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College of Nursing

Important Policies and Notices

Academic Integrity

We oppose intolerance by promoting integrity within our campus community. Our common values are formed upon the foundation of our creed, which emphasizes openness and civility. Carolinian Creed

Our Code of Conduct outlines students' responsibilities to themselves and the Carolina community.

All UofSC students are responsible for adhering the Carolinian Creed (http://www.sa.sc.edu/creed).

Honor Code violations include:

  • Plagiarism: “Use of work or ideas without proper acknowledgement of source.”
  • Cheating: “Improper collaboration or unauthorized assistance on connection with any academic work.”
  • Cheating: "Using, possessing or distributing the contents of any examination (e,g., unauthorized access to test/quiz information, unauthorized duplication of test/quiz materials) without authorization."
  • Falsification: “Misrepresenting or misleading others with respect to academic work.”
  • Complicity: “Assisting or attempting to assist another in any violation of the Honor Code.”

For more detailed information, please review the UofSC Policy on Academic Responsibility – The Honor Code (http://www.sc.edu/policies/ppm/staf625.pdf)

Office of Academic Integrity (https://www.sa.sc.edu/academicintegrity/) provides resources to faculty and students for combating and preventing cheating, plagiarism, falsification, and complicity.  Be aware that UofSC faculty are obligated to report any violations of the Honor Code to the Office of Academic integrity.

When a violation of academic integrity occurs:

  • Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity determines non-academic (University) sanctions.
  • In addition to university sanctions, the academic unit makes decisions regarding academic (course) sanctions.
  • At the College of Nursing, academic penalties range from a 0 (zero) for an assignment to dismissal from the program, depending on the severity of the violation.

Communication

The official mode of communication between the College of Nursing and graduate students is through the university email.  Students are required to monitor their university email messages. 

Civility and Professional Conduct

As students’ progress through the curriculum, they are preparing for transition into professional life. Some behaviors expected in the classroom/clinical setting parallel many behaviors expected in the workplace.

Classroom Expectations

  1. Notifies professor when unable to submit assignment on time prior to the deadline.
  2. Completes reading all assignments.
  3. Engages in class discussion.
  4. Maintains appropriate demeanor during online class activity.
  5. Refrains from the use of online discussion forum for posting of non-academic material (i.e. advertisements for jobs, products or services). 

Confidentialty of Student Records

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), passed by Congress in 1974, requires educational institutions to provide students access to their educational records, to allow students to correct inaccurate or misleading information in these records, and to limit the release of information to third parties. Additional information is available at University Registrar's website.  

Copyright Policy

The Nursing Programs seek to aid enrolled students by offering electronic presentations and recordings of lectures to improve student engagement and to better meet individual learning needs. With the growing use of technology, students and faculty have the responsibility to understand and observe copyright law including educational fair use guidelines, obtaining written permission, and to follow the corresponding campus University policy.

As supplemental tools, all material found in lectures is owned by the University of South Carolina, College of Nursing or its faculty and is protected by United States Copyright laws. 

Lecture material is only available to students enrolled in the course where the content is available, and use is not permitted outside the scope of the course. Recorded lectures will only be posted to Blackboard. Material found in the lectures may not be photocopied, screenshot, duplicated or distributed by any student without the express, written permission from the faculty member who created the material. Video, audio, or photographic recordings of course material are strictly prohibited. Recordings, course material, quizzes, tests and lecture notes may not be reproduced verbatim nor uploaded to publicly accessible web environments. Recordings and course material may not be exchanged nor distributed to a third party for compensation. Recordings and course material may not be used for any purpose other than personal study and may not violate any policies herein. An individual may individually print copies of lecture material solely for personal use under the scope of the course. 

Duplication or dissemination of lecture materials without authorized use may violate federal or state law and UofSC University policies. 

Failure to adhere to these policies is a violation of the College of Nursing Professionalism Policy and may result in disciplinary action under University guidelines.  

