDF version)
The PLU School of Nursing is dedicated to fair and accurate appraisal of each student's coursework. When disagreements arise over grades assigned in a course, students and faculty should first follow the School's established procedure for informal grade dispute resolution. If the informal procedure is unsuccessful in resolving the dispute, students and faculty will undertake the School's formal grade dispute resolution procedure. (NOTE: some courses required for completion of the nursing major are offered in academic departments other than the School of Nursing. These courses are administered by the respective departments with regard to scheduling, evaluation, grading, etc. Grades earned in such courses cannot be disputed through the School of Nursing process outlined here, and must be addressed with the respective academic department as appropriate.)
- A student considering a grade dispute must first read the grade dispute policy in its entirety and discuss it with his/her assigned faculty advisor before proceeding to step #2. If the student's advisor is also the faculty member responsible for submitting the disputed grade, the student should contact the School of Nursing admission coordinator to determine an alternate advisor for these proceedings.
- A student choosing to dispute a grade should first initiate the informal grade dispute process by addressing the matter with the faculty member responsible for submitting the grade, making sure to follow the Informal Grade Dispute Guidelines listed just below the Informal Grade Dispute Procedure, in the following manner:(a) Submit to the responsible faculty member a written statement, detailing why the grade is being disputed and the grade and/or remedy the student is seeking and requesting an appointment time to meet with the faculty member. The student is responsible for providing a copy of the written statement to the School of Nursing for placement in the student's official School of Nursing file. The written statement should be available during the discussion between the student and the responsible faculty member. (b) After the initial discussion, the responsible faculty member should provide a written statement detailing the issues discussed, including why the grade will or won't be changed. Both the responsible faculty member and the student should sign this written statement; the student should have an opportunity to provide additional written comments. The faculty member is responsible for submitting this statement, along with any additional written comments from the student, to the School of Nursing office for placement in the student's official School of Nursing file.
- If the matter is not resolved between the student and the responsible faculty member, the student may request assistance and advocacy from his or her faculty advisor. With regard to written statements, both requests for meetings and discussions held between the responsible faculty member, faculty advisor, and student should follow the procedures outlined in step #2 just above.
- If the matter is not resolved after discussion with the faculty member and faculty advisor, the student may initiate the formal grade dispute process by appealing to the Recruitment, Admission and Progression (RAP) Committee. The RAP committee will make a recommendation to the dean, who will make the final determination. If the dean is the faculty member responsible for submitting the disputed grade and/or is the student's advisor, the student may appeal to the provost. With regard to written statements, both requests for meetings and discussions held between the responsible faculty member, faculty advisor, and student should follow the procedures outlined in step #2 above in the informal grade dispute process instructions.
- If the student chooses to pursue the matter further, he or she may appeal to the University Dispute Resolution Committee (UDRC). It is expected that the procedure outlined here will be followed in its entirety before an appeal is made to the UDRC. All copies of written statements from the student's official School of Nursing file regarding the grade dispute will be made available to the UDRC upon request.
Informal Grade Dispute Guidelines
1. Before a student initiates the formal grade dispute process, he or she must complete the informal grade dispute process.
2. A student who disputes a grade should discuss the reason for the grade with the faculty member who assigned the grade prior to initiating any formalized grade appeal.
3. No student should discuss any grade-related complaint with th dean or with any other faculty member or committee, except his or her advisor, until the informal grade dispute process has concluded (the completion of step 2.b. under informal grade dispute process above). If necessary, the student may request the assistance of his or her advisor. If the student's advisor is the faculty member responsible for submitting the grade, the student should contact the School of Nursing admission coordinator to request an alternate advisor assigned to act as his or her advocate.
4. The difference between the disputed grades must be one full letter grade or more, with the exception of those grades that could result in dismissal from, or delay in, the nursing program. (Examples: A- vs. A: no dispute; B vs. A: can be disputed; C- vs. C: can be disputed.)
5. Grounds for grade disputes should arise from documented incidents of discrimination and/or harassment based on race, religion, age, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status or disability*, and/or arising from non-compliance with established PLU and/or School of Nursing policies and procedures.(*Documented, proven discrimination and/or harassment based on disability will not be tolerated. However, certain physical and psychological expectations exist for those students enrolled in nursing courses, per the Physical and Psychological Expectations of Nursing Students Preparing for Professional Nursing Practice. A student's inability to fulfill program requirements, due in part or in whole to physical and/or psychological limitations, may affect the student's grade in a nursing course or courses. Such grades do not necessarily imply discrimination and/or harassment on the part of the faculty member assigning such grades.)
