Part-Time Clinical Nursing Instructor
|| Tara Mariolis
The nursing program has full approval status from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing located at 239 Causeway St., Suite 500, 5th Floor, Boston, MA 02114. The nursing program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) located at One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530 Washington, D.C. 20036-1120.
Vision of the Nursing Department
As a center of excellence in baccalaureate nursing education, the Fitchburg State University Department of Nursing graduates students who are prepared to assume healthcare leadership roles in the global society of the 21st century. The Department uses continuous programmatic evaluation and innovation to maintain an educational culture that fosters social responsibility, service commitment, client advocacy and lifelong learning. Graduates are nurse generalists who are system sensitive problem solvers and critical thinkers. The graduate is committed to evidence based practice and to recognize financial and regulatory mandates which govern health care practices. Graduates are capable of meshing technological innovations with holistic nursing measures to provide integrative care that meets the diverse needs of changing healthcare populations and environments.
Mission of the Nursing Department
The mission of the Fitchburg State University Department of Nursing is to prepare professional nurses capable of meeting societal healthcare needs in a variety of settings. In their teaching, the faculty nurtures respect for diversity, social responsibility, and a commitment to excellence. Collaborative and interactive teaching methods foster the use of critical thinking to build a strong foundation for the practice of holistic nursing. Legal, ethical, and professional standards guide the faculty in teaching the art and science of nursing.
Description of the Program in Nursing
As the first Department of Nursing in the state university system, the Nursing program has a long and proud history. It is:
- Approved by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing
- Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
- Supporting a chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the International Nursing Honor Society
- Supporting the National Student Nurses Association
Upon completion of the nursing program, the graduate will:
- Synthesize knowledge from the liberal arts, sciences, and nursing as a foundation for safe, client-centered care.
- Incorporate basic organizational and systems leadership to provide quality care and patient safety.
- Integrate evidence-based practice including current research and critical thinking in the management of client care.
- Analyze information using information technology to improve patient outcomes.
- Examine the impact of health care policy, finance and regulatory environments on nursing practice.
- Integrate principles of communication in professional practice.
- Synthesize knowledge of health promotion and disease/ injury prevention in designing population focused care.
- Integrate professional standards of moral, ethical and legal conduct into nursing practice.
The department provides well equipped laboratories for on-campus practice of clinical skills and health assesment skills, and a wide variety of client care opportunities in affiliated health care agencies. All senior students participate in an 18 hours per week preceptorship capstone clinical experience. Graduates are in great demand in the professional job market, and many have earned advanced degrees and have progressed to leadership positions in practice, administration, research, and education.
Criteria for Admissions and Retention
Students wishing to pursue the nursing major must be admitted to Fitchburg State University as a nursing pre-major. Their high school science courses must include Biology and Chemistry. During freshman year, students must successfully complete all prerequisite nursing courses which include: Writing I and II, Introduction to Sociology and General Psychology, Anatomy and Physiology I and II, and Chemistry for the Health Sciences. A grade of 2.5 or better is required in each of the three science courses. In addition, students must achieve a grade of 82 or above on the Accuplacer Math Readiness exam or have completed Basic Math I and/or II with a grade of 2.0 or better. Students who have successfully met these requirements at the end of freshman year will be automatically admitted into the nursing major. Any student not completing these requirements by May of their freshman year will remain in the college but will be transferred into the undeclared major. The department admits qualified transfer students, who are not licensed nurses, but who meet the prerequisites for the sophomore year on a space-available basis.
Registered Nurses are admitted into junior year. They are provided a variety of opportunities to achieve advanced placement in Liberal Arts and Sciences courses and in nursing via the CLEP program, college examinations, NLN Ace II examinations, a portfolio review process, and articulation agreements with numerous community colleges.
Licensed Practical Nurses are admitted into the LPN to BS in Nursing track which allows LPNs to earn advanced placement credits via NLN ACE I challenge exams.
As a professional preparation program, successful progress in the major necessitates requirements in addition to those common to all college students.
- A grade of 2.5 or better, Survey of Micro Organisms and Nutrition.
- A grade of 2.5 or better in all Nursing (NURS) courses. Sophomores who fail or withdraw from one nursing course are required to participate in 30 hours of tutoring at the Fitchburg State Tutoring Center, as well as complete 15 hours of skills in the nursing lab during the semester. Failure to comply will result in dismissal from the program. Juniors and seniors who fail or withdraw from one nursing course will be allowed to repeat the course the following semester on a space available basis. Failure to achieve a 2.5 when the course is repeated will result in disenrollment from the major.
