Bachelor of Science in Nursing
College of Health Sciences and Education
Department Chair Darlene Kuchinski-Donnelly, PhD
Audrey Cunfer, Clinical & Simulation Coordinator/Nursing Lab Manager, BSN College Misericordia; MSN Misericordia University
Briane Flaherty, Assistant Professor of Nursing, BSN Wilkes University, MSN Mansfield University
Michele Hawkins, Assistant Professor of Nursing - clinical faculty, BSN Wilkes University; MSN College Misericordia
Richard Hennigan, Assistant Professor of Nursing, BSN, MSN American Sentinel University
Darlene Kuchinski-Donnelly, Assistant Professor of Nursing, BSN, MSN Misericordia University; PhD Widener University
Catherine Luksic, Assistant Professor of Nursing, BSN Marywood University; MSN Wilkes University
Vanessa Mayorowski, Assistant Professor of Nursing - clinical faculty, BSN Marywood College; MSN College Misericordia
Lisa Shustack, Assistant Professor of Nursing, BSN Cedar Crest College; MSN University of Phoenix; EdD Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Cathy Speace, Assistant Professor of Nursing - clinical faculty, BSN, MSN University of Pennsylvania; PhD Villanova University
Annette Weiss, Associate Professor of Nursing, BSN The Pennsylvania State University; MSN University of Hartford; PhD Duquesne University
Mission/Vision of the Nursing Department
In preparing Baccalaureate, Masters, and Doctoral prepared educated nurses, the Nursing Department of the College of Health Sciences and Education shares the mission of Misericordia University and embraces the values and attitudes of justice, mercy, service and hospitality. Specifically, the values and beliefs of nursing as a humanistic service continuing to embody the role of the professional nurse as a future leader. The nurse as a leader utilizes evidence-based decision making while adapting to change in a multicultural society. The professional nurse is envisioned as one who assumes an active and vital role as a member of the multidisciplinary health care team in the planning, provision, and evaluation of ethical, safe and humanistic care in a rapidly expanding health care technological system.
The Department of Nursing at Misericordia University is an integral part of the College of Health Sciences and Education. The nursing faculty supports the mission of the university and the principles of academic excellence, service leadership, and professional preparation which are components of the Trinity of Learning. The faculty is committed to providing quality education to its students, based on the values of mercy, service, justice, and hospitality. The beliefs serve as the foundation of the nursing curriculum. Faculty holds the following beliefs about persons, environment, health, and nursing.
Persons. Persons are whole human beings, unique in their inherent worth and dignity. Persons function as autonomous agents characterized by the capacity for emotions, reasoning, and perceiving.
Environment. Environment is the context in which persons exist. Environment is dynamic, multidimensional and reciprocal.
Health. Health is experienced by persons as a dynamic state of being which results from a process of making choices over time.
Nursing. Nursing is a learned profession based on its own theory and science. As a science, nursing focuses on research, information, and health care technology which are foundational to evidenced based practice. As a practice, nursing is concerned with the health and well-being of persons as individuals, families, groups, communities, and the global society. Communication skills are an essential component of the nurse person relationship. Nurses support the active participation of persons in determining health care decisions. They are engaged in health promotion, risk reduction, disease prevention, and illness and disease management which involve the shared responsibility of persons, health care providers and society. Nurses use critical thinking and the nursing process to design, provide, manage and coordinate care within the health care system. Ethical and legal principles guide the practice of professional nursing.
The faculty further believes that teaching/learning is a co-creative process. Learning is a life-long process that involves critical thinking and intellectual curiosity. Learning occurs when the student is an active participant in the learning process. Students share in the responsibility to achieve their highest potential.
Teaching is viewed as an empowering process. Members of the faculty engage with diverse learners to achieve outcomes of the nursing program and promote educational mobility. Faculty enhances the teaching/learning process by maintaining current knowledge in the discipline of nursing and integrating research and service into nursing education.
