The Master of Science in Nursing at South College is designed to prepare nurse leaders and clinicians for the unique challenges of the 21st century. Based on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing (AACN, 2011) and the specialty foci governing documents, the MSN program is designed to prepare master’s level nursing leaders and clinicians who are able to critically analyze and identify healthcare problems and provide evidence-based solutions. This includes being able to communicate information to influence an organization, integrate decision making across all nursing functions, and develop effective strategies while understanding the importance of ethical decision making.
The purpose of the South College School of Nursing Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program is to provide professional nurses with academic and clinical practice opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills at the master’s level that are essentials to meet the demands of today’s healthcare environment. The School of Nursing at South College offers professional and career-focused curricula designed to cultivate students’ successful learning and the ability to apply knowledge, think critically, and communicate effectively.
The wellness-illness continuum of care provides the overall organizing framework that serves as the philosophical structure for the nursing curriculum at the South College School of Nursing, with students introduced to a variety of nursing theoretical frameworks. Related concepts emphasized in the nursing curriculum include ethical decision-making, critical thinking, effective communication, leadership, and management.
- Person: A person is a unique, holistic, adaptive, open system. Persons, either alone or in groups, families, or communities, have inherent basic rights and choices. Each person is multi-dimensional with variables such as age, gender, culture, race, religion, socioeconomic status, and lifestyle choices.
- Environment: Environment is a complex, open system functioning in a dynamic state of change. The environment is both internal and external, uniquely perceived by each person, either alone or in groups, families, or communities.
- Health: Health is a dynamic phenomenon encompassing physical, emotional and spiritual parameters. Health is individually perceived and influenced by internal and external factors.
- Nursing: Professional nursing is an art and a science with caring as the core concept. The role of the nurse is to facilitate optimal independent functioning of persons, alone or in groups, through the promotion, maintenance, and restoration of health. The professional nurse will utilize critical thinking and the nursing process to plan and implement care.
- Professional Nursing Education: Nursing education is an interactive process. The MSN faculty of the South College School of Nursing embraces the concepts of professional nursing education as described in the Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing (AACN, 2011) and the Graduate-Level QSEN Competencies Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes (AACN, 2012).
Program Goals are an extension of the mission and vision of the school nursing and its parent institution South College.
- The South College School of Nursing program will prepare students by training graduates to provide holistic, evidence-based, and ethical patient care.
- The South College School of Nursing program will prepare students for the licensure examination and demonstrate high academic standards through professional certification pass rates.
Program Outcomes and Student Learning Outcomes
The program outcomes of the MSN program are to provide graduate nursing students with the:
- Critical thinking, interpersonal, and technical skills of a nurse leader with advance degree;
- Academic foundation necessary to pursue doctoral education.
Based on the Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing (AACN, 2011) and the Graduate-Level QSEN Competencies Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes (AACN, 2012), the student learning outcomes for the Master of Science in Nursing Program are as follows:
- Integrate scientific findings from nursing, biopsychosocial fields, genetics, public health, quality improvement, and organizational sciences for the continual improvement of nursing care across diverse settings.
- Explain the impacts of organizational and systems leadership on quality and safety of patient care.
- Develop leadership skills that emphasize ethical and critical decision making, effective working relationships, and a systems-perspective.
- Articulate methods, tools, performance measures, and standards related to quality, as well as apply quality principles within an organization.
- Apply research outcomes within the practice setting, resolve practice problems, work as a change agent, and disseminate results.
- Use patient-care technologies to deliver and enhance care and uses communication technologies to integrate and coordinate care.
- Intervene at the system level through the policy development process and employ advocacy strategies to influence health and health care.
- Function as a member and leader of interprofessional teams and communicate, collaborate, and consult with other health professionals to manage and coordinate care.
- Apply and integrate broad, organizational, client-centered, and culturally appropriate concepts in the planning, delivery, management, and evaluation of evidence-based clinical prevention and population care and services to individuals, families, and aggregates/identified populations.
- Understand nursing and relevant sciences, as well as integrate this knowledge into practice, including both direct and indirect care components.
- Develop professional goals that reflect a lifelong learning commitment and continued scholarship to the nursing profession.
Registered nurses with baccalaureate degrees who are interested in pursuing the Master of Science in Nursing degree program are advised by the Program Director for the specialty area or a faculty advisor. After meeting with an admissions representative, an advising appointment is scheduled with the Director or a faculty advisor. This can be completed in person or via telephone/virtual conferencing. The Director/faculty advisor assists individual students in determining eligibility for admission to the nursing program. The Director/faculty advisor works with each student in developing a plan of study and serves as his/her advisor throughout the program. The Director/faculty advisor also provides additional direction and offers encouragement throughout the program of study via phone calls, e-mail messages, and/or virtual conferencing.
