Nursing Student Handbook

College of Nursing (CON)

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  • The Mary Black College of Nursing is named in honor of Mrs. Mary Black Phillips and the late Miss Rosa Black in appreciation for the generosity of the Black Family for their role in securing funds for the building that houses the College of Nursing.  The College began offering the Associate Degree in Technical Nursing in 1967 with the beginning of the University.  This program closed in 2005.  The Bachelor of Science in Nursing program began in 1977 as an upper division program for registered nurses.  In 1986, the first generic four year track began.  In 2003 the University of South Carolina Upstate opened an additional campus for the University in Greenville, South Carolina at the University Center of Greenville (UCG).  Classrooms, computer laboratories, a learning resource center and faculty offices support the undergraduate program at the Greenville site.  In 2008, the Mary Black School of Nursing, Spartanburg campus, moved its offices and classrooms to the new Health Education Complex on North Campus Boulevard.  In spring 2013 the Mary Black School of Nursing received approval from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education for a Master in Science degree with an emphasis on the Clinical Nurse Leader and classes began fall 2014. The Master of Science in Nursing Education and Master of Science in Nursing Leadership were approved Fall 2019.

  • Mary Black College of Nursing Vision

    The Mary Black College of Nursing will be recognized as a leader in nursing education, service, and scholarship that prepares practice-ready nurses from diverse backgrounds who promote health and wellness.

    Mary Black College of Nursing Mission

    The Mary Black College of Nursing provides innovative and high-quality nursing education to Upstate South Carolina and beyond. We strive for excellence in teaching, service, and scholarship, embrace diversity and inclusion, and establish meaningful partnerships needed to graduate nursing students of choice who are prepared to serve as leaders and change agents in promoting health within the community.


    Nursing is an art and science with a commitment to humanity, utilizing nursing knowledge and caring practices. The theoretical work of Boykin, Benner, and Pender guide the philosophy of Mary Black College of Nursing. The themes of authentic caring, competency, and health promotion embody our efforts to educate the next generation of nurses and nurse leaders. The Mary Black College of Nursing philosophy reflects the vision, mission, and goals of the University of South Carolina Upstate. Under the guidance of the Baccalaureate program goals, the Mary Black College of Nursing transforms students to apply critical reasoning, demonstrate effective communication, practice competently, and to operate as a professional role model. Graduate program goals guide the student to integrate critical reasoning supported by theory and evidence-based knowledge; employ skilled communication to advocate for the patient; demonstrate transformative leadership to focus on the unique patient populations, and act as a change agent to improve the well-being of the community. The conceptual framework for the Mary Black College of Nursing encompasses the four metaparadigms of person, nurse, environment, and health.

    Person: A person is an individual who interacts holistically with their environment, interprets personal experiences, and seeks a higher level of self-awareness. This person interacts and communicates by respecting and caring for self and others by appreciating the values, beliefs, and behaviors encountered and by seeking knowledge within their learning community.

    Nurse: A person who intentionally builds relationships with others to enable the condition of giving and receiving help. This person serves as a role model, teacher, and mentor and demonstrates nurturing and caring to others. Nursing is the art and science of attending to the discovery, creation, refinement of knowledge, and ethical development of an authentic presence to facilitate wholeness.

    Environment: The environment is the context in which teaching, learning, and nursing occur. In the learning environment, individuals seeking knowledge learn to create, modify, and promote optimal health by influencing the person to adjust as needed to the environment and by advocating for the environmental support of the person.

    Health: Deliberate actions that express caring and communicate physiological, psychological, social, spiritual wholeness, and well-being. The illustration of health is a lived-experience of persons within their environment and is influenced by the reciprocal interactions as defined by that person’s perspective of wellness.

    Education: Nursing education responds to the needs and concerns of the public by developing curricula that are ethical, relevant, based on research, evidence, and considers future trends in health care and nursing. Students learn the art and science of nursing by the acquisition and application of knowledge through thoughtful study, and by practicing skills in a variety of settings to develop into competent nurse generalist or nurse leaders that are prepared to meet the dynamic challenges of the Healthcare systems of today and tomorrow. Nursing education provides an environment that instills a quest for life-long learning through a sense of belonging and captures the essence of nursing, which is caring.

    Faculty: The faculty at the Mary Black College of Nursing create an environment that embodies caring, built on evidence, and support student learning. The learning environment is created by faculty that generates systematic inquiry, creativity, caring, and respect for self and others. Faculty facilitate opportunities for students to integrate the experience, service learning, information, and new knowledge to influence change in nursing, community, and healthcare. The commitment of the faculty is to design and implement curricula that prepare the student to become competent nurses entering the nursing profession and to develop nurse leaders to transform the practice of nursing. Creating innovative and evidence-based teaching strategies, the faculty engages students to apply and integrate critical reasoning, demonstrate and employ effective communications strategies, to become competent nurses or a transformational leader and clinical expertise to advocate for improving the well-being of individuals and community.

    Student: A student is a person who is accountable and takes personal ownership of their learning. The student seizes learning opportunities, embraces various experiences, and gathers new knowledge that prepares them to become a professional nurse and a nurse leader. In a caring environment, students develop empathy, altruism, and respect for self and others. Upon completion, the student becomes a leader and responsible citizen, who influences nursing, the community, and healthcare.

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program (BSN)

    This professional program prepares graduates to assume entry-level positions in a variety of health care settings.  The program is divided into two components, entry as a pre-nursing major focused on meeting course pre-requisites and entry as a nursing major focused on the clinical and didactic portions of the nursing curriculum.  Required pre-nursing courses provide a broad background in general education and form the foundation for the professional nursing component of the program.  Courses taken in the last two years of the program provide the theoretical and practical basis for nursing practice in an increasingly complex health care system.  In addition to focusing on the essentials of nursing in the hospital, the curriculum also emphasizes community based and primary care.  Opportunities to provide care to diverse clients are provided.  Use of technology is integrated throughout the program.  The program prepares graduates for professional positions immediately after graduation and provides a firm foundation for graduate study.  Students who earn the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree are eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX).

    Bachelor’s Degree for Registered Nurses (RN-BSN)

    Registered nurses who have previously earned diplomas or associate degrees in nursing are admitted to the undergraduate program to meet requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.  Students are to complete all degree requirements on a full time basis in one calendar year of student.  The College of Nursing awards 33 hours of validated nursing credit to each registered nurse for past nursing courses.

    Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

    The Mary Black College of Nursing offers the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program with concentration areas of Nursing Education, Nursing Leadership and Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL). Detailed information regarding each MSN concentration can be located within the graduate student handbook.

  • Individuals who complete the baccalaureate program of the Mary Black College of Nursing are prepared to provide humanistic, holistic, and culturally sensitive care to diverse client systems composed of individuals of all ages, families, groups, aggregates, and communities.  The Baccalaureate Graduate practices professional  nursing care in structured and unstructured settings.

    At the completion of the BSN program, the graduate will be:

    1. Apply critical reasoning in nursing judgment and ethical decision-making, using a broad knowledge base, to make evidence-based decisions grounded in standards of nursing practice.
    2. Demonstrate effective communication using various modalities and technologies to provide caring, competent, and holistic nursing care to diverse populations across the lifespan.
    3. Practice competent nursing care that is evidence-based, safe, holistic, and therapeutic to individuals, families, and communities in a variety of clinical settings.
    4. Operate as a professional role model and assumes responsibility and accountability for personal and professional behaviors, ethical practice, and client advocacy.

Policies and Procedures

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  • The following core performance standards and minimal functional abilities based upon the Southern Council on Collegiate Education for Nursing core performance will be made available to all potential student applicants to the nursing programs; all nursing faculty, staff, and students; the South Carolina State Board for Nursing and the National League for Nursing; and all agencies where clinical practicums occur. All applicants and continuing students must meet the core performance standards and functional abilities.

    Standard 1. CRITICAL THINKING AND RELATED MENTAL ABILITIES: Must have critical thinking ability sufficient for clinical judgment. Examples of necessary functional abilities associated with this standard include (not an all-inclusive list): Has the ability to interpret, investigate, communicate, and comprehend complex situations; identify cause and effect relative to clinical situations ability to make decisions and assess situations under varying degrees of stress; must be able to read and comprehend detailed charts, reports, journal articles, books, etc.; capable of performing all arithmetic functions (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, ratios, and simple algebraic equations).

    Standard 2. COMMUNICATION AND INTERPERSONAL ABILITIES: Must be able to read, write, speak and comprehend English with sufficient skill to communicate effectively verbally and nonverbally. Must have interpersonal abilities sufficient to interact with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds. Examples of necessary functional abilities associated with the standard include (not all inclusive): Has the ability to establish rapport with clients and their families, peers, agency personnel, and faculty; explain treatment procedures; initiate health teaching; and document and interpret nursing actions and client responses.

