Skip to Content

College of Nursing

Clinical Education Policies

Clinical Placement Overview

Students may be assigned to clinical placements within a 75-mile radius and on days, evenings, nights and weekends.  However, Capstone clinical placement may exceed a 75-mile radius.  The College of Nursing reserves the right to make administrative changes to clinical placements as necessary.  Clinical placements are not subject to change related to work activities, school activities, or non-NCAA sanctioned sports. 

 Clinical Compliance Policy

A big part of your nursing education will be your clinical experiences and our agreements with the facilities where you will be doing your direct or indirect clinical hours require records of your immunizations and clearances in order to enter the clinical setting. These requirements include immunizations as well as CPR certification, clear drug screen and background checks, and any other site-specific requirements. Records are to be submitted to and held by our compliance vendor, CastleBranch.  Go to Package Selection to place an order.   For issues with package ordering, documentation submissions, etc., please contact CastleBranch using the Chat with us feature through your myCB account or call the User Experience Specialists at 888.723.4263. 

Students must complete clinical requirements by the designated deadline.  Failure to provide documentation prohibits release for registration for the semester.  Students are responsible for keeping their health information up-to-date thorough the end of the semester.  Failure to correctly submit all requirements prior to the first day of class may result in STAR couseling and a clinical day failure.  Failure to complete requirements could impact continued enrollment. 

CastleBranch Package Codes 

  • U024: Background Check - Drug Test - Future Focus - Compliance Tracker - eLearning
  • UO24bg: Background Check only (use when updated background check is required)
  • UO24bgdt: Background Check - Drug Test (use when updated background check and drug test is required)
  • UO24dt: Drug Test Only (use when updated drug test is required)
  • UO24el eLearning (use only when updating requirements)
  • U069: Background Check - Drug Test - Future Focus - Compliance Tracker - eLearning
  • UO69bg: Background Check only (use when updated background check is required)
  • UO69bgdt: Background Check - Drug Test (use when updated background check and drug test is required)
  • UO69dt: Drug Test Only (use when updated drug test is required)
  • UO69el eLearning (use only when updating requirements)
  • U070: Background Check - Drug Test - Future Focus - Compliance Tracker - eLearning
  • UO70bg: Background Check only (use when updated background check is required)
  • UO70bgdt: Background Check - Drug Test (use when updated background check and drug test is required)
  • UO70dt: Drug Test Only (use when updated drug test is required)
  • UO70el eLearning (use only when updating requirements)
  • U088: Background Check - Drug Test - Future Focus - Compliance Tracker - eLearning
  • UO88bg: Background Check only (use when updated background check is required)
  • UO88bgdt: Background Check - Drug Test (use when updated background check and drug test is required)
  • UO88dt: Drug Test Only (use when updated drug test is required)
  • UO88el eLearning (use only when updating requirements)

All students at University of South Carolina, College of Nursing in either direct or indirect clinical coursework clinical coursework must meet the requirements of the clinical compliance policy in order to continue clinical coursework.  Failure to do so may result in being dropped from coursework. 

If at any time after the inital background and drug screen have been completed, there is a change in the student's status, it is the student's responsibility to immediately report the circumstances to the appropriate Program Director, Executive Director of Student Affairs, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies, or Associate Dean for Academics.  Failure to report can result in immediate dismissal from the program. 

It may seem redundant, but because of HIPAA regulations, we must use different systems and Student Health Services and the College of Nursing cannot share your information with each other.

Due to the demands of our clinical agencies, requirements are subject to change.

Clinical Compliance Requirements

Immunizations

As a part of the compliance process all students must submit proof of the following immunizations. Influenza, Tuberculosis test, HIPAA and OSHA must be completed and submitted every year. Certain programs or clinical sites may have additional requirements that students may need to complete and submit.

One of the following is required:

  •  Negative two-step PPD skin test (Mantoux) administered 1-3 weeks apart within the past 12 months OR
  • Negative two-step skin test administered 1-3 weeks apart and all subsequent 1 step skin tests with the most recent 1 step test being administered within the past 12 months OR
  • Negative QuantiFERON Gold Blood Test administered within the past 12 months OR
  • Negative T-Spot Blood Test administered within the past 12 months.
  • If result is positive, a clear chest x-ray report must be submitted following last positive test result, administered within the past 12 months along with a physician clearance documented on letterhead. 

The renewal date will be set for 1 year, requiring one of the following:

  • Negative one-step test OR
  • Negative QuantiFERON Gold Blood Test OR
  • Negative T-Spot Blood Test

A positive IgG (not IgM) antibody titer (lab report required) indicates immunity.  If a titer is negative or equivocal, the negative or equivocal titer result must be accompanied by a booster injection.  An additional titer is not required after a booster injection. 