Core Performance Standards

The UofSC College of Nursing sets forth its essential eligibility requirements for its nursing program by citing the core performance standards.  The standards describe requirements in six dimensions of ability/performance (see below).  An example would be if a student's condition requires that they use a crutch, walker, can or arm cast, they will not be allowed to participate in clinical activity until the student submits a statement from their provider of care stating they may resume all activities without any assistive devices. Student is able to maintain necessary and required personal protective equipment (PPE) for circumstances or timeframes required within the facility.

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 under varying degrees of stress; must be able to read and comprehend detailed charts, reports, journal articles, books, etc.; and 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 non-verbally. 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 this 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 with gross and fine motor abilities sufficient to provide safe and effective nursing care. Examples of necessary functional abilities associated with this standard include (not all inclusive): Able to move around a client’s room, work spaces, treatment areas and administer CPR; calibrate and use equipment; position and transfer clients; capable of pushing up to 200 pounds independently; capable of reaching 18 inches above head without the use of mechanical devises 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 auscultate sounds, monitor alarms and emergency signals; able to tolerate loud noises for extended periods of time. Assistive devices must correct hearing to this degree and must always be worn 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 response, 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): Having ability to differentiate between various types of smells, and ability to tolerate offensive odors. 

*Standards may be changed at any time

Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity

At UofSC College of Nursing, we value each student, staff, and faculty.  We want everyone to feel welcome and included.  We aim to cultivate and support the values of the College of Nursing: diversity, inclusivity, commitment, caring, integrity, respect, and professionalism.  We believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion are necessary to achieve academic and institutional excellence.  All members of the CON community not only matter, but their unique perspectives are the core of our strength and success.

Please visit our College of Nursing Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity (DEI) website for more details and resources available to you. 

Ethics for Nursing

Nursing is a profession, and as such, nursing students are expected to behave ethically. Ethical behavior applies to colleagues, peers, supervisors, subordinates, and clients. Click https://www.nursingworld.org/practice-policy/nursing-excellence/ethics/code-of-ethics-for-nurses/ for complete Code of Ethics for Nurses developed by the American Nurses Association (ANA).  

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) and State Board of Nursing Regulation Information

Please review SARA and State Board of Nursing Regulation Information here.  

Student Grievance Policy

Overview

For nonacademic issues, see STAF 6.27, Student Grievance Policy, Non-Academic.  For academic issues refer to both STAF 6.30, Academic Grievance Policy and the College of Nursing policy below.

The graduate student academic grievance policy describes the channel of resolution used in the College of Nursing to resolve students’ academic issues or complaints. The channel requires that the student seek resolution with the faculty member alleged to have caused the problem and, if not resolved, the student should initiate resolution through a defined set of procedures.

Students are encouraged to meet with their course faculty if they have academic problems. Further procedures for resolution of differences are outlined in the Academic Grievance Policy of the current UofSC Policies and Procedures Manual and this College of Nursing Graduate Student Handbook. Contact the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs in the College of Nursing for assistance. 

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA COLLEGE OF NURSING

GRADUATE STUDENT GRIEVANCE POLICY - ACADEMIC

The purpose of this policy is to inform students of their rights and responsibilities regarding the academic issues cited below.

1.  Protection of freedom of expression. Students should be free to take reasoned exceptions to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion. They are responsible, however, for learning the content of any course of study for which they are enrolled.

2.  Protection against improper academic evaluation. Students should have protection, through orderly procedures, against prejudiced or capricious academic evaluation. At the same time, they are responsible for maintaining standards of academic performance established for each course in which they are enrolled.

3.  Protection against improper disclosure. Information about student views, beliefs, and political associations which professors acquire in the course of their work as instructors, advisors, and counselors should be considered as confidential. Protection against improper disclosure is a serious professional obligation. Judgments about a student’s ability and character may be disclosed under appropriate circumstances, normally with the knowledge and consent of the student.

STUDENT GRIEVANCE PROCESS

If a student perceives that any of the protections described above have been violated, the student should initiate resolution through the following channels and in the sequence indicated.