Undergraduate education in nursing cultivates higher order thinking skills through the integration of liberal arts and professional studies. The undergraduate nursing program prepares professional nurses for leadership roles in health care. Students are prepared as nurse generalists to assist people with managing an increasingly complex system of care. At the end of the curriculum students are prepared for graduate study in nursing.
Consistent with the mission of the university and its goals for graduate education, the nursing faculty believes that master’s education in nursing builds on the skills of a baccalaureate nursing education. Master’s nursing education has as its primary focus the advanced practice clinical role. Advanced practice nurses are educated to practice independently and interdependently in the role of health care providers. The faculty believes that the transition to the role of advance practice nurse occurs throughout the entire master’s program and results in the preparation of a clinician who is able to provide a broad range of health care services that are directed toward the improvement of patient care outcomes. Finally, faculty believes that master’s education in nursing provides the foundation for future doctoral study in nursing.
The nursing faculty purport that graduate education assists students to acquire higher-order critical thinking and decision making skills. Advanced practice nurses are prepared to analyze, synthesize, and utilize research evidence to provide high quality health care, initiate change, and improve practice. As beginning clinicians, students must develop an understanding of health care policy, organization, and finance and use this knowledge to make cost-effective clinical decisions, to improve health care delivery, and to enhance outcomes of patient care. Master’s nursing education promotes an understanding of the principles, personal values, and beliefs that provide a framework for the decision making and consultation processes which influence the interventions and care delivered by clinicians. Professional role development provides students with a clear understanding of the nursing profession, advanced practice nursing roles, and the requirements for, and regulation of, these roles. Master’s nursing education exposes students to a broad range of nursing and related theories and facilitates the integration of appropriate theory in the development of comprehensive and holistic approaches to care. Advanced practice nursing students understand the wide diversity of sub-cultural influences on human behavior including ethnic, racial, gender, age and class differences and demonstrate this understanding in the delivery of culturally sensitive care. Clinicians prepared in an advanced practice nursing program develop a strong theoretical foundation in health promotion, illness prevention, disease management, and maintenance of function across the health/illness continuum. These clinicians generate and use expert teaching and coaching strategies to promote and preserve health and healthy life styles.
Advanced practice nursing education requires additional core skills and knowledge to further support the role of clinician. Expert clinicians conduct comprehensive health assessments and physical examinations, using increasingly sophisticated communication and observational skills. They apply knowledge of system-focused, physiologic and pathologic mechanisms of disease as a basis for physical examination, diagnostic reasoning, decision making, and management of care. Knowledge of advanced pharmacology, including pharmacotherapeutics and pharmacokinetics of broad categories of pharmacologic agents, is essential to the clinician’s selection of appropriate disease management and treatment modalities. Finally, advanced practice nursing students must have the opportunity to master knowledge of health care problems and to apply knowledge and skills in extensive clinical practice.
All graduates of the undergraduate nursing program will be able to:
- Incorporate science, theoretical and empirical knowledge from the liberal arts, basic sciences, and nursing to promote health, risk reduction, disease prevention, and, illness and disease management for the welfare of others.
- Utilize an evidence based approach in the delivery of health care to individuals, families, groups, and communities within the global society.
- Use critical thinking skills and the nursing process to design, provide, manage, and coordinate nursing care.
- Participate with patients and interdisciplinary team members to improve quality patient care.
- Incorporate knowledge of leadership management principles in professional role development.
- Provide safe, humanistic nursing care to patients in a variety of settings by demonstrating respect for patient rights, professionalism, and ethical decision-making.
- Demonstrate information literacy and utilization of healthcare technologies used to support the delivery of health care.
Policies specific to the nursing major are published in the undergraduate nursing student policy handbook. Each student is required to review the handbook online each academic year for updates or changes in policy.