6. The grade must be disputed within seven (7) working days after the grade is officially posted, and prior to beginning the first day of any courses for which the disputed course/grade is prerequisite.
7. A student who has completed informal efforts at resolution, has a disagreement amounting to at least one full letter grade, and wishes to invoke the formal grade dispute procedure should understand that in the course of pursuing the dispute, his or her coursework may, with the faculty member's consent, be referred to qualified external graders, most likely the faculty member's PLU colleagues who teach in the same subject area. The student should understand that external referral may lead to a recommendation to lower the grade as well as to a recommendation to raise the grade or to no change at all.
8. If the dispute is not resolved at the informal level, the student may appeal to the Recruitment, Admission and Progression (RAP) Committee.
- A formal grade complaint must be submitted to the Recruitment, Admission and Progression (RAP) committee within the first ten (10) working days after a grade has been officially posted.
- The RAP committee will consider only those grade disputes arising from documented incidents of discrimination or harassment, or non-compliance as detailed in step #5 of the informal grade dispute procedure.
- The RAP committee may request a meeting with the student, the responsible faculty member, and/or the student's faculty advisor.
- The RAP committee will provide the dean with a written statement summarizing the committee's findings. The dean may then pass along this statement to the student, the responsible faculty member, and the student’s faculty advisor. The dean may provide the responsible faculty member with a recommendation that supports the original grade, supports the submission of a grade either higher or lower than the original grade, or supports the implementation of some other remedy, (e.g., additional examinations or assignments). Authority to change a student’s grade will remain with the faculty member responsible for submitting the grade, except in cases of discrimination or harassment as detailed in step #5 of the informal grade dispute procedure.
- If the dean is the faculty member responsible for submitting the disputed grade and/or is the student’s advisor, the student may appeal to the provost (graduate students may appeal to the Associate Dean for Graduate Nursing Programs).
- All written statements become part of the student’s educational record and will be included in the student’s official School of Nursing file.
- As a general guideline, response time from receipt of a written request to a reply to that request should be no longer than ten (10) working days. However, time constraints necessitated by the university and/or School of Nursing calendar may delay this process.
Third draft reviewed May 20, 2010
Final version implemented beginning May 31, 2010
Resubmitted to Provost's Office December 20, 2011
Revised December 2011
Revised December 2012
Approved by Dean T. Miller March 2013
Students who earn a "C-" or below in a nursing course, or withdraw in failing status (withdrawal in failing status is considered a failure in the School of Nursing), will be placed on academic probation in the School of Nursing. Students may repeat a failed nursing course, or enroll in other subsequent nursing courses, only after a review by the Recruitment, Admission and Progression Committee. Each situation is individually evaluated, and permission to continue and/or repeat is not automatically granted.
Students who must repeat a nursing course will register for that course on a space-available basis. If all sections of the course are closed, students must register for the course during a later semester. Students in regular progression are given preference.
When a student repeats a course, both the new and original grade will appear on their official transcript. However, PLU uses the higher of the two grades to determine the cumulative GPA. For further information regarding PLU’s policy on repeating courses, review the PLU handbook (http://www.plu.edu/catalog/2012-2013/undergraduate-program/policies-procedures/home.php or http://www.plu.edu/catalog/2012-2013/graduate/policies/home.php).
Academic integrity is imperative for nursing students. The practice of the profession of nursing involves close interactions with a wide range of individual and groups of clients. The nurse must act to safeguard those clients and the public in matters of health care and safety. One aspect of professionalism is the maintenance of one's own integrity. Nursing is a trusted profession and academic dishonesty is considered a very serious matter. Academic dishonesty may result in dismissal from the School of Nursing.
In addition to the classroom examples of academic dishonesty identified in the PLU Student Handbook (http://www.plu.edu/student-handbook/code-of-conduct/academic-integrity.php?)academic dishonesty can take place in the clinical setting. Examples of academic dishonesty in the clinical setting include, but are not limited to:
- Plagiarizing clinical assignments, including care plans, drug reviews, falsifying data in a patient’s record, or other required work,
- Submitting work written by others as one's own work,
- Unauthorized collaboration with others in fulfillment of assignments,
- Falsifying data or deliberately submitting inaccurate information; and
- Covering up or denying knowledge of an error in the clinical setting
The instructor will meet with the student to inform him or her of the academic integrity violation and to discuss the matter. If desired, the student may bring along a faculty advocate (e.g. advisor) to the conference. If, following the discussion, the instructor concludes that the student has indeed engaged in academic dishonesty, the instructor shall impose the appropriate sanction, which may include giving a grade of "E" for the course (course failure). If, according to university policy, a suspected violation constitutes 10% or more of the course grade, instructors submit an Academic Dishonesty Report Form (ADRF) to the chair of the Campus Life Committee.
