Dec 04, 2022  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
    
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog

Nursing, B.S.


Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Schools and Academic Programs

Minimum number of credits required to graduate:   125

Minimum Cumulative GPA required to graduate:  2.75

Minimum number of credits to complete the major:  68

 

Nursing, B.S.

Nursing is both an art and a science. The knowledge base obtained from a rigorous program of study, the ability to think critically and clinically reason, evidenced-based research and the ability to perform various skills all contribute to the science of nursing. The art of nursing comes from the heart and involves the ability to provide dignified care and compassion to promote optimal health or provide healing while building an effective nurse-patient relationship. As noted by the American Nurses Association, ” 21st Century nursing is the glue that holds a patient’s health care journey together. Across the entire patient experience, and wherever there is someone in need of care, nurses work tirelessly to identify and protect the needs of the individual” (https://www.nursingworld.org/practice-policy/workforce/what-is-nursing/). 

The Bachelor of Science in nursing program at Merrimack College is for students without an educational background in nursing. Its mission is to educate and prepare competent nursing graduates to provide evidenced-based, safe, quality nursing care in a diverse and dynamic global healthcare environment and to serve as collaborative leaders in the advancement of healthcare for individuals and populations. The program fosters lifelong learning and a spirit of inquiry. It is focused on hands-on learning opportunities that give students the experience needed to become safe, compassionate caregivers and leaders in today’s growing market for the nursing profession. Nursing graduates can pursue careers in a variety of settings, including hospitals, acute care centers, ambulatory and outpatient clinics, community and public health services, as well as skilled nursing facilities. Graduates will also be eligible to work in specialized fields of nursing, such as neonatal or intensive care, telemetry, labor and delivery, pediatrics or emergency medicine. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will be able to sit for the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) and will be prepared to function as a generalist for beginning their professional nursing career.

The nursing program has received initial approval by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing.

The baccalaureate degree in nursing program at Merrimack College is pursuing initial accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (www.ccneaccreditation.org). Applying for accreditation does not guarantee that accreditation will be granted.

Nursing Major Course Requirements


A Bachelor of Science degree in nursing is awarded to students who complete four years of academic study on campus (total credits -125; nursing major credits- 68; other required credits - 57). An example of a curriculum plan with the Courses/Core required in this major is:

Freshman Year Credits: 33

  • HSC1122 - Anatomy & Physiology I   Credits: 4
  • HSC1123 - Anatomy & Physiology II  Credits: 4
  • NUR1550 - Intro to Professional Nursing (w1) Credits: 4
  • RTS1XXX - Religious & Theological Studies (RTS)  Credits: 4
  • PHL1000 - Intro to Philosophy  Credits: 4
  • HDE1000 - Intro to Human Development (SOSC1)  Credits: 4
  • Foreign Language (FL)/Historical Studies (H)/ or Art & Literature (AL)  Credits: 4
  • ENG1050 - Intro to College Writing (FYW)  Credits: 4
  • FYE1050 - First Year Experience (FYE)  Credits: 1

Sophomore Year Credits:  30

  • NUR2000 - Nursing Fundamentals & Health Assessment; Credits: 4
  • NUR2550 - Care Considerations for the Older Adult with Chronic Conditions (w2)  Credits: 6
  • NUR2600 - Pathopharmacology I  Credits: 4
  • CHM2037 - Nursing Biochemistry (STEM) Credits: 4
  • HSC3320 -  Microbiology for Health Professions  Credits: 4
  • Social Science Core 2(SOSC2)  Credits: 4
  • Foreign Language (FL)/Historical Studies (H)/ or Art & Literature (AL)  Credits: 4

Junior Year Credits: 32

  • NUR3000 - Adult Medical-Surgical Nursing  Credits: 8
  • NUR3050 - Pathopharmacology II  Credits: 4
  • NUR3500 - Pediatric Nursing  Credits: 4
  • NUR3550 - Obstetrical and Newborn Nursing  Credits: 4
  • NUR3700 - Nursing Research and Evidence-based Practice (w3)  Credits: 4
  • MTH 1110 or MTH1111 - Basic Statistics (STEM, Q)  Credits: 4
    • Prerequisite: a score of 9 or above on the Math Placement Test or successfully passing MTH1000 Concepts in Algebra
  • PHL2060 - Biomedical Ethics (E) or RTS2820: Bioethics & Healthcare (E) or PHL3060 Justice in Health & Healthcare  Credits: 4
    • Students must complete 1 of the 3 courses.

