2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog

First Professional Nursing Degree

First Professional Degree Program (FPD)

The BS in Nursing program provides a first professional degree for entry into the nursing profession. At the conclusion of four years of study, students are eligible to take the National Certification Licensure Examination (NCLEX) developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) in the United States.

Qualified applicants are admitted into the First Professional Degree Program in the College of Nursing. Students must successfully meet the First Professional Degree Program progression requirements to remain in the nursing program. Upon successful completion of freshman prerequisite coursework with an overall GPA of 2.8 or higher and grades no lower than C+ in science and math courses, students enroll in nursing coursework in the fall semester of the sophomore year. The course sequence is outlined in the Plan of Study. To receive a BS in Nursing, First Professional Degree program students must successfully complete 120–122 credit hours, 55 of which are the Nursing major requirements. Students must maintain the overall GPA and course grade requirements and must demonstrate safe and competent practice in all nursing clinical and laboratory settings while adhering to the published professional standards of conduct (see Nursing Student Guide online at Nursing Student Guides— Sacred Heart University).

Admission to the Nursing Major

First Professional Degree Program

  • Incoming freshmen applicants to Sacred Heart University who meet admission criteria established by the College of Nursing will be notified of their acceptance by Undergraduate Admissions.
  • Acceptance into Nursing is competitive and predominately based on scholarly achievement during the last three years of high school (particularly in science and advanced placement courses). Admission essays and evidence of community service and other extracurricular contributions will also be taken into account.
  • Students are accepted directly into the Nursing program.
  • All freshman nursing students must successfully complete the prerequisite courses and achieve a cumulative GPA of 2.8 or higher and a grade of C+ or higher in science and math coursework.
  • Students who do not successfully complete prerequisite requirements, including the GPA requirement, will be recommended for dismissal from the Nursing program.
  • Students with an adverse criminal background check may be deemed ineligible to sit for the NCLEX and/or obtain a professional license to practice Nursing. It is the student’s sole responsibility to discuss this issue directly with the State Board of Nursing where he/she intends to take the NCLEX.

Differential Tuition

Sacred Heart University has implemented a differential tuition for the First Professional Degree Nursing program. The cost of nursing education is increased relative to other majors due to intensive clinical laboratory courses and clinical supervision required to maintain the professional standards of nursing education in addition to the associated expenses of clinical education. This charge will be reflected as a program fee each semester in addition to undergraduate tuition and fees. The fee will be initiated for nursing students beginning in their sophomore year.

Lab Fees

Clinical laboratory fees are attached to courses that involve laboratory activities, simulation, or practical exams. These fees are used to offset expenses associated with these learning activities.

Nursing Assessment Fee

A one-time assessment fee is levied in the sophomore year for individualized testing and evaluation that occurs throughout the nursing major courses. Students receive supplemental and remedial study materials in addition to individual feedback on assessments and recommendations for improvement. Questions about these fees and activities should be directed to the Director of the First Professional Degree Program or the Dean of the College of Nursing.

Nursing Verification/Health Requirements Documentation Fee

The First Professional Degree Nursing program requires the successful completion of clinical and fieldwork experiences. These experiences are offered through facilities and settings off-campus.

All clinical educational sites require the College of Nursing to verify that each student placed in a clinical setting has met the necessary health requirements as designated by the clinical site. The College of Nursing uses an outside vendor to collect and verify this information. There is a one-time fee associated with this process, which the student will pay directly to the assigned vendor.

On or before the fall term, incoming freshman students in the First Professional Degree program must submit completed and approved health documentation to the vendor for verification. A listing of these requirements is available through the vendor or the Contract Coordinator. All health documents must be renewed and updated as required during the entire time students are enrolled in the Nursing program. Please keep copies of all health documents for your files. Students may not attend clinical or classroom activities without health clearance. Students who miss clinical activities due to non-compliance are at risk for not meeting clinical objectives which may result in course failure, probation, and/or recommendation for dismissal from the program. Healthcare agency placement agreements and patient safety needs require strict compliance with health screening requirements.