    Standard 3. PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES: Must have physical abilities sufficient to move from room to room and maneuver in small spaces and gross and fine motor abilities sufficient to provide safe and effective nursing care. Examples of necessary functional abilities associated with the standard include (not all inclusive): able to move around in client’s room, work spaces, treatment areas and administer CPR; calibrate and use equipment; position and transfer clients; capable of lifting up to 50 pounds independently; capable of pushing up to 200 pounds independently; capable of reaching 18 inches above head without the use of mechanical devices to elevate themselves; capable of sitting, standing, walking for extended periods of time; experience no limitations when bending, stooping, sitting, standing, walking (i.e., uses no mechanical devices to assist themselves which would impede the safety of a client); ability to move to and respond to an emergency situation in a timely manner; and able to document in a clear legible manner.

    Standard 4. HEARING: Auditory ability sufficient to monitor and assess health needs. Examples of necessary functional abilities associated with this standard include (not all inclusive): Able to hear auscultatory sounds, monitor alarms, and emergency signals; able to hear soft whispers of clients and families; able to tolerate loud noise for extended periods of time. Assistive devices must correct hearing to this degree and must be worn at all times during practicums. 

    Standard 5. VISUAL: Must have the visual ability sufficient for observation, assessment, and intervention necessary for nursing care. Examples of necessary functional abilities associated with this standard include (not all inclusive): Observe client responses, accurately read equipment, gauges, and monitors; vision correctable to 20/40, normal depth perception, and ability to distinguish colors; and ability to tolerate offensive visual situations.

    Standard 6. SMELL: Smelling ability sufficient to monitor and assess health needs. Examples of necessary functional abilities associated with this standard include (not all inclusive): Have ability to differentiate between various types of smells and odors, and ability to tolerate offensive odors.

  • Electronic Devices

    Electronic devices such as cell phones and smart watches must be turned off during class. You must speak with the Instructor prior to class for an emergency situation or extenuating circumstances for permission to utilize these devices. All devices must be placed at the front or rear of the classroom during any testing.  There will be no exceptions for any reason. Students must adhere to the clinical agency policy regarding the use of these devices.

  • Cheating will not be tolerated. Refer to The Code of Academic Integrity located in the USC Upstate Student Handbook. Examples of cheating include:

    • Any conduct during a program, course, quiz, or examination that involves the unauthorized use of written or oral information, or information obtained by any other means of communication.
    • The buying, selling, sharing of questions or theft of any examination or quiz prior to its administration.
    • The unauthorized use of any electronic or mechanical device during any program, course, quiz or examination or in connection with laboratory reports or other materials related to academic performance.
    • The unauthorized use of notes, laboratory reports, term reports, theses and written materials in whole or part.
    • The unauthorized collaboration on any test, assignment or project.

    To preserve the integrity of the testing process, students are expected to abide by the following testing guidelines.  All student belongings are to be placed in the back of the room at the Greenville campus and in the front of the room at the Spartanburg campus.  Electronic devices are to be powered off. Hats and watches are not allowed during testing. Water bottles are to be placed on the floor. Students may only have a writing utensil at their computer/desk and one piece of blank paper that can used be as scratch paper during the test, if indicated by the instructor(s). The blank paper will be checked by the instructor(s) prior to the start of the test.  Prior to and during testing, the area should remain quiet so that fellow students can concentrate. When taking tests on the computer, students are not allowed to access any other websites.  Once the test is completed, students are to exit the computer program and turn in their scratch paper to the instructor(s).

    Code of Academic Integrity, located within the Code of Student Conduct.

    Inclement Weather Policy

  • The University of South Carolina Upstate is committed to the judicious, fair, and impartial resolution of a conflict between faculty members and students. The University is also committed to a judicious, fair, and impartial review of petitions from students who seek relief from university regulations related to academic decisions or policies.
    These procedures do not extend to matters of grading student work where the substance of a complaint is simply the student’s disagreement with the grade placed on work. A student shall discuss such matters with the faculty; final authority shall remain with the faculty in matters of evaluating student work.
    All decisions regarding grade changes at any step in the process are in the form of recommendations only. Only the faculty member who initiated the grade in question can change grades.
    The following process is designed to provide an objective review of student complaints regarding academic grievances.

    A. General Guidelines for Undergraduate Students:

    1. For a student who believes he or she has been treated unfairly or improperly during a fall semester, the student grievance process must be initiated prior to the following March 1. For a student who believes he or she has been treated unfairly or improperly during a spring semester, or a summer session the grievance process must be initiated prior to the following October 1.
    2. Those concerned will make every reasonable effort to honor all deadlines and time lines. However, individuals involved in the grievance process should take into account that conditions may exist which preclude strict adherence to the suggested time lines.
    3. All submissions to all levels of appeal and all responses must be submitted in writing on the Academic Grievance Form. An Academic Grievance Form for submitting an appeal is available in the Office of the Registrar, in the Office of Academic Affairs, and in each Dean’s office.
    4. The grievance must follow, in sequence, the procedures-outlined. If a resolution of a grievance is not forthcoming, or the time for a written response has expired, the student may wish to continue the process by forwarding the grievance to the next level. Grievance forms that have not been submitted through the proper sequence of decision-makers will not be reviewed. Students may withdraw their grievance at any time.
    5. The student may be asked for additional information or may request the opportunity to appear and discuss the appeal as the grievance is reviewed at that level.
    6. Final authority shall remain with the faculty member in matters of evaluating student work.

    B. The grievance process when the grievance involves admissions, academic suspension, or financial aid

    1. If the initial grievance concerns admissions to the university, the student contacts the Admissions Office. The Admissions Office advises the student of the appeal process involving the Admissions and Petitions Committee.
    2. If the initial grievance concerns admission to an academic program, the student contacts the dean of the school or college in which admission is being sought. The dean advises the student of the appeal process involving admission to a specific academic program.
    3. If the initial grievance concerns an academic suspension policy, the student contacts the Records Office. The Records Office advises the student of the appeal process involving the Admissions and Petitions Committee.
    4. If the initial grievance concerns a financial aid policy, the student contacts the Financial Aid Office. The Financial Aid Office advises the student of the appeal process involving the Student Financial Aid Committee.

    C. The grievance process when the initial decision-maker is a faculty member or a faculty committee.

    1. Grievances should not be filed when the substance of a complaint is simply the student’s disagreement with the evaluation of the student’s work. Final authority shall remain with the faculty in matters of evaluating student work.
    2. The student must first discuss the complaint with the initial decision maker or faculty committee involved for resolution. The purpose of this meeting is to attempt to reach a mutual understanding of the student’s situation and the faculty member’s actions and to resolve differences in an informal, cooperative manner.
    3. If there is no resolution, the student should complete the Academic Grievance Form and submit it to the faculty member or to the Student Affairs committee for the Mary Black School of Nursing. The faculty member or Student Affairs committee must create an Academic Grievance Folder containing the Academic Grievance Form. All related documentation must be added to this folder through all levels of the grievance process.
    4. The Student Affairs committee will address the appeal at the next scheduled meeting. If resolution is not forthcoming within 10 calendar days after the committee meeting, the student may proceed to the next step.
    5. The student may appeal to the Associate Dean on the Spartanburg campus or the Assistant Dean on the Greenville campus of the academic area where the grieved decision originated. The appeal to this individual must be submitted by the student within 5 calendar days after the response from the initial decision-maker. If resolution is not forthcoming within 10 calendar days after submission of the Academic Grievance Form, the student may proceed to the next step.
    6. The student may submit to the Dean a written intent to appeal to an Academic Grievance Panel. Within 5 calendar days of receipt of the written appeal, the dean shall appoint three faculty to an Academic Grievance Panel. Within 15 calendar days of appointment, the Academic Grievance Panel shall gather all relevant material, convene the panel and make its recommendation to the dean. The Chair of the Academic Grievance Panel will notify the student, faculty member, Associate Dean on the Spartanburg campus or the Assistant Dean on the Greenville campus, and dean of the decision of the panel. If resolution is not forthcoming within 15 calendar days after appointment of Academic Grievance Panel, the student may appeal to the next step.
    7. The student may appeal to the dean of the appropriate school or college in which the grieved decisions originated. If resolution is not forthcoming within 10 calendar days after submission of the Academic Grievance Form, the student may proceed to the next step.
    8. The student may appeal to the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The appeal must take place within 5 calendar days of the decision by the Academic Grievance Panel. The Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs has ten calendar days to respond to the student and forward copies of that response to all individual’s involved at all prior levels of appeal.
    9. Further appeal may be made to the Chancellor, the President of the University of South Carolina, and the Board of Trustees in accordance with university policies, procedures, and bylaws.