Minimum Requirements for Admission
All applicants to the South College Master of Science in Nursing program, regardless of concentration, must meet the following requirements:
- Completed South College application for admission;
- Completed admission application to the Master of Science in Nursing program;
- Official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate work completed; and
- $50 application fee (online payment or payment via telephone is available).
- Proof of a current unencumbered Registered Nurse license or in progress of becoming licensed as a Registered Nurse as verified by Nursys (https://www.nursys.com) or licensure verification system provided by individual State Board of Nursing;
- Record of prerequisite academic success.
- For admission to BSN-MSN: Evidence of completion of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from an accredited institution of higher learning with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
- For admission to RN-MSN: Evidence of completion of an Associate of Science or Arts in Nursing degree from an accredited institution of higher learning with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
- A two-page typed personal statement of professional goals and objectives.
Note: 2,000 hours in practice as a registered nurse is required prior to the first practicum course.
Any applicant that does not meet the stated admissions requirements may request a review by the Admissions, Progression, and Retention (APR) Committee for conditional admission. These reviews are completed on a case-by-case basis. The APR Committee takes many factors into consideration when reviewing these requests, including but not limited to:
- Applicant’s resume or curriculum vitae showing accomplishments in their profession;
- Amount of time that has transpired between the applicant’s undergraduate degree completion and application to South College; and/or
- Grade point average in graduate work at other accredited academic institutions.
Functional Capacities (Technical Standards)
Prospective students must demonstrate the following functional capacities. Prospective students who believe that they will not be able to meet one or more of these requirements without accommodation or modification must notify the Dean/Associate Dean of the School of Nursing, and a determination will be made on a case-by-case basis whether reasonable accommodation may be made. In no instance will an accommodation be made which will compromise nursing care, or that will put patients or other students at risk.
||Examples of Tasks For
||Adequate to ensure safety of self and others in classroom and clinical settings.
||Patient assessment; response to treatment; medication preparation and administration; reading of patient charts and physician orders.
||Adequate to allow effective communication with patients and others in person and by electronic means, and to ensure safety of self and patients.
||Face-to-face communication with patients, families and the health care team; telephone consultations; heart tones; breath sounds; bowel sounds and other assessments.
||Adequate to allow effective evaluation and therapeutic intervention related to nursing care, and to ensure safety of self and others in providing care.
||Palpation used in assessment; vital signs; medication administration, IV starts.
|Gross motor strength and coordination
||Adequate to ensure safety of self and others in class and lab sessions and clinical activities.
||Patient positioning and transfer; walking, standing, bending, and/or stooping for extended periods involving patient care; moving of equipment/beds.
|Fine motor strength and coordination
||Adequate to allow mastery of activities requiring detailed movements.
||Multiple skills in patient care; treatments; medication preparation and administration.
|Critical thinking ability
||Adequate to allow mastery of basic course content and to demonstrate sound judgment in simulated and real life nursing situations.
||Effective use of nursing process; planning and implementation of the nursing care plan; identification of cause and effect relationship in order to modify nursing care plan; determination of unsafe situations; planning course of actions to meet needs of patient, family, community and nursing profession.
||Adequate to allow establishment of effective working and/or therapeutic relationship with patients, families and professionals.
||Establishing therapeutic relationship with patients and families; working with health care team; collaboration with other disciplines.
||Adequate to allow completion of course work and effective verbal and written communication with patients, families, communities, peers, and others.
||Class activities; therapeutic communication; writing/research at the bachelor’s level; documentation of patient care; education of patient/family/community.
Certain admission restrictions may apply to non-Tennessee residents. Please contact the School of Nursing (865-288-8411 or firstname.lastname@example.org) prior to submitting your application to determine any restrictions that may apply for residents of your state.
Registered nurses must be licensed by the state in which they intend to practice. Licensure laws and regulations vary from state to state. In order to be admitted to the South College MSN program, applicants must provide evidence of a current unencumbered Registered Nurse license or in progress of becoming licensed as a Registered Nurse as verified by Nursys (https://www.nursys.com) or licensure verification system provided by individual State Boards of Nursing. Additional licensure may be required if practicum courses are completed in a state other than the state where the student already holds licensure.
Nurses may seek Nurse Executive board certification from The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or The American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL). Requirements for certification include varying combinations of requirements depending upon the certification sought but generally include requirement to hold a current RN license, minimum educational level in nursing, specified time/hours of experience in nursing management/supervision, and continuing education credits if a master’s degree has not been earned.
