Additional Nursing Student Requirements

Mental and Physical Qualifications for Professional Nursing

Please be advised that there are minimum entry qualifications to professional nursing practice. Typically, all nursing employers set up minimal physical and mental standards for employment as a registered nurse. The University of San Francisco wishes to inform prospective students of the general nature of such qualifications, although qualifications may vary among employers. Further, the University of San Francisco wishes to assist applicants in meeting all essential qualifications. Applicants should assess their own capabilities for nursing prior to entering the profession of nursing as a graduate. Thus, the following are MINIMUM mental and physical qualifications for admission of applicants to a professional nursing program:

  1. Frequently work in a standing position and do frequent walking.
  2. Lift and transfer patient up to 6 inches from a stooped position, then push or pull the weight up to 3 feet.
  3. Lift and transfer patient from a stooped position to an upright position to accomplish bed-to-chair and chair-to-bed transfers.
  4. Physically apply up to 10 pounds of pressure to bleeding sites, or in performing CPR.
  5. Respond and react immediately to auditory impediments.
  6. Physically perform up to a twelve hour clinical laboratory experience.
  7. Perform close and distance visual activities involving objects, persons, and paperwork, as well as discriminate depth and color perception.
  8. Discriminate between sharp/dull and hot/cold when using hands.
  9. Perform mathematical calculation for medication preparation and administration.
  10. Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, using appropriate grammar, vocabulary, and word usage.
  11. Make appropriate and timely decisions under stressful situations.

All students in the School of Nursing and Health Professions are expected to meet these qualifications and successfully complete other course requirements. Individuals applying for admission to the School of Nursing and Health Professions should consider their eligibility in light of these qualifications and assess their ability to meet these qualifications.

In carrying out the nondiscrimination policy of the School of Nursing and Health Professions with regard to students and applicants with disabilities, the school will endeavor to make reasonable modifications and otherwise reasonably accommodate students and applicants with disabilities. Students with disabilities should consider their ability to meet the above qualifications with reasonable accommodation. Any requests for accommodation will be evaluated by nursing faculty, with representation from outside the USF School of Nursing and Health Professions as appropriate.

Health Requirements

As health conscious role models, nurses, student nurses, and other health care providers must practice preventive health behaviors. Therefore, the School of Nursing and Health Professions expects certain health promotion and prevention activities of students.

The School of Nursing and Health Professions health requirements, as part of the preparations for entering the clinical laboratories, include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Physical review
  • Tdap (Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertusis)
  • Tuberculin Skin Test by Mantous (PPD only) or Quantiferon Blood test
  • Hepatitis B seropositivity
  • Varicella History (Chicken Pox) seropositivity
  • Measles seropositivity
  • Rubella seropositivity
  • Mumps seropositivity
  • Annual flu shot
  • Proof of Health Insurance


CPR Certification - BLS

All School of Nursing and Health Professions students are required to have a valid Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Certification Basic Life Support. The CPR must include prevention and recognition of cardiovascular disease, infant child and adult CPR, 1 and 2 person rescue, and foreign body airway management. In addition, each semester students must show the instructor current certification as this is a requirement for entry into the clinical laboratory experience. This means students are responsible for the annual renewal of their CPR certification. Only American Heart Association certification is acceptable. NO STUDENT WILL BE ALLOWED ON A CLINICAL UNIT WITHOUT CPR CERTIFICATION.

Liability Insurance

All students in the School of Nursing and Health Professions must carry personal professional liability insurance in order to enter the clinical agencies with which the School has contractual arrangements. The fee for liability insurance is paid by the student at the time of registration, along with other student fees.

CDC Guidelines for Standard Precaution for all Patients

All USF nursing students are expected to follow Standard Precautions as established by the Centers for Disease Control. Information and skill practice will be reviewed with students at the beginning of each clinical rotation and students will be asked to acknowledge in writing that they have reviewed these standard precautions.

Alcoholism, Drug Abuse, and Emotional Illness

The USF School of Nursing and Health Professions and the California Board of Registered Nursing are concerned about students impaired by alcoholism, drug abuse, and emotional illness because these conditions can affect the students' academic and clinical performance, which is a danger to self and a grave danger to the patients in the students' care.

Therefore, the following actions will be implemented if it is determined a student is impaired by alcoholism, drug abuse, or emotional illness:

  1. Referral to the Counseling Center and/or to other health care programs for voluntary diagnosis and treatment.
  2. Immediate corrective action, by the clinical faculty, regarding the student's conduct and performance in the clinical setting.
  3. Information on the consequences (disciplinary action and prevention from being licensed to practice nursing in the State of California) if voluntary assistance is not sought.