    D. The grievance process when the initial decision-maker is the dean

    1. The student may submit an Academic Grievance Form to the dean or the dean’s designee of the appropriate school of college where the academic decision or policy dispute resides. If resolution is not forthcoming within 10 calendar days after submission of the Academic Grievance Form, the student may proceed to the next step.
    2. The student may appeal to the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The appeal must take place within 5 calendar days of the decision by the dean. The Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs has 10 calendar days to respond to the student and forward copies of that response to all individual’s at each level.
    3. If resolution is not forthcoming, within 10 calendar days, further appeal may be made to the Chancellor, the President of the University of South Carolina, and the Board of Trustees in accordance with university policies, procedures, and by-laws. Appeal forms are available in the administrative offices.
  • The responsibility for completion of requirements for the degree lies with the student. Students and their major advisor are responsible for evaluating progress toward the degree and for interpreting and applying major requirements. All students must be advised prior to registration. For academic advisement, each student is assigned a faculty advisor in the School of Nursing and posted in SSC under the “View Student Information” link under the Student Records menu.

    Procedure for Advisement

    Each semester students should communicate with their advisor about academic plans. They should plan to meet with their advisor at least once each semester to discuss and update their file. A student should consult with the assigned advisor before dropping or adding a course so that curriculum requirements are met and the program of study is completed in a timely manner. Faculties’ office hours are posted outside their office and during advisement week additional hours will be offered to accommodate students for advisement. If the hours posted are not convenient, it is the student’s responsibility to contact his/her advisor (email, telephone) and arrange an acceptable time.

    During pre-registration/advisement, students must meet with the assigned advisor or attend a group advisement session to select appropriate courses and plan their schedule for the subsequent semester. Prior to the advisement appointment the student should consult the online schedule of courses and determine a tentative schedule. Once the advisement is completed, the advisement hold will be removed and the student can register for the selected courses. The student must also meet with the advisor the semester prior to the anticipated graduation semester to ensure that all courses required for the degree are included on the official transcript.

    1. Nursing courses are sequential, and any student who fails to take nursing courses in sequence cannot progress in the program.
    2. Students must achieve a grade of “C” or higher in every nursing course to progress in the program.
    3. Students who earn less than a “C” will be required to repeat that course prior to enrolling in any subsequent course. Students who then earn a second grade below “C” in any nursing course will be permanently dismissed from the program.
    4. Students are allowed two attempts to successfully complete nursing courses. Withdrawal from a nursing course for any reason in which a grade is assigned including (W) or (WF) will count as one attempt in the course. A second attempt to take the same course will exhaust the student’s repeat option.
    5. Students who earn a grade less than C in any nursing course or receive a W or WF will be required to repeat that course earning a C or better prior to enrolling in any subsequent course. Students can enroll in or continue in courses that are on the same level as long as the course that needs to be repeated is not a prerequisite or co-requisite. All 300-level courses must be completed satisfactorily before enrolling in any 400-level courses.
    6. Students must complete the program of required nursing course within four years of initial entry into the program. Students who exceed the four year time limit will be dismissed from the program.
  • The grading scale for all nursing courses in the baccalaureate program at USC Upstate is:

    A92-100    B85-88    C75-81    D65-71
    B+  89-91C+  82-84D+  72-74F  below 65

    Successful completion of nursing courses require that students earn a 75% cumulative average on unit and final exams. Failure to attain these results will lead to a course failure. Students must consult their syllabi for full details for each course.

    The final grade will be rounded using the tenth place only, except when the grade is a 74.5. Grades will not be rounded up so that a student can pass a course. (Example: If the final grade average is 92.5, the final grade will be rounded up to 93. If the final grade average is 92.45, the final grade will remain 92.

    All MBCON clinical courses will be weighted as 85% for the didactic portion of the course, and 15% for the application portion of the course. Successful completion of the course requires that a minimum 75% average (without rounding) be achieved on the didactic portion of the course (including any proctored exams such as unit exams, cumulative final exam, and ATI standardized exams), and a minimum 75% average (without rounding) be achieved in the application portion of the course. Only after achieving a 75% didactic average will other grades be included in the final course grade. Failure to reach the minimum 75% average (without rounding) in either the didactic or application component will be considered a nursing failure, regardless of the student’s overall course average.

    Receipt of an unsatisfactory clinical grade (based on Weekly Clinical Evaluations and the Clinical Remediation Policy) will automatically result in course failure. Final grade awarded will be based on the student’s current course average, with the maximum grade awarded not to exceed a D+ based on the Mary Black College of Nursing grading scale.

  • Personal appearance is a critical factor in the professional image of a baccalaureate nurse. The approved student uniform is versatile to meet the appropriate requirements of clinical facilities. Unless otherwise stated, students are required to wear the official uniform while in the clinical area.

    The Mary Black College of Nursing (MBCON) uniform is approved for MBCON clinical experiences, on-campus classes, labs, and any approved MBCON events. Students do not have permission to wear the uniform for any other purpose. Violating this policy could result in disciplinary action.

    Uniform Requirements

    • Approved CON embroidered green scrub top
      • Scrub tops must be purchased from the University Bookstore with “The College of Nursing” and “USC Upstate” embroidered on the left front of the scrub top.  Pants and coats are also available in the bookstore. Scrub pants must be black.
    • If a student wishes (s)he may wear a long sleeve black shirt under the scrub top for warmth.
    • The approved white laboratory coat (long sleeves, medium length) is the only garment to be worn with the uniform on the clinical unit.  (See Lab Coat Specifications)  A sweatshirt is not appropriate for clinical environments.
    • Plain, black professional shoes with black socks should be worn.  Students may wear all black athletic shoes with no other color.  
    • Students are required to have the following items as a nursing student:  Stethoscope (with bell and diaphragm), name tag, nursing scissors, penlight, black ink pen, calculator and wrist watch with a second hand or a digital watch with a stopwatch.  
    • The MBCON student nametag is worn on the right side of the scrub top (opposite of the MBCON logo).  BSN name tags are obtained from Larry’s Trophies or Anderson Stamp and Engraving.


    • Hairstyle must be clean, neat, and off the collar, including ponytails.  Hair below shoulder length should be confined if it falls over the shoulder while working.
    • Hair color and contact lenses must be consistent with colors occurring naturally in humans; decorative additions to hair (feathers, beads, ribbons, etc.) are not permitted.
    • Facial hair must be short and neatly trimmed. 
    • Fingernails should be short.  Artificial nails, tips, or polish are not permitted.


    • Students are required to maintain a high standard of personal hygiene.  Care should be given to controlling objectionable body odor and unpleasant breath.
    • Colognes, perfumes, aftershave lotions and other fragranced personal hygiene products (e.g. shower gel, deodorants, hairspray, etc.) should be avoided, or if used, should not be perceptible by others due to potential allergic reaction by employees, patients or visitors.  In addition, smoke and vapor from e-cigarettes are considered scents that should not be noticeable on clothing or person.
    • Beards must be short and neatly trimmed

    Body Art/Piercings/Jewelry

    • Occupied piercings are limited to one stud or post earring (6 mm or less in size) in each lobe of the ear.  A piercing is defined as a hole in the body created so that jewelry or implants can be inserted.  All piercings should be unoccupied while in the clinical setting with the exception of the ones allowed in the lobes of the ears.  Bracelets, necklaces, rings, and dental jewelry are not permitted.  A plain (no stones or engravings), flat wedding ring or band is allowed.
    • All visible tattoos/body art must be covered.

    Cell Phone/Watches

    • Students are not allowed to carry their phone in the clinical area. Smart watches are not to be worn in the clinical area.

    Acceptable Business Casual Attire (When Designated)

    • Business casual dress (in designated areas determined by faculty)
      • The dress code policy must be adhered to with the exception of the clinical uniform when students are in business casual dress when representing the College of Nursing in any facility or institution.
      • Business casual attire includes suits, pants, jackets, shirts, skirts, and dresses that, while not formal, are appropriate for a business environment.
      • Examples of appropriate business casual attire include a polo shirt with pressed khaki pants, a sweater and a shirt with dress pants, Pantsuits and sports jackets also fit the business casual work environment if they are not too formal.  Dresses and skirts should be knee length or longer.
      • Jeans, leggings, t-shirts, shirts without collars, shorts, and footware such as flip-flops, sneakers, or open toe shoes are not appropriate for business casual attire.  

    Failure to comply with this policy will result in dismissal of the student from the clinical area.  This will be considered an unexcused clinical absence.  Faculty will notify students if the facility has a different dress policy that is expected of student nurses.

  • The following may be considered as unsafe practice by students:

    1. Failure to use nursing process effectively, demonstrated by such behaviors as lack of knowledge of the client’s diagnoses, treatments or medications; failure to follow safety precautions for client, acts of omission, including the documentation of care.
    2. Attending any class, clinical, or lab while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
    3. Failure to recognize the influence of own attitudes and behavior on the care of clients.
    4. Deliberately giving false or inaccurate information regarding nursing care.
    5. Failure to assume responsibility for completing nursing care.
    6. Performing interventions without adequate preparation or needed supervision.

