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Nursing Student Handbook
To succeed in nursing, you need to be ready for an innovative, high-touch, high caring profession where learning never stops. Our nursing students enjoy a unique camaraderie through small clinical groups (1-8 faculty-student ratio) and our Student Nursing Organization
(SNO). Faculty know students by name in our close-knit department. Faculty have expertise in all nursing clinical areas, and are always ready to assist students to achieve their highest potential.
The BSN Program prepares generalists in nursing to assist persons, families, and communities toward the goal of health throughout life. A baccalaureate education in nursing provides each student with the knowledge base for practicing professional nursing. The curriculum is based on a liberal arts foundation in the Judeo-Christian tradition and utilizes the AACN Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice within an integrated caring curriculum.
The faculty of the Department of Nursing has embraced the concept of the learner as an individual who has acquired the self-concept of being responsible for one's self and of being self-directed. We view learning as a self-motivated and voluntary endeavor on the part of our nursing students. We also have, in response to our caring curriculum, moved away from the traditional role of teacher to that of facilitator of learning. Upon completion of the curriculum, the graduate possesses a foundation for graduate study.
The Department of Nursing utilizes exceptional learning
opportunities, in the spirit of Saint Francis of Assisi, to prepare
future registered nurses to provide safe quality care in various
patient-centered health care environments.
The baccalaureate nursing program at Saint Francis University has full approval by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing and is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW Suite 750, Washington, DC. 20001, (202) 887-6791. (http://www.ccneaccreditation.org . A graduate is eligible to sit for the R.N. licensure exam, NCLEX-RN®.Information on CCNE can be obtained from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).
See requirements: Visit the
Course Catalog Major Requirements
For program information, please review the Plan of Study and/or Course Catalog Major Requirements
Students enroll as a freshman in the nursing major. In
addition to general education requirements, incoming freshman nursing students
should earn a minimum SAT score as described below and a high school GPA of 3.0
or greater (based on a 4.0 scale). A strong background in the sciences and math
is required, including Biology, Chemistry, and Algebra. A limited number of
transfer students are admitted to the program based on available space, and
additional admission criteria. Transfer students are required to have a
pre-admission interview with a faculty member from the Nursing Department.
Nursing practice requires that a person have certain functional
abilities to provide safe and competent care. These are physical and
mental activities and attributes needed by a nurse to practice safely in
terms of essential nursing functions, with or without accommodations.
Therefore, all nursing students must satisfactorily meet the health
requirements listed on the student health form obtained in the Student
Health Center. Essential physical abilities include gross and fine motor
skills, mobility, physical strength and endurance, ability to use
senses (tactile, visual, auditory, olfactory) and ability to be
interactive, communicative, and interpersonal (National Council of State
Boards of Nursing, 1999). If a student does not meet minimum functional
requirements, the student will not be able to fulfill clinical
requirements and must withdraw from the program. Reasonable
accommodations may be needed to allow the student to perform essential
nursing functions (e.g., enhanced stethoscope for slight hearing
impairment); however, all adaptive equipment and associated costs are
the responsibility of the student.
Admission and continuance in the nursing major depends on the
maintenance of satisfactory physical and mental health. Students are
required to notify the Nursing Department Chairperson and clinical
instructor immediately of any change in physical or mental health
status, including pregnancies, so that clinical assignments may be
A student who develops a serious or extended illness while enrolled
in the nursing major must be under the ongoing care of a health care
provider. Upon identification of possible physical or psychological
illness by a faculty person, the student must seek evaluation and
treatment as required. The student must submit documentation from the
health care provider indicating the student’s ability to perform the
functions of a student nurse. A student with a communicable disease must
adhere to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
guidelines and policies of the affiliating agencies regarding measures
to prevent transmission of the illness to others. A student may be asked
to withdraw from the nursing program if there is evidence to suggest
that the student is not in complete compliance with the CDC guidelines
or that the health of the student or the safety of clients in the
clinical area may be threatened by the continuation of the student in
the program. Every effort will be made to accommodate the specific needs
of the individual student resulting from the illness. Clinical
objectives must be met despite pre-existing or existing health
Falsification or omission of information required on the student’s
health record is grounds for dismissal of a student from the nursing
program. Student health records and medical information will be
maintained in separate locked files in the Student Health Center. All
information will be kept strictly confidential and will not be released
without written consent from the student. Students are responsible for
any costs incurred relating to treatment for illness or injuries
occurring at the clinical site. Saint Francis University and the
affiliating agencies do not assume responsibility for any costs incurred
for treatment of students.
You should enroll in the academic curriculum and complete at least
three years of science courses, including chemistry and biology, and
earn a minimum grade of a B. Enrollment in four years of natural
science courses would be the best way to prepare for becoming a nursing
student. You need to complete at least 2 years of math (one must be
algebra) and earn a minimum grade of a B.
High school graduates who have been out of school for five or more
years must successfully complete a nursing entrance test (as determined
by the nursing program). They are also advised to enroll in two college
courses to become oriented to college study and learn good study and
time management skills. For assistance in choosing courses, please
contact the Admissions’ office or the Nursing Department at:
Progression and continuance in the
Nursing Program is based upon academic performance and successful achievement
of nursing prerequisites, health maintenance, and adherence to Saint Francis
University policies in the current University Catalog and DoN policies as
stated in the current Student Handbook. The faculty of the DoN has the right
and the responsibility for judging and evaluating the quality of the student’s
achievement, both in the mastery of the theoretical content and in clinical
must earn a minimum grade of “C” in the following prerequisite Natural
Science and Social Science courses. A “C-” grade is not acceptable.