Selection, Advancement, and Graduation Criteria
Admission into Nursing
Students admitted to nursing in the traditional nursing undergraduate program (first year) must meet the general admission requirements of Misericordia University in addition to program-specific requirements. Full-time transfer students must meet admission requirements as specified in the transfer student section of this catalog. Non-traditional applicants, such as second degree students and registered nurse students, must meet specific requirements as outlined below and in the appropriate nursing student policy handbooks. All non-nursing transfer credits will be evaluated by the registrar and the nursing department chair (or designee) to determine equivalencies.
To be considered for admission into traditional undergraduate nursing, students should have:
- A combined SAT score of 960 (math and critical reading) for students who took the SAT prior to March 5, 2016, or 1040 for students who took the SAT after March 5, 2016; in lieu of the SAT, ACT results may also be presented reflecting a minimum 21 ACT composite score.
- High school average of 80 or higher (2.8 GPA)
- B or above in science and mathematics courses, which should include one year of chemistry, biology, and mathematics (including one semester of algebra).
To be considered for admission into the second degree nursing program (for traditional, part-time evening and ABSN [Pittsburgh] programs), students should have:
- Earned a bachelor’s degree
- A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.75
- Completed BIO 211 , BIO 212 , BIO 228 , MTH 115 , PSY 123 , PSY 275 , HP 241 , and SOC 101 for full-time option only; in special circumstances, one or more of these courses can be completed as junior co-requisites with permission of the department chairperson.
To be considered for admission into the RN to BSN program, students should:
- Have graduated from an accredited associate’s degree or diploma nursing program; students are required to submit transcripts of all prior college-level course work and a copy of the RN license
- Have earned a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.75 for all prior college-level course work
- Provide official written verification of a minimum of 1,000 hours of clinical practice in the past three years (waived for graduates of basic nursing programs in the three years prior to application)
The licensed practical nurse (LPN) student is recognized as an adult learner who comes with diverse life experiences, education and clinical skills, as well as motivation and ability to learn independently. To facilitate advanced placement, opportunity is provided for students to validate, by examination, previously acquired educational and clinical competencies
LPN to the BS in Nursing option is for students who have completed and accredited Licensed Practical Nurse program. Licensed practical nurses seeking admission to the baccalaureate nursing program must meet the admission criteria for the University and the Nursing major and submit a valid Pennsylvania LPN license. Students who have evidence of 1000 hours of employment as a LPN within the last 3 years are eligible for advanced placement nursing credits..
Non-Nursing Advanced Placement (professional nursing cognates/pre-requisites)
It is possible to challenge or complete NLN exams for the following courses. If a passing score is not achieved in the challenge/designated exam the student must take that course.
Advanced Placement Examination Options:
Licensed practical nurses have the option to test out of specialty area courses within the program. The areas are listed below.
*NLN ACE II Exams - minimum overall score of 78.
NSG 402 Functional Health Patterns Childbearing ( 4 credits)
NSG 304 Functional Health Patterns Pediatrics ( 4 credits)
NSG 302 Functional Health Patterns Psychiatric Nursing ( 4 credits)
Examinations are administered through the Center for Adult and Continuing Education prior to the semester in which the course would be offered, and students receive one opportunity to take each examination. Advanced Placement examination credits are only applicable to the nursing major and are not calculated in the GPA, and may only be taken by LPN-holding students already admitted to the program.
Note: Curriculum requirements may vary based on transcript evaluation.
To be compliant with our clinical agencies, during clinical semesters all students will be required to complete a FBI clearance, PA criminal background check, child abuse clearance, and 10 panel drug screening. If any report indicates a relevant criminal background check, the student will be prohibited from entrance into the nursing program. If a student incurs a relevant background check while enrolled, the student will be immediately dismissed from the nursing program.
State Board Requirements
The nursing department, in accordance with the State Board of Nurse Examiners, advises all nursing students that felonious acts prohibit licensure in Pennsylvania as of January 1, 1997. The following is taken from the law.
