2013-14 Catalogs

BS in Nursing

This program prepares individuals to begin their nursing practice in a variety of health care settings and in specialty areas. Graduates possess the foundation needed to assume beginning leadership and management positions and to begin graduate studies. The regular B.S. in nursing and the R.N. studies option are available in both Portland and Lewiston-Auburn. The accelerated B.S. and the second degree option program are available in Portland.

The baccalaureate nursing program requires the completion of 120-128 credits of study and culminates in a baccalaureate degree (BS). Graduates of the traditional and accelerated BS programs are eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) upon completion of their respective program.

Admission and Non-academic Requirements

In addition to requirements established for admission to the University, the undergraduate nursing program requires high school chemistry and biology with labs. See admission section of the catalog for further requirements.

Because so much of the baccalaureate nursing program entails supervised clinical experience, the nursing faculty reserves the right to limit enrollments. Admission to the program is highly selective. The process includes consideration of SAT scores (for first year applicants), academic record and a required essay.

Transfer admission into the nursing major is available according to the number of open seats in a cohort-based system. Admission of transfer students will be done once a year in mid-April. Internal and external applicants may apply for transfer with a minimum of 30 credits and a minimum GPA of 3.0. First-year applicants internal to USM with 32 or fewer credits, a GPA of 3.0 and specific prerequisite requirements (completed English and math readiness, English composition or equivalent, anatomy and physiology I or chemistry, and two of the following three social sciences: introduction to sociology, human growth and development, or introduction to psychology) may apply for a change of major to nursing in consultation with the nursing advisor. Prior to enrolling in 300-level nursing courses, a student must have a minimum  overall GPA of 2.75 and a minimum GPA of 2.67 in the required natural science courses (see prerequisite areas/natural science requirements) . The overall GPA of 2.75 must be maintained throughout the program of study.

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 must be met and the documentation must be on file in the School of Nursing (SON) prior to entry into clinical courses, beginning with NUR 306/307. Students are required to provide verification of compliance with health requirements throughout their program. Failure to comply with maintenance of health requirements will result in removal from all courses. Students must be certified in professional rescuer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). CPR certification is only accepted from the American Heart Association. Students must have  health insurance, equal to or better than the USM Student Health Insurance Basic Plan prior to entry into NUR 306/307.

Students must pay for and complete a comprehensive background check prior to starting NUR 306/307. 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. A fee is assessed each semester to cover the cost of standardized tests. This fee includes the cost of a review course at the end of the program. Nursing majors must purchase uniforms and lab coats. 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.

General Requirements

Students must fulfill general requirements by completing any one of the general education pathways: the Core curriculum, the Lewiston–Auburn College Common Core, the Russell Scholars Program or the University Honors Program. General requirements include courses fundamental to a baccalaureate education including English composition, quantitative decision making, ethical inquiry, natural and behavioral sciences, arts, and humanities. For graduation, no general education requirements or prerequisites may be taken pass-fail and no more than three credits of non-nursing elective may be taken pass-fail. Only one C- or D grade from the arts or humanities will be accepted. Otherwise, a minimum grade of C or above in these courses must be achieved. Grades of C- or below are not acceptable in any prerequisite course.

General education courses specific to the nursing major include:

Natural Science and Math RequirementsCredits
     Human Anatomy and Physiology and Lab8-9
     Chemistry for the Health Sciences3
     Microbiology and Lab4-5
     Human Nutrition3
Social Science Requirements 
     Introductory Psychology3
     Introductory Sociology *3
     Multicultural Human Development (life span preferred)3
     Students completing the Core curriculum, the Lewiston–Auburn College Common Core, the Russell Scholars Program or the University Honors Program must complete a minimum of 120 creditsVar. **

* Courses within a core curriculum may integrate this course content.

