Clinical Hours Policy

The Pacific Lutheran University School of Nursing believes that clinical experience is instrumental to the training and education of the professional nurse. Student participation in the clinical setting provides faculty the opportunity to evaluate if a student is able to think critically, maintain an appropriate demeanor, interact appropriately with patients, prioritize problems, have basic knowledge of clinical procedures, complete care procedures correctly, and practice the art of nursing in a safe manner. This evaluation helps the clinical faculty determine if the student has met the course objectives.

The Washington State Nursing Commission requires schools of nursing to document direct patient care clinical hours completed by students. Each clinical course has a minimum clinical hour requirement that must be met. Students are responsible for keeping an updated log of the total number of clinical hours in their individual student portfolio.

Students must complete ALL required clinical hours. The student must demonstrate satisfactory completion of all course objectives and any clinical absence jeopardizes the faculty’s ability to assess achievement of the course objectives and perform a thorough clinical evaluation. Failure for the student to meet course and/or program clinical hour requirements will result in issuance of a minor Performance Progression Alert that may result in failure of the clinical rotation. Any students found to have falsified clinical hours will receive a major Performance Progress Alert (PPA), failure of the clinical rotation, and face dismissal from the School of Nursing program.

PLU does not separate excused/unexcused absences. Regardless of the reason, missed clinical hours may affect the student’s grade as well as their ability to fulfill clinical requirements for the course. A student who misses clinical experiences due to unforeseen circumstances may not be able to meet the course objectives and may not pass the clinical. Under some circumstances, students may be required to complete makeup assignments to fulfill course objectives at the discretion of the clinical faculty and course lead. Unforeseen/unavoidable absences as a result of illness or medical/family emergencies will occasionally occur and these circumstances will be evaluated on an individual basis. An exception can be made, at the instructor’s discretion, for legitimate, documented illness or personal family emergencies. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain any requested documentation in a timely manner. Students must notify the instructor in advance if he/she believes they will be late or will miss any part of the clinical day. Repeated tardiness or absences may lead to a minor PPA and/or failure of the course. The instructor and the School of Nursing are under no obligation to make up any missed clinical opportunities.

Planned and unplanned university closures as well as instructor absences reduce the total number of clinical hours but do not count against student attendance. These activities do not count towards the total number of direct clinical hours.

See UG Clinical Hour Calculator for instructions on how to use the clinical hour tracking tool and submission of clinical hour documentation with clinical evaluation at the end of each clinical experience to be stored in student file.