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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 Nursing Student Organization
(NSO). 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.
See requirements: Visit the academic catalog and scroll to the School of Health Sciences to view degree requirements.
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
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
Students requesting transfer from other universities will be reviewed
and placed on a space available basis. Nursing courses taken at other
universities may be assessed for transfer of credits. Preference will
be given to students who have taken the majority of their prerequisite
courses at Saint Francis University. Decisions regarding the admission
of a transfer student will be made on an individual basis for the
nursing program. Transfer students requesting admission into Saint
Francis University’s nursing program must meet the following criteria:
If a first year applicant or transfer applicant does not meet minimum
requirements for entrance into the nursing program, he/she could be
considered as a provisional nursing major. As a provisional nursing
major, first year applicants (less than 28 earned college credits) must
have a minimum high school GPA of 3.0 and a minimum SAT of 900/ACT of
19. Transfer students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 and
must meet program progression standards. Upon successful completion of
the required math, science, and social science requirements with a
natural science GPA of 2.6 and a cumulative GPA of 2.75, and an earned
80% in pre-nursing courses, the student will progress into the
professional phase of the nursing curriculum on a space available basis.
*Pre-nursing courses (with a lab) are: NURS 100, NURS 200, NURS 201.*Required math, science, social science: MATH 107, SOC 101, PSYCH 101, CHEM 103, BIO 111, BIO 214, BIO 205, BIO 206*Provisionally accepted students (as well as nursing and transfer students) can only have three or less repeated courses.
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 are based upon scholastic achievement, health maintenance, and adherence to Saint Francis University policies. In addition, nursing majors must adhere to the Nursing Department policies as stated in the current
Department of Nursing Student Handbook.
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. 99).
The following information demonstrates typical progression of classes to complete the nursing program in four years.
Total Curriculum Credits 128
*Students must provide their own transportation to clinical sites.
** Sophomore Students need to take and pass Math Proficiency Exam^ Pre-requisite for NURS 200^^ Students can consider taking BIO 214 in the summer.
For Entrance into Professional Phase NURS 300 Level courses, students need to have 2.75 minimum overall QPA and must maintain a natural science QPA of 2.6 or higher.
Please refer to the Saint Francis University Catalog for course descriptions.
The baccalaureate nursing program at Saint Francis University has
full approval by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing and is fully
accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K St., NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 2001. For more
information regarding disclosure, please review pages 15-16 of the CCNE
Procedures for Accreditation of Baccalaureate and Graduate Degree
Nursing Programs (amended December 2011) at
http://www.aacn.nche.edu/ccne-accreditation/Procedures.pdf. 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).
The Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program graduates have passed the
National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) on their first
attempt. 2017 was the fourth year in a row that the graduating class
received a perfect pass rate.
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 NCLEX-RN pass rates for first-time takers are at a minimum of 80% for the PA State Board of Nursing defined year from October 1 through September 30.
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.
Collaboration is the buzz word around the School of Health Sciences. All of the Health Science Programs—including Nursing—will soon be housed in the same building—Sullivan Hall. The University is committed to building a cutting-edge, state-of the –art, interdisciplinary simulation lab, where you will work in simulated activities with occupational therapy, physical therapy, and physician assistant students. 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.
The nursing 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 perspective of caring/nursing theorists for its
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.
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 Department of Nursing policies as stated in the current Student Handbook. The faculty of the Department of Nursing 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 competence.
A. Academic Progression
Upon graduation from the BSN program, all students must
pass the NCLEX to receive the RN license.
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