    The consequences of unsafe behavior are determined by the nature of the behavior exhibited and the situation in which it occurs.

    1. Unsafe practice may result in immediate failure.
    2. Students may be sent home for the clinical day and given an unexcused absence.
    3. Repeated unsafe behaviors or failure to correct an unsafe behavior will result in failure. The student will not be allowed to continue in the clinical practicum and must withdraw from the co requisite didactic nursing course

    A student may fail a clinical course prior to the completion of the course under certain circumstances. A student whose conduct is judged to be unsafe may be dismissed at any time from a clinical unit. Unsafe performance is defined as behavior that is actually or potentially injurious to patients or staff and is out of the range of ordinary student mistakes. Dismissal for the remainder of the course results in a failing grade for the course as does any failure to meet course objectives. 

    Grievous Behavior Policy

    Students whose behavior in the clinical setting is judged to be both unsafe, inappropriate and detrimental to patients, staff and other students including any violation of their patient’s confidentiality (HIPAA) will receive a failing grade in the course and be released from the program and required to withdraw from all courses within the College of Nursing. This behavior will be assessed by both the instructor and Associate Dean and/or Dean and the student will be notified verbally and in writing. Violation of a patient’s confidentiality HIPAA may result in removal from a course or from the program. 

  • Criminal Background Checks

    Clinical agencies are requiring all students to have a criminal background check (CBC). This CBC must be submitted at the time of admission to the upper division of the nursing program. The federal and state CBC policy for USC Upstate Mary Black College of Nursing has been developed based on DHEC procedures for Conducting State and Federal Criminal Background Checks for Direct Caregivers. If a student has been found guilty or has pleaded no contest to substance abuse, child or adult abuse, sexual assault, assault with a deadly weapon, neglect or mistreatment of residents/patients/clients or misappropriation of residents/patients/clients property, the facility cannot permit that student to work as a direct caregiver. The student assumes the cost of these requirements. *In some circumstances, a subsequent background check may be required by certain clinical sites.

    Student Arrest Policy

    Students must accurately report an arrest (on-campus or off-campus) by any law enforcement agency for any crime (including non-custodial or field arrests) to the Dean of the College of Nursing and the Dean of Students Office within seventy-two (72) hours of release. This includes during weekends, holidays, and school breaks. Failure to do so may result in dismissal from the Nursing program.

  • I.  Required Adherence to University’s Drug-Free Campus and Work Place Policy

    The University is committed to maintain a drug-free workplace and academic environment; therefore, the use of illegal drugs by members of the School of Nursing community will not be tolerated. Accordingly, the University has adopted a Drug-Free Campus Policy that requires students attending or participating in University-sponsored activities to do so free from the presence of illegal drugs. All Mary Black College of Nursing students must become familiar with and comply with this university-wide policy, such as student nursing activities at affiliating clinical agencies. In addition, all students are subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws addressing illegal drug and alcohol use, which are briefly described in the above-mentioned policy, as well as in the University’s Student Code of Conduct. The Mary Black College of Nursing Substance Abuse Policy and Drug/Alcohol Testing Policy, as described below, is intended to complement the University’s Policy.

    II. Purpose of Substance Abuse and Drug/Alcohol Testing Policy

    For obvious health and safety concerns, nurses must conduct health care and educational activities fully in control of their manual dexterity and skills, mental faculties, and judgment. The presence or use of drugs or alcohol, lawful or otherwise, which interferes with the judgment or motor coordination of nursing students in a health care setting poses an unacceptable risk for patients, colleagues, the University, and affiliating clinical agencies. Preventing and/or detecting substance abuse, as defined below, is particularly critical in the Mary Black College of Nursing’s Upper Division of the BSN program where students spend a considerable amount of time learning patient care in a variety of clinical settings. The College of Nursing recognizes its responsibility to endeavor to provide a safe, efficient academic environment for students and to cooperate with clinical agencies in providing for the safe and effective care of their patients during nursing students’ clinical experiences in their facilities. Therefore, the following policy has been adopted to:

    1. Prescribe substance abuse and/or activities or behaviors that: a) are prohibited by the University’s Drug-Free Campus Policy, or b) which may subject the involved student, other individuals, and the University to legal penalties or consequences, or c) which may cause a deterioration of the atmosphere and circumstances under which the care of patients and the nursing educational programs are conducted;
    2. Identify students in the upper division of the BSN program who may have a drug or alcohol-related impairment or conviction that may impact their ability to learn safe nursing care practices or that may create unacceptable risks for the University or clinical agencies in which students have clinical experiences;
    3. Cooperate with affiliating clinical agencies by requiring nursing students reporting to such agencies to consent voluntarily to allow those agencies to drug test the student in accordance with their policies, and to disclose any drug testing results to appropriate Mary Black College of Nursing officials.

    III. Definitions of Terms Used in Policy

    Drug testing means the scientific analysis of urine, blood, breath, saliva, hair, tissue, and other specimens of the human body for the purpose of detecting a drug or alcohol.

    Illegal drug means any drug which is not legally obtainable; any drug which is legally obtainable but has not been legally obtained; any prescribed drug not legally obtained; any prescribed drug not being used for the prescribed purpose or by the person for whom it was prescribed; any over-the-counter drug being used at a dosage level other than that recommended by the manufacturer, or being used for a purpose other than the purpose intended by the manufacturer; and any drug being used for a purpose or by a person not in accordance with bona fide medical therapy. Examples of illegal drugs include, but are not limited to, stimulants, depressants, narcotic or hallucinogenic drugs, cannabis substances, such as marijuana and hashish, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, phencyclidine (PCP), and so-called designer drugs and look-alike drugs.

    Impaired means that a person’s mental or physical capabilities are reduced below their normal levels (with or without any reasonable accommodation for a disability). An impaired student manifests deterioration in the level of function as compared to that previously observed, or the student does not function at a level normally expected under the prevailing circumstances. Impairment may exist in one or more multiple domains, including psychomotor activity and skills, conceptual or factual recall, integrative or synthetic thought processes, judgment, attentiveness, demeanor and attitudes as manifested in speech or actions. Impairment will include addiction to and / or physical dependence upon chemical substances.

    Nursing student means any individual formally enrolled in the Mary Black College of Nursing in pursuit of the BSN degree, including registered nurses (RN) and students taking courses via distance education, special students, either alone or in combination with any other degree, regardless of the specific location of the student.

    Substance abuse means the manufacture, use, sale, purchase, distribution, transfer, or possession of an illegal drug by any nursing student while on University or affiliated clinical site premises or while participating in any University or affiliated clinical site- sponsored or related activity, including any nursing-related course or clinical training activity.

    IV. Policy Requirements

    Drug and Alcohol Prescriptions and Duty to Notify of Drug/Alcohol Convictions

    1. Substance abuse as defined in this policy, or a violation of any term of the University of South Carolina Upstate Campus policy while engaged in any clinical experience is strictly prohibited. All students enrolled in the Mary Black College of Nursing courses or programs are required to abide by these rules when reporting to nursing-related courses and clinical experiences and while at affiliating clinical agencies (including parking lots and grounds). Nursing students who violate these rules will be deemed to be unable to meet the essential qualifications/functions of the nursing curriculum.
    2. Under no circumstance should nursing students participate in nursing-related courses or clinical activities while they are impaired.
    3. Nursing students determined by appropriate Mary Black College of Nursing officials to have violated these prescriptions may be dismissed from the College of Nursing.
    4. A violation by any nursing student of any state or federal statute, or regulation established pursuant to such statute, pertaining to the manufacture, improper possession, sale, use, or distribution of a drug or alcohol is strictly prohibited. Such violation, if substantiated, will result in the student’s dismissal from the Mary Black College of Nursing. A nursing student who fails to notify the Dean of the Mary Black College of Nursing within five days of an administrative action or legal conviction for any such violation will be subject to dismissal from the Mary Black College of Nursing.

    Required Disclosure of Drug Use/Non-Use for Students in the Upper Division of the BSN Program

    1. Students in the Upper Division of the BSN program will be required to provide (among all other items of information) a signed statement that he or she does or does not engage in substance abuse activities as defined herein. Further, he or she must indicate any legal convictions pertaining to the manufacture, use, possession, sale or other distribution of illegal or legally controlled substances; pertaining to or related to the abuse of alcohol or any other chemical substance; and the consequences of any such conviction(s).
    2. Whenever a nursing student’s academic or clinical performance is impaired, particularly in the clinical setting, the University reserves the right to require the student to submit to drug testing.
    3. Failure to provide the above required information, past legal convictions for activities related to illegal or legally controlled substances, and/or information or evidence that reasonably establishes a past pattern of chemical substance abuse will be grounds for dismissal from the program. However, prior convictions related to chemical substances will be considered along with all other information pertaining to the individual, and will not produce automatic dismissal from the program. Discovery that false or fraudulent or misleading information was provided prior to matriculation will be grounds for dismissal from the program.

