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College of Nursing Handbook, Section 2: College policies, procedure and guidelines

Section 2: Table of Contents

  1. Academic Integrity and Appeals
  2. Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
  3. Air/Ground Transport of Patients
  4. Awards, Recognitions and Honor Societies
  5. Billing Procedure for an Unexcused Off or On-Campus Clinical
  6. Cancellation of Classes/Clinical Laboratories
  7. Curricular Framework
  8. Clinical Facilities
    1. Health/Community Agency Agreement Request Form
  9. College Handbook, Policy Format, Review and Revision
  10. Communicable Disease Guidelines
  11. Continuing Nursing Education
  12. Events, College of Nursing
  13. Exposure Determination Guideline and Reporting Procedure
  14. Guest Speakers in Classroom
  15. Harassment
  16. Impaired Students
  17. Laboratory Safety
  18. Management of Acute Traumatic Stress: Workplace & Educational Settings
  19.  NFE and ACES Evaluation Via Docusign Instructions
  20. Ownership of College Materials and Books
    1. Book Requests
  21. Petition Process
  22. Poster Template, Guideline
  23. Records, Retention and Destruction
  24. References, Releases of Information, Recommendations
  25. Regulatory Compliance Assurance
  26. Reimbursement for Additional State Licenses
  27. Social Media
  28. Student Complaint Process for Graduate and Undergraduate Programs, Guideline
  29. Students as Research Participants
  30. Student Participation in Conducting Research
  31. Syllabus
    1. Graduate Syllabus Template
    2. RN to B.S.N. Course Syllabus Template
    3. Undergraduate Theory Course Syllabus Template
    4. Undergraduate Clinical Course Syllabus Template
  32. Travel - Student
  33. Use of Mobile Devices in a Clinical Setting
  34. Work-Study Assistance

2-1. Academic Integrity and Appeals

See South Dakota State University Policy and Procedure Manual Student Academic Misconduct and Academic Appeals Policy Manual 2:4.

2-2. Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Description: Policies, procedures and resources related to Disability Services available at SDSU to provide for an inclusive learning environment. All course syllabi are required to include the ADA syllabus statement as outlined in the SDSU Course Syllabus Policy (see link below). In order for accommodations to be made, students who have a documented disability or who suspect that they may have a disability must coordinate with the Office of Disability Services to ensure that documentation is on file and that appropriate accommodations are made in compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and Section
504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Associated link(s):

Formerly Policy #C1100
Reviewed by the bylaws and handbook committee 12/2015, 11/2021; University links updated 1/2016

2-3. Air/Ground Transport of Patients

Description: The College of Nursing does not approve of students participating in any clinical experience involving air/ground transportation of patients.

It is the College of Nursing’s policy that students are not allowed to participate in air/ground transportation of patients during any clinical assignments. The reasons for this decision are students’ safety, university’s liability and the fact that there are no contractual agreements between the CON and any ground/air transport agencies. Each course syllabus, where clinical assignments are required, will include this policy statement. Students failing to follow the stated policy will be subject to disciplinary action.

Reviewed by the bylaws and handbook committee: 11/2012, 4/2017, 4/2020

2-4. Awards, Recognitions and Honor Societies

Description: To describe faculty/staff awards, honor societies and student recognitions.

Faculty/Professional Staff Awards:

  1. Dean’s Scholar Award – This award is offered to doctorally prepared, full-time faculty by invitation of the Leadership Team for summer work on a clinically significant, research-focused project. The amount of money varies, but typically is awarded to two or three faculty, depending on the quality of the proposals. A presentation (e.g., poster, oral, PowerPoint, etc.) of the outcomes is expected for the College of Nursing Research Day. Information about this award is available from any member of the Leadership Team. Proposals are due to the dean in May.
  2. Faculty Award for Excellence in Leadership, Teaching and Scholarship – This award recognizes SDSU faculty in the College of Nursing who demonstrate significant achievements in leadership, teaching and scholarship.
  3. Distinguished Service Award – Nominees for this award may be selected from the following categories: 1) distinguished service to the health care professions, 2) distinguished service to the health care professions in South Dakota, 3) distinguished service to the SDSU College of Nursing.
  4. Civil Service/Professional Staff Award for Excellence – This award recognizes an SDSU civil service or professional staff member currently employed in the College of Nursing who demonstrates significant leadership, commitment or dedication to the mission and values of the College of Nursing.

Faculty and Student Honor Societies:

Sigma Theta Tau International is the honor society of Nursing. Membership is available for students and nurse leaders. Student candidates must demonstrate superior scholastic achievement, academic integrity, and professional leadership potential. Nurse leaders must be a registered nurse, have a minimum of a baccalaureate degree or the equivalent in any field, and demonstrate achievement in nursing. Membership is by invitation only.

Student Recognitions and Awards:

  1. Mary Adams Outstanding Graduating Senior Award – The award recipient is a graduating senior selected by peers based on the following qualities: demonstrated behaviors of “caring for and about people,” ability to lead and love of learning and inquiry. Current guidelines are available in Nursing Student Services.
  2. Academic Excellence Award – This award is given to the Rapid City graduating senior student with the highest cumulative grade point average (CGPA). The award is sponsored by the Rapid City undergraduate faculty.
  3. Evolution Award – This is given to the Rapid City graduating senior who has made the greatest transition from novice student nurse to graduating professional nurse. Descriptive nominations for the award are solicited from the senior class. A committee of two faculty and two students reviews the nomination forms and makes the final selection. This award is sponsored by Foundation Spring Health Care System.
  4. Rural Nurse Fellows – The Undergraduate Rural Nurse Fellowship was developed as part of a federal grant designed to strengthen the use of technology-based learning in order to meet rural health needs. In order to strengthen our partnership with rural health facilities and equip our students with a deep appreciation for the complex role of rural nursing, we adapted our existing senior semester practicum experience to a rural hospital setting. As part of the Rural Nurse Fellowship, coursework completed this semester focused on the unique aspects of rural health care. An Outstanding Rural Nurse Fellow is also recognized.
  5. Outstanding Graduate Student – Each semester, an Outstanding Graduate student is selected by the Graduate Faculty. 
  6. Student Nurses Association – Students are recognized for participation and engagement with the Student Nurses Association during the Pinning Ceremony at their respective sites.

Associated link(s):

Formerly policy #C1120

*Requires InsideState password

2-5. Billing Procedure for an Unexcused Off or On-Campus Clinical

Any absence will require that the student make up the missed hours and assignments. The make-up for unexcused absence may be required to occur outside of any pre-scheduled dates. It is the responsibility of the student to initiate via jacks e-mail the process of scheduling makeup within twenty-four hours (M-F) after the absence to the faculty of record.

Billing Procedure

For an unexcused absence, the student will be billed by the College of Nursing for the number of hours missed:

Off Campus Clinical

  • 4 hours of missed clinical = $132.00
  • 8 hours of missed clinical = $265.00
  • 12 hours of missed clinical = $398.00

On-Campus Clinical (includes skills lab, face-to-face simulation, virtual simulation)

  • < = 2 hours = $66.00
  • >2 - 4 hours = $132.00
  • >4 - 6 hours = $200.00
  • >6 - 8 hours  = $265.00

Community Clinical

Based on the diversity of community clinical experiences, unexcused absences will be handled on an individual basis.

