Jul 14, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog

Nursing, BSN

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Department Contact:

Chair: Rita Trofino, DNP, MNEd, RN, rtrofino@francis.edu, 814-472-3185
Program Director: Kimberly Forst, DNP, RN, kforst@francis.edu, 814-472-3314

Program Description:

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing program provides each student with the required competencies necessary for the practice of professional nursing. Serving as a foundation to person-centered care, the program incorporates clinical judgment, communication, compassionate care, and evidence-based practice into the educational process. The curriculum is based on a liberal arts foundation in the Judeo-Christian tradition and utilizes the AACN Essentials: Core Competencies for Professional Nursing Education, in preparing graduates for the workforce of the 21st Century.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Synthesize knowledge from nursing, the arts, sciences, and humanities for the development of intellectual and practical abilities, which form the foundation for nursing practice.
  • Embrace the concept of Patient-Centered Care as the core purpose of nursing as a discipline.
  • Examine the principles of population health for the purpose of achieving equitable outcomes and improved health status.
  • Utilize the research process to acquire evidence-based practices which enhance the nurse’s collaborative role in clinical decision-making, improving health, and providing optimal care.
  • Employ quality care improvement and patient safety practices to achieve desired health outcomes that are consistent with patient preferences and current professional knowledge.
  • Collaborate with the interprofessional team to establish healthcare goals for individuals, communities, and populations.
  • Apply knowledge of healthcare systems to effectively coordinate resources in providing safe, quality, and equitable care.
  • Utilize information and communication technologies and informatics processes to promote efficient communication, and to assist patients and consumers to improve health and manage health conditions.
  • Exemplify a professional nursing identity that reflects the characteristics and values of the discipline.
  • Develop personal, professional and leadership attributes to promote self-awareness, personal growth, and positive opportunities.

Estimated Completion Time:

Typically 4 years of full-time study

Accreditation Statement:

The baccalaureate nursing program at Saint Francis University has full approval by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. The baccalaureate degree program in nursing and the master’s degree programs in nursing at Saint Francis University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (http://www.ccneaccreditation.org). A graduate is eligible to sit for the R.N. licensure exam, NCLEX-RN®.

Admission to the BSN Nursing Program:

Candidates for the Baccalaureate nursing program will be admitted to Saint Francis University as a nursing student with full or provisional acceptance. One freshman class is admitted each fall semester and the number of students admitted each year is based on availability of educational and clinical resources. Transfer students are required to have a meeting with a Department of Nursing faculty.

Admission Criteria for First Year Students:
  • Graduated from an approved secondary school or submission of a state-approved GED
  • Completed work equal to a standard academic high school coursework with a minimum of 16 units:
    • 4 units of English
    • 3 units of Social Studies
    • 2 units of Math, (one of which is Algebra with a grade of “B” or higher).
    • 2 units of Science with a related laboratory 
  • 3.0 cumulative high school GPA  
  •  SAT 1080 or ACT 21 or Test Optional
  • Provisional Acceptance if High School GPA less than 3.0 
Admission criteria for transfer students:
  • 3.0 cumulative transfer GPA
  • 2.6 cumulative GPA in the required Natural Science courses prior to the professional phase of nursing.
  • If enrolled in a Nursing Program, the student must be in good standing as confirmed by the SFU Nursing Evaluation Form
Transfer Credit Policies:
  • Anatomy and Physiology, I and II must be taken at Saint Francis University;
  • The following natural science courses must be reviewed for equivalent transfer credit:
    • Biology
    • Human Chemistry
    • Microbiology;
  • If transferring the required prerequisites courses below, only a total of three courses/labs can be repeated (includes a withdraw failing). The equivalent courses include:
    • BIOL 111/111L - Biology I
    • BIOL 214/214L - Microbiology
    • CHEM 113 - Human Chemistry;
    • STATS 205 - Statistics
    • PSYC 209 - Developmental Psychology
  • Nursing courses taken at other institutions will be evaluated for transfer credit based upon equivalent credits, content, and clinical course requirements;
  • Only one repeated nursing course from the transferring institution is permitted.

Technical Standards or Essential Functions:

Students are required to satisfactorily achieve program outcomes. Therefore, consideration may be given to scholastic aptitude, academic achievement, personal qualities, emotional health and minimum functional requirements/technical standards, necessary to fulfill the objectives of the program.

Nursing education requires that the accumulation of scientific knowledge be accompanied by the simultaneous acquisition of skills and professional attitudes and behaviors. The nursing degree awarded by Saint Francis University at the completion of the educational process certifies that the individual has acquired a base of knowledge and skills requisite for the practice of nursing at the respective undergraduate or graduate level.