** Elective credits to meet the minimum 120 degree credits (dependent upon which general education pathway is taken).

Prerequisites to Sophomore Nursing Courses

The following courses must be taken before or concurrent with entry into sophomore level courses, in addition to having completed 24 credits and holding a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75:

  • English Composition
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology and Lab
  • Chemistry for the Health Sciences
  • Multicultural Human Development
  • Introductory Psychology
  • Introductory Sociology*

In addition to sophomore-level prerequisite courses, the following courses must be taken before entry into junior-level clinical nursing courses (NUR 323/325) and students must hold a minimum GPA of 2.75 and a science GPA of 2.67:


  • Ethical Inquiry
  • Introduction to Nursing
  • Pathophysiology
  • Microbiology and Lab
  • Human Nutrition
  • Health Assessment and Lab
  • Nursing Arts and Science
  • Fundamentals of Nursing Lab
  • Pharmacology
  • In addition, Statistics must be completed before taking CON 321, Health-Related Research.
Upper Division Nursing Courses

Nursing content at the upper division is organized to facilitate the integration of nursing knowledge and skills and to draw on a foundation of learning from other disciplines. The nursing curriculum focuses on providing opportunities for students to develop skills in partnering with various community stakeholders to identify community strengths, resources, and needs. Courses focus on the promotion, maintenance, and restoration of health. Students have experiences which involve assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation of care for individuals of all ages, in families, groups of clients, and communities across the health continuum. Inpatient and outpatient settings, community health agencies, public health settings, long-term care facilities, schools, and industries are used for clinical experiences.

Clinical nursing courses require 28 contact hours per credit except NUR 480 Practicum/Care Management, the final seven-week capstone clinical course. This course requires 168 contact hours, or 56 contact hours per credit. Students must take all required CON and NUR courses at USM.

Nursing CoursesCredits
     CON 302 Pharmacology3
     CON 321 Health-Related Research3
     CON 356 Concepts in Community Health3
     NUR 300 Health Assessment3
     NUR 301 Health Assessment Lab2
     NUR 306 Nursing Arts and Science3
     NUR 307 Fundamentals of Nursing Lab2
     NUR 323 Adult/Older Adult Health Nursing3
     NUR 325 Adult/Older Adult Health Nursing Lab4
     NUR 330 Mental Health Nursing3
     NUR 331 Mental Health Nursing Lab2
     NUR 332 Nursing Care of the Older Adult in the Community3
     NUR 339 Community Nursing Partnerships I2
     NUR 341 Community Nursing Partnerships II2
     NUR 413 Advanced Nursing Skills Lab1
     NUR 421 Reproductive and Sexual Health Nursing3
     NUR 422 Reproductive and Sexual Health Nursing Lab2
     NUR 423 Management of Critically Ill Adult/Older Adult3
     NUR 424 Clinically-Applied Genetics3
     NUR 425 Management of Critically Ill Adult/Older Adult Lab2
     NUR 427 Child Health Nursing3
     NUR 428 Child Health Nursing Lab2
     NUR 470 Leadership, Management, and Ethics3
     NUR 480 Practicum/Care Management3

Students are assigned to a cohort that follows a specific sequence of courses. Junior level clinical courses begin in either the fall or the spring semester in Portland and in the spring semester in Lewiston. Any student enrolled in 300-level nursing courses must be advised by a nursing advisor.

Students progress through lecture and clinical course combinations in the following sequence: Adult/Older Adult Health (NUR 323/325) and Mental Health (NUR 330/331); Reproductive and Sexual Health (NUR 421/422) and Child Health (NUR 427/428; and Management of Critically Ill Adults/Older Adults (NUR 423/413/425). NUR 423/425/413 are taken together as immersion courses in the first seven weeks of the final semester. Practicum (NUR 480) is a seven-week capstone clinical course in the second seven weeks of the final semester. Students must complete the lecture/clinical course combination assigned for practicum placement prior to beginning this capstone experience.

Retention Policies

The following are exceptions or additions to University progression policies.