The student’s grade for the course will be recorded as Incomplete if payment is not received before the end of the semester/term.

Procedural Steps

  • Clinical Teaching Assistant/Instructor and student notifies faculty of record of absence within 24 hours.
  • Faculty of record will initiate a Performance Improvement Plan
  • Faculty of record contacts Dean’s Office Program Assistant I (Tracy Roiger) with the following information:
    • Student name
    • Program site and if standard or accelerated
    • Student email, phone number and mailing address
    • Course number
    • Date of missed clinical
    • # of hours missed (simulation hours = actual simulation hours on campus)
  • Dean’s Office Program Assistant I (Tracy Roiger) to send invoice to student via email and USPS
  • Dean’s Office Program Assistant I (Tracy Roiger) tracks payment and notifies student and faculty of record if unpaid.

Developed 07/2017, Rev 12/17, Rev 1/18, Rev 12/18; 5/2022

2-6. Cancellation of Classes/Clinical Laboratories

Description: To provide safety and uniformity on cancellation of classes/clinical laboratories.

Cancellation of Classes

  • Brookings
    • Only the SDSU university president or her/his designee may cancel on-campus classes due to weather conditions.
  • Rapid City
    • Only the Assistant Dean or her/his designee, in consultation with the Dean of Nursing, may cancel clinical experiences, cancel classes and, when needed, close the Rapid City site. Weather-related department closure will be consistent with closures at other Rapid City BOR institutions. However, the Rapid City office may remain open even when hospital or community clinical experiences are canceled due to hazardous weather conditions in the local and surrounding area that affect travel. The Assistant Dean is responsible for notifying the President when the decision to close the office is determined.
  • Sioux Falls
    • Only the University Center Executive Director or her/his designee may cancel on-campus classes due to weather conditions.
    • Only the Associate Dean or her/his designee, in consultation with the Dean of the College of Nursing, may cancel all nursing classes and clinical laboratories.
  • Aberdeen
    • Only the NSU university president or her/his designee may cancel on-campus classes due to weather conditions.
  • Online courses
    • Telecommunications classes will be canceled if the site of the classroom is closed by the decision of the university president or the director of the institution in which the classroom is located. If a class is offered at the origination site, tapes of the class session will be made available to students at the receiving site(s). Completely online courses will be held as scheduled.

Cancellation of Clinical Laboratory

  • All sites
    • The Associate Deans/Assistant Dean will monitor weather conditions by news reports and by contacting sources of information such as the Sheriff’s Office, City Police Departments, South Dakota Highway Patrol, and nursing faculty in outlying areas. If the recommendation from an Associate Dean/Assistant Dean is “No Travel,” a decision will be made not to go to out-of-home campus locations. Teams may designate an alternative experience if there are no make-up days available.
    • In the event of a cancellation/school closure, the Associate Dean/Assistant Dean will be in contact with the faculty of record, who will notify other faculty, students, and the clinical agency. Involved faculty should call the Associate Dean/Assistant Dean if they have concerns about the weather and have not been contacted.
    • When “No travel is advised” warnings go into effect, the Motor Pool closes. As a result, the appropriate Associate Dean/Assistant Dean will notify the faculty of record that the clinical is to be postponed or canceled. The Associate Dean/Assistant Dean will also notify the secretary in charge of travel arrangements to cancel or make adjustments for Motor Pool vehicles as necessary.

Cancellation of Clinical Laboratories Already in Progress

  • All sites
    • Faculty with clinical laboratory sections in progress outside the home campuses will monitor weather conditions from sources of information such as the Sheriff’s Office, City Police Departments, South Dakota Highway Patrol and other faculty on site. After consultation with the Associate Dean/Assistant Dean the decision may be made to cancel sections of the clinical laboratory affected by this situation. Faculty of record will proceed to notify faculty and students of the cancellation. Faculty in outlying areas unable to contact the Associate Dean/Assistant Dean or Dean may send students home early if hazardous weather develops during the experience. Faculty and students may stay in the city in which the clinical agency is located if it is not prudent to travel. The motel will be provided by the College of Nursing, preferably using one of the motels that has a previous agreement with the college or one offering state rates.
    • Faculty who find it impossible to meet the assigned class or clinical laboratory due to weather must take a personal leave day. Requests are to be submitted online through SNAP. (Please refer to the SDSU Personnel Handbook for further information.)

Notification of News Media

  • Information regarding cancellation or delay of classes will be provided to appropriate television and radio news media serving the locality affected by designated university authorities.

Associated link(s):

Revised and approved by the bylaws and handbook committee 1/2016; University links updated 4/2016

2-7. Curricular Framework

Description: Curricular framework  information can be found on InsideState*.

*Requires InsideState password
Formerly Policy #C1260

Reviewed by the bylaws and handbook committee 3/2016, 2/2019, 3/2022; University links updated 4/2016; Revised 5/2022

2-8. Clinical Facilities

Description: The purpose of this policy is to clarify service institution or agency requirements for practicum/clinical experiences.

Clinical facilities retain ultimate responsibility for care given to clients. An affiliation agreement between the facility and SDSU College of Nursing is required for all clinical or community experiences. Faculty may not place students in an agency or institution prior to a fully signed affiliation agreement. These affiliation agreements are maintained in the Dean’s Office. These documents also include assurance from the educational institution that the students are academically and clinically competent to provide professional nursing care. The philosophy of the facility should be consistent with that of SDSU College of Nursing. Furthermore, the administration and nursing staff should be supportive of baccalaureate education. Students and faculty must comply with policies of the clinical agency and affiliation agreement requirements.
Nursing faculty have the responsibility to recommend clinical facilities that will provide learning experiences appropriate for the course objectives and to evaluate these experiences.
Associated link(s):

Reviewed by the bylaws and handbook committee 11/2016, 1/2020; University links updated 12/2015

2-8a. Health/Community Agency Agreement Request Form

See health/community agency agreement request form.