1.  Discuss the issue with the faculty member involved in the alleged violation. The discussion must take place within 30 calendar days after the end of the semester during which the alleged incident occurred. If the complaint is not resolved with the faculty involved, then go to the next step

 2.  Notify the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, who will explain the grievance policy and the student’s rights and responsibilities. The Assistant Dean for Student Affairs will assist the student in completing a written narrative describing the alleged violation of the protections described above. The narrative must contain the nature of the problem or complaint, reasonable evidence to support the case, background material, and a description of what has been done to resolve the problem. 

 3.   Meet with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and submit the written narrative describing the alleged violation. The written narrative must be submitted no later than one semester after the alleged violation has occurred. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will send to the student a written response within 10 regular working days following the meeting. If, after receiving the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs' response, the complaint is not resolved to the aggrieved student’s satisfaction, the student must notify the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs within 10 working days of receiving the letter and request a grievance hearing. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will appoint an Ad Hoc Grievance Committee of four faculty members, one of whom will serve as chair, and three students to conduct the grievance hearing. The grievance hearing will be held within 10 regular working days of the student’s request. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will distribute the written narrative of the student’s grievance to the Ad Hoc Grievance Committee and the faculty alleged to have caused the violation at the time of appointment to the Ad Hoc Committee.

 4.  Attend the grievance hearing and present the alleged violation(s) to the Ad Hoc Grievance Committee and answer questions. The faculty member(s) who is alleged to have caused the grievance has the right to be present during all presentations of evidence to the Committee. The student and the faculty member may call witnesses. However, the Chair of the Ad Hoc Grievance Committee must be notified in writing at least 24 hours before the hearing of the names of all witnesses and the reason each witness has been called.

 It is the responsibility of the student and the faculty member, respectively, to arrange for the appearance of witnesses. The Associate Dean of Academic Affairs may not attend the grievance hearing.

 The Ad Hoc Grievance Committee must schedule a hearing; inform the faculty involved in writing and schedule their appearances at the hearing; maintain accurate, confidential records of the case; conduct the hearing in a fair and impartial manner; and inform the student and the faculty member(s) of the decision within two regular working days of the hearing.

APPEAL

Graduate students may file an appeal of the decision of the Ad Hoc Grievance Committee to the Dean of the College of Nursing within ten days of receipt of the finding of the Ad Hoc Grievance Committee. The appeal must be filed on grounds that cite procedural error that results in a bias decision; new evidence; or penalty imposed that is not appropriate to the violation. If the Dean finds merit in any of the above claims, the Dean will appoint a new Ad Hoc Grievance Committee who will conduct a new grievance hearing. If the Dean does not find merit to student claims, the finding of the Ad Hoc Grievance Committee will be upheld.

Graduate students may appeal decisions to the Graduate School. Appeals accepted by the Graduate School for consideration of reversal or modification of the Departmental decision are those with one or more of the following cited as grounds: inequitable application of regulations, bias, conflict with regulations, or extenuating circumstance. See current Graduate Bulletin for addition information.

A faculty member who feels aggrieved as a result of student grievance proceedings has the right to appear before the University Faculty Grievance Committee and present their case to the Committee. The process is described in the Faculty Manual.

*Policy may be changed at anytime

Student Petition Policy

Overview

Students who feel they are entitled to relief from or deviation in the academic regulations of the University or the College of Nursing should apply through the petition process of the Student Petitions Committee of the College.

The purview of the Student Petitions Committee is to address student petitions, in accordance with College and University guidelines. Students will receive an email notification within 24 hours followed by a letter informing them of the Committee’s decision and outlining the required course of action. A copy will be sent to the student’s advisor and Program Director. All matters of academic discipline are acted upon through the Student Petitions Committee of the College of Nursing.

The Student Petitions Committee meets three times a year at the close of the fall, spring and summer semesters, and as needed, to rule on specific academic problems.

