Policy Library

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Plan of Study - Advisement (MS/DNP)

Faculty advisors are assigned according to the students’ specialty program areas. Faculty advisors supervise and assist students in planning a program of study as well as choosing a DNP Project advisor. The student is encouraged to identify his/her focus for the DNP Project as early as possible in the program to facilitate selection of his/her DNP Project advisor.   

The student schedules a meeting with his/her faculty advisor to discuss professional goals, DNP Project area of interest, possible waiver of required course(s), transfer of credits, and use of prior coursework towards the degree (if applicable) and elective courses that contribute substantively or methodologically to the area of proposed DNP Project and to professional role development.

The Program Agreement is a working document. It is understood that as the student learns and explores new opportunities that the Program Agreement may be modified in accordance with the student’s DNP Project plan and professional goals. Therefore, the student must meet with the faculty advisor each semester to monitor progression and revise the Program Agreement as necessary. An updated Program Agreement must also be filed with the Office of Student Services on an annual basis in May. If there are revisions to the plan of study during the academic year, a revised Program Agreement must be filed immediately. The program agreement must be signed by the student and the faculty advisor every time it is updated. 

Progression of MS/DNP Student

Progression of an MS or DNP student is dependent on receiving a grade of "B" or better or “S” in all required courses, maintaining an overall grade point average of at least 3.00 ("B") and demonstrating acceptable professional behavior. 

Professional Behavior

Progression is also dependent upon acceptable professional behavior. All rules of the Board of Trustees of SUNY, and all of the laws of the City of Buffalo, the Town of Amherst, the State of New York and the United States of America apply on campus and are considered part of the Student Code of Conduct. Additionally, students must immediately notify the appropriate program coordinator of all criminal arrests and convictions. While criminal proceedings will not automatically bar a student from participating in clinical situations, the Assistant Dean for MS and DNP programs must assess each individual set of circumstances to determine if the student will be allowed to participate in such clinical situations. In some circumstances, a student with a pending criminal matter may be required to refrain from participating in clinical situations until the criminal matter is resolved.

Professional behaviors such as accountability, responsibility and promptness are expectations of all nursing students. These behaviors are monitored by faculty and consistent patterns of unprofessional behavior will be documented and addressed with students through an action plan for improvement. Failure to meet professional behavior expectations may affect progression and retention in the nursing program.

Evidence of any of the following behaviors, which will be documented and kept in the student's file, may result in verbal admonition, action plan for improvement, reduction in course grade, failure and/or dismissal from the program. Those behaviors with an asterisk (*) are especially serious and can result in immediate suspension from the course and/or dismissal from the program.

  1. Unsafe practice (i.e., acts of commission or omission that place a client in serious jeopardy)*
  2. Being under the influence of any substance that impairs performance*
  3. Use, possession or distribution of narcotics, controlled substances and/or related paraphernalia except as expressly permitted by law*
  4. Falsification of records (academic, clinical medical records or records documenting attendance and completion of course objectives)*
  5. Willful harassment, abuse or intimidation of a client, peer, faculty, clinical agency personnel or staff either physically, verbally or non-verbally*
  6. Academic dishonesty (e.g., cheating, lying, plagiarism, falsification of records)
  7. Stealing*
  8. Violation of confidentiality as outlined by HIPAA: Discussion of clients in public areas, accessing client health records not assigned to their care, sharing/disclosing confidential health information*
  9. Consistent pattern of lack of preparation for clinical laboratory
  10. Persistent lateness or absence for clinical laboratories without prior notification
  11. Failure to attend any course at the beginning of a semester or to attend clinical orientations without a valid reason and prior notification to the course coordinator
  12. Lack of courtesy and decorum in the classroom, clinical practicum or community
  13. Inappropriate dress in the clinical laboratory and on-campus clinical laboratory
  14. Poor personal hygiene in the clinical laboratory and on-campus clinical laboratory
  15. Rudeness or disruptive behavior during class sessions, clinical practicum or on-campus clinical laboratory
  16. Classroom Expectation Cell Phone Use: Students who bring cell phones to campus should place them on “silent / vibrate” mode while engaged in classroom or on-campus laboratory learning experiences. Students should not access their cell phones for messages while engaged in learning activities. Students may access their cell phones in these environments at faculty direction to fulfill specific learning activities.  Other cell phone access is restricted to breaks. Students in violation of this policy will be asked to leave the classroom or on-campus laboratory learning environment.
  17. Clinical Expectation Cell Phone Use: Students who bring cell phones to the clinical learning environment (hospital or community) should keep them secure in their purse, back pack or automobile. Students are prohibited from accessing cell phones in any clinical environment except during breaks in a break room, the cafeteria or non-patient care areas. Hospital/agency policies forbid personal cell phone use in patient care areas. Computer resources in the clinical agencies can be used to access medication and evidence-based practice information. Students in violation of this policy in the clinical learning environment will receive an unsatisfactory grade for the clinical day regarding “professionalism” and will have a faculty-student contract provided to outline necessary steps needed to achieve a satisfactory grade.
  18. Failure to keep appointments with faculty.