    Student’s Agreement to Submit to Drug Testing by Affiliating Clinical Agencies and to Consent to Release of Test Results to College Officials

    1. For all affiliating clinical agencies which require nursing students to be subject to the agency’s drug/alcohol testing policies (including but not limited to pre-employment or pre-clinical placement testing or when there is reasonable suspicion to believe that a student may be impaired or is or has been engaged in substance abuse as defined herein), the student may be tested in accordance with the affiliating agency’s policies.
    2. Prior to being assigned to an affiliating clinical agency and as a pre-requisite for placement at any affiliating clinical agency, the nursing student shall sign a consent: a) to abide by the drug/alcohol policies and drug testing policies of each affiliating clinical agency in which a student is assigned; b) to submit to any drug/alcohol testing required by the affiliating clinical agency; and c) to release a copy of any and all drug/alcohol test results to the Mary Black College of Nursing Dean and/or other appropriate College of Nursing officials. Failure to sign such a consent shall be grounds for non-placement at an affiliating clinical agency and may result in a dismissal from the program.
    3. The cost of all drug/alcohol testing required by affiliating clinical agencies shall be borne by the student or affiliating clinical agency, as determined by the affiliating clinical agency. Neither the University nor the Mary Black College of Nursing, or any of its officers or employees, shall absorb drug/alcohol testing costs arising out of any nursing student’s placement at an affiliating clinical agency.
    4. A positive substance abuse test shall result in delayed progression in the program on the basis that the student is not able to meet the course objectives for classroom and/or clinical experiences. In addition, the student will be reported to the Dean of Students in accord with University policy. The Dean of the Mary Black College of Nursing will notify a student who has a positive drug test. If a student tests positive for a prescribed drug, however, the person must obtain a written statement from a qualified physician stating that the drug level is within prescribed limits and that the level does not indicate abuse. The physician must indicate that the drug will not interfere with safe practice in the clinical area.
    5. A student’s failure to submit to a required drug screen, or attempting to tamper with, contaminate, or switch a sample will result in the student not being allowed to meet objectives for the course; therefore, progression in the program will not be permitted.

    The Drug Testing Procedure set forth below will be followed:

    1. Drug tests will be arranged by the Mary Black College of Nursing in accordance with clinical agency requirements.
    2. Tests will be conducted by a qualified laboratory in accordance with established methods and procedures. Confidentiality of the student as well as the validity of the sample will be protected by the testing facility. The procedure for collection as determined by the collection site will involve a witness to the voiding of the urine sample, securable urine containers, and chain of custody procedures that ensure that the samples identified to a nursing student actually contain materials from that student, that the samples are protected from tampering, and that the analysis of them is done in accordance with reasonable and accepted medical standards.
    3. The test shall screen for the use of drugs whose use is either illegal, or which are prone to abuse, as determined at the discretion of the Medical Review Officer of the testing facility, or for the use of any drugs which are reasonably suspected of being abused or used by the student.
    4. Presumed positives will be confirmed by the best currently available techniques. If the test is positive, the entirety of the available evidence, including health history, will be used to determine the presence or absence of substance abuse. Positive test results shall be documented in the student’s nursing records in the Mary Black College of Nursing.
    5. The Dean of the Mary Black College of Nursing will be notified of all test results.  
    6. If the initial screening test is negative, that fact will be noted in the student’s record. Unless there is compelling evidence to do otherwise, the preliminary investigation will cease and the student will be released from further action.  A nursing student will be dismissed from the Mary Black College of Nursing if the student refuses to submit to drug testing based upon reasonable suspicion.
    7. Licensed nursing students who refuse to submit to drug/alcohol testing or who have positive drug test results will also be reported to the appropriate state board of nursing. Full reinstatement of licensure will be required for an unrestricted return to the educational program.

    Student Self Disclosure of Prohibited Substance Use

    A student who self-identifies use of a prohibited substance and is requesting help to deal with the problem should contact the Dean of the Mary Black College of Nursing. The Dean will institute the drug testing procedure as described in this policy. The cost of all drug/alcohol testing required by the Mary Black College of Nursing shall be borne by the student. Neither the University of South Carolina Upstate or the Mary Black College of Nursing, or any of its officers or employees, shall absorb drug/alcohol testing cost arising out of any nursing student’s placement at an affiliating clinical agency.
    A student who has a positive test for prohibited substances will be denied progression in any program of the Mary Black College of Nursing. The student’s name and test results will be sent to the Dean of Students at USC Upstate. The student will comply with all subsequent University policies and procedures (see Student Handbook). The student may re-enter the nursing program after 6 months, if subsequent drug testing is negative. The returning student will be subject to random drug screening in compliance with the University policy.


    All drug testing results will be treated by the Mary Black College of Nursing as information that is received in confidence and shall not be disclosed to third parties unless disclosure is required by law, the information is needed by appropriate school officials to perform their job functions, disclosure is needed to override public health and safety concerns, or the student has consented in writing to the release of the information. The school and the University shall have the right to use and disclose the results of drug testing required by this policy in connection with internal academic purposes and in connection with the defense of any student grievance and any claims filed by a student, or by his/her personal representative, in any court of law or with any state or federal administrative agency.

    V.  Procedures for Readmission after Positive Drug Test

    Readmission Prerequisites

    A student who is denied progression in the Mary Black College of Nursing due to a positive drug test will be considered for readmission if the following conditions are met:

    1. Submission of a verifiable letter from the Counseling Services of USC Upstate or from a recognized drug treatment agency stating that the student has successfully completed a substance abuse program.
    2. Submission to a drug test prior to readmission. This drug test will be at the student’s expense. A positive drug test will result in ineligibility for readmission.
    3. Submission to drug tests as requested by the Mary Black College of Nursing or clinical agencies after readmission, in accord with the policies of the University.

    Incidence of Re-occurrence after Readmission

    A student who is readmitted to the nursing program and thereafter tests positive for any drug/alcohol test or is otherwise determined to have engaged in substance abuse as defined herein will be permanently dismissed from the program and will be ineligible to return. Furthermore, the student will be ineligible to receive a letter of good standing from the nursing program.

    Appeal Process

    A nursing student may appeal the School decision to dismiss or not readmit a student through the established Grievance Procedure.

  • Mary Black College of Nursing has chosen ATI Competency Specialty Examinations as the standard measurement testing for its BSN program. ATI is a nationally recognized leader in testing of students to indicate not only learned content, but also mastery in subject matter.

    Standardized testing assists students by determining strengths and weaknesses in content and application in each course. This allows a student to focus on their individual learning needs in each content area.

    Varying courses will have ATI competency examinations as part of the grading and progression in the course. Students in these courses should check their Course Syllabus for information about testing and grading for the course. If you have any questions, please direct those to your course faculty.

  • All individuals are responsible for the content they post or promote on social media. Content contributed on these platforms is immediately searchable and shareable, regardless of whether that is the intention of the contributor. Once posted online, the content leaves the contributing individual’s control and may be traced back to the individual.

    Social media are defined as, but not limited to, web-based or mobile technologies used for interactive communication. Examples of social media include, but are not limited to, collaborative projects (e.g., Wikipedia), blogs and microblogs (e.g., Twitter), content communities (e.g., YouTube), social networking sites (e.g., Facebook), virtual game worlds (e.g., World of Warcraft), virtual social worlds (e.g., Second Life), and electronic messaging (e.g., iMessage, SMS, MMS, Facebook Messenger).

    Nursing students must maintain the privacy and confidentiality of all clients at all times. Improper use of social media may violate state and federal laws, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). In addition to client privacy, nursing students are expected to uphold professional behaviors within the context of personal social media use. Students in violation of this policy will be considered as having violated the USC Upstate Code of Student Behavior. Inappropriate uses of electronic and social media may also be reported to the Board of Nursing, resulting in possible disciplinary action for unprofessional or unethical conduct, breach of confidentiality, or other infractions.

