School of Nursing

BS in Nursing - RN to Bachelor of Science Degree

The School of Nursing faculty recognizes the need and desirability for registered nurses to attain baccalaureate and masters degrees within Maine. The nursing faculty has designed two options for RNs - the first leading to a Bachelor of Science degree (B.S.) and the second (described in USM's Graduate Catalog) leading to a Master of Science degree.  RNs returning to school face many challenges; every effort is made to remain attentive and flexible in adjusting the plan of study and accommodating individual needs. Advice regarding prerequisites, course planning, and course sequencing for RNs may be obtained by contacting Brenda Webster at (207) 780-4802.

Unless otherwise stated, all policies applicable to students in the baccalaureate program (refer to Progression and Retention Policies below) also apply to students in the RN to BS program.

All RNs must fulfill the University's 30 credit residency requirement (6 credits earned at another UMS campus may be applied toward residency).

The SON recognizes a maximum of 30 nursing credits (RN credit options) transferred from an associate's degree nursing (ADN) program as basic nursing credits required in the baccalaureate program. These credits are applied toward fulfillment of the baccalaureate requirements for RN students who have successfully completed NUR 308, Professional Communication and Technology Utilization in Nursing. Nursing credits earned in the ADN program beyond the basic 30 credits above may be used as elective credit. RNs graduating from a diploma program will be awarded the basic nursing credits (30) for a fee, upon successful completion of NUR 308, Professional Communication and Technology Utilization in Nursing. Additional information may be obtained through the Office of Prior Learning Assessment.

Once a student is matriculated the student is required to notify the Coordinator of the Undergraduate Nursing Programs of any change in status of their RN license.

The University policy exempting immunization requirements for students born prior to 1956 does not apply to nursing students. Because health care workers are at a higher risk for certain illnesses, all students must meet the health requirements of the School of Nursing. These requirements are listed in the student handbook, and on the School's Web site. All health requirements, including CPR certification and health insurance,  must be met and the documentation must be on file in the School of Nursing (SON) prior to entry into NUR 419, Community Nursing Partnerships for RNs.  Students must be certified in professional rescuer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). CPR certification is accepted only from the American Heart Association. Students must have health insurance equal to or better than the USM Student Health Insurance Plan.

Students must pay for and complete a comprehensive background check prior to starting NUR 419. Students must sign a disclosure agreement allowing the School to provide access to this background information to our clinical affiliates. Affiliates have the right to deny clinical placement based on criminal background. Denial of clinical placement will stop progression in the nursing program.

Students may be asked by some clinical agencies to meet other specific clinical requirements. For example, some agencies require drug screens prior to attending clinical in their agency. Students assigned to these agencies will be required to complete all items required by that particular agency.

The costs incurred by a USM SON student for health requirements and background check may provide for additional loan eligibility and/or can be built into the financial aid costs of attendance/education. Students are required to request consideration by the Financial Aid Office, including providing documentation of the actual costs incurred.

Nursing courses carry additional fees to cover laboratory and clinical costs.  Because clinical experiences occur in a variety of settings in the southern Maine area, students must provide their own transportation to rural as well as urban areas. Professional liability insurance is highly recommended for students in the nursing major and is required by some of our clinical agencies.

Retention Policies

The following are exceptions or additions to University progression policies.

Both part-time and full-time students in the RN to BS program must maintain a 2.5 GPA in order to be in good standing. The academic record of a student in this program who is unable to maintain a GPA of 2.5 may be reviewed by the Undergraduate Admissions and Advancement Committee which may recommend probation, suspension, or dismissal. If placed on probation, a student has a maximum of two semesters to achieve a satisfactory cumulative GPA or the student may be suspended or dismissed. While on probation, the minimum semester GPA accomplished must be at least a 2.5 or the student may  be suspended. A student is suspended for one semester; the student may be dismissed at the end of the next enrolled semester if the GPA requirement is not met.

Progression Policies

The lowest acceptable grade in required NUR/CON courses and their prerequisite courses is a grade of C. Science courses may be repeated only once.

The Undergraduate Admissions and Advancement Committee will review the academic record of any student who receives unsatisfactory grades in a given semester as follows:

1. Multiple unsatisfactory grades in prerequisite, nursing, and/or support courses;

2. A C-, D, F or L in one or more prerequisite, nursing and/or support course(s) when repeating the course due to an unsatisfactory grade;

3. An F in a nursing clinical or partnership course.

Academic actions may include probation, suspension or dismissal from nursing and/or the University. Matters of personal concern to the student will be considered. The Undergraduate Admissions and Advancement Committee (UGAAC) will recommend to the Director a decision regarding progression or dismissal. Appeals may be made to the UGAAC. A request for exception to the policy must be initiated by the student.

The School of Nursing reserves the right to accept and retain only those students who satisfy the requirements of scholarship and health necessary for nursing. A student who admits to or is found guilty of a violation of the American Nurses' Association guidelines for ethical practice (see School of Nursing Student Handbook) is subject to suspension or dismissal from the University.

Low Pass Grades

Low pass (LP) grades are used in clinical and partnership courses to inform students whose performance is near failing. Students are held accountable to address the weaknesses identified in their performance appraisal with subsequent clinical and partnership faculty. A second low pass grade constitutes an F and stops progression in clinical, didactic and partnership coursework (see above progression policies).