A student must petition the committee in writing, describing the situation, and may be asked to present his or her case at the committee meeting. The petition form is obtained from and submitted to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.

Student may be submit a petition for the below reasons. This list is not all inclusive. 

  • Continuance of Probation Status (Institutional GPA below 3.000 as required by the terms of your probationary semester )
  • Waiver of undergraduate rule - inability to continue in College of Nuyrsing if 2 or more below "C" grdes in required science and/or nursing courses
  • Waiver of undergraduate rule – a student may attempt each NURS course twice in the undergraduate program and a grade of W (withdrawal) in any undergraduate course will constitute an attempt
  • Waiver of Graduate Conditional Admission Requirements
  • Waiver of graduate rule – Any student receiving two (2) grades of 79.99% (C+) or lower in the same NURS course or in any two NURS courses will be dismissed from the College of Nursing
  • Waiver of graduate rule – a student may attempt each NURS course twice in the graduate program and a grade of W (withdrawal) in any graduate course will constitute an attempt

Student should explain any extenuating circumstances - whatever they might be - i.e., finances, anxiety, family, illness, etc. that caused you to not be successful, and even more importantly a plan for success if allowed to continue in the program.  If there are extenuating circumstances, please attached supporting documentation if available.  

Student Social Media Policy 

As professional nurses, students are responsible for protecting the privacy and confidentiality of patients and research participants. The following guidelines are intended to minimize the risks of using social media: 

  1. First and foremost, nurses must recognize that they have an ethical and legal obligation to maintain patient privacy and confidentiality at all times. 
  2. Nurses are strictly prohibited from transmitting by way of any electronic media any patient-related image. In addition, students/nurses are restricted from transmitting any information that may be reasonably anticipated to violate patient rights to confidentiality or privacy, or otherwise degrade or embarrass the patient. 
  3. Do not share post or otherwise disseminate any information, including images, about a patient or information gained in the nurse-patient relationship with anyone unless there is a patient care related need to disclose the information or other legal obligation to do so. 
  4. Do not identify patients by name or post or publish information that may lead to the identification of a patient. Limiting access to postings through privacy settings is not sufficient to ensure privacy. 
  5. Do not refer to patients in a disparaging manner, even if the patient is not identified. 
  6. Do not take photos or videos of patients on personal devices, including cell phones. Follow employer policies for taking photographs or video of patients for treatment or other legitimate purposes using employer-provided devices.
  7. Maintain professional boundaries in the use of electronic media. Like in-person relationships, the nurse has the obligation to establish, communicate and enforce professional boundaries with patients in the online environment. Use caution when having online social contact with patients or former patients. Online contact with patients or former patients blurs the distinction between a professional and personal relationship. The fact that a patient may initiate contact with the nurse does not permit the nurse to engage in a personal relationship with the patient. 
  8. Consult employer policies or an appropriate leader within the organization for guidance regarding work related postings. 
  9. Promptly report any identified breach of confidentiality or privacy. 
  10. Be aware of and comply with employer policies regarding use of employer-owned computers, cameras and other electronic devices and use of personal devices in the workplace. 
  11. Do not make disparaging remarks about employers or co-workers. Do not make threatening, harassing, profane, obscene, sexually explicit, racially derogatory, homophobic or other offensive comments. 
  12. Do not post content or otherwise speak on behalf of the employer unless authorized to do so and follow all applicable policies of the employer. 

*All guidelines apply to students. Student should also not make disparaging remarks related to their clinical site, faculty or school. The College of Nursing has adopted the NCSBN position statement: 

NCSBN (2011) White Paper: A Nurse’s Guide to the Use of Social Media https://www.ncsbn.org/NCSBN_SocialMedia.pdf

Please refer to the below guidelines when participating in any sort of social media takeover- Instagram, TikTok, etc.