Evidence of unacceptable professional behavior, which will be documented and kept in the student’s record, may result in verbal admonition, written warning, reduction in course grade, failure, dismissal from the program or immediate suspension from the nursing course(s).

Probationary and Dismissal Procedure (MS/DNP)

Should a student not fulfill one or more of the progression standards, he/she will be placed on academic probation or dismissed from the program. The Office of Student Services will identify any student who may be considered for dismissal or probationary status and will notify the respective program coordinator and the student of his/her failure to meet progression requirements.

Students who have been removed from probationary status and receive a second failing grade or receive two grades less than “B” in the same semester will be automatically dismissed from their program. Similarly, students who have repeated a course and earned two failing grades (less than “B”) in the same course will be dismissed. For DNP students, any failure (less than “B”) of a clinical practicum course will result in an automatic dismissal.

The Office of Student Services will review the record of a student on academic probation at the end of the next semester and will notify the program coordinator and the MS/DNP Committee of the student’s progress or failure to meet the conditions of probation. A student will be subject to dismissal from the program if all requirements are not met in accordance with the letter of probation. Students admitted provisionally must meet all progression standards during their first semester of enrollment as well as the conditions of their provisional acceptance to continue in the program.

The student may appeal to the MS/DNP Committee and should have his/her program coordinator’s endorsement to be considered for reinstatement.

The Director of Student Services informs the student when his/her status in the School of Nursing changes as a result of failure to meet progression requirements (i.e., probation or dismissal). The director of Student Services also notifies the student of dismissal from the School of Nursing and provides information about the dismissal appeal process along with the specific time frame for completion of a written petition to the MS/DNP Committee.

Readmission Appeal Process

  1. The student will submit a petition through the director of student services no later than 45 academic days* following the dated dismissal notification. The petition must include a statement by the student to the MS/DNP Committee which indicates the student’s perception of the factors which contributed to his/her present status as well as a plan for removing obstacles to his/her successful progression in the School of Nursing, if readmitted.
  2. The student's program coordinator will also submit a statement to the MS/DNP Committee that includes his/her perception of the factors which contributed to the student’s present status as well as recommendation, with rationale, to grant or deny readmission of the student.
  3. The above statements (1 and 2) and the academic record of the student will be evaluated by the MS/DNP Committee. If the need arises, any one of the parties may be requested to provide additional information to the MS/DNP Committee, in writing or in person.
  4. The decision of the MS/DNP Program Committee will be forwarded to the student, the Assistant Dean for MS/DNP programs and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs by the Director of Student Services, within 25 academic days* of receipt of the student’s appeal statement.  Late appeals may be considered at the discretion of the MS/DNP Program Committee.
  5. If the appeal is granted, notice of that will include the terms and conditions of continued progression in the School of Nursing.  Students who are granted continued study will be permanently dismissed without opportunity for appeal, following an additional failure of any graduate level nursing course or other violation of the student code of conduct.
  6. Appeal decisions are final.  Students who are permanently dismissed from the School of Nursing MS or DNP programs are not eligible to re-apply, per our admissions policy.