Background Check and Drug Testing

The University of San Francisco School of Nursing and Health Professions will require nursing students to submit to drug testing and to a criminal background check prior to clinical practice in some facilities. California Laws regulating the Department of Education, Department of Health Services, and the Department of Social Services require individuals to be fingerprinted and have criminal background checks completed prior to having direct contact with students in public and private schools and day care centers and with clients in adult day care centers. Should this affect nursing students in individual clinical settings, the students will be notified in advance to complete this process which will take up to three months.

Conviction of a Crime

Students must be aware that to be eligible to take the NCLEX RN Exam, they are required under law to report ALL misdemeanor and felony convictions. "Driving under the influence" convictions must also be reported. Convictions must be reported even if they have been expunged under Penal Code 1203.4 or even if a court ordered diversion program has been completed under Penal Code Section 1000.

Eligibility to sit for the NCLEX RN exam is determined by the California Board of Registered Nursing. Consideration is given to the nature and severity of the offense, additional subsequent acts, recency of acts or crimes, compliance with court sanctions, and evidence of rehabilitation.


Students as well as other healthcare workers are required to maintain as confidential all those matters pertaining to the patient. Discussion of the patient with others not involved in the patient's care is inappropriate and unprofessional. When referring to the patient in written work as part of clinical practice, use only the patient's initials. Patient privacy and rights must be protected. Failure to maintain confidentiality may result in legal action from the patient and/or family.


Students are responsible for their own transportation to clinical agencies. Students should make efforts to know classmates who share the same clinical rotation in order to car pool. It is important to plan ahead in securing transportation to and from clinical areas. Students are responsible for knowing whether or not the driver of the car pool has car insurance and are urged to ride only with those who are covered by insurance. USF is not responsible or liable for accidents.

Preparation for Clinical Practice

Students are expected to arrive prepared to care for their patient(s) in the clinical area. Being prepared may include going to the clinical agency the day before clinical practice and preparing a nursing care plan based on data obtained from the patient's chart. A STUDENT'S ARRIVAL AT THE CLINICAL AREA UNPREPARED IS AN UNACCEPTABLE SITUATION THAT MAY RESULT IN REMOVAL OF THE STUDENT FROM THE CLINICAL SETTING AND AN UNSATISFACTORY GRADE IN THE COURSE.

Student's Refusal to Care for any Client

Should a student refuse to care for a client with a communicable disease, the situation will be addressed on an individual basis. It is the responsibility of the student to notify the faculty member of any special circumstances that would affect clinical assignments.

HIV Positive Nursing Students

Students who are diagnosed as HIV positive shall be protected from discrimination according to institutional policy. Please see the policy in the USF "Fogcutter."

Students who are diagnosed as HIV positive may be restricted from certain nursing care situations in accordance with the current CDC guidelines for exposure-prone procedures. Any restrictions of student activities would be determined by a multi-disciplinary committee. The committee may consist of the representatives from the health care facility involved, academic administration, university legal counsel, and selected nursing faculty. The antibody status of the student will be maintained in strict confidence with a minimal number of people having access to this information.

Student Injury or Illness in the Clinical Setting or Classroom

Students and faculty are responsible for reading and adhering to the policy/guidelines for reporting needle sticks, contact with blood-borne pathogens, and infectious disease exposure in the facilities in which they are engaged in a clinical experience.


Nursing students must earn a grade of “C” or better in all nursing courses (NURS 1XX – NURS 4XX) and nursing support courses (Anatomy and Lab, Physiology and Lab, Microbiology and Lab, and General Psychology) in order to progress in the nursing program. Any student who earns less than a grade of “C” in any of the above courses on his/her first attempt must repeat the course and earn a grade of “C” or better on his/her second attempt in order to progress within the nursing curriculum. A course in the School of Nursing and Health Professions may be repeated only once.

The California Board of Registered Nurses requires students to complete Public Speaking, Written Communication, and Sociology with an earned grade of “C” or better. Any student who earns less than a grade of “C” in any of these courses on his/her first attempt must repeat the course and earn a grade of “C” or better on his/her second attempt. Repeating Public Speaking and Sociology will not keep you from progressing in the nursing curriculum. Written Communication must be completed prior to Junior 1 (Nursing Module #3).

Sophomore Progression Policy

To promote nursing program excellence, evaluation data are used to drive the BSN curriculum with the goal of achieving consistently high NCLEX-RN pass rates. Hence, there is an established program-wide testing and progression policy, developed by the School of Nursing and Health Professions Academic Standards Committee and approved by the Faculty. The policy states: Students must earn a minimum score of 850 on the HESI Fundamentals specialty exam to progress in the nursing curriculum. Students who are unsuccessful in achieving the minimum score must take and pass the review course titled "Fundamentals of Nursing Review (1 unit)" offered over intersession and summer terms. During the course, students will have an opportunity to retake the Fundamental specialty test and must earn an 850 or better to progress in the nursing program. The review course may be taken a maximum of twice. For more information, please review the detailed policy available on the Pre-licensure Student portal.