Incomplete Grades

A grade of Incomplete may be assigned by a faculty member when a student, because of extraordinary circumstances, has failed to complete course requirements in a required NUR or CON course. Incomplete grades must be resolved satisfactorily to progress.

Graduation Requirements

To be eligible for graduation with a bachelor of science degree with a major in nursing, the student must have successfully completed all requirements, and a minimum of 120 credit hours with a minimum grade point average of 2.50.

Commitment to Civility

The concepts of community and social justice are central to the mission and philosophy of the University of Southern Maine School of Nursing. Faculty, students, and staff are committed to promoting a healthy and just environment that supports transformative learning, academic integrity, open communication, and personal and professional growth among the diverse members of our academic community. We believe that these commitments are grounded in intellectual openness, in personal and professional accountability, and in the democratic values of inclusivity and mutual respect which are guided by rational discourse and by a relational ethic of care.

We are grateful for the opportunities to learn and work with peoples of diverse ethnic, racial, religious, cultural, political, social and economic backgrounds as well as with people who are disabled and people of different gender, sexual orientation, and age. Acknowledging the ethics and values that underlie the health professions, it is our belief that these ethics and values should be recognized, practiced, and cultivated in our learning and work environments. Our goal is to increase the awareness of students, staff, and faculty to the importance of civility, its implications, and the behaviors that are acceptable and not acceptable in our learning community.

Civility is the art of treating others, as well as ourselves, with respect, dignity, and care. Civility is apparent when we are sensitive to the impact that our communications, practices, and behaviors have on others, and when we acknowledge each person's self-worth and unique contributions to the community as a whole.

As members of the School, we are committed to learning and practicing in ways that support a caring and socially just community. The following are examples of how we create and sustain civility.

  • Support the autonomy and just treatment of self and others by facilitating an open, respectful, and caring environment.
  • Accept responsibility and accountability for one's own behavior when interacting with students, faculty, and staff.
  • Respect and protect the rights and property of others.
  • Speak or behave in a manner that does not disrupt or interfere with the learning or work of others.
  • Practice personal and academic integrity and expect it from others.
  • Demonstrate respect for others by actively discouraging discriminatory conduct, bigotry, violence, coercion or intimidation against any member of the academic community.
  • Demonstrate a willingness to listen and be open to hearing the perspectives of others. This includes actively seeking to hear from and making a safe space for voices of dissent.
  • Explore controversial issues through open dialogue and respectful deliberation.
  • Respect freedom of expression while recognizing that such tolerance does not require agreement with expressed ideas.
  • Engage institutional resources and persons to resolve conflict when necessary.

We will not tolerate harassing or discriminatory conduct of any form. Everyone has the responsibility to foster a safe and supportive learning and work environment. This committment can include any individual asking others to stop disrespectful or abusive speech and/or disruptive behavior. Collectively, faculty, staff, and students in the School of Nursing are responsible for ensuring a safe and supportive learning and work environment.

Admission Requirements for the RN to BS Program

The RN applicant must (a) meet the general admission requirements of the University, (b) provide evidence of current licensure as a registered nurse in Maine, and (c) must have a GPA of 2.5 or better. Applications of those candidates with a GPA below 2.5 will receive consideration by the Undergraduate Admissions and Advancement Committee. Please refer to the "Learn More" tab for more information about admission to this program.

The following courses must be completed, or may be available for credit by examination, prior to entry into the upper division nursing courses.

English Composition  Anatomy and Physiology I and II**
General Psychology  Growth and Development
General Sociology  Pathophysiology
Ethical Inquiry  Microbiology
Statistics (prior to CON 321)  Chemistry**

**Chemistry and anatomy and physiology requirements are waived with the successful completion (minimum grade of C) of pathophysiology.

University requirements in general education or the Core curriculum must meet the progression standards of those curricula.

Students must take all required CON and NUR courses at USM.

Upper division nursing courses, in required sequence for RNs, include:

 Credits
A. NUR 309/310 Health Assessment and Health Assessment Lab4
     NUR 308 Professional Communication and Technology Utilization in Nursing3
B. NUR 314 RN Credit Options30
     CON 321 Health-Related Research3
     CON 356 Concepts in Community Health3
     NUR 370 Theory for Clinical Practice3
C. NUR 419 Community Nursing Partnerships2
     NUR 474 Leadership and Management for RNs3
     NUR 476 Theory and Concepts of Nursing Practice3

Matriculation in the USM School of Nursing is required prior to enrollment in upper-level nursing courses. The only courses RN students may take prior to matriculation are CON 356, CON 321, NUR 308, NUR 309, and NUR 310. Clinical courses may not be taken unless RN credit options have been completed and posted. USM and the University of Maine (UM) have a collaborative RN/BS option that is available through the University College System. Students may take required and equivalent courses from the other campus for residency credit.

Admission to the RN to BS option is open to graduates of both diploma and associate degree nursing programs. Students may begin their program of studies in either fall or spring semester.   Deadline: Rolling admissions

Please contact Brenda Webster at 207-780-4802 for more information about this program.

NCLEX-RN Pass Rates

For calendar year 2013, the USM School of Nursing NCLEX-RN pass rate was 91.89%. The national rate for baccalaureate programs for the same time period was 85.18%.

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