* MMR vaccine and its component vaccines should not be administered to women known to be pregnant.  Because a risk to the fetus from administration of these live virus vaccines can occur, women should avoid becoming pregnant for 28 days after vaccination with MMR or other measles, mumps, or rubella-containing vaccines.

A positive IgG (not IgM) antibody titer (lab report required) indicates immunity.  If a titer is negative or equivocal, the negative or equivocal titer result must be accompanied by a booster injection.  An additional titer is not required after a booster injection. 

* MMR vaccine and its component vaccines should not be administered to women known to be pregnant.  Because a risk to the fetus from administration of these live virus vaccines can occur, women should avoid becoming pregnant for 28 days after vaccination with MMR or other measles, mumps, or rubella-containing vaccines.

A positive IgG (not IgM) antibody titer (lab report required) indicates immunity.  If a titer is negative or equivocal, the negative or equivocal titer result must be accompanied by a booster injection.  An additional titer is not required after a booster injection. 

* MMR vaccine and its component vaccines should not be administered to women known to be pregnant.  Because a risk to the fetus from administration of these live virus vaccines can occur, women should avoid becoming pregnant for 28 days after vaccination with MMR or other measles, mumps, or rubella-containing vaccines.

A positive IgG (not IgM) antibody titer (lab report required) indicates immunity.  If a titer is negative or equivocal, the negative or equivocal titer result must be accompanied by a booster injection.

*Simply having had the disease is not enough, you must receive a titer and that titer must be positive for immunity.

A positive surface antibody titer (lab report required) indicates immunity. If a titer is negative or equivocal, Hepatitis B vaccines and a 2nd titer are required.  Full immunization consists of a two or three Hepatitis B vaccination series followed by a 2nd titer given 1-2 months after the final vaccination.  Students must begin the vaccination series prior to clinical course registration.  Evidence of a positive titer must be provided prior to next semester's course registration.  If the post-vaccination titer is negative or equivocal, then one will be considered as a non-responder, not expected to convert and documented as not immune to the Hepatitis B virus.

Tdap administered within the past 10 years

One of the following is required:

  • Documentation of a flu shot administered during the current flu season OR
  • Declination waiver, which must be completed on a school form and signed by the Executive Director of Student Affairs.

During the first course of enrollment, students are required to undergo a background check through the approved College of Nursing vendor. Additional screening may be required by clinical agencies or following a student’s break in enrollment.  Students are responsible for all expenses incurred for background checks. 

 Criminal Background Checks include the screenings listed below but additional checks may be required depending on agency placements or other requirements.  The following will be searched: 7-year County Criminal Search, National Sex Offender Registry, Nationwide Healthcare Fraud and Abuse Scan (FACIS level 3), I.S. Patriot Act Search, Residence History and Social Security Alert. 

 A 7-year background check is conducted unless the background check indicates further background investigation is needed to confirm a clean check, which means the background check may go back further in years.  This will incur additional expense to the student as well as any check of any other registry or records required by law, accrediting agency, or specific agency.

 12 Panel Drug Screen Check

During the first course of enrollment, students are required to undergo a drug screening through the approved College of Nursing vendor. Students may be subject to random checks throughout the program.  Additionally, other screening may be required by clinical agencies or due to student break in enrollment.  Students are responsible for all expenses incurred for drug screenings. 

 Drug screens include but may not be limited to 9 panel + MDMA + Oxy Test screening for amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, barbiturates, benzodiazepine, methamphetamine, methadone, opiates, oxycodone, phencyclidine, propoxyphene, and MDMA.

All students must document their knowledge of protection against bloodborne disease annually.  The documentation must be submitted to CastleBranch before the student is permitted to register for clinical courses, attend classes, or begin practicums.

 Annual compliance of eLearning modules is required for HIPPA and OSHA training.  Go to Package Selection (portal.castlebranch.com/UO26) to order module when renewal is required..  Code:  UP68el for annual renewal.

All students must be certified in BLS CPR by one of the following agencies in order to enter the clinical setting.

Submit copy of front and bck of signed card.  The renewal date will be set based ont he expiration of the card.  A letter from provider will be accepted and temporarily approved for 30 days by which time the permanent CPR card must e submitted. 