2-9. College Handbook, Policy Format, Review and Revision

Purpose: Describes the procedures for revisions to the College of Nursing Organization bylaws and the processes and procedures for development, review and revision of policies.
The Bylaws and College Handbook Committee will develop and maintain the online handbook which reflects the current bylaws, policies and guidelines of the College of Nursing. All College of Nursing policies, guidelines and bylaws are available via the online handbook.
Procedures for revisions
  1. College of Nursing Handbook
    1. Policies are the rules and procedures that support the college organization. The website provides all organizational information. Resources are specific to the overall College of Nursing faculty, staff and students.
  2. Faculty, Staff and Students’ Responsibility Regarding the College of Nursing Handbook
    1. Faculty, staff and students are responsible for reading and implementing approved policies of the College of Nursing. When a new policy is needed or an existing policy is in need of revision, the individual is to inform the supervisor or coordinator, who assures that the information is provided to the chair of the Bylaws and College Handbook Committee. After discussion within the committee, a recommendation is made by the committee and the chair sends the request and the committee recommendation to the Executive Committee, who will consider the item as new business and respond to the request for consideration from the Bylaws and College Handbook Committee. The tasks of writing new policies, or reviewing and revising existing policies, is usually completed within the Bylaws and College Handbook Committee; however, other committees and members may submit draft proposed policies to the Bylaws and College Handbook Committee.
  3. Policy Format
    1. Calibri font in 12-point font is used for all policies.
    2. The College of Nursing logo appears in the upper left corner on each page.
    3. The policy history appears in the lower left hand corner of the last page, blocked to the left margin.
    4. Policy number and title appears centered and bold at the top of the first page.
    5. Space down one line. The first paragraph should describe the purpose of the policy.
    6. The header appears in the upper right corner starting on the second page of the policy and includes: a) Policy Number-Policy Title (or former policy title and number) b) Page number.
    7. The policy history appears in the lower left hand corner of the last page, blocked to the left margin, in 8- point font and includes the policy number, date of review/revision, and date that the handbook link was updated.
  4. Procedure for Creating New Policies
    1. After consideration of the need for a new policy by the Bylaws and College Handbook and support from the Executive Committee, members of the College of Nursing Organization may submit new policy drafts to the Bylaws and College Handbook Committee chair. References used in formulating the policy should be attached. If there is no policy draft, the work of writing a draft policy is assigned to a task force comprised of committee members and other appointees as needed.
    2. The committee reviews the draft of the new policy.
    3. Once the committee has given approval, the drafted policy is submitted to the Executive Committee for review. The Executive Committee chair responds to the Bylaws and College Handbook committee chair with recommendations for change or approval.
    4. The Bylaws and College Handbook Committee reviews the policy with the proposed changes. If committee members do not approve of the draft policy, they submit this information to the Executive Committee with suggested changes.
    5. The Bylaws and College Handbook Committee make new policies available to members of the College of Nursing organization thirty (30) calendar days before the faculty vote for approval/disapproval.
    6. The committee then brings the final draft to the members of the College of Nursing organization for final approval and adoption.
    7. The committee member assigned to the policy makes the changes that are included during the final approval at the College of Nursing organization meeting.
    8. At the end of each semester the chair of the Bylaws and College Handbook Committee will send the approved policies to the program assistant in the Dean’s Office via email. Documents will be checked and then uploaded to the College of Nursing Handbook website. The policies will be published to the web by a member of the Bylaws and College Handbook Committee with assistance from the Dean’s office.
    9. New policies must be posted on the web page within thirty (30) days after they are approved.
  5. Procedure for Reviewing Policies
    1. College, Faculty, and Undergraduate policies.
      1. The Bylaws and College Handbook Committee will review policies and guidelines on a planned rotating basis. Each section will be reviewed every third year - College, Faculty, Undergraduate.
      2. Links to other policies and web-related resources will be reviewed annually.
    2. Graduate policies.
      1. The graduate faculty will review graduate program policies and guidelines every third year.
      2. Major revisions to graduate department policies will be submitted to the Bylaws and College Handbook Committee for information purposes.
  6. Procedure for Revising Policies
    1. Members of the College of Nursing organization submit in writing to the Bylaws and College Handbook Committee chair any policy proposed for revision. References used to substantiate the proposed revision are attached.
    2. The committee chair assigns the policy revision to a member of the committee.
    3. The committee reviews the revised policy and makes the recommended changes.
    4. Once the committee has given approval, the revised policy is submitted to the Executive Committee.
    5. The Executive Committee reviews and sends recommended changes to the Bylaws and College Handbook Committee.
    6. If the committee does not approve of the revised policy, they may discuss it with Executive Committee for review and agreement.
    7. The committee must make revised policies available to faculty ten (10) calendar days before the faculty vote of approval/disapproval.
    8. The committee then distributes the final revision to the members of the College of Nursing Organization for approval and adoption.
    9. The corrected policy is sent to the Dean’s program assistant via e-mail. The program assistant checks the copy for spelling or formatting errors, then saves the final version to the website.
    10. The policy information will be updated to the most recent review or revision date current and will be posted within 30 days.
Reviewed by the bylaws and handbook committee 12/2016; Approved by the bylaws and handbook committee 5/2017

2-10. Communicable Disease Guidelines

Purpose: To provide guidance for faculty, clinical teaching assistants, and students who are diagnosed with communicable diseases.

Description: Individuals with communicable diseases representing SDSU in clinical settings should refer to the policy put forth by SDBOR and any applicable policies in place at the clinical site(s).

Associated link(s):

Reviewed by the bylaws and handbook committee 04/2021; University links updated 04/2021

2-11. Continuing Nursing Education

Description: The College of Nursing Continuing Education Office provides relicensure education for previously licensed RNs and LPNs.

Associated link(s):
Formerly Policy# C13
Reviewed by the bylaws and handbook committee 2/2018, 3/2021; University links updated 1/2016, 8/2016

2-12. Events: Hooding and Pinning Ceremonies, White Coat Ceremony and Distinguished Lecture Series

Purpose: The College of Nursing hosts many formal ceremonies each year to celebrate important academic milestones for College of Nursing students and to recognize outstanding individuals who have earned awards and/or scholarships. This policy outlines specific information related to each ceremony.

Description: Events hosted by the College of Nursing are coordinated by Nursing Student Services in conjunction with staff at each site to provide a consistent experience for all students participating in the ceremonies.

White Coat Ceremony

Students participating in the White Coat ceremony are required to wear their hospital clinical attire to the ceremony and follow standards for clinical appearance. The ceremony program will include a speaker who will provide brief comments and the presentation of the White Coats to each individual student. Ceremonies will be held early in the first semester of the professional program at each site.

Scholarship & Awards Ceremony

Students who receive a scholarship awarded by the College of Nursing are invited to, and required to attend, a ceremony to recognize the award. Ceremonies are held in Brookings and Rapid City during the fall semester. Scholarship recipients from the Sioux Falls and Aberdeen sites will be recognized at the ceremony in Brookings. If a student is unable to attend due to a course or clinical conflict, the student must notify the Nursing Student Services office of the conflict as soon as possible. If a student has a conflict that is not course related, it must be approved by the Director of Nursing Student Services.

Students and guests should dress appropriately (minimum of business casual) for the ceremony. Clothing items such as jeans, t-shirts, flip-flops, etc. would be inappropriate for this event.

Additional awards may be recognized during this ceremony, which may include, but are not limited to:

  • Distinguished Service Award
  • Teacher of the Year
  • Civil Service/Professional Staff Award for Excellence
  • Faculty Award for Excellence
  • Student Leadership Recognition
  • Scholarships awarded specifically to nursing students by SDSU Admissions or the Fishback Honors College
  • External Scholarships that are specific to nursing that are awarded to SDSU students (Avera ARCH, Brookings Hospital Auxiliary, Sanford Nursing Loan Forgiveness)

Pinning and Hooding Ceremony

Participation in the Pinning and Hooding Ceremony is strongly encouraged for students graduating at any of our sites across the state. Students and faculty participating in the ceremonies are required to wear formal academic attire including the appropriate gown and cap for the degree earned. Undergraduate nursing graduates will receive their nursing pins during the ceremony. Hooding will take place for graduates receiving a Master’s degree or Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree at each ceremony. PhD graduates participating in the Brookings-based Pinning and Hooding ceremony in the spring will be recognized during the ceremony and will be officially hooded during the Graduate Commencement exercises the following day. PhD graduates participating in fall and summer will be hooded at the Pinning and Hooding ceremony, as there is no formal graduation ceremony during the fall and summer semesters.

  • Awards specific to the graduating students may be recognized during the ceremony. Refer to Awards, Recognitions, and Honor Societies Guideline for more information.

