The College of Nursing offers two undergraduate programs, each leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science: the basic four-year undergraduate program and the RN-BSN program which is targeted primarily to Registered Nurses and offered through the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. Information about the latter program is available from that unit.
The undergraduate curricula of both programs emphasize competencies to promote health, guide persons through the health care experience and shape the health environment.
The American Nurses Association Code of Ethics and Professional Standards of Practice for basic practices guides all clinical learning activities.
The baccalaureate graduate of the UMass Dartmouth College of Nursing curriculum is able to:
- integrate caring behaviors and therapeutic alliances with persons into professional nursing care.
- integrate effective communication processes into professional nursing.
- synthesize knowledge as the foundation for providing nursing care that promotes health, shapes the environment and guides persons and their families through the health care experience.
- collaborate with others to promote health for a diverse society.
- evaluate the outcomes of nursing interventions.
- participate in leadership activities to effect needed change and improvement of health care systems and advocating to promote the health of the population.
- provide competent and evidence-based therapeutic nursing interventions.
- demonstrate behaviors that incorporate the dimensions of a professional, essential to fulfill nursing’s social contract.
Academic Policies for the Undergraduate Program
- The minimum passing grade for all nursing and science courses except electives is “C.”
- Students may repeat a course only once, only as space is available, and only with the consent of the department chairperson and the student’s advisor. A second failure (grade below C) in the same course will result in dis-enrollment from the College of Nursing.
- At the end of each program year, the student must have an overall minimum 2.0 cumulative grade point average. At the end of the sophomore year and for subsequent program years, the student must also have a minimum cumulative average of 2.0 in the nursing major. Failure to meet these criteria will result in academic probation.
- After the completion of three semesters, students with a GPA of less than 2.0 in nursing major courses will be placed on academic probation. All students placed on probation must meet with their academic advisors; an individualized program plan will be developed and filed in the Dean’s office. If at the completion of two subsequent semesters students do not have an overall GPA of at least 2.0 in the nursing major, they will be subject to academic disqualification from the nursing major.
- The following number of credits must have been successfully completed at the end of each program year:
- A student who earns less than “C” in 12 credits of required courses, regardless of repeating, will be disqualified from the nursing major.
- Students have a right to appeal grades. Refer to the grade appeal policy in the academic regulations section of the catalog.
- It is normal and desirable that the prerequisites for each nursing course be completed prior to enrolling in the NUR course. Within a given academic year however, there may be instances when an NUR prerequisite course may be taken coincidently with an NUR course. Under no circumstances may a student advance to the next year without completing all nursing and non-nursing prerequisites. Early registration for a required NUR course does not alter this requirement for progression.
- Selection of students eligible for progression may be limited by the availability of faculty and/or clinical placements. In the event that the number of eligible students exceeds available resources, students will be selected on the basis of academic standing.
- Students are responsible for being certified for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) by the beginning of each academic year they take clinical courses. A copy of the certification must be on file in the Dean’s office.
- Students in the basic program must purchase student liability insurance through the university bursar’s office prior to each academic year in which they enroll in clinical courses. RN students must submit a copy of current professional liability insurance to the dean’s office prior to each academic year in which they enroll in clinical courses.
- Students are responsible for their own transportation to clinical agencies.
- Students are responsible for having appropriate immunizations during the summer preceding each academic year in which they enroll in clinical courses. The written reports must be on file in the university health office prior to the student’s receiving a clinical assignment.
- All students must undergo a Criminal Offense Record Investigation (CORI) before entering clinical courses. This check is administered through the College of Nursing to the Massachusetts CORI Board.
- All students must comply with a 10-panel urine test for drug screening before the start of the first clinical experience. Students bear the cost of this screening and of any titers needed to verify immunization or other medical conditions.
- Any exceptions to the above academic policies will be considered by the dean only on recommendation of the student’s academic advisor.
- The faculty reserve the right to change a student’s selection of clinical site in order to consolidate sections, as necessary.
Course of Study: Basic Baccalaureate Nursing
Studies in the sciences and liberal arts provide for the concepts encountered in the study of nursing. Students are introduced to core nursing concepts, values, and beliefs in the freshman year.
In the sophomore year, students are taught to interact effectively with individuals and begin building the foundations for advanced study. They acquire the skills in observation and communication necessary to assess an individual’s needs, set measurable and realistic goals of nursing care, and utilize evidence-based interventions to maximize health.
The junior year emphasizes the transfer and application of knowledge in varied clinical situations. Students develop skills in caring for acutely ill adults, childbearing and childrearing families in the hospital and community, and populations at risk in communities. The family as a unit of care, as well as populations at risk in communities, become the foci for the nursing process.
In the senior year, the students learn to collaborate with all levels of hospital and long-term facility personnel, and with individuals in social and welfare agencies that shape the health care environment. Students develop skills in managing complex health needs of increasing complexity. The emphasis is on the analysis and synthesis of knowledge to maximize health.
In the last half of the final semester, students have a mentorship experience. During this experience the student assumes the role of a registered nurse, working in partnership with a staff nurse.
Typical Program Plan
The basic nursing program is eight semesters long and leads to the Bachelor of Science degree. Students may study full-time or part-time or follow a five-year curriculum plan rather than the traditional four-year plan.
Generally students must complete one program level before progressing to the next level, because courses build on previous knowledge.
In the junior and senior year, there are two options for sequencing courses. Detailed information on those options is available from the academic advisors at the time of early registration for spring semester junior year.
Exception to progression policies or prerequisites can only be made by the Dean on recommendation of the faculty advisor.