Senior Year Credits: 30

  • NUR4000 - Critical Care Nursing  Credits: 4
  • NUR4050- Role Transition  Credits: 4
  • NUR3600 - Community / Public Health Nursing  Credits: 4
  • NUR3655 - Mental Health Nursing Care  Credits: 4
  • NUR4500 - Capstone Synthesis  Credits: 4
  • NUR4550 - Capstone Preceptorship (X)(Senior Seminar Course)  Credits: 6
  • Interdisciplinary Elective  Credits: 4

 

Nursing Program Outcomes


Upon completion of the nursing program, students will:

  • Engage in socially valued work and health care leadership through the acquisition of a liberal arts education with a focus on the arts and sciences that fosters the basis for clinical reasoning.  (Liberal Education (LE))
  • Promote and deliver high quality patient care through the application of organizational and systems-based practices and quality improvement outcomes (Systems-Based Practice (SBP), Quality Improvement (QI))
  • Demonstrate effective use of strategies to mitigate errors and reduce the risk of harm to patients, self and others in healthcare, home, and community settings (Safety (S))
  • Apply evidence-based practice models to provide a process for the evaluation and application of scientific evidence surrounding practice issues.  (Evidence Based Practice (EBP))
  • Utilize informatics and patient care technology to assist in effective communication and to deliver quality patient care in a variety of health care settings. (Informatics & Technology (I & T))
  • Integrate leadership and management skills, theories and principles when directing and influencing the behavior of individuals and/or groups to meet desired patient-related outcomes. (Leadership (L))
  • Assimilate integrity and accountability into practice that promotes life-long learning and upholds established regulatory, legal and ethical principles while providing standard-based care. (Professionalism (Pro))
  • Collaborate with all members of the health care team to provide quality improvement approaches for patient centered outcomes. (Teamwork and Collaboration (T/C))
  • Analyze major determinants to health promotion, disease and injury prevention across the lifespan at the individual and population levels.  (Health Promotion / Disease Prevention (HP/DP))
  • Use verbal and nonverbal communication strategies that promote an effective exchange of information, development of therapeutic relationships and shared decision making with patients, families, groups, populations, and communities from diverse backgrounds (Communication (Com))
  • Utilize and apply knowledge, critical thinking and clinical decision-making skills, within the context of compassionate patient centered care to form the basis for evidence-based nursing practice that reflects ethical values and a commitment to lifelong learning.  (Patient Centered Care (PCC))

Requirements for the BS in Nursing Program


Admission Requirements for the BS in Nursing Program:

  • Official copies of all secondary school transcripts, including first term senior grades
    • All candidates will require satisfactory evidence of secondary school graduation or its equivalent.
  • Letter of recommendation from a school counselor and from a teacher (preferably a science or math teacher).
  • High school subject requirements (expressed in terms of secondary units where one unit = one academic year of study), as per College Requirements, with the exception that Foreign Language, 2-4 is recommended.
  • High School GPA of 3.0 or higher; C or better in all science grades

 Massachusetts College Immunization Requirements as per the MA Dept. of Health:

Tdap

1 dose; and history of a DTaP primary series or age appropriate catch-up vaccination. Tdap given at ≥7 years may be counted, but a dose at age 11-12 is recommended if Tdap was given earlier as part of a catchup schedule. Td or Tdap should be given if it has been >10 years since Tdap.

Hepatitis B

3 doses; laboratory evidence of immunity acceptable

MMR

2 doses; first dose must be given on or after the 1st birthday and the 2nd dose must be given >28 days after dose 1; laboratory evidence of immunity acceptable. Birth in the U.S. before 1957 is acceptable only for science students.

Varicella

2 doses; first dose must be given on or after the 1st birthday and 2nd dose must be given ≥28 days after dose 1; a reliable history of chickenpox or laboratory evidence of immunity acceptable. Birth in the U.S. before 1980 is acceptable only for non-health science students.