Special Clinical Agency Requests/Criminal Background Checks/Drug Screenings

All students must satisfactorily complete an initial criminal background check 30 days prior start of spring semester of sophomore year. Clinical sites vary with time requirements, from one month to twelve months prior to the start of the clinical rotation. Updated background checks are necessary 30 days prior to the start of the spring semester (first day of class) annually until the completion of the program. Additional checks may be required in order to be compliant with certain clinical agencies and students are expected to repeat as necessary.

Please note, the College of Nursing has the responsibility to disclose results of the background check to our clinical agency partners for placement. If a result precludes the student from being placed with our clinical agencies, the student will be unable to progress in the clinical course and ultimately the program.

The majority of the clinical sites require students to undergo drug screening prior to participating in clinical rotations. To be in compliance with the requirements as outlined in the affiliation agreements with these clinical agencies, nursing students are required to complete a drug screen. The Drug Screening procedure is outlined in the Nursing Student Guide on the College of Nursing website.

Student Learning Outcomes

Liberal Education (Essential I)

  • Integrates knowledge from the biological, behavioral, social, and nursing sciences when providing care to patients with complex alterations in health.
  • Integrates knowledge of pathophysiology, pharmacology, and nutrition when providing care to patients, families, communities, and populations.

Leadership (Essential II)

  • Evaluate and provide safe, high-quality healthcare based on an understanding of organizational and systems leadership models.
  • Apply leadership concepts, skills, and decision-making when coordinating the care of selected clients in a variety of settings.

Quality Improvement (Essential II)

  • Evaluate and provide safe, high-quality healthcare based on an understanding of organizational and systems leadership models.
  • Participate in quality and patient safety initiatives that impact patient care and system issues.

Safety (Essential II)

  • Evaluate and provide safe, high-quality healthcare based on an understanding of organizational and systems leadership models.
  • Participate in quality and patient safety initiatives, recognizing that these are complex system issues that involve individuals, families, groups, communities, populations, and other members of the healthcare team.
  • Apply quality improvement processes and safety enhancing technology to effectively implement patient safety initiatives and monitor performance measures, including nurse-sensitive indicators in the micro system of care.

Evidence-Based Practice (Essential III)

  • Provide professional nursing care that is grounded in current evidence.
  • Discriminate between valid and invalid research for modifying clinical practice along with clinical expertise and patient/family preferences.
  • Evaluate and propose changes based on evidence-based practice to structure the work environment to facilitate integration of new evidence into practice.
  • Value the concept of evidence-based practice as integral to determining best clinical practice.

Informatics (Essential IV)

  • Use computer information management systems and patient care technology to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of patient care.
  • Use computer information systems to monitor and coordinate the care of patients with complex alterations in health.
  • Integrate the use of technology and information systems to adapt patient care based on an analysis of expected and actual patient outcomes.

Healthcare Policy (Essential V)

  • Integrate knowledge of healthcare policy, finance, and regulatory factors that influence healthcare delivery and nursing practice.
  • Finance: Analyze the costs and availability of healthcare options for individuals, families, communities, and select populations.
  • Healthcare Policy: Analyze healthcare policies that impact the delivery of healthcare and make recommendations for change based on that analysis.
  • Regulatory: Examine the state’s nurse practice act in relation to the scope of practice of registered nurses in that state.

Interprofessional Collaboration/Communication (Essential VI)

  • Provide effective patient-centered care as a member of the interprofessional healthcare team by fostering open communication, mutual respect, and shared decision-making.
  • Participate in the development, implementation, and evaluation of intra- and interprofessional projects.
  • Provide effective patient-centered care as a member of the interprofessional healthcare team by fostering open communication, mutual respect, and shared decision-making.
  • Acknowledge own potential to contribute to effective team functioning.

Health Promotion-Disease/Injury Prevention (Essential VII)

  • Support culturally competent health promotion and disease/injury prevention activities across the lifespan at the individual and population level to improve population health.
  • Perform population-based screenings to identify potential health related risks and intervene as appropriate to minimize the risk of disease.
  • Collaborate with others to develop a plan of care that takes into account determinants, available resources, and the range of activities that contribute to health and the prevention of illness, injury, disability, and premature death.
  • Advocate for social justice including a commitment to the health of vulnerable populations and the elimination of health disparities.