Students may appeal a disqualification to the School of Nursing and Health Professions Academic Standards committee, which makes recommendations to the Dean of the School of Nursing.

Students must pass all the required courses before continuing in the next series at the same level or moving into the next year.

Withdrawal Policy

Withdrawing from a course is allowed at the university. Please see "Withdrawal from the University" for policy on withdrawing.

A nursing student may not withdraw from a clinical course if s/he is failing the course.

Dean's Honor Roll

Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible for the Dean's Honor Roll. A full-time undergraduate Nursing student must be enrolled for twelve or more credits. A full-time graduate Nursing student must be enrolled for eight or more credits.

Because of the uniqueness of the School of Nursing and Health Professions curriculum, clinical courses are graded "S" (Satisfactory) or "U" (Unsatisfactory). Typically, only courses graded "A" through "F" are counted toward a student's eligibility of the Dean's Honor Roll. However, in nursing, the hours of a clinical course will be counted toward the "graded" credit requirement necessary to be eligible.

Unsafe Clinical Practice

Definition: Any act, practice or omission during clinical practice that fails to conform to the accepted standards of the nursing profession which may directly or indirectly cause physiological and/or emotional harm to others.

The acuity level of patients demands that the student enter the clinical area fully knowledgeable about the patients' problems, the course of treatment and their responses during hospitalization, their past history, and the rationale for all nursing interventions. Students who enter the clinical area unprepared cannot remain in the clinical area.

If a student's performance is deemed "unsafe" he/she may be removed from the clinical area or reassigned duties/supervision to protect the client. Students who are evaluated as “unsafe” may be required to develop and complete a performance improvement plan or may immediately be assigned an unsatisfactory grade for the course depending on the egregiousness of the event.

Integrity is absolutely essential to the practice of professional nursing. Evidence of deliberate dishonesty is unacceptable and will result in immediate failure of a course. Safe clinical performance may include, but is not limited to, the following behaviors:

  • Preparation for clinical assignments according to course requirements.
  • Assessment and evaluation of a patient's physical and/or emotional status.
  • Provisions of care which may be required to stabilize a patient's condition or prevent complications.
  • Prompt reporting of significant patient information to appropriate person(s).
  • Provision of clear, accurate, and complete verbal and/or written information to the appropriate person(s) regarding the patient's condition, treatment, or nursing care.
  • Administration of medications and/or treatments in a responsible manner.
  • Demonstration of the application of previously learned skills and principles in providing nursing care.
  • Compliance with institutional policies and procedures in implementing nursing care.
  • Practice within educational level, experience, and/or responsibilities while in the role of the student nurse.

Note: Students may not drop or withdraw from any clinical course if their performance has been deemed unsafe. They will receive an immediate grade of "unsatisfactory" for the course and be removed from the clinical settings.

Nursing faculty will utilize the following procedure related to unsafe practice in the clinical setting by a nursing student:

  • Provide detailed, progressive, written evaluation on Academic Improvement Form, in a timely manner, share this with the student and encourage the student to sign the form.
  • Clearly identify problems with failure to meet standards for safe practice as outlined in clinical syllabus.
  • Document specific recommendations for achieving student improvement in collaboration with student.
  • Provide definitions of expectations of the clinical that are not being met.
  • Communicate with the Department Chair to inform them of potential student problems and seek consultation and support.
  • Initiate a Learning Resource Center Student Referral Form (BSN Nursing Student Handbook - Appendix G) if the problem is related to skills weakness. This provides the student with the opportunity to improve psychomotor skills. In general, the skills deficiency should be corrected within one week of the initiation of the form.

Policy Changes

Change in any of the above policies and the addition of new policies are included in the nursing handbook available to the beginning of a student's first semester.

The University of San Francisco School of Nursing and Health Professions reserves the right to add, amend, or cancel any of its programs, regulations, rules, policies, and procedures, in whole or in part, at such time as it may choose and for any reason. None shall be construed as, operate as, or have the effect of an abridgment or limitation of any rights, powers, or privileges of the University of San Francisco School of Nursing. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in the publications. Students are advised, however, that such information is subject to change without notice and they should consult with the Office of the Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions for current information. Information in this Publication does not constitute a contract between the University of San Francisco School of Nursing and Health Professions and a student or an applicant for admission.