Student achievements, honors and involvement may also be recognized during the ceremony and may vary by site and degrees included in the ceremony.  Recognitions may include, but are not limited to, the areas listed below.

  • Achievements: Sigma Theta Tau, Phi Kappa Phi, Golden Key, Mortar Board, Alpha Lambda Delta
  • Honors: Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, and Summa Cum Laude
  • Involvement:  Student Nurses Association, Nurses Christian Fellowship, Nursing Student Ambassadors, Students Association (College of Nursing Representative)

Distinguished Lecture Series

The Helen K. Grace and Nursing Deans Distinguished Lectureship plays an important role in the college by providing research inspiration to future and current nurses, and by expanding South Dakota State University’s and South Dakota’s horizons. The lecture series brings to campus nationally recognized professionals in nursing to speak on the latest issues in the field. The lectureship is held during the spring semester each year and typically at the end of March early April.

Research Symposium

The College of Nursing, in collaboration with Sigma Theta Tau, Phi Chapter, sponsors an annual symposium which focuses on nursing research. A respected nurse researcher provides the keynote address. Faculty, Sigma Theta Tau members, other nurses, and students are invited to submit proposals to present their research in oral or poster presentation format.

Associated link(s):

2-13. Exposure Determination Guideline and Reporting Procedure

Purpose of Guideline and Procedure

  1. Define significant body substance exposure to potentially infectious materials.
  2. Define the responsibility of faculty members to students regarding validation of Universal Precautions information.
  3. Describe the procedure for follow-up investigation, management, and prophylaxis of persons with body substance exposures who are enrolled in or employed by the College of Nursing (CON).
  4. Describe the responsibilities of the individual to report incidents and to act as instructed if an exposure occurs.

Exposure Potential

Individuals, within the CON, who have the likelihood of being exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials, are nursing faculty, nursing students, graduate students and lab personnel.

Control Methods

All faculty and students are educated on Standard Precautions. Standard Precautions combine the major features of Universal Precautions (UP) and Body Substance Isolation (BSI) and are based on the principle that all blood, body fluids, secretions, excretions except sweat, non-intact skin, and mucous membranes may contain transmissible infectious agents. Standard Precautions include a group of infection prevention practices that apply to all patients, regardless of suspected or confirmed infection status, in any setting in which healthcare is delivered. These include: hand hygiene; use of gloves, gown, mask, eye protection, or face shield, depending on the anticipated exposure; and safe injection practices. Also, equipment or items in the patient environment likely to have been contaminated with infectious body fluids must be handled in a manner to prevent transmission of infectious agents (e.g., wear gloves for direct contact, contain heavily soiled equipment, properly clean and disinfect or sterilize reusable equipment before use on another patient). See full Standard Precautions details.

All persons within the CON will adhere to Standard Precautions and Universal Precautions, including the appropriate use of hand washing, personal protective equipment and care in use and disposal of needles and other sharp instruments. Individuals who have exudative lesions or weeping dermatitis should refrain from all direct patient care and from handling patient-care equipment and devices used in performing invasive procedures until the condition resolves per agency guidelines.

Students will demonstrate knowledge of standard precautions on an annual basis prior to clinical experiences. Information used to validate knowledge should meet the clinical agency expectations and therefore, the faculty member and the Semester Coordinator should consult with the clinical agency infection control department to obtain validation materials related to standard precautions.

Occupational exposure

Occupational exposure is defined as contact with blood, visibly bloody fluids, and other body fluids (i.e., semen, vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, peritoneal fluid, pericardial fluid, and amniotic fluid, tissues, and laboratory specimens that contain concentrated virus) to which Standard Precautions apply and during the performance of … [student or faculty’s] duties. Modes of exposure include percutaneous injuries, mucous membrane exposures, non-intact skin exposures, and bites. Exposures to body fluids (e.g., feces, nasal secretions, saliva, sputum, sweat, tears, urine and vomitus), do not carry a risk of blood borne pathogen transmission unless these are visibly contaminated with blood. (The National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) Manual Healthcare Personnel Safety Component Protocol (last reviewed March 2020). See full manual housed at the CDC training website.

Exposure Determination & Reporting Procedures

Individuals will report all needle sticks or suspected body fluid exposures by reporting such incidents immediately to their clinical/lab instructor or supervisor and to the proper authorities within the clinical agency, which will initiate an exposure investigation per the given facility’s policy. Students enrolled in Nurs 495 or any practicum setting will notify their preceptor and the nursing supervisor immediately, if exposure occurs in the clinical setting. The preceptor and/or nursing supervisor will assist individual to determine if incident is an exposure or not and follow appropriate steps below (Clean Needle Stick- No Exposure OR Exposure Incident).

Injury (No Exposure)

If an individual suffers an injury with no potential contamination exposure in the clinical setting or laboratory, the following steps shall be followed:

  1. Immediately wash the injured area.
  2. Immediately report the incident to the clinical/ lab instructor or supervisor.
  3. If in clinical, follow the clinical facility’s procedure in addition to continuing to follow this CON procedure.
  4. Student & instructor complete the Report of Accident, Incident or Unsafe Condition (non-state automobile) within 24 hours. Please note, do not lick 'submit' at the end of this form. Rather, click 'print' and send a copy to the SDSU finance and budget program assistant.

Exposure Incident

An exposure incident includes any of the following: a percutaneous injury with contaminated sharp/instrument, or exposures to eye, mouth, other mucous membrane, or non-intact skin with blood, bloody fluid, or tissue, semen, vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal, synovial, pleural, peritoneal, pericardial, or amniotic fluid; respiratory resuscitation with a resuscitation device, bites resulting in blood exposure to either person involved. Depending on the clinical location, the faculty member, Occupational Health Nurse (OHN), Infection Control Nurse, clinical agency Health Care Provider (HCP), or a HCP from Student Health Service will initiate and investigate the possibility of blood-borne disease exposure; recommend diagnostic testing, counseling and education; and recommend prophylaxis according to the CDC guidelines. If an exposure has occurred, the following procedure shall be followed, with additional steps as outlined by setting of incident:

For All Exposures:

  1. Immediately wash the exposed area as instructed.
  2. Identify the client (source of exposure) by name and location.
  3. Request the client (source of exposure) to stay if they are an outpatient of the facility and request another nurse or student to stay with the client (source of exposure) if possible.
  4. Immediately report the exposure to the clinical instructor or practicum preceptor and facility supervisor.
  5. A student in practicum will seek the assistance of their preceptor to complete the process; student will notify the faculty member responsible for coordinating the course or clinical experience of the exposure within 24 hours. 6.
  6. Student and instructor shall complete Report of Accident, Incident or Unsafe Condition (non-state automobile) form within 24 hours. PLEASE NOTE: Do not click ‘submit’ at end of this form. Rather, click ‘print,’ and send a copy to the SDSU Finance and Budget Program Assistant.
  7. Faculty member is to:
    1. assist student with following steps of this procedure.
    2. provide emotional support as needed.
    3. notify appropriate Semester Coordinator and Assistant Dean (and APRN Program Director if applicable) of situation within 24 hours.
  8. ONLY if facility/ clinical setting does not have an exposure policy/ procedure in place, student and instructor shall complete the Exposure to Body Fluids Report form, in consultation with faculty member responsible for coordinating the course or clinical experience, within 24 hours. If facility/ clinical setting has a policy/ procedure in place, that process will supersede this form.