Takeover at the Clinical Setting

  • You may record/take pictures before entering and after exiting the clinical building or facility
    • No pictures or videos while inside the clinical building or facility. The CON phone policy will be enforced while in clinical.  
    • You may talk about your experiences such as the highlights of your day, what you learned, your feelings, what skills you performed, etc.
    • Do not state which hospital you were at or your exact location within the hospital- you may say what unit you were on
      • Example: my clinical was on a med surgical unit today…

Takeover at the College

  • You may record/take photos before and after class
  • If you record/take photos of classmates, please inform them their photo will be on the CON social media so those who do not want to be featured can decline
  • Do not speak about specific test questions, simulation experiences or other academically confidential experiences. It is best to obtain permission from the faculty if during a class 
  • Simulation lab
    • No photos or video during a simulation
    • You may take staged photos with manikins during a break, before/after class
    • Patient confidentiality rules apply in simulation. If you choose to photograph with a manikin, please do not to take photos with a manikin that is being used that day as a patient.
    • See Lonnie Rosier or Shannon Gooding to assist with any pictures of manikins

Takeover General Reminders

  • While in uniform remember to respect the Core Values of Nursing
  • Follow all HIPAA best practices
  • Have FUN! Make us PROUD!

What makes a good Takeover?  At the UofSC CON, takeovers usually focus on a unique event or experience in a student's life. Content should build community among current nursing students and provide prospective students an authentic experience of Gamecock life such as diverse, interactive narratives based on their passion for and participation in university organizations, events, and academics.
Examples include:

  • Day in the life of a Gamecock nursing student 
  • Highlights of a class, clinical, or experiential learning experience 
  • Special event such as organizations, internships, scholarship, convocation, or commencement
  • Other events as identified by the student or CON

These guidelines will help you create a successful Takeover story:

Takeover Do’s:

  • Start the takeover with a video or picture of yourself. Introduce who you are and that you are taking over the CON social media Instagram. 
  • Introduce yourselfat events and announce that you are snapping, so those who do not want to be featured can say, “no” or decline.
  • Be friendly and gracious. Respect people’s boundaries and thank participants.
  • Be positive. Represent the University and CON, and its students, faculty, staff and larger community in a positive light.
  • Do over. If a subject stumble or says something offensive. Ask nicely to reshoot the picture/video without the profanity, etc. If they resist, thank them for their time and move on.
  • Take us through your typical day. Are you involved in any organizations, clubs, committees, etc.? Where is your favorite place to eat on campus? Where do you hang out/study between classes? Do you ever attend events on campus? Do you venture into the city?
  • Shoot vertically.
  • Adhere to the University Student Code of Conduct, and University laws and policies.
  • No alcohol, drugs, profanity, nudity, harassment, political campaigning, or degradation in posts.  You must follow all copyright and hosting/posting laws/regulations.   
  • Ask permission. When featuring specific individuals, get their verbal consent before recording them. If the situation demands recording them first, then ask for consent after. When in a public place or not focusing on a specific person or group of people, you do not need to get consent. When in doubt, ask permission.

Takeover Don’ts:

  • When in doubt, don’t. If you feel a picture/video is questionable in content, talk with one of the administrators about your concerns.
  • Don’t use social media while driving. This is illegal and extremely dangerous.
  • Don’t be disappointed or upset if an administrator does not use your story. They are the curators. You might not be aware of other issues happening behind the scenes.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the administrators. We are here to help.

 

Student Substance Use Disorders (SUD) Policy

Purpose

The College of Nursing recognizes the importance of educating its students about the problems of substance use disorders (SUD). Unfortunately, this significant health risk is prevalent among healthcare providers. Aside from impacting the personal and psychological integrity of the individuals with SUD, Substance use disorders might significantly alter the ability of healthcare providers to administer safe, competent patient care.  In extreme cases, SUD by a healthcare provider can lead to malpractice lawsuits and even criminal prosecution.  Recognizing that SUD is both a brain disease and a professional hazard, the University of South Carolina has resources available for students experiencing SUD issues.