- Students may repeat only one Nursing course throughout the entire program.
- Any subsequent grade of less than 2.5 in other Nursing courses will result in disenrollment from the major.
- Students are responsible for providing their own transportation to clinical practice sites.
- Annually, prior to participation in any clinical nursing course, students must present evidence to the Department of Nursing of: Hepatitis B and other immunizations, CPR certification/recertification at the professional level from the American Heart Association, a physical examination, and Massachusetts nursing licensure (if applicable). Commonwealth of Massachusetts regulations regarding health records for students enrolled in the health sciences must be met through the campus Health Services office.
Good Moral Character Licensure Requirement Information
This policy is used by the Board to review the “Good Moral Character” (GMC) of applicants for initial nurse licensure and applicants for authorization as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN). This policy is also used by the Board as a guide to determine the GMC of nurses and APRNS already licensed and/or authorized by the Board.
The Board will evaluate each application for initial nurse licensure by examination and by reciprocity, and for APRN authorization under the policy governing the determination of GMC in effect on the date the Board receives the application.
GMC must be demonstrated by reliable evidence of good conduct. Examples of such conduct include: honesty, trustworthiness, integrity, accountability, reliability, distinguishing between right and wrong, avoidance of aggression to self and others, taking responsibility for one’s own actions and similar attributes found relevant by the Board.
The absence of the attributes of GMC is most often demonstrated by certain conduct. Such conduct includes hostile or destructive conduct to another or to self and conduct that demonstrates a disregard for the welfare, safety or rights of another or disregard for honesty, integrity or trustworthiness. Examples of such conduct include the conduct underlying certain criminal convictions and disciplinary actions taken by a licensure/certification body in another jurisdiction.
For the purpose of the Policy, “conviction” means the final judgment on a verdict or finding of guilty, a plea of guilty, a plea of nolo contendere (no contest), or a plea treated by the court as a guilty plea, regardless of the jurisdiction in which the conviction was entered.
An applicant must be “of good moral character” for the Board to find the individual to be safe and competent to practice nursing. The GMC standard is created by statute and it assists the Board in determining whether an individual’s character poses a risk to the public health, safety or welfare and/or to the likely provision by the individual of safe, competent nursing care.
An application for GMC compliance will not be evaluated if the applicant has any conviction(s) or disciplinary action(s) until the applicant documents that:
- s/he has met all court-ordered requirements and that all criminal matters involving the applicant have been closed for at least one (1) year, and
- all requirements imposed by a licensure/certification body in connection with disciplinary action (including probation) are completed.
Conduct underlying certain felony convictions will result in mandatory permanent exclusion from the practice of nursing in Massachusetts.
Examples of such conduct are:
- conduct underlying the crimes listed (murder; rape; aggravated sexual assault; assault with intent to rape; armed assault with intent to murder with felony intent; armed assault with intent to rob; burglary, armed assault on occupant; kidnapping; breaking and entering, day/night, intent to commit felony, fear; burning a building; burning dwelling house (attempt); indecent assault and battery, child under 14; indecent assault and battery, child 14 or over; unnatural acts with child under 16; assault and battery dangerous intimidation, race, color, religion; administering drugs to obtain sex; induce sex, minor) and any other violent crime against any person(s) that involves extreme disregard of human life;
- trafficking in, or illegally manufacturing, any controlled substance; and
- exploitation or criminal mistreatment of a vulnerable individual including, a minor, elder and/or disabled person.
Temporary (Five Year) Exclusion
When the applicant has engaged in any of the following conduct within the five (5) year period immediately before the date of an application s/he shall be temporarily excluded from the practice of nursing in Massachusetts (unless s/he meets the requirements in the “Exception to Temporary Exclusion” below).
- conduct for which there is a criminal conviction that does not result in permanent exclusion;
- knowingly falsifying or attempting to falsify, any documentation or information submitted on an application for examination or licensure or for APRN authorization, that is related to the qualifications for such examination or licensure, or authorization; or
- cheating on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) or on any other licensure or certification examination.
Timing of the Period of Temporary Exclusion
Temporary exclusion shall be for:
- at least five (5) years from the date of the most recent conviction or the date the conduct at issue last occurred (whichever is later), and
- at least one (1) year from the date of the applicant’s successful completion of all court-ordered requirements.
