For Undergraduate/Baccalaureate Program Students
I hope that all of you are doing well, resting, and enjoying your break.
We understand that this is an uncertain time for all of us. We are, however, extremely proud of our nursing colleagues and School of Nursing alumni who are providing care to all patients, regardless of their diagnosis or circumstances. They are true heroes.
We respect the tremendous challenges facing our colleagues and clinical partners. Likewise, we respect their decisions to restrict, in whole or in part, our pre-licensure students’ access to their facilities. Yet, our goal, as a premier school of nursing, is to ensure the continuity of high quality clinical instruction for our pre-licensure nursing students.
For several years at Rutgers School of Nursing, we have been using innovative simulated activities that comprise an important portion of students’ clinical hours. At this point in the spring 2020 semester, our pre-licensure students have completed the number of actual patient contact hours that we require. Therefore, we will rely on these simulated activities for the remainder of this semester. Your clinical faculty will be in touch with you regarding the type and schedule of the simulated activities that will be assigned to you.
In this time of challenges, you can very proud that you are being prepared to become a nurse. It is in times of crises that the nation realizes the true worth and critical importance of nursing – the backbone of our healthcare system.
I hope that your break has been restorative. We look forward to your return next week.
Linda Flynn, PhD, RN, FAAN
Rutgers School of Nursing
For Graduate Students
Good Morning Master’s and DNP Students,
We understand that this is an uncertain time for all of us. We are, however, extremely proud of you, our faculty, our other nursing colleagues and School of Nursing alumni who are providing care to all patients, regardless of their diagnosis or circumstances – you are the best.
We thank you for your patience as we continue to navigate the ever-changing status of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As you are aware, President Barchi has announced the suspension of all in-person instruction, with the exception of clinical experiences, for the remainder of the semester. We, at the School of Nursing, are continuing our efforts with clinical partners to coordinate the practice hours and clinical experiences of our students. Your clinical faculty and specialty directors will continue to keep you informed of any changes in your assignments. Please continue to reach out to them with any questions.
We have been in touch with accrediting boards and have confirmed that all students are expected to have the minimum number of direct patient care clinical hours to be eligible to sit for certifying exams. Each program’s requirements are different, so you will want to re-familiarize yourself with your specific requirements.
Please note that there may be a difference between the number of direct hours required by the accrediting agency and the number of clinical hours required by the School for your program.
- Clinical hours required by the certifying board are direct care hours.
- Clinical hours required by the School are a combination of direct care hours and indirect care hours (simulation or case-study).
- We recognize that many students have had challenges in obtaining these hours. We have also heard your concerns. Therefore, we are providing the following guidance:
- If your clinical site or facility is continuing to allow you to engage in clinical experiences, you may continue to do so. If, however, you have serious concerns then contact your specialty director to discuss.
- If your clinical site is allowing you to engage in clinical experiences and you feel that you fall into a risk category including pregnancy, or if you care for or live with someone at risk and feel you need to limit your clinical hours at this time, contact your clinical instructor and specialty director. CDC and WHO definitions at risk for COVID-19 are at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html and https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 (see the Situation Reports).
- If your clinical site or facility is not allowing you to continue your clinical experiences or your clinical site or facility has limited or cancelled your clinical hours, then please contact your clinical instructor and Specialty Director. The designated site representative or preceptor should contact your clinical instructor and specialty director, directly and inform them in writing of the site’s decision.
- If you are in a situation where you are unable to continue clinical hours because you are impacted by the closure of your children’s schools, please contact your specialty director.
For students in their final semester of the program whose clinical experience has been or is anticipated to be interrupted because of the Covid-19 pandemic, you must contact your specialty director who will do a gap analysis to determine the number of clinical hours you have done, the number of clinical hours required by the certifying body, and the number of hours required by the program.
- If you have sufficient direct care hours already logged, then your Specialty Director will be able to sign off on your certification paper work at the end of the semester.
- You will continue to participate in weekly clinical conferences (see below).
- If you have an insufficient number of direct care hours, your specialty director will be unable to sign off on meeting certification eligibility until you have the necessary minimum number of direct care clinical hours as defined by the certifying agency.
- You will continue to participate in weekly clinical conferences (see below) and log indirect hours.
- The school will extend the requirements to complete clinical hours past the end of the term. You will be enrolled in an “IP clinical continuation” without any additional cost.
- In the event that you have met all academic requirements (with the exception of your clinical hours) and completed necessary paperwork, you will be identified as a May 2020 graduate.
- All students are expected to attend the weekly online clinical conferences. These weekly distance accessible conferences will center around unfolding case studies and virtual OSCEs with a focus on diagnostic reasoning, clinical decision-making, and application of theoretical knowledge.
- Indirect clinical hours earned during online clinical conference can be logged toward the total program clinical hours.
- You cannot earn direct clinical hours during the online clinical conferences. If you still have outstanding direct clinical hours to complete for the current semester and are unable to complete them by the end of the term, we will work with you to extend the hours into the next semester so you can continue to accrue the necessary requirements. This will result in an “In-Progress” (IP) grade for the clinical course; the “IP” will remain in place until the necessary hours are complete and a final grade can be assigned. IP grades will not incur any additional fees.
As a reminder, DO NOT attend your practicum/clinical rotations if you have a fever or are exhibiting flu-like symptoms. Contact your primary healthcare provider; if febrile, self-isolate until you have been afebrile for at least 72 hours without taking an antipyretic, other symptoms have subsided and it has been at least 7 days since your symptoms first appeared. If at risk from exposure, notify your specialty director and self-isolate for 14 days.
Again, please note that there will be no penalty for missing clinical/practicum days if you have even a mild fever or have flu-like symptoms.
We are trying very hard to address your concerns, keep you informed, ensure a high quality education, and to support you in acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to become expert clinicians, scholars, and leaders. Don’t hesitate to contact your Specialty Director with any questions or concerns.
Linda Flynn, PhD, RN, FAAN
Rutgers School of Nursing