The College of Nursing has established this policy to clarify procedures for students who are found to have misused controlled or illegal substances and/or alcohol. This policy addresses the student’s ability to maintain personal and professional integrity and facilitates the student’s success both clinically and didactically.   In the clinical setting, this policy enhances patient safety. It also fosters the development of professional nurses who are well educated about the prevalence of SUD and its potential to lead to adverse patient outcomes. 

Policy

This policy applies to all students who have matriculated into College of Nursing academic program(s).

Any unlawful possession, use, manufacture, distribution, diversion, or improper use of any substances by any student in the College of Nursing may constitute removal from clinical and/or cause for termination from the program(s). In addition, no student may consume or be under the influence of or be in the possession of alcohol at any time the student is in the classroom and/or performing clinical duties. Improper use of alcohol may also constitute removal from clinical and/or cause for termination from the program. Students must comply with all local, state, or federal laws and regulations controlling the possession, manufacture, use, or distribution of controlled or illegal substances and alcohol. Students are accountable for their ingestion of substances, regardless of whether aware or unaware  of the contents of which they ingested (including orally, inhaled, vapored, or other means). The College of Nursing will deal with student claims of unintentional intoxication on a case-by-case basis considering all facts and circumstances.   Students must also adhere to all University of South Carolina policies regarding alcohol and/or drug use.  Specific policies of note include: STAF 3.02, Alcohol Policy and Guidelines for the University Community; STAF 3.18, Drug Policy for University Students; STAF 3.19, Overdose Medical Treatment; STAF 6.26, and Student Code of Conduct. These policies can be found at Policies and Procedures Manual.

In addition, there are circumstances in which students might need to take over the counter or prescribed medications that have the potential to impair their professional performance in the clinical setting or personal behavior. Documentation from treating provider should indicate diagnosis and anticipated length of medication administration. As such, all students are responsible for being aware of the effect these medications may have on performance and must notify their Program Director, Course Coordinator or Instructor within 72 hours prior to clinical attendance or required drug screening about the use of any medication that could impair performance or has the potential to influence a drug screen result. 

Failure or refusal to comply with the SUD policy may be grounds for disciplinary action, including dismissal from the program. Any attempt to delay, hinder, or tamper with any drug screen or to alter the results of a drug screen will be considered a refusal to comply with this policy. In addition, failure or refusal to comply with any aspect of the SUD policy may be reported to the University’s Office of Student Conduct for possible disciplinary action in accordance with the University’s Student Conduct Policy.

Procedures

I. Drug Screens

Many clinical training sites, or institutions in which human research is being conducted, require that students undergo drug screens, like what is required of their employees, prior to placement at the sites. Therefore, all students involved in clinical practice settings, whether for education purposes or for the recruitment of research subjects and/or the collection of research data, will be required to undergo drug screening prior to entering clinical sites.

In addition, during enrollment in a College of Nursing program(s), a student may be required to undergo drug or alcohol testing for cause when the university faculty and/or administrator(s) determine there is reasonable suspicion that the student is impaired due to illegal drug or alcohol use, or the use or misuse of prescribed or over-the-counter medications. Drug screening based on reasonable suspicion may be requested in the following scenarios, but will not be limited to these examples: when: unusual or aberrant behavior or patterns of abnormal or erratic behavior; physical symptoms of impairment; arrest or conviction for a drug or alcohol related offense; evidence of drug tampering, drug diversion, or misappropriation; direct observation of drug use or discrepant drug counts; alterations in student clinical and/or didactic performance that may not be attributed to other causes; following a work-related injury or illness when there is any evidence (direct or circumstantial) that it may have been related to use of a controlled substance; observation of poor judgment or careless acts which caused or had the potential to cause patient injury, jeopardize the safety of self or others, or resulted in damage to equipment. Drug screening may also be required following a work-related injury or illness if requested by the facility or third-party payor such as an insurance company.