The Board shall not issue a license or certificate to an applicant who has been:
- Convicted* of a felonious act prohibited by the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L. 233, No. 64), known as “The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act”, or
- Convicted* of a felony relating to a controlled substance in a court of law of the United States and any other state, territory or country unless:
- At least ten years have elapsed from the date of the conviction;
- The applicant satisfactorily demonstrates to the Board significant progress in personal rehabilitation since the conviction such that licensure should not create a substantial risk of harm to the health and safety of patients or the public or a substantial risk of further criminal violations, and
- The applicant otherwise satisfies the qualifications contained in this act.
A person convicted of any felonious act may be prohibited from licensure by the Board of Nursing at any time.
* Convicted includes a judgment, an admission of guilt, or a plea of nolo contendere.
Before student can begin the clinical experience, they must submit a health clearance form and supporting documents each year they are enrolled in a clinical experience. A complete list of required exams and immunizations will be provided to all nursing majors in the spring of their sophomore year prior to their first clinical rotation that begins in the fall of their junior year. Students must have current health insurance. Students are responsible for the cost of the annual health examination, current health insurance and immunizations.
The health clearance form must be submitted to the vertical screening company no later than the date specified by the department chair. Normal results are good for one year from the date of the test.
Clinical Education Requirements
Accepted students must submit the following documentation prior to the start of the program:
- FBI Background Check
- State Background Check
- Child Abuse Clearance
- Health Physical which includes documentation of immunizations, and Tuberculin test
- CPR certification for health care providers through the American Heart Association
- Proof of Medical Insurance Coverage
- HIPAA education
Individual clinical sites may require additional documentation, such as drug screening which varies in the time frame of being tested and entering the clinical setting; thus, the clinical coordinator will inform you as to when to have the test done. Clinical education requirements are at the expense of the student.
The College of Health Sciences and Education Clinical Education policies are available upon request.
In addition to tuition and fees, expenses that the nursing major student may incur are: uniforms, NCLEX examination fee, temporary practice permit fee, field trip expenses, health examination fees, 10 panel urine toxicology screen, and criminal background checks including other site specific requirements.
Tuition Based Expenses
Examples of some items that are tuition based are: National Student Nurses Association, the vertical screening company, CPR certification and recertification, Kaplan developmental testing, laboratory fees, Discovering HIPAA Online Series, liability insurance, simulation fee, clinical supplies, nursing pin fee, nursing ceremony fee and poster fee.
*For specific fee information refer to the fee page .
Transfer Students (Traditional, Part-time Evening and ABSN [Pittsburgh] Nursing Program)
Nursing is a highly competitive major; meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.
All non-nursing transfer college credits will be evaluated by the Registrar and the Chair of the Undergraduate Nursing Department to determine equivalencies. Courses in which the student does not earn at least a grade of C- (1.67 or higher on a 4.0 scale) will not be considered for transfer. Additionally, in order to transfer the equivalent of required Misericordia cognates (including BIO 211 , BIO 212 , BIO 228 , PSY 123 ,PSY 275 , HP 241 , MTH 115 and SOC 101 ) or nursing courses students must have earned a minimum grade of a C.
If a nursing course or BIO 211, BIO 212, or BIO 228 was taken more than seven years prior to the start date of the first nursing class to be taken at Misericordia, the knowledge is no longer current and the course will not be evaluated nor transferred; however, if a student is a licensed healthcare professional (chiropractor, dental hygienist, dentist, massage therapist, physician, registered nurse, practical nurse, occupational therapist, osteopath, or physical therapist), the seven year limit will not be applied. Students must provide a copy of the current, unencumbered license to the University.
Progression and Retention in the Nursing Program
Academic Criteria for all Undergraduate Nursing Students
Progression and retention in the nursing major is based upon the student’s ability to meet the following academic criteria:
- All students in the traditional undergraduate program must attain an overall GPA of 2.75 throughout the nursing program.
- Successful completion of math calculation competency by end of the semester, remediation as outlined in contract.