The violation and the sanction will be documented in writing. The student will be given a copy of the description of the violation and the sanction, and copies should be forwarded to the Dean of the School of Nursing and to the University's Academic Dishonesty Hearing Panel. The matter will be reviewed by the RAP Committee, according to the policy relative to continuation in the program.
If the instructor determines that a student is cheating during an examination, the examination will be terminated immediately, and a failing grade of "E" will be given for the course. University policy requires that “the minimum penalty grade for dishonesty in coursework that constitutes 30% or more of a course grade shall be an “E” for the course…”
If a student is not under the jurisdiction of the course faculty (for example, a student who writes papers for other students), the situation should be reported in writing to the Dean of the School of Nursing, the Recruitment, Admission, and Progression Committee, and to the University's Academic Dishonesty Hearing Panel. http://www.plu.edu/student-handbook/code-of-conduct/academic-integrity.php?
Nursing students who consistently fail to demonstrate safe practice or who violate standards of professional conduct are subject to dismissal from the School of Nursing. Concerns related to student competency or professional conduct will be referred to the School of Nursing Student Recruitment, Admission, and Progression Committee for review.
Problems involving possible violation of Pacific Lutheran University's policies as stated in the PLU Student Handbook (www.plu.edu/student-handbook/code-of-conduct/) are re reported to the Office of the Vice President of Student Life for disposition.
Professional nurses and nursing students must be honest and ethical in all matters. Evidence of dishonesty in the classroom, lab, or clinical areas, unethical conduct or lack of integrity in matters related to patient care or learning constitutes failure to maintain professional conduct. Such behaviors may result in dismissal from the School of Nursing and Pacific Lutheran University.
Sexual misconduct as identified in the PLU Student Code of Conduct (http://www.plu.edu/student-handbook/code-of-conduct//) and by the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission, (http://www.doh.wa.gov/hsqa/professions/Nursing/) (see WAC 246-840-740) and Department of Health (http://www.doh.wa.gov/) will be used to determine sexual misconduct.
Students whose behaviors suggest use of alcohol, marijuana, drugs or medications (including those taken with valid prescriptions for legitimate medical purposes) which impair or limit the ability to practice nursing safely are subject to removal from the clinical area and possible dismissal from the School of Nursing. These issues are referred to the Recruitment, Admission and Progression Committee. For further information, refer to the university policy on alcohol/drug misuse: Alcohol Sanctions or Drug Sanctions. In addition to PLU policies on drug, marijuana, or alcohol misuse students must also adhere to the rules and regulations of the individual clinical agencies they visit. Clinical agencies reserve the right to do mandatory scheduled or random drug screening at your expense.
Students are removed immediately from a classroom or clinical situation if faculty believes the student is posing harm or significant risk of harm to a patient, client or others. Removal from the classroom or clinical setting for safety reasons will result in failure of the course and clinical. The student will not be allowed to attend the course or clinical after the determination of failure due to safety reasons.
Dismissal from the School of Nursing is an action that can be taken only by the dean based on recommendation by the Recruitment, Admission, and Progression (RAP) Committee.
Students who earn a "C-" or below in a nursing course, or withdraw in failing status (withdrawal in failing status is considered a failure in the School of Nursing), will be placed on academic probation in the School of Nursing. Students may repeat a failed nursing course, or enroll in other subsequent nursing courses, only after a review by the RAP Committee. Each situation is individually evaluated, and permission to continue and/or repeat is not automatically granted.
Please note that this time-of-completion policy differs from that of the University.
During the final evaluation conference with the instructor, students who earn a "C-" or below are informed of the mandatory review procedure by the instructor or responsible faculty member.
Required prerequisite, co-requisite, and nursing courses may be repeated only once.
Students who earn a "C-" or below in a repeated course are not permitted to enroll in the course a third time; they are dismissed from the nursing program.
Students who are dismissed from the program due to unsatisfactory performance may appeal the decision of the RAP Committee by submission of a written request to the RAP Committee for a review, describing extenuating circumstances, or through the University Grievance Procedure.
Students dismissed from the program due to unsatisfactory performance may appeal the decision to the University Dispute Resolution Committee (http://www.plu.edu/student-handbook/code-of-conduct/grievance-policy.php).