If Exposure Occurs at Hospital or Clinical Facility, also complete the following steps in Addition to Above Steps for All Exposures:

  1. Immediately contact the Occupational Health Nurse or facility’s designee, who may choose to initiate an exposure investigation per facility policy.
  2. Follow facility’s Occupational Exposure, or other applicable, policy.

If Exposure Occurs at Non-Hospital Clinical Facility, also complete the following steps in Addition to Above Steps for All Exposures:

  1. Follow that facility’s exposure policy.
  2. If no assistance or guidance is available at the facility, report to SDSU Student Health Services or seek assistance at the closest emergency room.

If Exposure Occurs in Community Setting, also complete the following steps in Addition to Above Steps for All Exposures:

  1. If an exposure occurs in a rural area, the client (source of exposure) should be directed or taken to the nearest health care facility to have their blood drawn.
  2. Inform the client (source of exposure) that the CON will pay for the testing. Have the agency send the bill to: College of Nursing, Dean's Office, Wagner Hall 255, College of Nursing, Box 2275, University Station, Brookings, SD 57007.
  3. If the client (source of exposure) does not want a local health care provider to have access to the information then the testing may be completed through the local emergency department. Supply the client with telephone number.
  4. Inform the receiving agency of the need for testing (HBsAg Antigen, Hepatitis C and HIV Antibody).
  5. If the client (source of exposure) refuses to be tested, then the faculty member indicates this on the Exposure to Body Fluids report so that Occupational Health Nurse or the student’s Health Care Provider is aware.
  6. The client (source of exposure) should be supplied with the respective Health Services phone number and name of the health provider who receives the report of the exposure.
  7. Inform client (source of exposure) of confidentiality and need to contact physician for results in several days.

Follow-up Care and Coordination

The Assistant Dean will coordinate follow-up care, depending on the level of exposure, with the following responsibilities.

  1. Receives notice of needle stick or incident, with and without exposure.
  2. Verifies that the student received immediate care as determined by type of exposure per the current Recommended Guidelines for Blood/ Body Fluid Post-Exposure Testing as set forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), as linked in Part C. Care should be given at the most expedient site available. Prophylaxis will take place within the nearest clinical facility or agency of individual’s choice. The individual is responsible to pay for all procedures, including but not limited to emergency room visit, procedures, follow-up treatments and medications ordered for prophylaxis. If the individual chooses a private health care provider, the health care provider will need to provide the necessary documentation to the CON. Individual must remain in contact with the Assistant Dean and inform her/him of current contact information within the timeline of follow-up care. Individuals may be referred for campus counseling services post-exposure as needed.
  3. Acts as a resource for student and faculty member, ensuring that appropriate forms as linked within procedures above are completed within 24 hours of the incident.
  4. Maintains record of said forms and informs the semester coordinator or others as indicated.

Confidentiality of Records

The designated Assistant Dean will maintain a copy of the Exposure Determination Report and inform the Semester Coordinator or others as needed. The designated health care provider will complete the Exposure to Body Fluids Report and be asked to provide a copy to the designated Assistant Dean. The medical staff will be asked to provide a copy of records once all follow-up has been completed. When individuals are found to be positive for infectious disease the Assistant Dean should refer to the Communicable Disease guideline.

Formerly Policy # C1431

Reviewed by the bylaws and handbook committee 4/2019; Updated by the bylaws and handbook committee 12/2021

2-14. Guest Speakers in Classroom, Policy #C1440

Description: This policy outlines the procedure for reporting a guest speaker.

Any guest speaker invited to present on site (Aberdeen, Brookings, Rapid City or Sioux Falls) to nursing students is required to be reported by the university. College of Nursing faculty are to complete the guest speaker report form and email it to program assistant I, Mary Davenport, at least 30 days prior to the presentation date.

*Requires InsideState password
Reviewed by the bylaws and handbook committee 2/2015, 3/2020, 3/2021
; University links updated 11/2015, 8/2016

2-15. Harassment Policy

Description: The College of Nursing follows the South Dakota Board of Regents policy 1:17: Harassment including Sexual Harassment.

Associated link(s): 

Formerly Policy# F5360
Reviewed by the bylaws and handbook committee 2/15/2015; University links updated 3/2016, 8/2016, 9/2018

2-16. Impaired Student in the Clinical Environment, Policy #C3305

Description: To provide instructor with guidelines to assess a nursing student for impairment in the clinical environment. Please note: Impairment in the classroom or academic setting on SDSU property would be a direct violation of the College of Nursing's professional standards and may be in violation of the following university policies:

  1. South Dakota State University Policy 3.1 Student Conduct Code
  2. South Dakota State University Policy 4.7 Drug Free Environment
  3. South Dakota State University Policy 4.14 Drug and Alcohol Testing

Note: In this document, the term “instructor” will be used to describe the faculty member, temporary clinical teaching assistants/instructors, and/or clinical preceptors.

Definition: Impairment is defined as a condition in which a student is unable to function, or in which their level of functioning is compromised, due to an alteration in their mental or physical condition. Examples of a mental or physical condition may include acute medical conditions such as an insulin reaction; ingestion of illicit drugs; use of prescription medications in an inappropriate manner; or symptoms of mental status changes. Instructors may changes in behavior or appearance including, but not limited to: disorientation, rapid or slurred speech, breath/body odor, staggering gait, pupillary changes, bloodshot eyes, tremors, verbal/physical outbursts, suicidal/homicidal threats, or erratic behavior. If a student’s behavioral change suggests an acute health condition, emergency measures should be taken.

The following steps should be taken when an instructor suspects impairment in the clinical environment:

Step 1: Identify Impairment

When an instructor suspects impairment, the following steps should be taken:

  1. Contact another faculty member, management, or agency personnel and attempt to validate the student’s behavior or appearance potentially meets the above definition of impairment. Remove the student from the clinical environment.
  2. Remove the student from the clinical environment.
  3. Discuss with the student concerns regarding the student's behavior in a private environment and in the presence of a witness (another faculty member if possible).
  4. Allow the student to provide an explanation.
  5. Determine whether the full available evidence and observations constitute the definition or allow the student to return.

Note: If chemical impairment is suspected, contact the clinical agency’s nursing administration and follow the agency’s internal procedure. The clinical agency’s policy supersedes the CON policy. The CON is responsible for the costs of screening for “reasonable suspicion.”

Step 2: Notify Supervisor

The instructor will notify the appropriate supervisor within 24 hours of incident:

Type of studentSupervisor to notify
For standard or accelerated B.S.N. studentsNotify the site-specific assistant dean
For APRN studentsNotify the APRN director
For all other students (such as RN to B.S.N.)

Notify the associate dean for academic programs

Step 3: Document Incident

  1. The instructor will document the incident and provide a copy to the appropriate supervisor and the Director of Nursing Student Services (or support staff) to store in the student’s permanent file.
  2. ;The Assistant Dean or APRN Director will notify the Associate Dean for Academic Programs of the incident and provide the written documentation for review.

Step 4: Student Meeting

  1. The director of nursing student services will convene a meeting with the involved instructor, the College of Nursing assistant dean or APRN director, the student's advisor from Nursing Student Services and the student.
  2. The director of nursing student services and the College of Nursing assistant dean or APRN director will follow-up with the associate dean for academic programs regarding the meeting. 