II. Reporting

A faculty or staff member who suspects possible substance misuse by a student must report the suspicions along with relevant supporting information to the Program Director or Course Coordinator who will then immediately contact the appropriate Assistant Dean, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.  In the absence of the Program Director or Course Coordinator, the faculty member observing the behavior should contact the appropriate Assistant Dean, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Any faculty member with evidence that an enrolled student has engaged in clinical care of patients and families or participated in classroom activities while impaired must  report their observations to the appropriate Assistant Dean.

A student who suspects possible substance misuse or a violation of this policy by another student has the responsibility to report this information. A report needs to be made to the student’s academic advisor, and/or Instructor, Course Coordinator, or Program Director. The appropriate Assistant Dean, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs should be notified by the advisor, course instructor, course coordinator and/or program director. The identity of the individual making the report will be kept confidential to the greatest extent possible consistent with the need to investigate the report and subject to legal requirements.

Any student arrested or convicted of violating any federal, state, or local law pertaining to the manufacture, possession, sale, use, or distribution of a drug or alcohol or misuse of prescribed medications must report this event to the appropriate Assistant Dean, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs within three days of the event and prior to any clinical contact with patients and families. If the student holds a nursing license, the student should also contact their governing Board of Nursing for guidance in reporting an arrest and/or conviction. 

III. Drug Screening Procedure

Drug and alcohol screening required by the College of Nursing will be conducted utilizing the following measures:

  1. Students are responsible for all expenses incurred for drug screens.
  2. The student must be screened at a facility approved by the College.
  3. The student must fully comply with the approved facility’s drug screening standards, methods, and procedures for collecting samples.
  4. The drug screen shall screen for the use of the controlled substances (examples listed in Appendix 1).
  5. The student must disclose any prescribed or over-the-counter medications, as well as any dietary habits that could modify screening results.
  6. If the accuracy of a positive drug screen is disputed by the student, the student may request a retesting of the initial samples by the facility; however, the cost of the additional drug screens will be covered by the student. Drug screens done outside the appropriate window of time will not be considered valid.
  7. Substance use disorder is verified if either: (i) the positive test result is not disputed, or (ii)if the student-requested retest of the initial sample is positive.
  8. If the drug screen is inconclusive, the screening will be treated as positive until definitive analysis by alternate testing is accomplished. Alternate testing will be conducted at the same facility as the inconclusive drug screen results and will be at the student’s expense. During this time the student will not be permitted to have any contact with their clinical sites, but may be allowed to attend classes, pending the approval of the appropriate Assistant Dean.
  9. The approved drug screening facility will publish a final report of the test results (positive, negative, or inconclusive) to the College of Nursing.
  10. A student who is required to and submits to drug and/or alcohol screening will be expected to authorize the release of the results to the College and other relevant University offices.
  11. If a student refuses to release the drug screen results to the College and other relevant University offices, the test will be presumed positive and treated as a positive screening result for the purpose of this policy.

Admission to the program will be withdrawn for a student screening positive. All interim actions up to or including: (1) a student undergoing a drug or alcohol screening, (2) a student refraining from contact with clinical sites, and/or (3) a student refraining from class attendance will be determined by the appropriate Assistant Dean in consultation with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, relevant Program Director, Course Coordinator or Instructor and relevant University experts. In the case of drug or alcohol screening based on reasonable suspicion, the cost of any required drug or alcohol testing will be the responsibility of the student at a facility approved by the College of Nursing. A student who refuses to submit to a drug screen or who refuses to release the results of drug or alcohol screen will be regarded as having voluntarily relinquished their clinical responsibilities and can be suspended from the program(s) until further investigation is completed. Any attempt to delay, hinder, or tamper with any drug screen or to alter the results of a drug screen will be considered a refusal to submit to testing and may result in an inference of impairment and/or a violation of this policy.