Any student seeking part-time enrollment in the BSN program, including those who have been full-time nursing students, must follow the steps as outlined below:
- Prior to taking action (withdrawal from or enrollment in courses), discuss issues regarding part-time status with his/her assigned nursing advisor,
- After discussion with the advisor, submit, in writing, a request for part-time enrollment to the Recruitment, Admission and Progression Committee (RAP) or if during summer break, the Dean. This written request should be submitted prior to the semester in which the start of part-time status is desired,
- Upon approval by the Recruitment, Admission and Progression Committee or the Dean, schedule an appointment with the School of Nursing admissions coordinator to sign a new part-time status academic program contract,
- Use the new part-time status academic program contract as the contractual guide for subsequent enrollment in the nursing curriculum.
Enrollment management in nursing is very important because of clinical agency expectations, capacity, and demand. A change in any student’s enrollment status affects others. Requests to convert to full-time status from part-time status must follow this same process. Students should be aware that returning to full-time status following part-time enrollment is on a space-available basis and cannot be guaranteed.
All students enrolled as undergraduate nursing majors in the School of Nursing are expected to adhere to the curricular sequence as outlined in the university catalog. Moreover, all nursing majors are required to sign an individual academic program contract (APC) within the first month of matriculation to the program. The academic program contract outlines the particular program of study leading to the BSN degree; all nursing majors must follow their signed program contracts. Enrolling in courses deviating from the signed academic program contract may result in delay in progression through the nursing curriculum, and ultimately a dismissal or delay in graduation.
The nursing program is a specialized program at PLU. The course sequence is both highly structured and rigorous, requiring commitment and intensive focus from students. The structure of clinical placement further differentiates the nursing program from other academic programs. Because clinical placements are limited, competitive, and allocated to nursing programs throughout the region well in advance of the semester, the nursing program is structured according to a cohort model. Under this model, students move through the course sequence with the same group of peers for their entire three years. The number of students accepted into a cohort is determined by the number of anticipated clinical placements, and faculty are hired and scheduled accordingly. To leave a cohort and/or attempt to reenter a different cohort is a complicated process that can delay a student’s progress indefinitely. Students are expected to make reasonable effort and arrangements to complete the sequence as planned without interruptions. The school believes that any interruption of the program as structured should be on a preplanned, or when necessary, an emergency basis.
A leave of absence from the School of Nursing is an interruption in academic progress of one year or less. A written request for a leave of absence, stating the reasons, length of time, and expected date of return, should be submitted to the RAP Committee. Students may also be required to supply additional supporting documentation. The leave of absence must ultimately be approved by the dean.
A leave of absence may be granted because of special foreseeable circumstances, such as completion of military obligations, personal or family health and wellbeing, financial difficulties, planned medical procedures, or a childbirth that is known to be occurring in an upcoming term. Because these events are foreseeable, students are expected to request a leave of absence before the term begins. Leaves of absence after the semester has begun may be granted when unforeseeable or emergency circumstances arise such as a sudden illness or a family member’s illness, complications with a medical procedure like childbirth, or an accident.
Leave may be denied when the student fails to follow the process established for requesting leave, when the request is not timely, when educational standards would be lowered or require substantial modification for the student requesting leave and/or others, or when the reason for leave is deemed insufficient. Denial of requested leave may require the student to withdraw and seek readmission. Students should be aware that there may be an academic and/or financial consequence to withdrawing during a semester.
When the need for a leave of absence is foreseeable, a student should inform the course instructor(s) and his or her faculty advisor at least 30 days prior to the beginning of the semester in which leave will be needed. This should be prior to the required payment of tuition. Failure to make a timely request for foreseeable leave may result in leave being denied. Tuition will not be refunded. When the need for leave is not foreseeable, notice must be given as soon as is practical. An appointment with the Admissions Coordinator is advised to discuss the leave and plan for return. Return to the School of Nursing is offered on a space-available basis.
Students considering a leave of absence should first meet with their advisor to determine if they have sufficient cause to justify a leave and how this leave will impact their academic progress. Those requesting a leave after the add/drop period will further be required to speak with The Office of Financial Aid to determine any fees that will accrue as a result of a withdrawal, and how this will impact their funding.
Absence in excess of one year requires a letter of withdrawal submitted to the Recruitment, Admission and Progression (RAP) Committee prior to leaving. Students withdrawing from the School of Nursing and the University should follow the appropriate procedures for facilitating future return or transfer to another institution. Returning from a prolonged absence, for any reason, will likely require repeating courses to update knowledge and skills, as well as to make an appropriate transition into the current curricular structure. Additionally, updated health, certification and clearance documents must be submitted.