All USC College of Nursing RN-BSN undergraduate students must have a SC Registered Nurse unencumbered licensure or be eligible for a SC unencumbered licensure when admitted and must maintain current unencumbered licensure throughout the program. Students must have a current RN licensure for the state in which precepted clinical experiences occur. USC must have state authorization for the student to engage in clinical in that state. Unencumbered SC licensure is required if the precepted clinical experience occurs in SC unless licensed in a Compact state.

All students completing a clinical experience must purchase a name badge.. The name badge is to be worn for clinical experiences and as authorized by the College of Nursing. Photo ID and name badges are required for all clinical activities and are to be ordered upon admission to upper division. The first and last legal name is required on the name badge along with the identification “UofSC BSN Student.” Other unique identifying tags may be required per clinical site. Information on how to order nametags is provided at upper division orientation.  For RN-BSN students, information is located in the RN-BSN Virtual Community in Blackboard. 

All students will be required to sign and upload into CastleBranch an Authorization for Release of Records and Information and Participant Clinical Education Experience Agreement.

All students are required to read the Undergraduate Student Handbook annually.  Students will sign and upload into CastleBranch a Handbook Acknowledgement Form

All students are required to read the Academic Bulletin(s) and Code of Conduct annually. Student will sign and upload into CastleBranch an Academic Bulletin(s) and Code of Conduct Acknowledgement. The form is downloaded from CastleBranch.

 Professional Liability Insurance

Nursing students do not have to obtain professional liability insurance before entering their first clinical.  Students are assessed a malpractice fee associated with specific clinical courses.  The University insurance policy covers them during all course-related clinical experiences. However, students contemplating clinical employment must obtain their own professional liability coverage, as the University’s policy does not cover students in employment related‑ situations.

 Go to department fees for additional information. 

 

 Guidance for All Clinical Experiences  

 Clinical Safety and Performance

Dress Code for Clinical Courses

(Approved by College of Nursing Faculty): By choosing to be an undergraduate student in the College of Nursing at the University of South Carolina, each student accepts the responsibility to present and maintain a professional image by complying with the dress code policy. The dress code is designed to protect the personal safety of patients, as well as students, while in the clinical area; project the professional image of nursing; and portray the proud heritage of USC nurses. Although this dress code is congruent with the majority of health care agencies, some agencies have dress codes that are more restrictive and should then be followed. College of Nursing faculty reserve the right to ask students to leave the clinical area if their attire is deemed inappropriate or student’s lack of appropriate equipment to carry out the clinical duties.

  • Shoulder length or longer hair must be pulled back and secured.
  • Ornate hair decorations are inappropriate.
  • Hair must conform to natural hair colors and non-extreme styles.
  • Moustaches and beards must be neatly groomed and relatively close to the face to avoid contaminating the work environment.
  • Body piercing jewelry may not be worn in clinical. No more than one small, stud- style earring per ear may be worn.
  • Religious jewelry may be worn inside the uniform. Ring bands may be worn but rings with large stones may not.
  • Tattoos must be covered during clinical experiences.
  • If the tattoo is in an area that cannot be covered by clothing, it must be covered by a bandage.
  • Students are required to maintain high standards of personal cleanliness.
  • Non-scented makeup and hair products may be worn. No perfumes or colognes may be worn.
  • Makeup must conform to general body tones avoiding extreme colors.
  • Nails must be clean, well kept, without nail polish or designs, and no longer than the tip of the finger. Artificial nails may not be worn.

During clinical practice, undergraduate students are required to wear a clean, pressed, and approved uniform. Details of specific style numbers, brands and location of uniform vendor are shared during upper division orientation. All articles must be order prior to entry into clinical nursing courses. Uniforms may only be worn to clinical, lab and/or social events sanctioned by the College of Nursing. Failure to comply will result in a meeting with the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies.

Anytime students are in a healthcare setting during scheduled clinical time, the following must apply:

  • Approved uniforms are required.
  • All uniforms must be neat, clean, opaque, wrinkle free, and properly fitting with appropriate undergarments.
  • If desired, students may wear black, grey, or white unadorned t-shirts under their scrub tops.  Hoodies are not acceptable.
  • A white lab coat with College of Nursing identification may be worn over the uniform.
  • Opaque black stockings or socks must be worn, when in uniform, at all times.
  • Black uniform or athletic shoes are required.  All shoes must be enclosed, flat-heeled, non-canvas, non-mesh, and kept clean.
  • Students are required to wear their UofSC ID Badge in all settings unless otherwise directed by their course faculty.
  • Face shield or eye gogles for eye protection.