Step 5: Student Follow-Up

For impairment caused by a verified health condition:

  1. The student's health care provider must directly send the director of nursing student services a letter stating they are cleared to attend clinical activities and when cleared to attend. The statement should include any limitation required based on the health condition, but which will not prevent the student from full participation.

For impairment cause by verified chemical impairment:

  1. The director of nursing student services will refer the student to a health care provider for counseling and possible referral to the health professional assistance program. The health care provider must directly send the director of student services a letter stating the student is participating in counseling sessions.
  2. The student will be required to sign an agreement to undergo appropriate treatment. If the student refuses treatment and/or professional counseling, they will be removed form the nursing major and will not be reconsidered for readmission.
  3. If the student refuses to sign the agreement, they will be subject to dismissal from the program. Within five working days, the student will receive written notice of the dismissal from the director of nursing student services.
  4. During treatment, the student will received an "incomplete" or "withdrawal" depending on the amount of clinical time completed. While in treatment, the student will be given adequate leave of absence from the college. The student will be asked to sign a release of information so that the College of Nursing can receive updates ensuring compliance to treatment and readiness for re-entry into the program.

Step 6: Referral to the Office of the Dean of Students

  1. The director of nursing student services will refer the information from the above steps to the office of the dean of students for evaluation of any violation of the student conduct code, and the student will be notified of such referral.

Step 7: Readmission (If Applicable)

  1. Prior to readmission into the College of Nursing, the student will complete the prescribed treatment, and if appropriate, submit to random drug screenings at the student's expense. Any positive results or treatment refusal/failure may lead to dismissal from the CON.

Step 8: Report to the Board of Nursing

  1. For licensed RNs. the College of Nursing may have a duty to report confirmed impairment to the Board of Nursing.

Reviewed by the Bylaws and Handbook Committee 11/17/2015; 3/2018; 11/2021
University links updated 1/06/2016 mtd

2-17. Laboratory Safety, Policy #C1500

Purpose: The purpose of this policy is to describe the safety and health hazards associated with the chemicals and equipment in the College of Nursing On-Campus Laboratory as well as describe general practice and safety guidelines.

  1. General Information
    1. Laboratory location
      1. The College of Nursing main office at each site will maintain a list of rooms used for laboratory classes for that site.
    2. Laboratory Coordinator/Simulation Technician
      1. Brookings office phone number: 605-688-6153
      2. Rapid City office phone number: 605-490-7378
      3. Sioux Falls office phone number: 605-782-3086
      4. Aberdeen office phone number: 605-626-7179
    3. Emergency contact personnel
      1. Brookings - Campus Security phone number 111 or 911
      2. Rapid City – Monument Health, Rapid City Hospital Environmental Services - 605-755-8408, Plant Ops – 605-755-8888 and Monument Health Rapid City security - 605-755-1000 or 911
      3. Sioux Falls - University Center Security 605-929-2823, 605-334-9357 or 911
      4. Aberdeen - 911
    4. SDSU Environmental Health and Safety Office contact information
      1. SDSU office: Avera Health and Science, room 143, 605-688-4264
      2. After hours emergency: 605-688-5117 or 111
  2. Basic Rules and Procedures
    1. Sharps
      1. All sharps are to remain in lab in secured storage area.
    2. Chemical use and storage
      1. The most common chemicals used in the nursing on-campus lab areas are for skin prep or cleaning, such as the following:
        1. Isopropyl alcohol wipes, Germ Ex
        2. Povidone-iodine
        3. Aceton nail polish remover pads
        4. Sodium hypochlorite (bleach)
        5. Cleaning and disinfectants such as Clorox Wipes
        6. Cleaning solvents such as Goo Gone, WD-40, Simple Green
        7. Chloraprep, 70% isopropyl alcohol, QTTB
      2. Hard copies or electronic copies of SDS (safety data sheets) are available in the lab
      3. All chemicals are checked annually for deterioration of the chemical and/or container at the end of the academic year in May
      4. Amounts stored are as small as possible
  3. Housekeeping
    1. Lab doorways must be accessible at all times. Personnel must always have access to:
      1. Exits to outside hallways
      2. Exits to other rooms if the room is so equipped
    2. Floors should be cleaned regularly or when any substance (dry or liquid) is spilled on them.
      1. In Brookings, if assistance is needed, contact the SDSU physical plant
      2. In Rapid City, if assistance is needed, contact the Monument Health Rapid City Hospital environmental services
      3. In Sioux Falls, if assistance is needed, contact the custodian at 605-940-6004
      4. In Aberdeen, if assistance is needed, contact the custodian via Facilities Management at 605-626-2560
  4. Emergency Assistance Procedure
    1. Emergency numbers are readily available such as poison control center, 911, security, campus police, etc.
    2. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
      1. Students must follow "Shoes for All Clinical Settings" section of Policy U3166: Appearance and Nursing Student Uniform
      2. Gloves are essential when working with hazardous materials and sharps
  5. Documentation
    1. Accidents (personnel, what, where, when, follow-up)
    2. Needle sticks (see clean needle stick policy)
  6. Signs and labels
    1. Emergency number posted in laboratory
    2. Labels must be placed on all chemical containers (including waste) with hazards
  7. What to do in case of a spill or accident
    1. Notify appropriate personnel
    2. Refer to needle stick policy and blood exposure policy
  8. Training of lab personnel and work-study students
    1. Chemical and sharps hazards
    2. Informed of possible risks
    3. PPE training
    4. Safety Data Sheets
  9. Waste disposal
    1. Lab Coordinator/Simulation Technician monitors, collects, and disposes of waste per Environmental Health and Safety Principles at SDSU.
  10. Other information
    1. Lab Coordinator/Simulation Technician will document any training received.

Associated link(s):

*Requires InsideState password
Approved and revised by the bylaws and handbook committee 5/2005, 4/2001, 4/2014, 1/2018, 4/2021

2-18. Management of Acute Traumatic Stress: Workplace & Educational Settings

Description: These web links describe resources for dealing with individuals with acute traumatic stress response. The Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) is available 24-hours per day to respond to individuals who may be experiencing behavioral and emotional difficulties. The BIT will respond to situations referred to them and direct individuals to available resources. The BIT will direct situations to the title IX team if needed.

The South Dakota Board of Regents policy, Violence in the Workplace and Educational Settings, is also linked below.

In an emergency, utilize building specific Emergency Action Guide.