Both part-time and full time students in the nursing programs must maintain class standing according to hours accomplished, with a grade point average as follows:

Credit Hours  For Good Standing   For Probationary Standing
46-120  2.75   2.5-2.74
25-45  2.75   2.5-2.74
0-24  2.5   2.0-2.49

By maintaining a 2.75 GPA or above during the upper-division years, the student maintains a standard appropriate to professional practice. The student must accomplish, as a minimum, a GPA for good standing according to the number of credits earned. A student who is unable to maintain a grade point average of 2.75 but whose average remains above 2.5 is on probation within the School of Nursing. Such a student may take support courses until his or her grade point average has been restored to the level of 2.75 or above, at which point progress in nursing lecture and clinical courses may resume. A student who is unable to maintain a grade point average of 2.5 will not be allowed to maintain matriculation in the School of Nursing and will be required to either change majors, be suspended, or be dismissed from the University according to its policies.

The lowest acceptable grade in required NUR/CON courses and their prerequisite courses is a grade of C. If placed on probation, a student has a maximum of two semesters to achieve a satisfactory cumulative GPA or the student will be suspended or dismissed. While on probation, the minimum semester GPA accomplished must be the GPA for good standing according to the number of credits earned (see above) or the student will be suspended. A student is suspended for one semester; the student will be dismissed at the end of the next enrolled semester if the GPA requirement is not met.

Requisite to beginning junior-level clinical coursework, a student must achieve a natural science GPA of 2.67. The natural sciences consist of the following courses: Anatomy and Physiology I and II with labs, Chemistry, Microbiology with lab, Human Nutrition, and Pathophysiology. Students who do not achieve a natural science GPA of 2.67 after completing all prerequisite courses may not begin junior-level clinical courses. Students then have a maximum of one year between completing NUR 300/301, 306/307 and raising their natural science GPA to 2.67 in order to begin clinical coursework. Science courses may only be repeated once.

There must be no more than one year between completion of NUR 300/301, NUR 306/307, and CON 302 and starting NUR 323/325 or the course/courses will have to be repeated. There must be no more than one year between taking didactic/clinical course combinations. Three or more semesters without taking didactic/clinical nursing courses require the student to repeat all didactic/clinical courses. Once a student begins NUR 323/325, the student must complete all degree requirements within four years.

Progression Policies

Nursing lecture and clinical course combinations must be taken concurrently the first time a student is enrolled in each course. A grade of C- or below in a nursing lecture course or an F in a nursing clinical course (see low pass policy) will stop the student from registering for any other NUR clinical, NUR lecture or partnership course. In addition, students who receive a failing grade in a required lecture or clinical course which finishes partway through the semester (or students who withdraw from a required lecture or clinical course partway through the semester) will be withdrawn from all other concurrent lecture or clinical courses (required or elective). The student must achieve a grade of C or better, or a passing clinical grade in the course which is repeated before entering the next nursing lecture,/clinical course combination or partnership.A course may be repeated only once.

A student may repeat a maximum of two CON or NUR required courses, clinical or didactic, in which the student receives a grade of C- or less. An unsatisfactory grade in a third CON or NUR required course will result in dismissal from the nursing program. If a student receives an F in an elective NUR clinical course, they may not register to repeat that clinical elective or enroll in any other NUR clinical elective without permission of the Director of the School of Nursing.

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 Committee will recommend to the Director a decision regarding progression or dismissal. Appeals may be made to the Undergraduate Admissions and Advancement Committee. 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. The Maine State Board of Nursing may refuse to grant a license on the basis of violation of academic or professional integrity or on the basis of criminal history record information relating to convictions denominated in Title 5, Chapter 341, Subsection 5301 of the Maine Revised Statutes Annotated.

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 temporary grade may be assigned by a faculty member when a student, because of extraordinary circumstances, has failed to complete course requirements in a nursing course or CON required course. Incomplete grades in upper division nursing courses must be completed with a letter grade of C or better before progressing to the next course.

Graduation Requirements

Traditional nursing students graduate in December or May. Summer graduation is limited to students in the Accelerated BS program. 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 120-128 credit hours with a minimum grade point average of 2.75.

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.