Anytime students are in a healthcare setting during scheduled clinical time, the following must apply:

  • All clothing must be neat, clean, opaque, wrinkle free, and properly fitting with appropriate undergarments.
  • Many community agencies require the student to wear professional casual attire covered by a lab coat.  Unless otherwise specified by the instructor, shorts, denim jeans, see through blouses, halter dresses, athletic attire (sweatshirts/hoodies, sweatpants, and jogging suits), tight knit clothing, leggings, imprinted t-shirts and any type of attire which is low-cut or where the midriff is exposed may not be worn.  Extreme styles should be avoided.
  • Students are required to wear stockings or socks at all times.
  • Black uniform or athletic shoes are required.  All shoes must be enclosed, flat-heeled, non-canvas, non-mesh, and kept clean. 
  • Students are required to wear their UofSC ID Badge in all settings unless otherwise directed by their course faculty.
  • Face shield or eye gogles for eye protection.

 

Approved equipment must be purchased prior to NURS 311/312 classes. Student receive information regarding the required purchases as they progress into the upper division.
Students are expected to attend ALL clinical nursing activities with absences permitted up to 10 percent only if certified as unavoidable because of sickness or other causes determined acceptable by the course coordinator.  Make-up time for missed clinical nursing experiences will be determined at the discretion of the faculty and availability of clinical facilities.  Faculty may require withdrawal of a student who has missed enough practice to prevent completion of clinical objectives.  Students must provide a note from their healthcare provider documenting the need to miss clinical or simulation lab experiences.  See Class attendance for additional information. 

Students will be provided individual start times based on the culture of the unit.  Students are expected to be on the unit and ready to work at this assigned start time. 

  1. Arrival at the clinical site no later than the appointed time is mandatory.
    1. Student arriving late, but prior to the beginning of pre-clinical conference may complete clinical but will need to receive verbal and written counseling from their clinical instructor for the first offense, dissmissal for the second.
    2. Students arriving after the beginning of pre-clinical activities will not be permitted to complete the clinical day and must leave the clinical setting.  This will result in an unsatisfactory grade for the day.
      1. If eligible, the student must attend the clinical make-up day scheduled by the clinical coordinator.
      2. If not eligible for a make-up date, the absence will result in course failure.
    3. No call/no show for a clinical day without notifying the clinical instructor or course coordinator is considered unprofessional behavior.
      1. Any instance will result in a STAR counseling form, clinical day failure, and meeting with the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies unless unforseen health inssues provented communication. 
      2. Subsequent instances will result in program dismissal.

Performance Outcome: Medications are accurately dispensed in a safe and timely manner. Students will receive the appropriate didactic and clinical instructions according to course objectives: 

  1. The nursing student will report all medication errors immediately to the clinical instructor or preceptor.
  2. The patient’s condition will be assessed, and the error will be reported to the charge nurse and nurse manager.
  3. The student making the error or the one discovering an error will complete required documentation, with faculty assistance, according to hospital protocol.
  4. Errors in documentation of medications will be considered unsatisfactory student performance and will be reflected on the clinical evaluation. Examples include (but are not limited to):
    1. Failure to complete documentation of medication administration.
    2. Failure to have a co-signature on narcotic waste.
    3. Failure to document a reason for omitting a medication.
    4. Failure to acquire and communicate appropriate assessment data as indicated by the healthcare institution policy. 
  5. Students will be counseled after each medication error. Two or more medication errors will result in clinical failure for the course. Examples of medication errors include (but are not limited to):
    1. Not following all rights of medication administration.
    2. Inability to calculate correct dosage.
    3. Omission of an ordered medication.
    4. Duplication of medication that has already been given.
    5. Administration of a discontinued medication.
    6. Leaving medication at bedside without an order (unless per hospital policy).
    7. Failure to check healthcare provider orders, take an apical pulse, B/P, check lab values or other appropriate assessment data prior to giving medication.
  6. A medication error that endangers the patient's life or actually cause patient harm can be grounds for immediate termination from the course. 

Note:  Students will still be held accountable for medication errors even if an instructor or staff nurse prevents the error from occurring. 