Meningococcal

1 dose; 1 dose MenACWY (formerly MCV4) required for all full-time students 21 years of age or younger. The dose of MenACWY vaccine must have been received on or after the student’s 16th birthday. Doses received at younger ages do not count towards this requirement. Students may decline the MenACWY vaccine after they have read and signed the MDPH Meningococcal Information and Waiver Form provided by their institution. Meningococcal B vaccine is not required and does not meet this requirement.

 

Additional medical requirements:

  • Nursing Program Medical History & Physical Examination Form (See Appendix 2 in Nursing Student Handbook):
    • All students are required to have this form completed and signed by the health care practitioner prior to entering the Nursing Program during the fall of first year.
  • Additional medical requirements:
    • All students are required to have the COVID-19 vaccination prior to coming on campus.  Some clinical sites may have requirements beyond which students must also adhere.
    • All students are required to have a two-step TB test or TB blood test (T-SPOT or QuantiFERON) completed prior to entering the Nursing Program during fall of the first year.
    • A one-step TB test or TB blood test (T-SPOT or QuantiFERON) will be required annually after the first year or as per clinical agency requirements.
    • Annual flu shot (due by October 1st or earlier if required by a clinical agency).
  • Drug Screening (12-panel):
    • All students are required to undergo a 12-panel drug screen prior to entering the second semester of the first year.
    • 12- Panel drug screens are an annual requirement and may be done more frequently if required by the clinical agency.
  • Criminal Background Check:
    • All students are required to have a criminal background check prior to entrance into the Traditional BS in Nursing Program, the fall of their first year. Annual background checks will be required yearly and as required by clinical agencies.
    • A felony conviction may affect a student’s ability to be placed in a clinical setting. Criminal background checks must be completed, and the Nursing Program will have no obligation to refund tuition or otherwise accommodate a student in the event that a criminal background check, fingerprinting or drug screening render the student ineligible to complete required courses or clinical field experiences.
    • Students should note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NCLEX licensure exam and/or attain employment. Any concerns should be communicated to the Undergraduate Director of Nursing or the MA Board of Registration in Nursing for advice.
  • CPR Certification:
    • By August 1st prior to the second year, nursing majors must provide evidence of completion of an approved CPR course for health care providers (American Heart Association -Level C, American Red Cross CPR for Professional Rescuers, or the American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI) CPR Pro for Healthcare Professionals) and every 2 years thereafter.
    • Online courses are not accepted. All certificates must include a hands-on portion.
  • Copy of Health Insurance Card (both the front and the back)
  • Dementia Training will be required before entering the clinical practicum in a long-term care facility during NUR2550. Information related to this training will be provided to the student prior to the course.
  • Castle Branch:

Castle Branch is a company used by the Nursing Program to track all requirements. This company offers an easy-to-use, secure, online system that allows the tracking and management of background checks, drug testing, immunization record tracking, fingerprinting, and documentation management.

  • All first-year nursing students are required to register with Castle Branch during summer orientation. Students will use this tracking system to submit required documentation throughout their time spent in the Nursing Program.
  • All required immunizations, screening, and documentation, as noted above, must be completed and submitted to the Castle Branch site for approval no later than TWO WEEKS PRIOR to freshman spring registration (November 3, 2022) or the student will not be allowed to register for their spring courses until all requirements are noted as being complete/approved in Castle Branch.
  • After the initial first-year submission, all prerequisites must be updated in a timely fashion, per the expiration dates, in order to maintain ongoing compliance with Nursing Program requirements.
  • Castle Branch will send student emails when various immunizations or other requirements are due up for renewal.
  • It is the responsibility of each individual student to keep track of his or her requirements and due dates. Failure to comply with requirements, at any time, will result in the inability of the student to attend clinical for all nursing courses that have a clinical component, which may affect their ability to progress in the program. 
  • If students are unable to maintain Castle Branch compliance, course registration and program progression may be jeopardized.