Associated link(s):

Formerly Policy# C1550
Reviewed by the bylaws and handbook committee 12/2015, 2/2022; University links updated 1/2016, 8/2016

2-19. NFE and ACES Evaluation Via Docusign Instructions

Via DocuSign

  1. After the evaluation is complete, save the evaluation as a PDF file.
  2. Log into DocuSign. (contact the Support Desk at 688-6776 if you need assistance)
  3. Click the yellow “New” button, select Send an Envelope.
  4. Click “Upload. Then select your annual evaluation PDF file. If have other attachments, you will need to Click “Upload” again to also include such items as: performance documentation, certificates, emails—please include the Banner ID on attachments, if available.
  5. Click the Set Signing Order box
  6. Add recipients/approvers names and email addresses with appropriate options (Needs to Sign, Receives a Copy or Needs to View) via approved work flow. Make sure there is a signature in every spot if the document is asking for a signature.
    1. Needs to Sign:
      1. Employee
      2. Supervisor
      3. Next-level Supervisor (the supervisor’s supervisor)
    2. Receives a Copy:
      1. Dean’s Office Program Assistant I
      2. SDSU Human Resources
  7. Under Message to All Recipients the Email Subject field should read as applicable:
    1. 3-month Probationary ACES: 3-month Probationary ACES- Employee Last Name, Employee First Name, Banner ID
    2. 5-month Probationary ACES: 5-month Probationary ACES- Employee Last Name, Employee First Name, Banner ID
    3. Annual ACES: [Insert Year] Annual ACES-Employee Last Name, Employee First Name, Banner ID
    4. Annual NFE: [Insert Year] Annual NFE-Employee Last Name, Employee First Name, Banner ID
    5. Annual FAR: [Insert Year] Annual FAR-Employee Last Name, Employee First Name, Banner ID
    6. Example subject: 2021 Annual ACES-Employee Last Name, Employee First Name, Banner ID
  8. Click the yellow Next button
  9.  Select and drag the following fields for each person who needs to sign the document. Make sure there is a signature in every spot if the document is asking for a signature.
    1. Signature
    2. Date Signed
  10. Click the yellow "Send" button

2-20. Ownership of College Materials and Books

Description: This guides the management of intellectual property and materials used to carry our instruction of a course and to determine ownership of those books and products acquired while employed with the College of Nursing.

Ownership of Textbooks and Desk copies


  1. Books purchased by the College of Nursing for course use are the property of the College of Nursing.
  2. All such books will be given to the departmental secretary and stamped on three edges to indicate "College of Nursing Property." The semester coordinator will then distribute books to the appropriate faculty.

Desk Copies

  1. Desk copies will remain with the individual faculty member while teaching the course.
  2. When an employee terminates employment or no longer teaches a course, the desk copies remain the property of the faculty member, unless current desk copies are unavailable. The desk copies will then be given to the semester coordinator.
  3. Current copies of required texts will remain with the College of Nursing.
  4. The faculty member will retain ownership of any unsolicited books.

Electronic Educational Items

  1. Electronic copies of textbooks, applications or digital materials will remain with the individual faculty member while employed with the College of Nursing.
  2. When an employee terminates employment, access to the electronic items will be terminated.
  3. The faculty member will retain ownership of any unsolicited e-books, applications or other digital items.

Associated link(s):

Formerly Policy# C1760
Reviewed by the bylaws and handbook committee 4/2016, 11/2019; University links updated 4/2016

2-20a. Book Requests (e-books, desk copy and library)

Guidelines: Faculty will have automatic access to all E-books used for College of Nursing (CON) courses. Teaching assistants must email the book representative through SDSU email to request access to E-books. If faculty would like a desk copy of a course text, requests can be made directly through the book company. When an employee leaves the CON or no longer teaches a course, the desk copy is given to the appropriate supervisor’s office. Books purchased by the CON for course use are the property of the CON. College of Nursing books must be stamped on three edges to indicate CON property. Faculty may order books through the University Bookstore. Books ordered through the bookstore will be charged to the individual, not the department. Books for the Briggs Library nursing collection are requested through the College of Nursing’s designated library liaison. The library liaison will provide faculty with information on new books that can be acquired and coordinate requests.  
Reviewed by the bylaws and handbook committee 2/2015

2-21. Petition Process

Description: Petitions may be used to request an exemption from an academic or financial policy. Petitions must include documentation of the unique circumstances that have prompted the submission of the petition; required documentation varies by type of appeal. There are four categories of appeals that are identified by SDSU that includes Drop/Add Appeals, Academic Appeals, Graduation Related Appeal, and Financial Appeals. If a student feels they might be in a situation where a petition may be appropriate, they should contact their academic advisor. If a petition is the correct course of action, the academic advisor will assist the student with needed documentation and/or direct the student to the appropriate point of contact. Academic Appeals will follow the SDSU Student Academic Integrity and Academic Appeals policy.

Associated link(s):

Formerly Policy #C1780
Reviewed by the bylaws and handbook committee 12/2015, 3/2021; University links updated 1/2016

2-22. Poster Template, Guideline

Description: The University Marketing and Communications Department provides poster and presentation templates that meet SDSU graphic identity standards. Faculty, students and staff are to use these templates when disseminating research finding and scholarly works. Students are directed to complete the student poster or podium presentation clearance form to obtain faculty approval for use.

Associated link(s):

Reviewed by the bylaws and handbook committee 11/2018, 11/2021

2-23. Records Retention and Destruction

Description: The South Dakota Board of Regents policy on retention and destruction of student records and other documents shall be followed. The faculty on record for a course should keep a record of scores/points used to earn summative grades and the list of grades derived from these. An explanation of how grades were calculated should also be kept by the faculty on record.

Associated link(s):

Formerly Policy# C1840
Reviewed by the bylaws and handbook committee 12/2015, 10/2019; University links updated 1/2017, 08/2019

2-24. References, Releases of Information and Recommendations, Guideline

Purpose: To inform faculty regarding references, release of information and recommendation

Description: Faculty should refer to this guideline when a current or former student is requesting a reference or recommendation. Upon admission to all nursing programs, students sign a multi-release document indicating permission to provide reference or recommendation. No other documentation is required.

Associated link(s):

Formerly Policy# U3380
Reviewed by the Bylaws and Handbook Committee 11/2015; 1/2020; 12/8/2020
University links updated 12/03/2015 mtd

2-25. Regulatory Compliance Assurance, Guideline

Purpose: To inform nursing students of regulatory requirements.

Description: Information given in the web link describes regulatory requirements all nursing students must meet in order to participate in clinical experiences. These requirements have been established by nursing accreditation agencies, clinical agencies, SDSU College of Nursing, the South Dakota Board of Regents (SDBOR), Federal agencies, and professional organizations. The guidelines and criteria included pertain to background checks, drug screenings, immunizations, health status, health insurance requirements, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation certification (CPR). Graduate students and licensed RN students have additional requirements. 

Associated link(s):

Formerly Policy# U3240, U3250, U3265, U3300
Reviewed by the bylaws and handbook committee 4/2018, 4/2021; University links updated 4/2018

2-26. Reimbursement for Additional State Licenses

Purpose: To support faculty who are required to obtain additional state licenses in order to have students at clinical sites in states other than South Dakota. The following university-level policy and form applies to this situation.

Associated link(s):

*Requires InsideState password

Reviewed by the bylaws and handbook committee 3/2021

2-27. Social Media and Electronic Communication, Policy #C1960

Description: To describe appropriate use of electronic communication (such as email) and define inappropriate use of social media and associated reporting requirements. Consequences for misuse of social media are provided.

  1. Legal Guidelines

    1. Nursing students have ethical and legal obligations to maintain privacy and confidentiality at all times. Students must not post any identifiable student, faculty, or patient information. Removing the individual’s name does not necessarily protect the person or patient’s identity, and sharing information, even with names removed, may be enough to constitute a violation of one or both of the laws listed below and may have academic, employment, and legal consequences (American Nurses Association, 2011).