As stated in the PLU catalogue, “Students are entitled to withdraw honorably from the university if their record is satisfactory and all financial obligations are satisfied”. Students in the School of Nursing may choose to pursue a withdrawal from the term if they do not have justifiable cause for a leave of absence, or their petition for a leave of absence was denied. To do this, students must fill out the necessary PLU paperwork in Student Life and inform the School of Nursing in writing of their withdrawal. Students are strongly advised to meet with their academic advisor prior to submitting withdrawal paperwork to determine how this will impact their status in the School of Nursing.
Students must understand that a withdrawal from the university is also a withdrawal from the School of Nursing. Readmission is neither guaranteed nor implied. If students are passing all nursing coursework with a C (2.0) or better at the time of their withdrawal, they will be allowed to reapply to the School of Nursing and request permission to reenroll in the courses they were taking when they withdrew. If readmission is granted, the student will reenter the nursing program on a space-available basis. However, priority placement will be given to students who have been granted a leave of absence. As with an extended leave, students may be required to repeat courses to update knowledge and skills, as well as to make an appropriate transition into the current curricular structure. Additionally, updated health, certification and clearance documents may need to be submitted.
Students who withdraw from the School of Nursing for medical reasons must submit a verifiable letter from a licensed primary care provider (MD, DO, NP, PA) addressing specific issues related to nursing practice. If there are questions or concerns regarding the student's physical or mental ability to provide safe patient care in inpatient and community settings, the request for return and the physician's statement will be reviewed by the RAP Committee for approval.
The RAP Committee reviews the record of every student receiving a grade of less than 2.0 in a course; this record includes the faculty's evaluation, the student's entire educational record, and any plan for future success written by the student. Course faculty are consulted when appropriate.
Students may ask to appear before the RAP Committee with a faculty advocate, if desired, to present their situation. Students must provide a copy of their written request, describing the issue in detail, to the chair of the RAP Committee prior to the date of the requested appearance. The student and/or faculty advocate does not remain for the Committee deliberations. The student will receive written notice of the Committee's decision and may submit a written request to the Committee for reconsideration.
After all available documentation has been reviewed, and all parties concerned have had the opportunity to voice concerns, the Committee will make its determination.
Nursing students placed on academic probation by the School of Nursing will receive a written statement from the RAP Committee, identifying the areas of difficulty and stating specific expectations to be met; the student's probationary status and consequences; and the minimum level of competency to be achieved for successful completion of the course and further progression. Copies of the statement will be sent to the student, appropriate faculty, and the student's faculty advisor, and added to the student's educational record in the School of Nursing. Copies may also be sent to the appropriate university officials.
Upon receipt of notification of successful completion of the courses for which the student was originally placed on probation, the RAP Committee will notify the student that the terms of the probation have been met and that he or she is again in good standing in the School of Nursing.
V.E.2. Petition process
The petition process allows students to request an exception to policy, permission to step out of the nursing curriculum sequence, or to dispute a grade. Petitions are generally submitted:
Following a course failure (C- or below). When this occurs, students must request permission to remain in the program and retake the failed course;
To dispute a grade;
To request a medical withdrawal;
To request a leave of absence;
To request an extended leave;
To request a withdrawal from the term.
All petitions require students to draft a statement that outlines their request, their reason for this request, and their proposal for future study and/or course(s) of action. This statement will vary depending upon the student’s circumstances and request. Students should consult with their advisor to determine what kinds of information should be included in the statement. Additional documentation, such as doctor’s notes, may also be required. Students may request letters of support from current nursing faculty, but this is not required.
Students considering a petition must contact their advisor as soon as possible. Advisors can help them determine the best course of action: what type of petition the student should pursue, how to craft this petition, and the process involved. After meeting with their advisor, students may also request a meeting with the admissions coordinator to discuss the petition process further and determine a timeline for completion.
Once the statement is complete, students must submit it to their advisor for feedback and suggestions. Once the advisor deems the statement suitable, the student may submit the statement, along with any supporting documentation, to the admissions coordinator. The petition will be reviewed at the next available Recruitment, Admissions, and Progression (RAP) committee meeting. The student has the option to make a personal presentation at this meeting, and to bring along one advocate (often the advisor or a trusted faculty member). However, personal attendance is not a requirement.
Based upon their collective evaluation of the petition, the RAP committee will make a recommendation to the dean. This recommendation will include an approval or denial of the petition, and may contain suggested or required course(s) of action from the student. The dean will review the petition and the committee’s recommendation before making the final determination. Students will be informed by mail of the outcome. At this point, petition decisions are final.
Students who have petitions denied should consult with their advisor to determine how best to proceed with their nursing education. Students who have petitions approved, but fall out of sequence with their cohort, will be placed in a new cohort on a space available basis.