    Participation in any of the following behavior is prohibited:

    •  Sharing, posting, or otherwise disseminating any protected health information about a client (as defined by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), including images, or information gained in the nurse-client relationship with anyone unless there is a client care related need to disclose the information or other legal obligation to do so.
    •  Identification of clients by name, or posting/publishing of information that may lead to the identification of a client (i.e. protected health information). Limiting access to postings through privacy settings is not sufficient to ensure privacy.
    • Taking and transmitting any information that may be reasonably anticipated to violate client rights to confidentiality or privacy, or otherwise degrade or embarrass the client.
    • Transmitting a client-related image by way of any electronic medium.
    • Referring to clients in a disparaging manner, even if the client is not identified.
    • Taking photos or videos of clients on personal devices, including cell phones. Photographs or videos taken on devices provided by a healthcare facility for the purpose of treatment or other legitimate purposes must follow facility policies.
    •  Having online social contact with clients or former clients. Students must consistently maintain professional boundaries in the use of electronic media, and online contact with clients or former clients blurs the distinction between a professional and personal relationship. Client initiation of contact with the student does not permit the student to engage in a personal relationship with the client.
    • Failure to promptly report any identified breach of confidentiality or privacy.
    • Making disparaging remarks related to the university, faculty, staff, students, clinical site, or clinical staff.
    • Sharing, posting, or otherwise disseminating any content that is threatening, harassing, profane, or obscene, including any discriminatory comments, media or materials concerning race, age, gender, or sexual orientation is prohibited.
    • Posting content or otherwise speaking on behalf of the university (unless authorized to do so and following all applicable policies of the university; refer to USC Upstate Social Media Policy and Procedure Guidelines).

    Related References

  • Clinical Absence Policy

    Excused Absences

    An excused clinical absence is defined as an absence due to required university sponsored events, court ordered appearances, military duties, and extreme extenuating circumstances.  Documentation is expected for these events, and the student must work with their faculty member to make up the clinical hours missed.

    Unexcused Absences

    Any absence other than required university sponsored events, court ordered appearances, and extreme extenuating circumstances is deemed an unexcused clinical absence. The student will be required to complete an alternate assignment, as designated by the clinical coordinator, to ensure course objectives have been met. However, the unexcused absence remains unchanged. The student will earn an “unsatisfactory” for the clinical course if greater than 10% of the clinical time is missed. Any unexcused absence on the last clinical meeting will result in a clinical failure.

    Clinical Tardy Policy

    Students in clinical will be deemed tardy if they are greater than or equal to 1 minute late for clinical. Time specified by either Self Service Carolina or the faculty member is the time that students are expected to be at the stated clinical location. Any tardiness beyond 31 minutes is deemed an absence, and the student will be sent home from clinical. Each tardy day will automatically result in an Unsatisfactory for the clinical day and a Clinical Remediation Form with Remediation Plan.

    Students must notify the faculty member immediately if the student will be tardy.

  • Exam and Testing Policy

    Missed Exams

    Attendance for all course examinations are mandatory. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the faculty member before the exam date regarding any absence on exam days. Only excused absences for exams will be considered for make-up to earn maximum points. An excused absence is defined as an absence due to required university sponsored events, court ordered appearances, military duties, and extreme extenuating circumstances. Documentation must be provided to faculty to determine if the absence meets the excused criteria before a make-up exam can be scheduled. The student must work collaboratively with their faculty to make up the excused exam within 48 hours of returning to campus. If acceptable documentation is not provided the absence will be considered unexcused. Any other absence is considered unexcused. Additional examples of unexcused absences include; work, oversleeping, vacations, family events, poor planning, etc. An unexcused make-up examination is only allowed once within a course. The student must complete the unexcused make-up examination on the assigned date/time specified by faculty (no exceptions) and will receive an automatic deduction of 20 points. Typically, the make-up examination is within 48 hours if no other class conflict exists. If an unexcused make-up exam is not completed on the make-up date/time specified a grade of “0” will be assigned. Students are not allowed more than one excused make-up exam without documented approval from the Associate Dean.

    Late Arrival to Exams

    Students who arrive late to an exam, within 15 minutes of start time may enter the testing center at the discretion of the faculty. The student forfeits the time missed and must complete the exam in the remaining time allotted for the entire class. Students who arrive beyond 15 minutes late are held to the missed exam policy.

    During the Exam

    Students may not leave exams in progress for any reason except in extreme extenuating circumstances and a proctor must be available to accompany the student (i.e. illness). If the student is unable to complete the exam the student is held to the missed exam policy.

    Contingency Testing Plan

    All exams will be given as assigned on the course calendar. If extreme circumstances occur that limit the ability to test (example: server outage, inclement weather, etc.), the faculty will coordinate the exam make up and notify the students. Students should anticipate a timely make up, within 48 hours of the originally scheduled exam or when the circumstances are resolved. Faculty reserve the right to offer a paper formatted exam, in lieu of a computerized exam, if technology issues persist.

  • Mary Black College of Nursing Clinical Remediation Policy

    The Mary Black College of Nursing (MBCON) Clinical Remediation Form is a formal action by the School of Nursing to provide notice that a concern over student actions or knowledge level is in disagreement with an expected competency, the MBCON Nursing Student Handbook, the USC Upstate Student Handbook, the USC Upstate Code of Student Behavior, and/or the Code of Ethics for Nurses. 

    The form serves as a notice to the student that if the actions continue, an unsatisfactory will be earned in clinical.  The Clinical Remediation Form must be completed and the student will meet with the faculty member to review the discrepancy and devise a remediation contract. The Clinical Remediation Form and a copy of the remediation contract will be placed in the student’s record, sent electronically to the student, and forwarded to the Associate Dean.  The receipt of three Clinical Remediation Forms during a course or failure to complete the remediation plan will result in an “unsatisfactory” grade for the clinical course and failure of the corresponding didactic course.

    Students whose behavior is judged to be unsafe, inappropriate and/or detrimental to patients, hospital staff or other students, including any violation of patient confidentiality (HIPAA) will be released from the program and required to withdraw from all courses within the College of Nursing. The Unsafe/Safe Practice Policy in the Mary Black College of Nursing Student Handbook defines Unsafe Practice and Grievous Behavior.

Program Information

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  •  Freshman Year                 
     Fall   Spring  
     English 101 3 English 102 3
     BIOL 243/L 4 BIOL 244/L 4
     Mathematics 120 or higher 3 History 101, 102, 105, or 106 3
     Computer Science 138 3 Psychology 101 3
     Elective 3 Elective 3
     Semester total 16 Semester total 16
     Sophomore Year      
     Fall   Spring  
     CHEM 109/L 4 BIOL 250/L 4
     Psychology 302 3 Foreign Language 101 3
     Speech 201/R 3 Statistics 3
     Fine Arts 3 Nutrition 3
     Pathophysiology 3 Semester total 13
      Semester total 16    
     Junior Year      
     First Semester   Second Semester  
     NURS 306 Intro to Professional Nursing 4 NURS 330 Health Alterations I 6
     NURS 310 Health Assessment 3 NURS 330P Health Alt. I Practicum 0
     NURS 310P Health Assessment Lab 0 NURS 325 Evidence-Based Practice 3
     NURS 320 Foundations of Nursing 6 NURS 351 Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing 6
     NURS 320P Foundations Practicum 3 NURS 351P Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Practicum 0
     NURS 375 Pharmacology 0    
     Semester total 16 Semester total 15
     Senior Year      
     First Semester   Second Semester  
     NURS 410 Health Alterations II  6 NURS 450 Health Alterations III 5
     NURS 410P Health Alt. II Practicum  0 NURS 450P Health Alt III Practicum 0
     NURS 440 Nursing of Childbearing Families & Women’s Health  5 NURS 461 Community & Public Health 6
     NURS 440P Nursing of Childbearing Families & Women’s Health Practicum  0 NURS 461P Com. & Pub. Health Practicum 0
     NURS 445 Child Health Nursing  5 NURS 480 Nursing Content Mastery 1
     NURS 445P Child Health Nursing Practicum  0 NURS 499 Leadership in Professional Nursing Practice 3
         NURS 499P Leadership in Professional Nursing Practice Practicum 3
     Semester total 16 Semester total 18
         Total Hours Required 126
  • Junior Year Nursing Courses
    First Semester   Second Semester   
    NURS 306 Intro to Prof Nursing 3     NURS 320 Foundations of Nursing 6 
    NURS 310 Health Assessment 3 NURS 320P Foundations of Nursing Pracitcum 0 
    Semester total 6 NURS 375 Pharmacology 3 
        Semester total 9 
    Third Semester   Fourth Semester   
    NURS 330 Health Alterations I 6 NURS 325 Evidence-Based Practice 3 
    NURS 330P Health Alt. I Practicum 0 NURS 351 Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing 6 
    Semester total 6 NURS 351P Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Practicum 0 
        Semester total 9 
    Senior Year Nursing Courses
    Fifth Semester   Sixth Semester   
    NURS 410 Health Alterations II 6 NURS 440 Nursing of Childbearing Families & Women’s Health 5 
    NURS 410P Health Alt. II Practicum 0 NURS 440P Nursing of Childbearing Families & Women’s Health Practium 0 
        NURS 445 Child Health Nursing 5 
        NURS 445P Child Health Nursing Practicum 0 
    Semester total 6 Semester total 10 
    Seventh Semester   Eighth Semester   
    NURS 450 Health Alterations III 5 NURS 480 Nursing Content Mastery 1 
    NURS 450P Health Alt. III Practicum 0 NURS 499 Leadership in Professional Nursing Practice 3 
    NURS 461 Community & Public Health Nursing 6 NURS 499P Leadership In Professional Nursing Practice Practicum 3(+124 clock hours)
    NURS 461P Com. & Pub. Health Practicum 0     
    Semester Total 11 Semester total 7 
  • Prerequisite Credit: 
    General Education Support Courses, Electives61
    Advanced Placement Credit for ADN Courses33
    Nursing Courses 
    NURS 311 Health Assessment3
    NURS 350 Professional Nursing Role Transition3
    NURS 420 Current Topics in Nursing – A3
    NURS 420 Current Topics in Nursing – B3
    NURS 426 Evidence-Based Practice3
    NURS 427 Digital and Informatics Literacy3
    NURS 428 Quality and Patient Safety3
    NURS 431 Leadership in Nursing Practice3
    NURS 462 Community & Public Health Nursing6
    NURS 462P Comm & Public Health Practicum0
    NURS 498 Professional Nursing Issues2
    Total Hours Required126
  • USC UPSTATE Student Nurses Association
    The Student Nurses Association (SNA) is a local chapter of the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA). The NSNA is the only national organization for nursing students and the largest independent student organization in the United States. Membership to the SNA and NSNA is open to all students in programs leading to initial licensure as a registered nurse. There are national, state and local dues. 