To this end, all courses in the curriculum must be completed successfully. In order to acquire the knowledge and skills to function in a variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care, candidates for the undergraduate degree in nursing must have abilities and skills in five areas:

  • Observation
  • Communication
  • Motor
  • Conceptual Integrative
  • Behavioral-Social

Technological compensation can be made for some disabilities in certain of these areas, but a candidate should be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner and exercise independent judgment.

  1. Observation

The candidate must be able to observe demonstrations and participate in didactic courses and simulated learning opportunities. A candidate must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand. Observation requires the use of common sense, as well as the functional use of the senses of vision, audition, olfaction, and palpation.

  1. Communication

Candidates must communicate effectively using English in clinical and classroom settings. A candidate must be able to elicit information from patients, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and perceive nonverbal communications. A candidate must have sufficient speaking and listening skills to take a medical history, respond to monitor alarms, emergency signals, call bells from patients, and orders in a rapid and effective manner.  Additionally, candidate must possess adequate hearing to accurately assess blood pressure, heart, lung, vascular, and abdominal sounds.  Candidates must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients, faculty, preceptors, and all members of the healthcare team during learning experiences and practicum experiences. Communication includes not only speech, but reading and writing. The candidate must be able to use, interpret, and verbally report and/or document information from assessment techniques/maneuvers such as those involved in a head to toe assessment, vital signs, blood sugar monitoring, laboratory values, etc. to appropriate members of the health care team and/or the patient.  

  1. Motor

Candidates should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other assessment techniques.  A candidate should be able to perform nursing skills requiring the use of gross and fine motor skills (e.g. IV insertion, venous blood draw, urinary catheter insertion). A candidate should be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide nursing care and emergency response to patients.

Examples of emergency responses reasonably required of nurses are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, medication administration, and application of pressure to stop bleeding. Candidates must perform actions which require the use of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision. Candidates should also be able to assist and/or participate in various lifting activities.

  1. Conceptual-Integrative

These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, synthesis, and retention of complex information. The candidate must possess the ability to calculate medication dosages and program intravenous infusion pumps in a rapid and safe manner as in emergency situations.  Critical thinking requires all of these intellectual abilities in order to provide optimal nursing care. In addition, the candidate should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.

  1. Behavioral-Social

Candidates must possess the emotional health required for the full use of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress in the classroom and clinical area.

They must be able to adapt to changing environments, display flexibility and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical environment. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that are assessed during the admissions and educational process.

Reasonable accommodations will be considered on a case by case basis for individuals who meet eligibility under applicable statutes. Any person expecting to need accommodations should request them prior to beginning the program, as some accommodations may not be considered reasonable and may impact an applicant’s ability to complete all components of the program.

*Reference: https://www.aacnnursing.org/our-initiatives/education-practice/faculty-tool-kits/accommodating-students-with-disabilities

*Refer to Minimal Functional Requirements/Technical Standards Policy for details - BSN Student Handbook

Students in the Nursing program must comply with the requirements of the Professional Nursing Law of Pennsylvania. Students are required to submit to Pennsylvania criminal clearances, FBI fingerprinting clearance, child abuse history clearance, drug testing, immunizations, physical exam and other requirements. Healthcare agencies have the right to refuse clinical placement or deny employment based on background checks. A graduate of the Nursing program who has been convicted of a felony, is or was involved in drug abuse or has violated other rules of the licensure body, may not be permitted to take the licensing examination regardless of the student’s ability to complete college educational requirements. The student is required to notify the BSN Program Director of any changes to the criminal record. The Nursing program reserves the right to require appropriate documentation as requested regarding previous felonies or violations.

The PA Board of nursing 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 “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 or any other state, territory or country unless: (1) at least ten (10) years have elapsed from the date of conviction; (2) the applicant satisfactorily demonstrated to the Board that he/she has made significant progress in personal rehabilitation since the conviction such that licensure of the applicant should not be expected to create a substantial risk of harm to the health and safety of patients or the public or a substantial risk of further criminal violation (3) the applicant otherwise satisfies the qualifications contained in or authorized by this act. As used in this subsection, the term “convicted” shall include a judgment, an admission of guilt or a plea of nolo contendere. An applicant’s statement on the application declaring the absence of a conviction shall be deemed satisfactory evidence of the absence of a conviction unless the Board has some evident to the contrary (Amended June 29, 2002, P. L. 651, No. 99).

Progression in the Nursing Program Requirements:

Progression and continuance in the Nursing program is based upon academic performance and successful achievement of nursing prerequisites, health maintenance, and adherence to Saint Francis University policies in the current University Catalog and Department of Nursing policies as stated in the current Student Handbook. The faculty of the Department of Nursing has the right and the responsibility for judging and evaluating the quality of the student’s achievement, both in the mastery of the theoretical content and in clinical competence.