Nursing Good Moral Character Statement:

All prospective nursing students should familiarize themselves with the statutory requirements of licensure in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts prior to matriculation in the nursing program. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing Licensure Policy 00-01, Determination of Good Moral Character includes the following:

  • It identifies specific criminal convictions, which will permanently exclude an individual from initial nurse licensure in Massachusetts, due to the horrific nature of the crime;
  • requires initial nurse licensure applicants to be conviction-free, for a minimum of five years, before the submission of an application for licensure;
  • requires the disposition of any criminal conviction to be closed, for a minimum of one year, before the submission of a nurse licensure application; and
  • requires all criminal cases to be closed at the time of application.

 

The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing publishes an information sheet on good moral character. Copies are available on-line at: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/quality/boards/good-moral-info.pdf 

Prospective nursing students who intend to apply for licensure in states other than Massachusetts are encouraged to contact the appropriate authority in those states to ensure that they will meet the requirements for licensure application in those states. Please contact the Undergraduate Nursing Program Director with any questions about this policy and how it may affect your ability to be licensed as a registered nurse in Massachusetts.

  • To obtain the contact information for the nursing professional licensing boards, please go to this link.
  • If you wish to review your state’s Board of Nursing Professional Licensure Requirements, please go to this link. 

Transportation to Clinical Sites

Students are responsible for their own transportation, and associated costs, to and from clinical sites beginning the first semester of the sophomore year. The potential to carpool with peers in the same clinical group does exist and can help with expenses. Students have some independent experiences (e.g., operating room or hospice experiences) as early as first semester third year and will need to have a car or use other forms of transportation to get to the clinical site(s).

Progression in the Nursing Program

1. First Year students must:

  • Achieve a grade of “C” or higher in NUR1550 Introduction to Professional Nursing and HSC1122 & HSC1123 Anatomy & Physiology I & II

  • Successfully complete 33 credits with a CGPA of 2.75 or higher prior to entering second year.

* Any student who has not successfully completed 33 credits or has earned an overall GPA of less than 2.75 by the end of the first year spring semester will receive a letter from the Nursing Program. This letter will advise the student to contact their advisor to discuss potential options for meeting progression standards prior to entering second year.

** If progression standards are not met prior to entering second year, the student will be dismissed from the nursing program.

 

2. Second Year students must:

  • Achieve a weighted cumulative average on all examinations within each nursing course of at least a “C” (73-76.99) and receive an overall course grade of “C” in each of the nursing courses. If the weighted cumulative exam average is less than 73%, the final course grade will be calculated solely on the cumulative exam grade, and the student will fail the course with a grade of C-, D+, D, D-, or F;

  • Achieve a grade of “C” or higher in CHM 2037 Nursing Biochemistry and HSC3320 Microbiology for Health Professions;

  • Have a CGPA of 2.75 or higher at the end of each semester;

  • Receive a grade of “pass” on end-of-semester clinical evaluation;

  • Achieve a medication calculation quiz score of 100%;

  • Maintain compliance with all health and clinical agency requirements; and

  • Successfully complete 63 credits prior to entering third year.

* Any student who has not successfully completed 63 credits or has earned an overall GPA of less than 2.75 by the end of the second year spring semester will receive a letter from the Nursing Program. This letter will advise the student to contact their advisor to discuss potential options for meeting progression standards prior to entering the third year.

** If progression standards are not met prior to entering the third year, the student will be dismissed from the nursing program.

           3. Third Year students must:

  • Achieve a weighted cumulative average on all examinations within each nursing course of at least a “C” (73-76.99) and receive an overall course grade of “C” in each of the nursing courses. If the weighted cumulative exam average is less the 73%, the final course grade will be calculated solely on the cumulative exam grade, and the student will fail the course with a grade of C-, D+, D, D- or F;
  • Have a CGPA of 2.75 or higher at the end of each semester;

  • Receive a grade of “pass” on end-of-semester clinical evaluations;

  • Achieve a medication calculation quiz score of 100%;

  • Maintain compliance with all health and clinical agency requirements; and

  • Have successfully completed 95 credits prior to entering fourth year.