Professionalism (Essential VIII)

  • Demonstrate the core values of professionalism that support achievement of optimal health and wellness outcomes in patients, families, communities, and populations.
  • Articulate the value of pursuing practice excellence, lifelong learning, and professional engagement to foster professional growth and development.
  • Act to prevent, recognize, and intervene when unsafe, illegal, or unethical care practices are being carried out by members of the healthcare team.
  • Promote the image of nursing by modeling the values and articulating the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of the nursing profession.

Patient-Centered Care (Essential IX)

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of patient-centered care as a member of the interprofessional healthcare team.
  • Develop and evaluate care that reflects spiritual, cultural, ethnic, and social preferences, values, and needs of patients, families, communities, and populations.
  • Respect the centrality of the patient/family as core members of any healthcare team. (QSEN teamwork and collaboration attitudes)

Clinical Judgment (Essential X)

  • Make individualized patient care related clinical judgments that are based on knowledge and evidence and developed through the process of clinical reasoning.
  • Use evidence and clinical reasoning to support the management of care based on an ongoing evaluation of patient outcomes.

Freshman Prerequisite Courses for Matriculation to the BS in Nursing Program

Fall Freshman Year: 14 or 16 credits

Spring Freshman Year: 14 or 16 credits

CTL 125Critical Thinking


FYS 125First Year Seminar



PS 110Introduction to Psychology


CH 117General Organic & Biochemistry: An Overview


CH 119General Organic & Biochemistry Lab


BI 126Nursing Anatomy & Physiology I


BI 127Nursing Anatomy & Physiology I Laboratory


BI 128Nursing Anatomy & Physiology II


BI 129Nursing Anatomy & Physiology II Laboratory


MA 105Mathematical Applications for Health Sciences


Foundational Core Course/Thematic Liberal Arts Course (3 credits each)

Foundational Core Course/Thematic Liberal Arts Course (3 credits each)

Additional Foundational Core Course in addition to PS 110 and CH 117/119 can be taken Year 1 Semester 1 or Year 1 Semester 2.

See Undergraduate Catalog Degrees and Curricula for course information.

Foundational Core subject areas include: Natural/Physical Science, Literature, History, Arts/Design/Communication, Philosophy, Theology/Religion, and Social/Behavioral Science.

  • CH 117/119 can be taken Year 1 Semester 1 or Year 1 Semester 2
  • PS 110 can be taken in Year 1 Semester 1 or Year 1 Semester 2

Additional Required Courses for the BS in Nursing

Fall Sophomore Year: 15 or 16 credits

Spring Sophomore Year: 15 or 16 credits

NU 205/205LFoundations of Professional Nursing


NU 310Pathophysiology


NU 220/220LPharmacology & Nursing Implications


NU 215/215LHealth Assessment


BI 161Introduction to Microbiology


BI 162Introduction to Microbiology Laboratory


SO 110Sociological Imagination


SO 239Diversity & Oppression in Contemporary Society



AN 110Human Cultural Diversity


Foundational Core Course/Thematic Liberal Arts Course (3 credits each)

CIT 201/202The Human Journey Seminars: Great Books in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

3 CR each

See Undergraduate Catalog Degrees and Curricula for Foundational Core Courses and Liberal Arts Exporations requirements.

Fall Junior Year: 16 credits

Spring Junior Year: 14 credits

NU 210Health & Wellness & Cultural Diversity


NU 300Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing


NU 330Care of the Childbearing Family


NU 340Introduction to Adult Nursing


NU 365Evidence-Based Nursing Practice


MA 131Elementary Statistics


PS 251Life Span Development Psychology

Foundational Core Course/Thematic Liberal Arts Course (3 credits each for a total of 9 credits in Junior Year).

See Undergraduate Catalog Degrees and Curricula for Foundational Core Courses and Liberal Arts Explorations requirements.

Fall Senior Year: 16 credits

Spring Senior Year: 13-15 credits

NU 360Adult Nursing II


NU 370Nursing Leadership


NU 374Concepts in Child Health Nursing



NU 365Evidence-Based Nursing Practice


NU 381Public Health Nursing


NU 390Senior Synthesis Seminar


NU 395Transitions into Professional Nursing Practice


TRS 340Bioethics: Religious Approaches



PH 353Bioethics: Philosophical Approaches


Foundational Core Course and/or Elective Course.