2018-19 Catalogs

Undergraduate Nursing Policies

Traditional B.S. in Nursing Policies

Accelerated B.S. in Nursing Policies

R.N. to B.S. in Nursing Policies

Commitment to Civility

Traditional B.S. in Nursing Policies (Back to top)

The University of Southern Maine has established academic policies as outlined in the Undergraduate Catalog. In addition to University policies, the School of Nursing maintains policies as described below.

Clinical Requirements

The University policy exempting immunization requirements for students born prior to 1956 does not apply to nursing students. Prior to entry into NUR 306/307, and for all subsequent clinical courses, students must comply with School of Nursing clinical health and criminal background check requirements and any additional requirements of those health care agencies to which they are assigned for clinicals. Affiliates have the right to deny clinical placement based on criminal background. Denial of clinical placements will stop progression in the Undergraduate Nursing Program.

The costs incurred by a USM School of Nursing student for health requirements and the background check may qualify the student for additional loan eligibility and can be built into the financial aid costs of attendance and education. Students must request such consideration by the Student Financial Services Office and provide documentation of the actual costs incurred.

Nursing courses carry additional fees to cover laboratory and clinical costs. A fee also 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 students must purchase uniforms and lab coats according to the uniform policy. Because clinical experiences occur in a variety of settings in the southern and central 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 clinical agencies.

Progression Policies

Matriculated USM nursing students must take all required CON and NUR courses at USM.

The lowest acceptable grade in required prerequisite courses and CON courses is a grade of C.  The lowest acceptable grade in required NUR courses is a grade of C+.

For those courses that utilize an objective examination format, students must achieve an average grade of ≥77% on all exams to pass the course.

Final grade calculation: Grades will be calculated for each exam and made visible to students. At the end of the semester, exam grades will be averaged, and that score will be rounded, if necessary, as described below. Rounding will not be applied to individual exams in a course. Per mathematical rules, rounding to the nearest whole number is only affected by the digit immediately to the right of the decimal point. For example: a score of 76.499 will be recorded as 76, and a score of 76.50 will be recorded as 77.

Students must have a USM GPA of 2.75 to enroll in NUR 300/301, NUR 306/307, and NUR 330/331. There must be no more than one year between completion of NUR 300/301, NUR 302, and NUR 306/307, 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.

In addition to having a 2.75 USM GPA, a student must achieve a natural science GPA of 2.67 to begin courses in the NUR 323/325 semester and beyond in the curriculum. 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 NUR 323/325 and other clinical courses in that semester of the curriculum. Students then have a maximum of one year between completing NUR 300/301 and NUR 306/307 and raising their natural science GPA to 2.67 to begin NUR 323/325. Science courses may be repeated only once.

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 below) 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 that 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 that is repeated before entering the next nursing lecture/clinical course combination. 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 an unacceptable grade (see grade requirements above). 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 Associate Dean of the School of Nursing.

The Nursing 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, or support courses;

2. A C-, D, F, or L in one or more prerequisite or support courses including required CON courses when repeating the course due to an unsatisfactory grade;

3. A C, D, F, or L in required NUR courses when repeating the course due to an unsatisfactory grade;

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

Academic actions may include probation, suspension, or dismissal from the nursing program or the University. Matters of personal concern to the student will be considered. The Committee will recommend to the Associate Dean a decision regarding progression or dismissal. Appeals may be made to the Nursing Undergraduate Admissions and Advancement Committee. A request for exception to the policy must be initiated by the student in writing to the committee.

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.

Retention Policies

The School of Nursing requires its part time and full time students to maintain standing according to hours completed. The following requirements are exceptions or additions to University policies:

Credit HoursFor Good StandingFor Probationary Standing
46-1202.752.5-2.74
25-452.752.5-2.74
0-242.52.0-2.49

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 placed on probation within the School of Nursing. 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. A student on probation may take support courses to restore their GPA to a level of 2.75 or above, at which point progress in nursing lecture and clinical courses may resume. 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. 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 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 criminal history record information relating to convictions denominated in Title 5, Chapter 341, Subsection 5301 of the Maine Revised Statutes Annotated.

Graduation Requirements

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.

Traditional nursing students graduate in December or May. Summer graduation is limited to students in the Accelerated B.S. 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 credit hours with a minimum grade point average of 2.75.

Accelerated B.S. in Nursing Policies (Back to top)

The University of Southern Maine has established academic  policies as outlined in the Undergraduate Catalog. In addition to University policies, the School of Nursing maintains policies as described below.

The University policy exempting immunization requirements for students born prior to 1956 does not apply to nursing students. Prior to entry into NUR 323/325, and for all subsequent clinical courses, Accelerated B.S. in Nursing students must comply with School of Nursing clinical health and criminal background check requirements and any additional requirements of those health care agencies to which they are assigned for clinicals. Affiliates have the right to deny clinical placement based on criminal background. Denial of clinical placements will stop progression in the Undergraduate Nursing Program.