*Any student who has not successfully completed 95 credits or has earned an overall GPA of less than 2.75 by the end of the third year spring semester will receive a letter from the Nursing Program. This letter will advise the student to contact their advisor to discuss potential options for meeting progression standards prior to entering the fourth year.

** If progression standards are not met prior to entering the fourth year, the student will be dismissed from the nursing program.

4. Fourth Year students must:

  • Achieve a weighted cumulative average on all examinations within each nursing course of at least a “C” (73-76.99) and receive an overall course grade of “C” in each of the nursing courses. If the weighted cumulative exam average is less than 73%, the final course grade will be calculated solely on the cumulative exam grade, and the student will fail the course with a grade of C-, D+, D, D-, or F;

  • have a CGPA of 2.75 or higher at the end of each semester; 

  • receive a grade of “pass” on end-of-semester clinical evaluations;

  • achieve a medication calculation quiz score of 100%;

  • maintain compliance with all health and clinical agency requirements; and

  • successfully complete a total of 125 credits to qualify for graduation.

  • pass a computerized, standardized, comprehensive nursing examination during the spring semester.

* Any student who has not successfully:

  • completed 125 credits as per the nursing curriculum plan; or
  • passed a computerized, standardized, comprehensive nursing examination; or
  • earned an overall GPA of 2.75 or higher by the end of the fourth-year spring semester will not be eligible to graduate from the nursing program until these requirements have been met.

Regardless of year:

  • Failure of a clinical component of a nursing course results in course failure, and a grade of “F” will be awarded.
  • Exam grades and course assignments are weighted per each course syllabus.

Course Failure:

  • Students are allowed to repeat only one nursing course throughout the entire nursing curriculum. Failure of two nursing courses or failure of the same nursing course twice will result in dismissal from the Nursing Program.
  • Students who fail a nursing course for the first time will be permitted to stay in the Nursing Program but may not progress until that course has been successfully repeated. The only exception is when a student fails the first of a half semester specialty-nursing course in a semester. This student will be permitted to continue into the next specialty course within the same semester but may not progress to the next semester until the failed course is successfully repeated. Failure of a nursing course may result in a 5-year plan of study.
  • All required nursing courses must be repeated on campus.

Clinical Failure

  • A student may fail clinical at any time during the clinical experience for documented unsafe practice or at the end of the clinical experience for failure to meet outcomes. Failure of any clinical rotation will result in failure of the course. The student will receive a grade of “F” for the entire course.
  • A student is allowed to repeat only one nursing course.
  • All required nursing courses/clinical must be repeated through Merrimack College.

Clinical or Course Failure

  • All students with a first time, single course/clinical failure, will be placed on Nursing Program Academic Probation by the Undergraduate Nursing Program Director for at least one semester.
  • For the purpose of progression, the failed nursing course/clinical will be considered the one allowed course/clinical failure throughout the student’s program.
  • A second failed course or clinical will result in dismissal from the Nursing Program.
 

Transferring in to the BS in Nursing Program


Transferring in to the BS in Nursing Program

Internal Applicants:

Change of major applicants for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program will pertain to matriculated freshman only. Vetting for acceptance into the Traditional BS in Nursing program will be done through the Undergraduate Nursing Program Director (UNPD). Slots are limited and are not guaranteed. Only a select number of students may be granted or none at all, depending on availability. Transferring into the Traditional BS in Nursing program may require an additional semester or two of course work depending on what courses the student has completed prior to transfer.

In order to apply to the Traditional BS in Nursing program as a current Merrimack College freshman, minimum qualifications include the following:

  • Achieve a grade of “B” or higher in all science courses
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.3
  • Minimum score of 80, as per grading rubric, on submitted essay
  • Minimum score of 80 on interview as per the nursing transfer interview rubric 
  • Official transcript required
  • Prerequisite Courses: Anatomy & Physiology I & II, Human Development

Other requirements include:

A. An essay submitted to the UNPD that discusses:

  • your reasons for wanting to pursue a nursing career.
  • your individual skills and strengths as well as foreseen challenges that you might have to overcome to be successful in the nursing program.

B. An interview with the UNPD

External Applicants:

Students from outside Merrimack College will not be allowed to transfer into the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Schools and Academic Programs