The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) have developed nationally recognized competencies for the educational preparation of advanced practice nurses. The respective board certification examinations are competency-based examinations that provide a valid and reliable assessment of the entry-level clinical knowledge and skills for nurse practitioners. Certification aligns with the Consensus Model for APRN Regulation: Licensure, Accreditation, Certification, and Education. Once exam-takers complete eligibility requirements to take the certification examination and successfully pass the exam, they will be awarded a nationally recognized credential, which can be maintained by continuous licensure and satisfying the specific renewal requirements in place at the time of certification renewal. The National Commission for Certifying Agencies and the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification accredits this certification. The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners National Certification Board (AANPCB) also provides a valid and reliable program for entry-level nurse practitioners to recognize their education, knowledge and professional expertise, as well as a process for validation of an advanced practice nurse’s qualifications and knowledge for practice as a nurse practitioner. The AANPCB offers the FNP certification examination, which is an entry-level competency-based examination that tests clinical knowledge in family/individual across the life span (prenatal, pediatric, adolescent, adult, elderly, and frail elderly primary care
Transfer of Credit
Prior transcripts are reviewed for potential transfer credits upon application and any approved upon admission are based on South College program requirements (South College must be in receipt of official transcripts). The specialty agencies who sponsor the national board certification exams have specific criteria aligning with transcript requirements for candidate eligibility to sit for the associated exam. Students are responsible to review the criteria when choosing the agency for board certification upon graduation.
No more than three (3) graduate level courses will be accepted for transfer credit towards a graduate level Nursing program. In order to be considered for transfer credit, a course syllabus, an unofficial transcript with the course grade, and a written request must be submitted to the School of Nursing Associate Dean of Nursing. The Associate Dean of Nursing will evaluate the information to determine course equivalency and make a recommendation regarding transfer credit for each course to the Dean of the School of Nursing. The Dean of the School of Nursing will approve or deny the recommendation. Official credit will be awarded for those approved once the official transcript is received by the Registrar’s office.
Minimum Requirements for Progression
Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (G.P.A.) of 3.00 to remain in the graduate program.
The Director/faculty advisor reviews each student’s scholastic achievement record at the end of each quarter. The academic standards that must be met by each student are outlined in the Academic Participation section. If a student fails to meet academic standards, the Director/faculty advisor meets with the student in question. Depending on the nature of the academic deficiency, the Associate Dean or the Dean of the School of Nursing will determine the status of the student’s academic standing, which may include warning, probation, or dismissal from the program. For RN/MSN students, the quarters in which all courses attempted are taken at the undergraduate level, the undergraduate Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards apply (see Academic Information ). For any term in which one or more graduate level courses are attempted, the following Categories of Academic Standing applies.
||Status of a student who has met course requirements in a satisfactory manner and has demonstrated good professional behavior.
||Status of a student whose performance in an academic course places him/her in jeopardy of falling below the minimum stated standards, or who has exhibited questionable professional behavior.
||Status of a student whose performance in an academic course has fallen below the minimum stated standards, or who has exhibited unacceptable professional behavior.
||Action whereby a student will be dismissed from the MSN Program due to failure to adhere to academic standards. Dismissal will occur after review of the student’s academic deficiency by the Dean of the School of Nursing and following approval by the South College Vice Chancellor of Institutional Advancement and Effectiveness.
The causes of and consequences for receiving a Warning, Probation, or Dismissal are:
||A student who receives a grade of less than 80% on any key course assessments will receive a warning and must meet with the Director of Nursing Distance Education Programs or the Dean of the School of Nursing. Warning for Key Course Assessments. Students placed on an intervention are provided a written plan that details learner outcomes to be remediated and a timeline for completion. The Director of Nursing Distance Education Programs or the Dean of the School of Nursing will prepare the plan and work with the candidate to ensure its completion. Successful completion of the intervention plan is required before approval is granted for enrollment in coursework the following quarter. Failure to complete the intervention plan may result in the candidate receiving an unsatisfactory final grade.
||A student will be placed on probation if his/her cumulative GPA falls below a 3.00 on a 4.00 scale or if a grade below C is received for any course (W grade not counted). A student with a cumulative GPA below 3.00 at the end of any quarter or who earned below a grade of C for any course will receive notification from the Director of Nursing Distance Education Programs or the Dean of the School of Nursing that he/she is on Probation. If the student fails to raise his/her cumulative GPA to a 3.00 or higher at the end of the next quarter, he/she will be dismissed from the MSN Program. If the student raises his/her cumulative GPA to a 3.00 or higher at the end of the next quarter, he/she will be removed from Probation. If a candidate’s cumulative GPA falls below a 3.00 a second time or an additional grade below C is earned, he/she will be dismissed from the MSN program.
Action whereby a student will be dismissed from the MSN program due to failure to adhere to academic and program requirements.