*Academic days are defined as weekdays when classes are in session, not including the summer or winter sessions. 

Post-Baccalaureate Program Progression and Requirements for Graduation

Students must maintain a grade of 3.0 or better in all required courses to graduate from the program. Graduation is dependent on the completion of a DNP Project and all required courses on the degree plan established by the advisor and student. The DNP Project topic will be determined after consultation with the DNP Project Course faculty, program advisor, community partner or mentor, and student as soon possible. Coursework preceding the DNP Project is designed to help the student develop the literature review and methods to accomplish the DNP Projects.

Post-Master’s Program Progression and Requirements for Graduation

Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA to automatically progress in the DNP program. Graduation is dependent on the completion of a DNP Project and all required courses on the degree plan established by the advisor and student. The DNP Project topic will be determined by the program advisor, community partner or mentor, and student as soon as possible.

Master’s and Certificate Program Progression and Requirements for Graduation

Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA to automatically progress in the Masters or Certificate programs. Graduation is dependent on the completion of all required courses on the degree plan established by the advisor and student.

NGC 600 - Independent Study (MS/DNP Students)

NGC 600, Independent Study, is available to any graduate student as an elective when appropriate to the student's educational goals and with the approval of the student's advisor. Students may enroll for Independent Study under the guidance of an appropriate university faculty member.

Guidelines for Independent Study for DNP Students

Independent Study may consist of directed study, readings, individualized instruction, field experience, research or other appropriate activities. Students may apply up to a maximum of 6 credits of Independent Study to their program. Approval of a proposal for Independent Study is contingent upon the availability of faculty and facilities and approval of the student's advisor.

The student must make an explicit agreement with a graduate faculty member or with other appropriate faculty as recommended by the student's advisor. The student must submit an Independent Study Proposal Form to the Office of Student Services as soon as plans are finalized.  The proposal is then reviewed by the School of Nursing MS/DNP Committee and, if approved, forwarded to the Graduate School for review.  Independent Study proposals should be submitted in the semester prior to that planned for implementation.

One copy of the Independent Study Form should be retained in the Office of Student Services to submit to the Graduate School with the student’s Application to Candidacy (ATC).

NGC 536 - Selected Topics

Selected topics courses allow faculty to offer new courses on an experimental basis without seeking formal approval. When a student takes a Selected Topics course, a copy of the course outline should be retained to submit with the student's Application to Candidacy (ATC).

Nursing Licensure (MS/DNP)

All students must provide a copy of their current US RN license (or equivalent) to the Office of Student Services during the admissions process. All students are responsible for keeping a current record on file for the duration of their program. 

Professional Dress

Students are expected to maintain a professional appearance in all clinical settings and must comply with additional agency policies. MS/DNP students participating in clinical experiences are required to wear the designated School of Nursing laboratory coat, providing the clinical agency requires it, and refrain from visible piercings and tattoos. The long laboratory coat has a UB/School of Nursing identification patch on the sleeve and identifying information on the front of the coat. The laboratory coat is available at the University Medical Bookstore.

Fitness for Duty (MS/DNP)

Students are expected to fully participate in all classroom, laboratory and clinical activities without restriction. A student is expected to inform (disclose) to a nursing faculty member or staff member (director of student services) any health related issue that may put either the student or client in danger.

A student may be required to provide evidence from his/her health care provider if restrictions in learning activities are needed due to health reasons. To the extent possible faculty will work with the student to achieve the required learning outcomes.

Student may need to withdraw from nursing courses in order to allow time to receive treatment and improve his/her health condition and to maintain the safety of clients. Refer to Leave of Absence and Withdrawal policies within the graduate school. 

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