  1. Students must earn a minimum grade of “C” in the following prerequisite Natural Science and Social Science courses. A “C-“ grade is not acceptable.
    • Natural Science Courses:
      • BIOL 111: Biology I
      • CHEM 113: Human Chemistry I
      • BIOL 214: Microbiology
      • BIOL 205: Anatomy and Physiology I
      • BIOL 206: Anatomy and Physiology II
    • Other Courses:
      • PSYC 209: Developmental Psychology
      • STAT 205: Essentials of Statistics
  2. BIOL 205 Anatomy and Physiology I and BIOL 206 Anatomy and Physiology II must be taken at Saint Francis University.
  3. Students must earn a cumulative minimum GPA of 2.6 or better in the Natural Science courses of BIOL 111, CHEM 113, BIOL 214, BIOL 205 and BIOL 206 prior to entry into the professional phase of nursing in the junior year.
  4. All Natural Science courses required by the Nursing program that are taken at another institution and transferred into Saint Francis University will be used in the Natural Science GPA calculation, although they are not calculated into the student’s overall cumulative GPA. If a student has AP earned credits on one of the required natural science courses, these credits will not be calculated into the student’s natural science GPA.
  5. Students must earn a minimum overall cumulative GPA of 2.75 prior to entry into the professional phase of nursing in the junior year.
  6. Prior to the junior year, it is recommended that the maximum number of liberal arts courses the student should have left to complete is three (3) courses (nine credits maximum). When scheduling classes, it is the student’s responsibility to schedule classes so that the classes do not interfere with the clinical experiences.
  7. All students must pass a math proficiency exam with an 80% in designated NURS courses.    
  8. A maximum of three (3) repeated courses are permitted in the total curriculum of the Nursing program which includes only one nursing course, STAT 205, PSYC 209 or Natural Science lecture/lab course. This includes any courses recorded on prior transcripts.
  9. Nursing majors must earn a minimum grade of “B-“ (80%) in each nursing course in order to progress to the next course that requires a clinical laboratory component.
    • A grade of less than a “B-“grade will constitute a failing grade in any required nursing course.
    • A student may repeat a nursing course only once. Dismissal occurs when a student fails any nursing course the second time. If a student’s level of clinical practice is unsafe or unsatisfactory, the student will fail the course before the end of the semester.
    • Any withdrawal from a nursing course with less than a B- grade is considered a course failure and counts as a course to be repeated.
  10. Nursing majors must attain at least a GPA of 2.6 in the pre-requisite Natural Science courses (BIOL 111, CHEM 113, BIOL 214, BIOL 205 and BIOL 206) and minimum “C” grade in in the prerequisite STAT 205 and PSYC 209 courses.
    • Any withdrawal failing from a prerequisite course with less than a “C” grade is considered a course failure and counts as a course to be repeated.
    • If a science course has a separate laboratory grade, and the student earns a “D” or “F” in the lab component, this is considered a failing grade and counts as a course to be repeated.
    • Courses in which “D” or “F” grades are earned can only be repeated at Saint Francis University.
    • Students who need to repeat a course are subject to the restrictions as follows.  Both the original course and grade, and the repeated course and grade, appear on the academic record, but only the higher grade is used in the computation of the GPA. If a student passes the a prerequisite course with a “C” grade and elects to repeat the course to increase their GPA, the repeated course will count toward total repeated courses.  The repeated courses must be taken at Saint Francis University.
  11. Nursing students enrolled in the program of studies will be the first to fill the limited spaces available in the nursing courses. Students who must repeat a nursing clinical course will then be given preference over those students reactivating their status in the program or transferring into the program.
  12. A student who requests and receives a continuance or readmission is responsible for curricular changes in the program of nursing study which occur during his or her absence. A student follows the curriculum guide for the class which he or she joins upon returning to the program.
  13. Nursing students who leave the program for a year or more will be evaluated on an individual basis for a progression plan in the curriculum.


Graduation Requirements:

A candidate for graduation must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Complete all requirements for the BSN Nursing Program as outlined in the Placement and Progression Policy;
  • Complete the minimum number of credits (128 for a bachelor’s degree);
  • Complete the last 30 credits for the degree at SFU;
  • Satisfy the requirements of the General Education core curriculum;
  • Satisfy the capstone requirement as specified by the major department(s);
  • Submit a completed Application for Degree form at least one semester prior to graduation date; and
  • Satisfy financial obligations to the University.

Capstone Requirement:

Students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Studies program are required to complete CORE III 

Other Information:

Transportation to and from clinical sites is the responsibility of the student.

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