  • Prepares adequately for nursing responsibilities
  • Attends clinical/lab on time
  • Stays awake during clinical hours
  • A student will verbally notify their clinical instructor at least 1 hour prior to the absence and notify the course coordinator within 24 hours. Faculty may require withdrawal of any student who has missed enough practice to prevent completion of clinical
  • Wears correct professional attire including name badge at all times
  • Maintains appropriate demeanor during clinical
  • Shows respect for patients and staff
  • Keeps a positive attitude toward learning
  • Upholds confidentiality
  • Stays in clinical setting until clinical group is dismissed
  • Informs faculty and/or nurse when leaving the unit for any reason
  • Returns from breaks on time
  • Identifies own learning goals
  • Uses clinical time to maximize learning
  • Participates verbally in clinical conferences
  • Seeks instructor’s help and supervision appropriately
  • Seeks help appropriately to manage stress that may affect performance
  • Identifies own strengths and limitations
  • Completes all clinical work by specified date
  • Electronic devices of any kind are not to be brought into the clinical area unless under the direction of your faculty member. This includes but is not limited to I-watches, phones, iPod, iPad, tablets, 
No student shall misuse or abuse, or assist in the misuse or abuse of communication equipment at the University. Such activity includes, but is not limited to, using any form of communication equipment to harass or threaten any person or persons, or using any form of communication equipment to disrupt the normal operations or activities or any person, organization, or the University. Communication equipment includes, but is not limited to, electronic mail, pagers, voice mail, computers, printer, etc. Cell phones and pagers must be turned off or to silent operation during class/clinical and may not be used during class/clinical except in extreme circumstances.

Students are responsible for transportation to sites for their practicum experiences each semester and for covering the cost of travel.  It is the obligation of students to provide their own vehicle collision and/or bodily injury liability insurance for their personal vehicles.  Neither the College of Nursing nor the University of South Carolina is responsible for any vehicle occurrences or transportation.

The Clinical Simulation Lab (CSL) is located on the first floor of the College of Nursing in the Williams-Brice building. This state-of-the-art facility is designed to replicate realistic practice environments where healthcare students develop clinical decision-making skills and enhance technical skill acquisition. Students function within their full scope of practice while receiving real-time feedback and guidance from expert clinical educators. All simulation-based learning experiences adhere to the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning’s (INACSL) Standards of Best Practice: SimulationSM. For more information, please visit CSL

This protocol applies to all USC Columbia campus employees, student employees and all other USC students who have an exposure to a potentially infectious biological material.  A potentially infectious material or biological hazard may include an incident involving a microorganism (e.g. bacterial agent, viral agent, and fungal agent), human-derived material, biological toxin, or an incident involving recombinant DNA research.  Exposures through sexual contact are not included in this protocol.

 Procedures for needle sticks or other exposure to a potentially infectious material:

  • Report the incident immediately to the supervisor and clinical faculty to authorize medical evaluation.  Supervisors are responsible for ensuring students are offered immediate medical care, appropriate diagnostics and treatment.
    • Percutaneous Exposure (e.g., needle stick, cut, animal bite) – Immediately wash or flush the exposed area with soap and water for 10 minutes.
    • Mucous Membrane Exposure (i.e., eyes, nose or mouth) – Flush the exposed area with water.  If exposure is to the eyes, flush eyes (holding open) using the eyewash station for 10 minutes.
  •  The student or supervisor should immediately notify the appropriate entity within the health care institution where the exposure occurs, in order to initiate testing of the “source patient” for HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C infection.  It is important for rapid HIV testing to be completed with results available within a few hours. Each institution has its own procedures for obtaining “source patient” testing, and supervising faculty should know these procedures. If there is uncertainty about whom to contact within the host institution, instructions should be obtained from one or more of the following:
    • Employee health office
    • Charge nurse for the floor or unit where the exposure occurred
    • Infection control nurse
    • Administrative officer of the day
    • Clinic director (for outpatient sites)
  •  Once the necessary “source patient” testing has been ordered, seek medical treatment as soon as possible after the incident (see below for specific instructions)
  •  Notify Executive Director of Student Affairs of incident at 803-608-7770 between the hours of 9am-9pm.  Leave a message with return phone number if no answer.  If no response within one hour, call the Office of Academic Affairs at 803-777-7412.
  •  Call CompEndium for non-emergency injuries. In an emergency, visit a local emergency room or call 911.  Follow these five important steps to report your injury:
    • Immediately report the injury to your supervisor. You and your supervisor call CompEndium together at 877-709-2667 to report the injury.
    • Follow CompEndium’s Nurse Case Manager’s instructions for any authorized treatment and further reporting.
    • Complete an Employee Injury Report and have your supervisor complete a Supervisor's Report. Fax both reports to CompEndium at 877-710-2667 and to (803 777-0616, ATTN:  Executive Director of Student Affairs.)
    • If the treating physician does not release you to return to work, be sure to complete the Benefits Election section at the bottom of the Employee Injury Report. Meet with your department HR Contact for an explanation of your options or call the Benefits Office at 803-777-6650 for assistance.
    • Report the injury to CompEndium Services within 10 days of the date of injury.