The costs incurred by a USM School of Nursing student for health requirements and the background check may qualify the student for additional loan eligibility and can be built into the financial aid costs of attendance and education. Students must request such consideration by the Student Financial Services Office and provide documentation of the actual costs incurred.

Nursing courses carry additional fees to cover laboratory and clinical costs. A fee is also 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 students must purchase uniforms and lab coats as described in the uniform policy. Because clinical experiences occur in a variety of settings in the southern and central 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.

Progression Policies

Matriculated USM students enrolled in the School of Nursing must take all required CON and NUR courses at USM.

The lowest acceptable grade in required prerequisite and required CON courses is a grade of C.  The lowest acceptable grade in required NUR courses is a grade of C+.

For those courses that utilize an objective examination format, students must achieve an average grade of ≥77% on all exams to pass the course.

Final grade calculation: Grades will be calculated for each exam and made visible to students. At the end of the semester, exam grades will be averaged, and that score will be rounded, if necessary, as described below. Rounding will not be applied to individual exams in a course. Per mathematical rules, rounding to the nearest whole number is only affected by the digit immediately to the right of the decimal point. For example: a score of 76.499 will be recorded as 76, and a score of 76.50 will be recorded as 77.

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 that 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 that is repeated before entering the next nursing lecture/clinical course combination. 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 an unsatisfactory grade (see grade requirements above). 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 Associate Dean of the School of Nursing.

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

1. An unsatisfactory grade in a prerequisite, nursing, and/or support course;

2. A C-, D, F, or L in one or more prerequisite, required CON, or support courses when repeating the course due to an unsatisfactory grade;

3. A C, D, F, or L in required NUR courses when repeating the course due to an unsatisfactory grade;

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

Academic actions may include probation, suspension, or dismissal from the nursing program or the University. Matters of personal concern to the student will be considered. The Committee will recommend to the Associate Dean a decision regarding progression or dismissal. Appeals may be made to the Nursing Undergraduate Admissions and Advancement Committee. A request for exception to the policy must be initiated by the student in writing to the committee.

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.

Retention Policies

All policies applicable to students in the baccalaureate program (refer to Retention and Progression policies for the baccalaureate program above) also apply to students in the Accelerated B.S. program unless otherwise noted.

Students in the Accelerated B.S. program are required to maintain GPA of a 2.75. A student who is unable to maintain a grade point average of 2.75 but whose average remains above 2.5 is placed on probation within the School of Nursing.  The status of such a student will be reviewed by the Nursing Undergraduate Admissions and Advancement Committee. A student who is unable to maintain a GPA 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 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 criminal history record information relating to convictions denominated in Title 5, Chapter 341, Subsection 5301 of the Maine Revised Statutes Annotated.

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 2.75.

R.N. to B.S. in Nursing Policies (Back to top)

The University of Southern Maine has established academic policies as outlined in the Undergraduate Catalog. In addition to University policies, the School of Nursing maintains policies as described below. 

Unless otherwise stated, all policies applicable to students in the baccalaureate program also apply to students in the R.N. to B.S. program.

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.

Prior to entry into NUR 419, R.N. to B.S. students must comply with any requirements of those health care agencies to which they are assigned for clinicals, which may include required criminal background checks. Affiliates have the right to deny clinical placement based on criminal background.

The costs incurred by a USM School of Nursing student for health requirements and background check may provide for additional loan eligibility and can be built into the financial aid costs of attendance and education. Students must request such consideration by the Student Financial Services Office and provide 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 and central 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.

Progression Policies

Unless previously approved, matriculated USM students must take all required CON and NUR courses at USM.

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

For those courses that utilize an objective examination format, students must achieve an average grade of ≥77% on all exams to pass the course.

Final grade calculation: Grades will be calculated for each exam and made visible to students. At the end of the semester, exam grades will be averaged, and that score will be rounded, if necessary, as described below. Rounding will not be applied to individual exams in a course. Per mathematical rules, rounding to the nearest whole number is only affected by the digit immediately to the right of the decimal point. For example: a score of 76.499 will be recorded as 76, and a score of 76.50 will be recorded as 77.

The Nursing 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, 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 the nursing program or the University. Matters of personal concern to the student will be considered. The Nursing Undergraduate Admissions and Advancement Committee will recommend to the Associate Dean a decision regarding progression or dismissal. Appeals may be made to the Nursing Undergraduate Admissions and Advancement Committee. A request for exception to the policy must be initiated by the student in writing to the committee.

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.

Retention Policies

The following are exceptions or additions to University progression policies.

Both part-time and full-time students in the R.N. to B.S. 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 Nursing 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 2.5 or the student may  be suspended. If 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.

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 (Back to top)

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 that 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 commitment 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.