- A student fails (a final grade below 80%) any course;
- A student has a cumulative GPA of less than 3.00 at the end of any quarter and then fails to raise his/her cumulative GPA to a 3.00 or higher at the end of the next quarter;
- A student’s cumulative GPA falls below 3.00 for the second time;
- A student’s professional conduct violates the performance standards set forth in the South College Academic Honor Code, the South College Standards of Student Conduct, or for unprofessional behavior or criminal activity.
South College reserves the right to dismiss at any time a student who, in its judgment, is undesirable and whose continued enrollment is detrimental to him/herself or his/her fellow candidates or whose presence is disruptive to the learning environment, or the orderly operation of the College.
Students who have voluntarily withdrawn from the nursing program in good academic standing or who are unsuccessful in the South College nursing program may apply for readmission based on the following criteria:
- Eligibility requirements that allow application for readmission are as follows:
- Students who have withdrawn from the nursing program voluntarily by the drop/add date are eligible to apply for readmission.
- Students who are academically unsuccessful in one nursing course are eligible to apply for readmission.
- Academically unsuccessful is defined as:
- voluntary or involuntary withdrawal from the nursing program after the drop/add date and who are academically failing the course at the time of the withdrawal.
- earning a failing grade in a nursing course.
- Ineligibility requirements that do not allow application for readmission are as follows:
- Students who are unsuccessful in two nursing courses cumulatively are ineligible for readmission.
- Students who are academically unsuccessful in any repeated nursing course are ineligible for readmission (students may only repeat a nursing course one time).
- Students who have been unsuccessful due to clinical failure or cumulative occurrences because of behaving in a manner showing lack of professional or clinical judgment may not be eligible for readmission. Occurrences are cumulative from quarter to quarter throughout all course work and clinical experiences at South College.
The School of Nursing reserves the right to consider mitigating circumstances affecting any of the above situations.
Students who have been unsuccessful in one nursing course and are eligible for readmission must submit a written Letter of Intent to the School of Nursing Admission, Progression and Retention (APR) Committee if interested in requesting readmission. The letter should detail the reasons that are believed to have led to the lack of success, as well as changes that have been put in place to ensure success if readmission is granted. Documentation of any personal mitigating circumstances must also be submitted to the APR Committee.
Factors, including but not limited to, such as grade point average, faculty evaluation, and space availability are considered in readmission decisions by the APR Committee. Requests for readmission will be reviewed on an individual basis.
Students who are eligible for readmission must apply for readmission at such time that granting of readmission will occur to allow for classes to be resumed within one calendar year. The faculty reserves the right to require any student offered readmission to repeat courses or portions of courses in cases where a significant time has elapsed, and skills/knowledge must be refreshed.
The APR Committee will make readmission recommendations to the Associate Dean of the School of Nursing at the associated learning site for final approval. The Associate Dean may accept or reject the recommendation of the Committee. A denial of readmission may be appealed to the Dean of the School of Nursing for review within five business days of the notification. A continued denial of readmission may be appealed to the South College Academic and Conduct Appeals Committee within five business days of the notification. Appeals outside of this timeframe will not be considered. Documentation of any personal mitigating circumstances must be submitted at each level of appeal.
Students who have previously been unsuccessful in the South College nursing program, or other nursing programs, will be reviewed on an individual basis. Students who present transcripts indicating failure from two nursing programs will not be considered for admission or readmission to the South College Nursing program.
Associated Program Costs
Nursing students are responsible for all costs associated with required clinical practice experiences.
The following grades are used in the determination of a student’s grade point average unless otherwise indicated. Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (G.P.A.) of 3.00 to remain in the graduate program.
Upon successful completion of all program requirements, candidates are recommended for graduation and for the conferring of the Master of Science in Nursing degree. South College and the School of Nursing reserve the right to make necessary program changes as impacted by accreditation standards, other state or federal mandates, or need due to faculty evaluation.
If a student finds it necessary to withdraw from the nursing program, readmission into the program cannot be guaranteed. Any student wishing to apply for readmission after voluntary withdrawal must follow the current readmission policy of the School of Nursing MSN Program.
Termination from the Nursing Program
Grounds for termination from the nursing program are as follows. Some behaviors are critical to patient safety and integrity of the discipline; therefore, the following may be grounds for termination from the nursing program:
1. Academic failure which is defined as earning less than a C or less than 80% calculated average of test scores and the final exam, equally weighted, in one nursing course;
2. Failure to comply with rule and/or policies as written in the School of Nursing Graduate Student Handbook, the South College Student Handbook, and/or the South College Catalog;
3. Falsification of any other information to South College or the School of Nursing;
4. Any violations of academic integrity (cheating, plagiarism, sharing exams, obtaining unauthorized digital copies of exams, or photos of exam questions, test bank questions, etc.);
5. Failure to meet attendance policy; and/or
6. Nonpayment of tuition and fees.