 All exposure incidents in the clinical agencies and the client-simulated laboratory (CSL) shall be reported, investigated, and documented. If an exposure occurs and there is no faculty present, the student must notify faculty and/or the Office of Academic Affairs as soon as possible.

 Workers’ Compensation covers the following populations who experience a bloodborne pathogen exposure while working or at clinical if, appropriate reports are filed: 

  •  All university employees and apprenticeship students in the Colleges of Education, Exercise Science, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, and Social Work. 
  • Work study students and graduate assistants who are exposed while on the job.

 Students who suffer a Non-Job Related/Non clinical related Blood borne Pathogen Exposure during an enrolled academic session:

  • Should report to the Student Health Services for initial evaluation and referral. If the SHC is closed, students may seek care at the Palmetto Richland Hospital Emergency Department. If away from Columbia area, the student should report to the nearest hospital emergency department.

 Evaluation and Review

The Associate Dean for Academics is responsible for annually reviewing this policy and procedures and its effectiveness and for updating the program as needed.

Preceptors for clinical courses are integral to the student’s clinical learning. The preceptor must have the expertise to support (facilitate) a student’s achievement of course/clinical objectives as listed on the course syllabus and clinical agreement forms. The course faculty approves the preceptors. The preceptor for the course receives the evaluation tool to assess student’s performance, located in the course syllabus. Taking in consideration preceptor evaluation, the course faculty determines the student’s final grade.

View the BSN Senior Nursing Practicum Preceptor Handbook here

RN-BSN Preceptor guidelines are found at N434 Preceptor Responsibilities located in the RN-BSN Virtual Community under NURS 434 Clinical Practicum Resources, Preceptor Responibilities.

Unsafe Clinical Practice and Clinical Evaluation 

Nursing Department faculty members are academically committed to preparing baccalaureat graduates who are competent in the skills of nursing practice: technical, diagnostic and interpersonal.  Faculty members have an ethical and legal responsibility and accountability for the protection of others within the health care and larger community from unsafe, unethical, or illegal nursing practice on the part of University of South Carolina students and graduates. All students are expected to be familiar with the principles of safe, ethical, and legal practice and are expected to perform accordingly.  Therefore, students may be disciplined or dismissed from the nursing major for practice or behavior, which threatens, or has the potential to threaten, the safety of a client, family member, authorized representative, student peer, faculty member, healthcare provider, and/or self, or is unethical or illegal. Unacceptable practice may be a one-time event or a series of events.  Clinical practice may be considered unsafe when a student fails to use the nursing process effectively by engaging in one or more of the following activities.  

You understand that should it be determined that if you are considered unsafe and fail to use a nursing process effectively, you will receive an academic penalty (including but not limited to:  clinical failure, course failure, suspension, expulsion from the College, or other penalties) and be referred to the Office of Academic Integrity for additional disciplinary action.  (Please note that this list is not all-inclusive.) 
 Unsafe clinical practice is at the discretion of each individual professor: 

  1. Unacceptable practice is defined as: An act(s) or behavior(s) of the type that violates the Nurse Practice Act. An act(s) or behavior(s) that violates the American Nurse Association (ANA) Code [of Ethics] for Nurses, the ANA Standards of Clinical Practice, or the College of Nursing Core Values. 
  2. An act(s) or behavior(s) that threatens, or has the potential to threaten, the physical, emotional, mental, or environmental safety of a client, family member or designate, student peer, a faculty member, health care provider, or self. 
  3. Attending clinical with active infectious disease process or when lab results are in critical range. 
  4. An act(s) or behavior(s) that is unethical, dishonest or illegal, e.g., lying or deliberately giving inaccurate information. 
  5. An act(s) or behavior(s) that constitutes nursing practice for which the student is not authorized to perform, or has not been taught, at the time of the incident. 
  6. Unauthorized entry(s) into the computer or misuse of clinical records or misuse of computer technology to violate patient, faculty or staff rights.” 
  7. A trend of behavior often characterized by being unprepared or inadequately prepared for clinicals, the classroom or in simulation. 
  8. Continued inability to perform safely, ethically, or legally without immediate/close instructor supervision (in this case, there may not be a single isolated incident of unacceptable practice, failure to progress). 
  9. A use of prescribed/non-prescribed or other substances that alter the ability to clinically reason in the classroom, simulation area or clinical environment. 
  10. Failure to recognize the need for assistance when unfamiliar with advanced practice nursing action. 
  11. Failure to take advanced practice nursing action when such action is essential to the health and safety of the client. 
  12. Failure to recognize the influence of own attitudes and behaviors on care of client. 
  13. Failure to assume responsibility for completing nursing action. 
  14. Violation of laws or rules relating to patient record confidentiality.
  15. Classroom (online) or College behavior that is threatening or potentially harmful towards peers, instructors, advisors or others.
  16. Unsatisfactory attendance/tardiness in clinical, simulation, advisement or classroom.  
  17. Plagiarism of clinical worksheets, exams, written or other required course assignments.