- Transfer students, once accepted based on the combination of transfer credits and MU credits, need to be aware that only the MU credits will be used for calculation of GPA for retention in the program.
- Once admitted into the PTENP and ABSN programs, GPA calculation will not be used for calculation in progression and retention in the program.
- Successful completion of all cognates for the nursing major (BIO 211 , BIO 212 , BIO 228 , HP 241 , MTH 115 , PSY 123 , PSY 275 , and SOC 101 ) with a grade of “C” or better is required for progression in the program.
- A student may repeat only one nursing cognate from the list in e. above. The acceptable grade for these courses is a C or better. If the student earns a C- or less, in any of these nursing cognates, the student will be placed on academic probation. A student on their first probation will be given the option to grade replace the course. Students with a second probation will be dismissed from the nursing program. When the course in question is repeated and the student earns a C- or less in the same cognate or any other cognate, that student will be dismissed from the nursing major with no option to reapply.
- Achievement of a grade of at least a (“C”) is required in all nursing courses (NSG courses).Students may repeat only one Nursing course (NSG), a maximum of 6 credits. The repeated NSG course must be completed in the following academic year. Students who need to grade replace NSG 302 , NSG 304 , NSG 402 and NSG 403 may progress in the program, however must grade replace the course in the next available academic term.
- Any student who has fallen back related to grade replacement and /or is returning to the nursing major in good standing will be required to validate knowledge related to clinical experience prior to being allowed to re-enter any clinical course. (Refer to readmission policy and procedure ).
- Any student who is experiencing extenuating circumstances that may affect their progression in the program after the drop date must make an appointment with their advisor to determine whether an “I” should be taken at the time of the event. A student may withdraw later for medical reasons, supported by a written excuse from a physician, or for other serious circumstances, approved by the vice president of academic affairs in consultation with the course advisor.
English Language Proficiency
If English is not your first language, or if English is not the primary language spoken in your home, you must submit the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The following are the minimum score requirements:
Internet-based TOEFL exam (iBT): Potential students must achieve a total score of 84 or higher, with a minimum speaking score of at least 26.
(For the Paper-based version of the test [TOEFL PBT]—Achieve a passing score of 540 or higher total score)
RN to BSN Program
The RN to BSN Program is designed for highly motivated registered nurses who want to earn their degree in a timely manner. Credits are earned through transfer, advanced placement, and matriculation. Advanced placement credits (32 credits) for course work completed in a state-approved, nationally accredited associate’s degree or diploma nursing program are awarded after registration for first course. After a transcript evaluation has been completed, the RN student completes the necessary individually determined core and cognate credits along with 22 credits of course work in the professional nursing major. This course work includes one clinical practice course in community health, which uses a flexible adult learning model for scheduling. As adult learners, RN students also have the opportunity to earn credit by CLEP subject exams and Prior Learning Assessment. RN students who hold a bachelor’s degree in another field are exempt from core requirements.
In addition to meeting the admission requirements for RN students, articulation status and the awarding of advanced placement credits is determined by the following:
- Graduates from accredited associate’s degree or diploma nursing programs within three years of the application date are eligible for direct articulation and will be awarded 32 advanced-placement credits for their prior nursing course work.
- Graduates from accredited associate’s degree or diploma nursing programs within four to ten years of the application date must provide official written documentation of completion of a minimum of 1,000 hours or more clinical practice during the three years prior to the application date to be eligible for direct articulation and the awarding of 32 advanced-placement credits for their prior nursing course work.
- Applicants who have graduated more than ten years prior to the application date must provide a resume detailing clinical experience, along with official written documentation of completion of a minimum of 1,000 hours or more clinical practice during the three years prior to the application date. These candidates may be required to complete a full portfolio or validation testing prior to being eligible for articulation and the awarding of 32 advanced-placement credits prior to nursing course work.
- Applicants who have not graduated from an accredited nursing program must successfully complete validation testing before prior learning credits are awarded.
For more information, prospective students should contact the ARCH Office at (570) 674-6791.