IV. Confidentiality

The requirement that a student be screened, as well as the drug screen results, will remain confidential and disclosed only to those individuals within the University of South Carolina or an affiliated clinical site with a need to know or as required by law. Upon written request, students will be provided a copy of the drug screen results. All students who hold a nursing license and who are suspected of SUD will be asked to self-report to their respective State Board of Nursing. If the student refuses to self-report, the appropriate Assistant Dean, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will consult with the appropriate Program Director, Course Coordinator or Instructor, and other relevant University officials with a need to know.  If a health or safety emergency exists which puts the student or others at imminent risk of harm, then the College of Nursing may choose to report the student to the appropriate State Board of Nursing. 

V. Self-Disclosure

Students who self-disclose  a substance or alcohol use problem to a faculty member, staff member, Program Director, appropriate Assistant, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, or the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, prior to or following a positive drug/alcohol screen result, and who are willing to enter and complete an appropriate program of treatment may be granted a medical leave of absence while they undergo treatment. In consultation with their health care provider and University providers (Counseling and Psychiatry-Student Health Services and/or Substance Abuse Prevention and Education (SAPE)), a treatment program will be identified, and the student will be assisted with entrance. The student must sign appropriate HIPAA Authorization forms permitting designated University providers (Counseling and Psychiatry-Student Health Services and/or SAPE) to communicate with the student’s private health care providers about their recovery status with the College of Nursing.

VI. Treatment and Counseling Resources

Students who are concerned that they may have a substance or alcohol use problem are encouraged to seek appropriate assessment, treatment, and counseling from qualified health care professionals. The following websites reflect some treatment resources, counseling services, and mutual support programs that are available to students:

VII. Reentry into the Academic and Clinical Environment

Return from a medical leave of absence due to disclosure of a substance use problem will be considered by the appropriate Assistant Dean and approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs following successful treatment and sustained progress in recovery efforts in addition to other conditions that may be stipulated in the leave of absence agreement. The leave of absence will be a minimum of one calendar year from the time of the positive drug screen with a longer period if determined as needed by your healthcare professionals. Time of re-entry would also be contingent on space available in the program of study. The conditions will be appropriately individualized considering the situation and needs of the student. All required University and College documents must be completed, including a plan for successful return to course and clinical work that is approved by the student’s health care provider, relevant University experts (Counseling and Psychiatry and Student Health Services) and the College of Nursing. Factors that have been identified as helpful for reentry into the academic and clinical environment include 12-step program participation, random drug screenings, and sponsorship in a support group. The student must also provide medical clearance from the appropriate individual coordinating therapeutic intervention and evidence of an unencumbered nursing license (if a RN-BSN or graduate student). Re-entry to the College of Nursing will be determined in consultation with the Counseling and Psychiatry and Student Health Services offices.  A student in recovery from SUD who is permitted to reenter the College of Nursing must comply with all the conditions of return delineated as part of the program reentry agreement.

Depending upon the length of absence from the program, the student may be required to restart the clinical and/or didactic components of their plan of study. Alternatively, the student may only be required to repeat specific semesters of clinical and didactic study, based on the decision of the appropriate Assistant Dean in consultation with the relevant Program Director or Course Coordinator.  A student recovering from SUD will be monitored closely, particularly in clinical practice. Frequent monitoring to ensure the student remains substance free will be required.

Reentry can be difficult for students, especially for those who have just started their educational program and have limited time invested in the program. Reentry after relapse into SUD is not advised for any student. Reentry into a nursing program’s curriculum after a period of absence, no matter what the reason, can be a stressful time of readjustment. A student who has been in rehabilitation for SUD requires the same period of adjustment as a person who has been away from clinical and didactic arena for any other reason. A student in recovery who is reentering the program will be encouraged not to resume their course of study too hastily, but instead allow themselves time to develop appropriate support systems to facilitate the reentry.

Appendix 1

  • Amphetamine (methamphetamine) Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepine
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • Methadone
  • Opiates (codeine & morphine) Phencyclidine
  • Propoxyphene 
  • MDMA 
  • Oxy (2 categories)

Revised January 2021

Technology

Information regarding the Computer Standards, Computer Purchasing through UofSC, and Software used in the Nursing Curriculum can be found here


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