 

Failure to meet mandatory requirements set forth by the College of Nursing in order to hold students accountable to the above standards, clinical instructors and faculty will give a formal documentation to students who exhibit unsafe practices. This formal documentation will be in the form of a “STAR Counselling Form” that references the student handbook and the exact standard the student failed to display in his/her clinical practice. The documentation of STAR Counselling Form will be delivered in a face-to-face meeting with the clinical course coordinator and a witness. Both student and course coordinator will sign the documentation and the student will receive a copy. This “STAR Counselling Form” will be maintained in the student’s permanent file in the CON from semester to semester regardless of the student’s status (out of sequence, etc.). Students will be dismissed from the nursing program upon issuance of a 3rd “STAR Counselling” during the duration of the program. Any grossly unsafe or negligent clinical event or unethical practice (including but not limited to those covered above) may constitute an automatic course or program failure without the student receiving a counseling or warning. A single incident of unacceptable practice may be grounds for course failure and dismissal from the nursing major. 

Students may receive unsatisfactory clinical performance at the discretion of each course coordinator. If a student is removed from the clinical setting for unacceptable practice, the student will not return to that clinical setting unless cleared by the Course Coordinator. Students awarded an “D+”, “D”, or “F” grade for unsafe practice in clinical will need to repeat all portions of the course. 

The Course Coordinator and the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies will determine the consequences of the unacceptable action, in accordance with USC policy. Consequences include: 

  • Remedial work and/or instruction
  • Physical and/or mental evaluation
  • Substance screening
  • Award of grade of “D+”, “D”, or F” for the course
  • Withdrawal from the course
  • Immediate dismissal from the nursing major

In the event the student is enrolled in two clinical courses during the semester in which course failure due to unacceptable practice occurs, a determination of safety to practice will be made in the second clinical course by the Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Studies and the student may not be allowed to continue in the second course. 

Central Student Portal (RN-BSN students)

Step 1. Review your degree plan via the Central Student Portal ( http://con-central.nurs.sc.edu/studentportal) to see the clinical courses you will be taking and when you are scheduled to take them.  Next review in the RN-BSN virtual community in Blackboard the folder “Finding a Clinical Site” to see a list of clinical courses with required number of clinical hours, course descriptions, course objectives, and examples of appropriate clinical sites.  The folder also contains the “Preceptor Recruitment Letter” for each clinical course.

Step 2. Review the list of “Current Contracts” –in the Central Student Portal to see if the facility you are considering for clinical rotation has a current contract. 

Step 3.  If the facility you are considering does not have a current contract listed, please complete the “Clinical Placement Information Form” (see “Initiating a New Clinical Contract” section within the “Finding a Clinical Site” folder in Blackboard) and send to CONContracts@sc.edu as soon as possible.

Step 4. Review “Placement Requirements” folder.  This folder contains a list of facilities that require additional paperwork or have additional steps prior to students receiving approval for placement at their site.  Please follow the instructions listed.

Step 5.  Practicum Site Selection:  Students will take a proactive role in selection of an acceptable site for their practicum experience.  

Step 6.  Once you have secured a preceptor for your clinical rotation – Submit a CASE form electronically via the Central Student Portal.  See “Clinical Agreement for Student Experience (CASE form)” folder . NOTE: Do not wait for a clinical contract to be completed; you should submit your CASE form regardless of the status of the clinical contract.

Step 7. Review your current Castlebranch account. Make note of the date your drug screen and background check were completed. Check with the facility where you plan to do your rotation to ensure your drug screening and background check are within the timeframe the facility requires.  If necessary, complete a new background check and/or drug screening. Also, update any health information or required documents that are rejected or overdue in your current Castlebranch account.

Step 8. See “Order a Name Badge” folder in Blackboard to learn how to order your student name badge if you do not have a College of Nursing student name badge.  Students are required to wear their USC College of Nursing name badge when completing clinical hours. 

Students will take a proactive role in selection of an acceptable site for their practicum experience.  

Once the site has been selected and a preceptor identified, the Practicum Application needs to be completed and submitted at least 90 days prior to the beginning of the practicum course. The preceptor’s name, qualifying information, and contact information must be included on the application.

