2019-20 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 any course involving client/patient contact, students must comply with School of Nursing clinical health and criminal background check requirements, which are located on the School of Nursing website, 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

Students who wish to take a required CON or NUR course at another university or college must follow the University of Southern Maine Prior Approval process. Students should speak with their advisor about this process, if needed.

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.

Nursing courses are sequential. Mastery of the content in a designated semester of the curriculum (see Nursing plan of study in the Undergraduate Catalog) is required before progressing to the next semester in the curriculum. Students who have successfully completed NUR 300/301 may not have a gap longer than one year before enrolling in NUR 323/325 without authorization from the department. Once a student successfully completes NUR 323/325, the student must complete all degree requirements within four years.

Students must have a USM GPA of 2.75 and a natural science GPA of at least 2.67 to enroll in any NUR course with the exception of NUR 100, NUR 200, NUR 302, and any NUR course they are repeating. All natural science courses required by the BS in Nursing major must be completed prior to beginning semester V of the curriculum (see undergraduate BS in Nursing Plan of Study in the Undergraduate Catalog). Natural sciences courses consist of the following: Anatomy and Physiology I and Lab, Anatomy and Physiology II and Lab, Chemistry (lab not required), Human Nutrition, and Pathophysiology.

Each natural science course may be repeated only once, and only three natural science courses may be repeated in total. Students who fail to meet these requirements will be dismissed from the nursing program.

Nursing lecture and clinical course combinations must be taken concurrently the first time a student is enrolled in each course. A grade lower than C+ in a NUR 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 the first nursing partnership course. With permission of the instructor of the partnership course, a student may continue to the second nursing partnership course while retaking a NUR 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 higher or a passing clinical grade in the course that is repeated before entering the next nursing lecture/clinical course combination.

A student may repeat a maximum of two CON or NUR required courses for which the student receives an unsatisfactory grade per the NUR and CON course grade policies listed above. A third unsatisfactory grade in a required CON or NUR 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. A clinical elective course may be repeated only once.

The School of Nursing Undergraduate Admissions and Advancement Committee will review the academic record of any student who receives one or more unsatisfactory grades in a given semester, whose GPA or natural science GPA is unsatisfactory, or who is not in compliance with the above policies. The consequences of unsatisfactory progress may include probation in the School of Nursing, suspension from the School of Nursing, or dismissal from the School of Nursing or the University.

Appeals for exceptions to any Undergraduate Nursing policies listed in the Catalog must be initiated by the student in writing. Information about how to submit an appeal is located on the School of Nursing website under Current Undergraduate Student Resources.

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 coursework in accordance with the progression policies described above.

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 for the student to progress to subsequent required NUR or CON courses in the curriculum.

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:

A student who is unable to maintain a grade point average of 2.75 will be 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 dismissed from the School of Nursing. 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.

The School of Nursing reserves the right to accept and retain only those students who satisfy the academic and clinical health requirements necessary for nursing. A student who is suspended by the University of Southern Maine for an academic integrity violation also may be dismissed from the School of Nursing.

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 nursing prerequisite course.

Traditional B.S. in 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

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 any course involving patient/client contact, Accelerated B.S. in Nursing students must comply with School of Nursing clinical health and criminal background check requirements, which are located on the School of Nursing website, 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

Students who wish to take a required CON or NUR course at another university or college must follow the University of Southern Maine Prior Approval process. Students should speak with their advisor about this process, if needed.

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 courses are sequential. Mastery of the content in a designated semester of the curriculum (see Accelerated BS in Nursing plan of study in the Undergraduate Catalog) is required before progressing to the next semester in the curriculum.

Nursing lecture and clinical course combinations must be taken concurrently the first time a student is enrolled in each course. A grade lower than C+ in a NUR 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 the first nursing partnership course. With permission of the instructor of the partnership course, a student may continue to the second nursing partnership course while retaking a NUR 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 higher or a passing clinical grade in the course that is repeated before entering the next nursing lecture/clinical course combination.

A student may repeat a maximum of two CON or NUR required courses for which the student received an unsatisfactory grade per the NUR and CON course grade policies listed above. A third unsatisfactory grade in a required CON or NUR 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. A clinical elective course may be repeated only once.

The School of Nursing Undergraduate Admissions and Advancement Committee will review the academic record of any student who receives one or more unsatisfactory grades in a given semester, whose GPA is unsatisfactory, or who is not in compliance with the above policies. The consequences of unsatisfactory progress may include probation in the School of Nursing, suspension from the School of Nursing, or dismissal from the School of Nursing or the University.

Appeals for exceptions to any Undergraduate Nursing policies listed in the Catalog must be initiated by the student in writing. Information about how to submit an appeal is located on the School of Nursing website under Current Undergraduate Student Resources.

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 coursework in accordance with the progression policies described above.

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 for the student to progress to subsequent required CON or NUR courses in the curriculum.

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 a GPA of 2.75. A student who is unable to maintain a grade point average of 2.75 but whose average remains above 2.50 will be 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 2.50 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 academic and clinical health requirements necessary for nursing. A student who is suspended by the University of Southern Maine for an academic integrity violation also may be dismissed from the School of Nursing.

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

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 Undergraduate Nursing 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

Students who wish to take a required CON or NUR course at another university or college must follow the University of Southern Maine Prior Approval process. Students should speak with their advisor about this process, if needed.

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 School of Nursing Undergraduate Admissions and Advancement Committee will review the academic record of any student who receives one or more unsatisfactory grades in a given semester, whose GPA is unsatisfactory, or who is not in compliance with the above policies. The consequences of unsatisfactory progress may include probation in the School of Nursing, suspension from the School of Nursing, or dismissal from the School of Nursing or the University.

Appeals for exceptions to any Undergraduate Nursing policies listed in the Catalog must be initiated by the student in writing. Information about how to submit an appeal is located on the School of Nursing website under Current Undergraduate Student Resources.

The School of Nursing reserves the right to accept and retain only those students who satisfy the academic and clinical health requirements necessary for nursing. A student who is suspended by the University of Southern Maine for an academic integrity violation also may be dismissed from the School of Nursing.

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 coursework in accordance with the progression policies described above.

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 for the student to progress to subsequent required CON or NUR courses in the curriculum.

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 2.50 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 2.50 may be reviewed by the School of 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 from the School of Nursing. While on probation, the minimum semester GPA accomplished must be at least 2.50 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

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.