Graduate and Professional Nursing Students: COVID-19 Decisions (3-18-20)

Dear Professional and Graduate Students,

The School of Nursing (SON) cares deeply about your health and wellbeing and is committed to supporting you in this time of uncertainty. As nurses, we play a leading role in reducing confusion, correcting the flow of misinformation, and providing healthcare. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) states that during this crisis, “Student nurses are valuable members of the healthcare team and can provide meaningful care,” and “other than limiting direct care of COVID-19 patients, clinical students continue their roles as part of the care team.” You have a critical role to play.

SON clinical placement policies are based on the latest university, state, and federal guidelines. Consequently, we will discontinue skills/simulation and OSCE experiences on all campuses as of March 22, at which time all Health Assessment labs will also move online. Didactic courses will continue online, and students will be able to complete them as scheduled, including the RN to BSN program and our doctoral programs. We have also expanded the use of online and virtual resources for teaching clinical care. SON faculty and staff remain available to assist you and will communicate via email and Canvas.

We are in close communication with the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). Currently, there are no changes to BRN’s 75% direct patient care, clinical hours licensure requirements (2+2, LVN to BSN, ELM), or the required number of advanced practice clinical hours (MSN) and residency (DNP). Students, who choose to continue their clinical placement (pending facility availability), may do so on a voluntary basis. The SON will carefully track nursing students and their clinical hours in direct patient care, in skills and simulation, and in virtual and online clinical care. We anticipate that students scheduled to graduate in May will have met BRN clinical requirements for pre-licensure and for the MSN programs. SON will provide additional clinical opportunities at a later date consistent with program and BRN requirements as needed for continuing students.

This is an unprecedented situation, and we appreciate your willingness to adapt as we work to maintain your educational program and the health of the broader community. Thank you in advance for your continued support during this challenging period.

I pray that you and your loved ones maintain good health.

Aja Tulleners Lesh, PhD, RN, Dean, School of Nursing