Exception to Temporary Exclusion
An applicant who falls under the Temporary Exclusion section of this Policy due to his or her criminal conviction may still ask the Board to evaluate his/her compliance with the GMC requirement, but only in the following circumstances:
1. the applicant makes a written request (with substantiating documentation satisfactory to the Board) for determination of his/her compliance with the GMC requirement; and
2. the applicant:
a. during the five (5) years immediately preceding the date of the application has only one criminal conviction for a single misdemeanor offense or multiple criminal convictions for misdemeanor offenses that are all based on the same one (1) incident or episode;
b. was not sentenced to any period of incarceration (whether served, suspended, or stayed) unless the sentence imposed was suspended or stayed for a period of time in connection with a first time operating under the influence type offense for which no time was served;
c. successfully completed all related court-ordered requirements, if any, including probation;
3. the applicant’s criminal conduct, if it occurred outside Massachusetts, would constitute a misdemeanor in Massachusetts;
4. the applicant’s criminal conduct was victimless and nonviolent; and
5. the applicant has no open criminal case(s) against him or her.
An applicant who the Board finds meets all of these requirements will have his/her GMC compliance determined by the Board using the case by case evaluation process, below.
Case by Case GMC Evaluation
If an applicant is not permanently or temporarily excluded from licensure or authorization under the policy, the Board will evaluate any conduct demonstrating an absence of the attributes of GMC to determine whether the conduct:
1. poses a risk or threat to the public health, safety or welfare;
2. is of significance to the provision of safe and competent nursing care; and
3. is characteristic of the applicant’s conduct.
In doing so, the Board will evaluate factors including:
1. the nature and seriousness of all conduct at issue, including any criminal conviction(s) or disciplinary action(s) by a licensure/certification body;
2. the sufficiency of the applicant’s sustained rehabilitation;
3. the applicant’s age at the time the conduct at issue occurred;
4. the frequency of occurrence of the conduct at issue;
5. how recent the conduct was;
6. any mitigating or aggravating circumstances related to the conduct; and
7. the applicant’s acknowledgment of her or his accountability for her or his conduct and recognition of its significance to nursing licensure and/or APRN authorization.
An applicant who is not in compliance with the GMC requirement will be denied licensure and APRN authorization and a complaint will be opened and then closed for purposes of reporting as required and authorized by law, and of tracking by the Board.
Complaint Opened Against RN License of APRN Applicant
An applicant for APRN authorization by the Board, who is not in compliance with the GMC requirement, will not be eligible for such authorization. In addition, the Board will open a complaint against any license or authorization of the applicant granted by the Board based on noncompliance with the GMC requirement.
Notice and Review of Denial Based on Noncompliance with GMC Requirement
The Board will notify any ineligible applicant of its decision to deny licensure of APRN authorization, the reason(s) for the denial, and the opportunity for review of the denial. The Board may also inform the applicant of the requirements, if any, that the applicant must satisfy before the applicant may reapply. The Board shall afford the applicant an opportunity for a hearing where the applicant alleges, and can reasonably substantiate, the existence of specific areas of factual dispute relevant to the determination of his or her Good Moral Character ineligibility under this Policy.
If there are no areas of factual dispute, the Board may rely on written submissions in rendering a final decision on review. Judicial review of a Board final decision to deny licensure or authorization may be sought as provided by G.L. c. 30A, § 14.
The amount of time that is needed for the Board to determine an initial applicant’s compliance with the GMC requirement varies. However, an initial applicant should expect that the process will take at least eight (8) weeks.
As required by Massachusetts General Laws (G.L.) Chapter 112, sections 74 (RN licensure by examination), 74A (LPN licensure by examination), 76 (licensure by reciprocity), 80B (Advanced Practice authorization) and the Board’s regulations at 244 CMR 4.00, 8.02(1)(a), 8.03(1)(a), 8.04(1)(a), 8.04(2)(a), 8.04(3)(a), and 9.03.
Please go to www.mass.gov/dph/boards/rn and click on the link for Statutes, Rules and Regulations then policies then Licensure Policy 00-01 for the Board’s policies regarding the GMC licensure requirement. Please refer to this Web site for the full version of the Good Moral Character Licensure Requirement.
The Department of Nursing requires all nursing students to complete a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) through the Fitchburg State University Office of Public Safety/each year they are enrolled as a nursing major. In compliance with the policy, all applicants/students are informed that completion of the bachelor of science degree does not guarantee admittance to the registered nurse licensure examination.
Advanced Placement Policy
All candidates for advanced placement within the nursing department must hold a current registered nurse or practical nurse license in good standing.