2) BIOL 205 Anatomy and Physiology I
and BIOL 206 Anatomy and Physiology II must be taken at Saint Francis
3) Students must earn a cumulative
minimum GPA of 2.6 or better in the Natural Science courses of BIOL 111, CHEM 111, BIOL 214, BIOL 205 and
BIOL 206 prior to entry into the professional phase of nursing in the junior
year (300 Level)
4) All Natural Science courses
required by the Nursing Program that are taken at another institution and
transferred into Saint Francis University will be used in the Natural Science
GPA calculation, although they are not calculated into the student’s overall
5) Students must earn a minimum
overall cumulative GPA of 2.75 prior to entry into the professional phase of
nursing in the junior year (300 Level).
6) The only nursing courses that may
be taken prior to entry into the professional phase of the nursing program (300
Level) are: NURS 100, NURS 200, NURS
201, and NURS 311. However, the student must successfully complete the
7) Prior to the junior year, it is
recommended that the maximum number of liberal arts courses the student should
have left to complete is three (3) courses (nine credits maximum). When
scheduling classes, it is the student’s responsibility to schedule classes so
that the classes do not interfere with the clinical experiences.
8) All students must pass a math
proficiency exam with an 80% in the following courses: NURS 200, NURS 300, NURS
303 and NURS 401. The purpose of the
examination is to determine the student’s ability to correctly calculate
medication dosages in the clinical setting. Please refer to the policy on the
Math Proficiency Exam found in the Student Handbook.
9) A maximum of three (3) repeated
courses are permitted in the total
curriculum of the Nursing Program which includes only one nursing course, and any prerequisite Social Science or Natural
10) Nursing majors MUST earn a minimum grade of “B-” (80%) in each nursing course in
order to progress to the next course that requires a clinical laboratory
11) Nursing majors must maintain at
least a GPA of 2.6 in the pre-requisite Natural Science courses (BIOL 111, CHEM 113, BIOL
214, BIOL 205 and BIOL 206) and minimum “C” grade in the Social Science courses
(SOC 101, PSYC 101) and MATH 107 or higher.
12) Nursing students enrolled in the
program of studies will be the first to fill the limited spaces available in
the nursing courses. Students who must repeat a nursing clinical course will
then be given preference over those students reactivating their status in the
program or transferring into the program.
13) A student who requests and receives
a continuance or readmission is responsible for curricular changes in the
program of nursing study which occur during his or her absence. A student
follows the curriculum guide for the class which he or she joins upon returning
to the program.
14) Nursing students who leave the
program for a year or more will be evaluated on an individual basis for a
progression plan in the curriculum.
Students in the nursing program must comply with the
requirements of the Professional Nursing Law of Pennsylvania. Students are
required to submit to PA criminal clearances, FBI fingerprinting clearance, and
child abuse history clearance. Healthcare agencies have the right to refuse
clinical placement or deny employment based on background checks. The PA Board
of Nursing shall not issue a license or certificate to an applicant who has
been convicted of a felonious act prohibited by the Act of April 14, 1972 (P.L.
233, No. 64) known as the "The Controlled Substance Drug, Device and
Cosmetic Act" or convicted of a felony relating to a controlled substance
in a court of law of the United States or any other state, territory, or
country unless: (1) at least ten (10) years have elapsed from the date of
conviction; (2) the applicant satisfactorily demonstrated to the Board that
he/she has made significant progress in personal rehabilitation since the
conviction such that licensure of the applicant should not be expected to
create a substantial risk of harm to the health and safety of patients or the
public or a substantial risk of further criminal violation; (3) the applicant
otherwise satisfies the qualifications contained in or authorized by this act.
As used in this subsection, the term "convicted" shall include a
judgment, an admission of guilt or a plea of nolo contendere (no contest). An
applicant's statement on the application declaring the absence of a conviction
shall be deemed satisfactory evidence of the absence of a conviction unless the
Board has some evidence to the contrary (Amended June 29, 2002, P. L. 651, No.
1. BSN program completion rates for students entering into the professional phase of the nursing program and graduating within 6 semesters are at a minimum of 70% or higher.
2. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program graduates have passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) on their first attempt. 2018 was the fifth year in a row that the graduating class received a perfect pass rate.
3. The BSN program graduate employment rate is at a minimum of 70% or higher as evidenced through data collected within 12 months of program completion.
nurse is a health care professional who is dedicated to the protection
and promotion of health, the prevention of illness and injury, and the
improvement of comfort. The nurse is also an advocate of individuals,
families, communities, and populations. The field of nursing offers a
wide array of career opportunities. Nurses are employed in hospitals,
home health, nursing care facilities, outpatient facilities, government,
schools, military, just to name a few.
Our nurses go far. Here are some of opportunities that our graduates have taken
The School of Health Sciences and Education (SHS&E)
utilize Interprofessional collaboration in the new cutting-edge, state-of the–art
Experiential Learning Commons (ELC). Students in the SHS&E participate in
interprofessional simulations and activities with students from physical
therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant sciences and other SHS&E
majors. Simulation provides a safe environment for all health science students
to practice skills—both hands-on and communication—with other health
professionals to mimic the current health care settings.
Upon graduation from the BSN program, all students must
pass the NCLEX to receive the RN license.
= required field
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