    Sigma Theta Tau
    The Mu Rho Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society in Nursing, was established in March 8, 1992. The purposes of the organization are to recognize the achievement of scholarship of superior quality, to recognize the development of leadership qualities, to foster high professional standards, to encourage and support research and other creative work in nursing, and to strengthen commitment on the part of individuals to the ideas and purposes of the profession of nursing.  

    CON Committee Responsibilities/Class Representatives

    Students may be selected to serve as the class representatives for the academic school year. The specific number of students required is based on the membership composition for each committee. Students serve on the following CON committees: Student Affairs, Assessment Committee, and Curriculum Committee.

  • Honors Scholars

    The College of Nursing faculty recognize Honors Scholars based on grade point average (minimum 3.5 GPA cumulative), senior standing in the major and general academic excellence. Honor cords are provided by the College of Nursing for students who are graduating with a 3.5 GPA or higher.

    Core Value Awards

    The College of Nursing faculty recognizes four graduating seniors based on our Core Values (Caring, Integrity, Civility, and Innovation) at our Senior Nursing Awards and Pinning Ceremony in May and December. One additional award, the Dean’s Award will also be presented.

    • Caring – The process of knowing and supporting the well-being of students, faculty, staff and future patients by investing in quality and authentic relationships.
    • Integrity – The demonstration of honesty, ethical behavior, moral accountability, and professionalism to promote a culture of mutual respect and trust in a learning environment.
    • Civility – The selection of positive behaviors and characteristics that promote respect, influence communication, interpersonal relationships, learning, and patient outcomes.
    • Innovation – The leveraging of curiosity, creativity, and science to investigate, design, and implement new evidence-based nursing practices to improve nursing education, patient outcomes, and community health.
    • Dean’s Award – The student receiving the Dean’s Award will exemplify outstanding academic and professional achievement. This student will:
      • Be a senior student anticipating completion of degree requirements
      • Have outstanding overall academic and clinical achievement
      • Exhibit leadership in pre-professional (e.g., leadership in the Student Nurses Association; service on faculty or University committees; community activities) or professional activities (in the case of RN students, South Carolina Nurses Association or other nursing specialty activities; nursing service to the community).
      • The Dean will select this student with input from the faculty.
      • Student who earns the highest GPA. In the case of more than one student with the highest academic performance as indicated by the overall grade point average, additional factors considered in selecting the recipient are: the grade point average for courses taken at USC Upstate, the grade point average for courses within the nursing major, outside activities, and time for degree completion.
  • Standardized Testing (Four Year Students)

    Students will be required to take national standardized tests throughout the program. Specific information will be located in the appropriate class syllabi.

    Mary Black College of nursing Dosage Competency Guidelines

    The following guidelines provide information to MBCON students on their Dosage Competency exam. MBCON dosage competency exams are required by all students each semester except first semester juniors who will demonstrate drug computation competency throughout the semester. First semester junior students will demonstrate dosage competency per the course syllabus. Competency differs by semester and is defined by the score on the exam. Competency is defined as:

    • Second semester juniors – 90%.
    • First semester seniors – 95%.
    • Second semester seniors – 100%.

    A practice exam is required for all students prior to the proctored dosage competency exam. The practice exam is administered remotely and can be attempted multiple times to achieve the minimum level score. Students must achieve the level of competency required for their respective semester on the practice examination (as stated above) before the specified deadline. If students fail to meet this requirement, they forfeit their first attempt at the dosage competency exam. Students who forfeited their first attempt, will be required to complete the practice exam before their second attempt, or they forfeit their second attempt. Students who forfeit their second attempt, will be required to complete the practice examination before their third and final attempt or that attempt is also forfeited.

    The dosage competency exams are separate from individual course requirements and will be administered separately from course exams. The exam is timed, with a maximum time of one hour. The calculator on the testing screen is required to be used when administered electronically. MBCON reserves the right to administer the exam via paper, via a computer, or a combination of the two. Students may take the competency exam three times in order to receive a passing grade based on the level of competency for the semester enrolled, but each exam will be different. Successful dosage competency requirement must be met before the student can attend any clinical.

    The student’s performance on the competency exam will be recorded in their file with a grade of “pass” or “fail.” A passing score indicates competency in dosage calculations. Competency exams may be administered outside of class times or within campus orientation times.

  • Projected Expenses for Nursing Students
    The following are projected expenses: prices subject to change
    Classroom materials, books, room, board        Varies
    Uniforms & USC Upstate EmblemsVaries
    Standardized TestingVaries, ~$290-$425/semester
    Annual OSHA/HIPAA TrainingUp to $10.00
    Regalia Cap/Gown/Tassel~$50.00
    School Pin~$60.00-$180.00
    Graduation Invitations (optional)~$40.00
    NCLEX Examination & Licensure Fee~$350.00
  • Confidentiality

    Students will be providing nursing care to clients in health care agencies and in their homes in the community. Because the law protects client information, students are to maintain the confidentiality of all clients. For some clinical agencies students will be asked to sign agency specific confidentiality forms. At no time are students to photocopy any part of the client’s chart or remove components of the chart. No client identification information can be written down in connection with the data that students may obtain in order to provide necessary and safe care. If additional material regarding a client is necessary for a report/paper and the chart is in medical records, the student may obtain access to medical records by completing the proper form. A breach in patient confidentiality may result in failure of the course and dismissal from the program.

    Clinical Requirements

    Students must complete clinical requirements by the deadline designated in CastleBranch. Failure to provide documentation prohibits participation in NURS courses. Students are responsible for keeping all health and clinical requirements up to date through the end of the semester. Failure to correctly submit all requirements prior to the first day of class may result in a non-excused clinical absence. Failure to complete requirements by designated deadline could impact continued enrollment.

    *In come circumstances, the purchase of additional clinical compliance programs may be necessary, depending upon specific clinical site requirements.

    All students at University of South Carolina Upstate MBCON in either direct or indirect 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.

    CPR Certification

    Before beginning clinical in a health care agency, every student is required to have current CPR certification. The certification must be current the entire time that the student is enrolled in the nursing program. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation classes must be the Healthcare BLS through the American Heart Association.

    Equipment For Clinical

    Students are required to have the following items as a nursing student: Stethoscope (with bell and diaphragm), name tag, nursing scissors, penlight, black ink pen, calculator & wrist watch with a second hand or digital watch with a stopwatch.

    Health Insurance

    Personal health insurance is required and is available through USC Upstate’s Student Services or through SNA as well as private carriers. Students are covered by the University’s Workman’s Compensation policy while they are performing activities associated with clinical practicum. In the event of an injury, students would complete the Worker’s Compensation documentation.

    Liability Insurance

    Students are covered for clinical practicum by the University; however, it is strongly recommended that registered nurse students carry their own liability and malpractice insurance.

    Hepatitis B Vaccine, TST, Tdap, Varicella, MMR, Flu Vaccine

    Immunizations & Requirements

    Hepatitis B VaccineStrongly encouraged for students to receive three doses of this vaccineA titer may be provided to prove immunity
    TST (Tuberculosis Skin Test)Complete a two-step or QuantiFERON Gold on  acceptance to the nursing programAnnual TST thereafterIf the annual TST is overdue, the student must complete a two-step TST

    **In addition to initial TB testing and annual renewals, additional testing may be required depending on specific clinical site requirements.
    VaricellaAll clinical students must provide evidence of immunity to varicella (chickenpox) by providing documentation of the varicella vaccine series.  Immunization is a series of two doses.  A titer may also be provided to prove immunity.
    MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)Completed two doses documented since 12 months of age.  A titer may also be provided to prove immunity.
    TdapCompleted within the last 10 years.
    Flu vaccineAnnual documentationFall terms:  Due by September 30thStudents admitted in spring:  will vary each spring

    Immunizations & Requirements

    CPR (American Heart Association)Must be current the entire time student is in the nursing program and cannot expire within a current semester
    OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)Annual documentation required
    HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)Annual documentation required
    Site Specific RequirementsEach clinical site may have clinical requirements or modules that must be completed by students entering the specific facility.  These requirements, the instructions on how to complete them, and the due date are determined by the clinical site and/or clinical coordinator.