Advanced Placement Policy for Registered Nurses
All candidates for advanced placement within the Department of Nursing must hold a current registered nurse license in good standing. Advanced placement to the Department of Nursing is awarded to graduates of accredited Associate Degree Programs and to graduates of Diploma Programs in Nursing. The Department of Nursing has articulation agreements with many community colleges. These agreements grant advanced placement to graduates of these colleges who hold a Massachusetts registered nurse license, and who achieved a minimum grade point average of 2.5. Graduates of non-articulated but accredited registered nurse programs who meet the minimum GPA are also eligible for advanced placement. Those applicants who are graduates of diploma RN programs are also able to obtain advanced placement through the use of NLN ACE II exams, which grant Fitchburg State University credit for a score of 90 or better.
Advanced Placement Policy for Licensed Practical Nurses
For licensed practical nurses, advanced placement to the Department of Nursing is awarded: through the use of NLN ACE I exams, which grant Fitchburg State University credit for scores which meet the required decision score.
Course Exemption Policy
Course exemption for students in the Nursing major is accomplished in two ways. For non-Nursing courses, students must submit an official transcript to the registrar of the university for evaluation. For Nursing courses, students must submit an official transcript to the Registrar’s Office showing their grade for the course in question. A copy of this transcript, as well as a course description and a syllabus will be submitted to the department chair. The chairperson, in consultation with appropriate faculty, evaluates the course in relation to the comparable course offered by the Nursing Department. Course exemption is awarded based on the similarities of the courses, as well as the grade achieved in the course to be used in place of a required Nursing course. Courses to be accepted in lieu of a required Nursing course must have a grade of 2.5 or better, and must have been taken at a Board of Registration in Nursing approved AACN or NLN accredited school.
Readmission to the Nursing Department Policy
Students who withdraw from the department or University in good standing may request readmission. The application first goes to the Registrar’s Office, which then consults with the chairperson of the Department of Nursing. Readmission depends on clinical space availability. If the student has been away for more than two years, they may be required to repeat courses.
Students who have left the department or university and are not in good standing at the time of departure are not guaranteed readmission to the university or to the department. To gain readmission to the university, students must meet with the dean of Student and Academic Life, who will review the reasons for suspension or dismissal and will make a contract with them if they are readmitted. To be considered for readmission to the Nursing department, if the student left due to academic or clinical difficulty, the student is required to write a letter which describes the reason for the problem, and what has been done to assure that the difficulty will not re-occur. This letter is considered by the Nursing Department Student Policies Committee, who recommends action to the department chairperson. The final decision rests with the department chairperson. Readmission depends on clinical space availability. If the student has been away for more than two years, they may be required to repeat courses. The academic standards of the department are followed. No student will be readmitted if they have failed two or more Nursing courses.
Education Mobility Policy
The Department of Nursing recognizes that career decisions and the selection of the program of study necessary to enter Nursing are the responsibility of the individual and are based on career goals, abilities and resources. As career goals are revised, and nurses seek to gain competencies not achieved in their basic nursing education program, educational mobility enables an individual to move from one educational level to another with acknowledgment of acquired competencies and minimal repetition of previous learning. The development and implementation of efficient and creative methods for identifying and evaluating prior learning and experience is the responsibility of nurse educators.
Transfer Students Policy
Transfer into the Nursing major is competitive. Non-Nursing majors at Fitchburg State University (internal transfers) wishing to apply to the Nursing program must complete a formal application to the program at the beginning of the spring semester during which the student anticipates completion of the prerequisite courses. Transfer students must have a 3.0 or better cumulative average for their college work to date, and are held to the same prerequisite requirements and standards as current Nursing majors.
Those students who are transferring from other institutions (external transfers) must apply through the Admissions Department of the university. External transfers who have previously been enrolled in another nursing program must submit an official letter from the dean or director of that program stating that the student left in good standing and is eligible for readmission to that program.
The number of transfer students admitted to the Nursing major is determined by the availability of clinical sites, faculty, and the number of continuing Nursing students.
Requirements for the Major in Nursing
Graduation requires a minimum of 120 semester hours of credit comprised of:
- 62 credit hours of Nursing
- 40 hours of required core courses in Liberal Arts and Sciences
- 18 hours of elective Liberal Arts and Sciences credits
Once in the Nursing major, each semester of Nursing includes a clinical/laboratory component as well as classroom theory. A variety of inpatient and community agencies in Massachusetts offer practice opportunities to assist students toward professional competency.
To provide majors with assistance to meet the progression requirements and achieve success in the program, the department uses individual academic and personal advising by Nursing faculty, referrals to campus services, and internal departmental resources. All senior students select an area of Nursing practice for concentrated study in accordance with individualized learning objectives.
The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing requires that all applicants for the RN Licensing Exam (NCLEX) be of “good moral character.” All Nursing majors are required to complete yearly Criminal Offense Records Information (CORI) checks.