Criteria for site selection 

  • Must offer a community health nursing opportunity. Examples: home health and hospice, parish nursing, health department, school nursing, and correctional nursing
  • May be in the institution where the student is currently employed but must be outside of the student’s normal work area
  • May engage in patient care as part of the practicum experience. Students may teach patients, observe preceptor doing clinical teaching or patient care, may participate in clinical conferences
  • Must have an active and unrestricted nursing license in the state where they plan to complete the practicum. For students who are completing their practicum in a different state from where they reside, proof of proper nurse licensure will be required prior to their practicum registration.

Student Responsibilities 

  • Meet eligibility, course, and health requirements
  • Must have an active and unrestricted license in the state where the practicum experience will be completed
  • Identify an appropriate location and preceptor for the practicum experience; the site must be secured at least 90 days prior to the beginning of the practicum course
  • Provide a copy of the practicum handbook to their preceptor
  • Be familiar with all procedures and practicum content
  • Meet deadline dates for all practicum coursework and activities
  • Demonstrate competence in practicum assignments
  • Abide by facility rules and regulations
  • Maintain professional conduct while in the practicum experience
  • Complete 120 hours of practicum experience while in the course
  • Provide signed documentation by preceptor of all hours on the Student Activity Log at the completion of the practicum experience. Travel time to and from the practicum site are not to be included in these hours.
  • Documentation of hours must demonstrate activities related to course objectives
  • Evaluate the practicum experience

Orientation to the Practicum 

General information about the practicum is available in the RN to BSN Clinical Practicum Resource folder in Blackboard. Included in the site is a description of the practicum, forms, health requirements and contact information. These resources can be accessed through Blackboard in your organization page: College of Nursing RN- BSN Students

Please complete the Clinical Preceptor and Site Information Form found in the RN-BSN Virtual Community in Blackboard and submit to the NURS 434 course faculty for approval.  This form provides information about your intended preceptor and clinical site so that current contracts can be determined and started if needed.  Please make sure the information you list is accurate.  Once notification and approval is received from course faculty, you may move forward in completing and submitting the CASE form for review.  

**Note:  Name of person responsible for signing contracts in your attended facility should have legal signature authority.  This could be an Office Manager, CEO, President, or Nurse Manager.  Make sure to list the appropriate person to assist us with follow up efforts.  Incorrect information could cause delays in acquiring a contract if one is needed.

 If the facility you are considering does not have a current contract listed, please complete the “Clinical Placement Information Form” (see “Initiating a New Clinical Contract” section within the “Finding a Clinical Site” folder in Blackboard) and send to CONContracts@sc.edu as soon as possible.  Upon receipt of this information, 4 - 9 months are required to complete the approval process for a new site contract or renewal site contract for clinical placement. If you have questions regarding a contract, please contact the Clinical Compliance Coordinator for the College of Nursing at 803-576-7301.

In addition to the CastleBranch requirements, there may be additional clincial agency requirements.  You can view specific agency requirements in Blackboard under Clinical Information, Placement Requirements. 

A student enrolled in a course with a clinical component is responsible for finding an approved health agency and an approved preceptor for their clinical experience. A list of current clinical agreements held by the CON are found in the Student Portal under Clinical Contract.  Students are advised to locate a preceptor at least a semester before the clinical course begins. Students having difficulty finding an experience must contact the course faculty member and the Director of Clinical Partnerships for assistance.

You are required to submit a CASE Form at http://con-central.nurs.sc.edu/studentportal after you have secured a preceptor for each clinical course. It must be submitted no later than one (1) week prior to the beginning of each course.   If the college already approves a site or preceptor, the student will select them from a list. If new, students must enter all prompted information. A confirmation email will be sent to the preceptor and site contact including a confirmation link. The student will be able to track the progress of the approval in the system. Review instructions on how to submit and view Case Form Sample in Bb Clinical Information and Documents.  Students who use multiple preceptors need to submit a preceptor agreement (CASE Form) for each preceptor.

Students CANNOT begin clinical experience until they receive contract verification and preceptor approval by the student’s course professor. Going to clinical without the appropriate approval of contracts, course professor, and necessary forms in place will result in course failure and may be grounds for dismissal from the program and the CON, a violation of Academic Integrity, liability exposure, and possible Board of Nursing sanction due to possible HIPAA violations among others.

If you experience any difficulties with accessing the system, please contact Michael Palladino at mpal@central-360.com. 

**Please note your preceptor is not the site contact.  Please find the appropriate site contact for your facility prior to submitting your CASE form.  This is typically the person in charge of student placement at the facility.**

 


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.

©