    NOTE: Please contact Health Services regarding pricing and to schedule an appointment.  

    Clinical Agency Requirements

    In order to document care using computerized systems in some health care facilities, student social security numbers are released to an authorized individual.

    All students must meet all annual agency OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and HIPAA requirements. These include patient confidentiality, fire, safety, hazardous materials, and infections. A completed health form from the clinical agency may also be required. Some clinical agencies will require students to complete an agency-specific HIPAA and/or OSHA tests as well. Additionally, students must submit data for a Criminal Records Background check at the time of admission and submit to a urine drug screen. The costs for these tests are born by the student.

    Physical Assessment

    Students are required to submit a physical assessment once they are admitted to the program. This documentation is due by the date specified during orientation. The exam is available from the USC UPSTATE Health Services.  Some clinical agencies require students to pass a urine/blood drug screen before participating in a practicum in their agency. The student may be expected to assume the cost of the urine/blood drug screen.

    Clinical Placements

    Students may be assigned to clinical or senior practicum experiences within a 75 mile radius from campus and on days, evenings, nights, or weekends.  The Mary Black College of Nursing reserves the right to make administrative changes to clinical placements as necessary.  Students are expected to provide their own transportation for all clinical or senior practicum experiences and to carry their own vehicle collision and/or bodily injury liability insurance.

    Nursing Fee

    In 2006, the Board of Trustees approved the establishment of a nursing fee. The fee is applicable to all courses with a nursing prefix. The fee will be assessed at $40.00 per nursing credit hour.

Graduation and Licensure Exam

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  • Students graduating are to submit their application for graduation online through Self Service Carolina by posted deadlines from the Registrar’s office. Prior to submitting the form students are responsible for making an appointment with their advisor to review their course listings on the official transcript. The advisor will verify if all required courses have been taken. Grades for all transfer work must appear on the official transcript. Students are responsible for seeing that all transfer work appears on their official transcript.

    Approximate costs for academic regalia, nursing pin & invitations are found under expenses for nursing.

    Information regarding the University Graduation Ceremony can be found the Student Intranet.  

    Academic honors are determined by the University registrar in compliance with criteria as stated in the academic catalog. Academic Honors are based on the student’s academic record at the conclusion of the preceding semester.

  • Upon successful completion of the baccalaureate nursing program, graduates will be eligible to apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) for licensure as a registered nurse.

    Each licensure applicant shall furnish to the State Board of Nursing for South Carolina (SCBON) satisfactory evidence of the following:

    • Attainment of eighteenth birthday.
    • Completion of at least four years of work in a high school accredited by the State Board of Education in the state in which the school is located, or completion of the equivalent of such work.
    • Completion of a course of study in an approved nursing education program.
    • Satisfaction of other preliminary qualification requirements as the SCBON may prescribe.

    Any person seeking licensure, who has been convicted of a crime, excluding minor traffic violations, must submit application to the SCBON 90 days prior to the completion of the nursing program. The SCBON may deny licensure based on conduct or other misconduct.

    Applicants for licensure who, while enrolled in the nursing program, have had non-academic counseling or had disciplinary action taken against them because of problems with alcohol, drugs, mental or physical impairment must report the counseling or disciplinary action to the Board of Nursing for South Carolina.

    Costs for licensure are found under expenses for nursing students.

    Students applying for licensure in a state other than South Carolina are responsible for obtaining the necessary forms and requirements from that state. Information for licensure throughout the United States can be obtained at the National Council of State Boards of Nursing

  • Progression through the BSN curriculum does not guarantee eligibility to write the NCLEX-RN. If you have ever been convicted of a crime (excluding minor traffic violations) that involved paying a fine, forfeiting a bond, a suspended sentence, or receiving a pardon, you must notify the State Board of Nursing. Failure to report a past conviction is grounds for disciplinary action.  NCLEX-RN applicants who have past criminal convictions must undergo Disciplinary Review by the State Board of Nursing for South Carolina prior to taking the NCLEX-RN: If the circumstances of a conviction apply to you, contact the State Board of Nursing for current policies and procedures applicable to your situation.

Simulation Center

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  • The Simulation Center for Teaching Excellence helps nursing students in the Mary Black College of Nursing at USC Upstate to meet the goals and objectives toward earning the Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees. Through the use of state-of-the-art technology, the Simulation Center utilizes clinical case scenarios and faculty guidance to facilitate critical reasoning and decision making in nursing practice. These resources help to create an innovative learning environment that enriches the educational experience for students, faculty, and practicing nurses in the community.

    Simulation Center for Teaching Excellence Policy and Procedure Manual

Standards and Guidelines

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  • The curriculum of College of Nursing reflects professional nursing standards and guidelines. The curriculum incorporates knowledge and skills of both the standards of the American Nurses Association (Scope and Standards of Practice, 2010) and the Essentials of Baccalaureate Education in Professional Nursing, AACN 2008

  • Standards of Practice

    The Standards of Practice describe a competent level of nursing care as demonstrated by the critical thinking model known as the nursing process. The nursing process includes the components of assessment, diagnosis, outcomes identification, planning, implementation, and evaluation. Accordingly, the nursing process encompasses significant actions taken by registered nurses and forms the foundation of the nurse’s decision-making. 

    • Standard 1. Assessment:  The registered nurse collects comprehensive data pertinent to the health care consumer’s health and/or situation. 
    • Standard 2. Diagnosis:  The registered nurse analyzes the assessment data to determine the diagnoses or the issues. 
    • Standard 3. Outcomes Identification:  The registered nurse identifies expected outcomes for a plan individualized to the health care consumer or the situation. 
    • Standard 4. Planning:  The registered nurse develops a plan that prescribes strategies and alternatives to attain expected outcomes. 
    • Standard 5. Implementation:  The registered nurse implements the identified plan.
      • Standard 5A: Coordination of Care:  The registered nurse coordinates care delivery. 
      • Standard 5B: Health Teaching and Health Promotion:  The registered nurse employs strategies to promote health and a safe environment. 
      • Standard 5C: Consultation:  The graduate-level prepared specialty nurse or advanced practice registered nurse provides consultation to influence the identified plan, enhance the abilities of others, and effect change. 
      • Standard 5D: Prescriptive Authority and Treatment:  The advanced practice registered nurse uses prescriptive authority, procedures, referrals, treatments, and therapies in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations.
    • Standard 6. Evaluation:  The registered nurse evaluates progress toward attainment of outcomes.

    Standards of Professional Performance

    The Standards of Professional Performance describe a competent level of behavior in the professional role, including activities related to ethics, education, evidence-based practice and research, quality of practice, communication, leadership, collaboration, professional practice evaluation, resource utilization, and environmental health. All registered nurses are expected to engage in professional r o l e activities, including leadership, appropriate to their education and position. Registered nurses are accountable for their professional actions to themselves, their health care consumers, their peers, and ultimately to society.

    • Standard 7. Ethics:  The registered nurse practices ethically 
    • Standard 8. Education:  The registered nurse attains knowledge and competency that reflects current nursing practice. 
    • Standard 9. Evidence Based Practice and Research:  The registered nurse integrates evidence and research findings into practice. 
    • Standard 10. Quality of Practice:  The registered nurse contributes to the quality of practice. 
    • Standard 11. Communication:  The registered nurse communicates effectively in all areas of practice. 
    • Standard 12. Leadership:  The registered nurse demonstrates leadership in the professional practice setting and the profession. 
    • Standard 13. Collaboration:  The registered nurse collaborates with health care consumer, family, and others in the conduct of nursing practice. 
    • Standard 14. Professional practice Evaluation:  The registered nurse evaluates her or his own nursing practice in relation to professional practice standards and guidelines, relevant statutes, rules, and regulations. 
    • Standard 15. Resource Utilization:  The registered nurse utilizes appropriate resources to plan and provide nursing services that are safe, effective, and financially responsible. 
    • Standard 16. Environmental Health:  The registered nurse practices in an environmentally safe and healthy manner.
  • The Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements, or “The Code”, is a vital tool for nurses now and in the future. While the foundational values of nursing do not change, The Code is regularly updated to reflect changes in health care structure, financing, and delivery. It supports nurses in providing consistently respectful, humane, and dignified care. These values are often second nature to nurses’ caregiving but are frequently challenged by the failings in U.S. health care and by negative social determinants of health