      1. FERPA - the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
      2. HIPAA - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
  2. Course materials including presentations, assignments, and associated images or recordings are the intellectual property of South Dakota State University and protected under copyright law. It is unlawful and unethical for nursing students to share class materials or recordings/images of class materials.
  3. Use of Electronic Communication
    1. Electronic communication guidelines include the use of email, discussion boards, and other type-written communication related to College of Nursing activities.
    2. When using electronic communication, students should follow the netiquette guidelines.
    3. When communicating with College of Nursing instructors and staff, students should follow email etiquette guidelines.
    4. Students should refer to the course syllabus for preferred methods of communication with faculty. Text messaging is not appropriate for official communication between faculty and students.
  4. Use of Social Media
    1. Social media is defined as websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.
    2. Nursing students must not refer to patients, faculty, peers, or clinical agencies in a disparaging manner, even if they are not identified.
    3. Nursing students must uphold the legal guidelines (FERPA, HIPAA, and Intellectual Property) in all social media content.
    4. When using social media, students should only post content that reflects positively on them, the College of Nursing, and SDSU.
    5. If students post content regarding the College of Nursing or SDSU, it should be clear that it does not represent the College of Nursing or SDSU and that the content posted represents only the views of the student.
    6. Students representing the University on social media in an official capacity must adhere to South Dakota State University Social Networking Guidelines.
    7. Inappropriate online postings may negatively impact future career opportunities and the nursing profession. Employers and educational institutions may conduct web searches on prospective employees, including online information and postings, and may use that information to make hiring decisions.
    8. Communication with and about Patients
      1. Communicating with patients or family members via social media is prohibited. “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” (National Council of State Boards of Nursing, 2011, p. 3).
      2. Students must not post any personal or health related information associated with patients or others such as name, diagnoses, age, room numbers, photographs or other images, injuries or treatments of patients, or other information in regard to: procedures, surgeries, births, deaths, or any incidents on any social media.
      3. Nursing students must not transmit, by way of any electronic communication or social media, any patient-related information or image that is reasonably anticipated to violate patient rights to confidentiality or privacy or to otherwise degrade or embarrass the patient.
  5. Reporting of Inappropriate Use of Social Media

    1. Nursing students must promptly report any identified breach of confidentiality or privacy by SDSU nursing students, other SDSU students, other nurses, or other health care professionals to a faculty member, advisor, or supervisor.
    2. Nursing students who view content that violates ethical or legal standards should first bring the content in question to the attention of the individual who posted it so that this individual can take appropriate action. Just as nurses are required to report posts that could threaten patient privacy regarding health information or patients’ health or welfare (American Nurses Association, 2011), nursing students are obligated to report posting violations.
  6. Consequences
    1. Any student failing to adhere to the standards set forth in this policy is subject to administrative action, including any and all of the following: written reprimand, course failure, administrative withdrawal from the nursing major, and administrative withdrawal from the university.
    2. Any post that could be harmful or reflect negatively on other students, the College of Nursing, SDSU, or any other persons, may result in liability for the individual sending the message.
    3. Posting photographs/recordings without permission from the individuals in the photographs/recordings may also result in legal consequences.

Associated link(s):

Policy #C1960
Reviewed  by the bylaws and handbook committee12/16, 5/21; University links updated 5/2021

2-28. Student Complaint Process for Graduate and Undergraduate Programs, Guideline

Definition of Student Complaint: A student complaint is a program-related problem or condition that a student believes to be unfair, inequitable, discriminatory, or a hindrance to the educational process. The student complaint guideline is not designed to address changes in policy and does not apply to grading practices or student misconduct. Students should follow the Chain of Communication outlined below to resolve complaints.

Students should refer to University policies for student misconduct, academic appeals, and Title IX/Equal Opportunity complaints (Policies 2:4 and 4:3). Students also have the option to submit complaints through the University reporting system Lighthouse .

Chain of Communication

The following steps are followed when a student has course or program related concerns or issues needing input from the designated communication level. This process is also followed when support or approval for a program change or new idea is advanced to the next level of communication. If a student attempts to start at a higher level on the chain or skips a step, he/she/they will be referred to the appropriate individual. Advisors in Nursing Student Services can assist the student with this process.

 A visual depiction of the College of Nursing Chain of Communication as follows:

  • Faculty Member > Semester or Specialty Coordinator > Assistant Dean > Associate Dean for Academic Programs > Dean of the College of Nursing


A student who has a course-related concern should make an appointment with the course faculty member to discuss the concern and seek resolution. The faculty member will document the concern and the response.

A student who is dissatisfied with the faculty member’s decision may contact the semester or specialty coordinator. The coordinator may invite the faculty member to the meeting or arrange a separate time to meet with the faculty member before a response to the student is prepared. A student who is dissatisfied with the coordinator’s decision may schedule an appointment to meet with the Assistant Dean for the site.  

The Assistant Dean will listen to the student’s concern. The Assistant Dean may meet with the faculty member to learn more about the issue. A response to the student’s concern is made by the Assistant Dean. A student who remains dissatisfied with the decision of the Assistant Dean shall contact the Associate Dean for Academic Programs.  A concern that is not resolved at the faculty, semester coordinator or Assistant Dean level will be considered a formal complaint.

The Associate Dean meets with the student to hear the complaint. If the complaint appears to have no reasonable grounds, the Associate Dean shall inform the student. If, on the other hand, it appears to the Associate Dean that there may be some reasonable grounds for the student complaint, the Associate Dean shall invite the faculty member to discuss the complaint. A written response to the student’s complaint is prepared. All such complaints are filed with the Associate Dean for Academic Programs. A student who remains dissatisfied may schedule an appointment with the Dean of the College of Nursing. The Dean shall investigate and collect pertinent information and provide a written decision to the student. All such complaints and decisions will be filed by the Associate Dean for Academic Programs.

If a student is dissatisfied with the decision at any stage, he/she/they may contact the next individual in the Chain of Communication to set up an appointment to discuss the concern. Any individuals on the chain that the student has previously visited with will be consulted prior to the appointment and/or invited to participate in the conversation about the issue.

Associated link(s):

Formerly Policy #U3410
Reviewed by the bylaws and handbook committee and executive committee 10/2020

2-29. Students as Research Participants, Policy #C1970

Purpose: To inform researchers of investigator responsibilities when students are recruited to participate in studies as research participants.

All research projects that include recruiting students as study participants shall be approved by the College of Nursing (CON) Research Committee and the University Institutional Review Board (IRB). The Research Committee meets monthly during the 9-month academic year. Project proposals that include students as study participants must be submitted to the Research Committee Chair at least 2 weeks prior to the next scheduled monthly meeting to be included in the agenda for review.

  1. The principal investigator (PI) will submit the research proposal to the CON Research Committee ideally before submitting the proposal to the IRB. The proposal must include background, methods (sample, design, statistical analysis and timeline), instruments, recruitment materials and informed consent documents.
  2. The CON Research Committee will review the proposal for student research activity burden for approval. Student participation in research is voluntary, and no course credit or waiving on any course assignments in exchange for study participation is permitted.
  3. The Research Committee Chair will provide written notice of approval, decline to approve with rationale, or pending approval with request for additional information, within 1 week after the scheduled committee meeting in which the proposal was discussed.
  4. After approval the PI must inform the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Faculty of Record for the course(s) before conducting the study.
  5.  SDSU IRB. Information about conducting research with human participants can be found on the research website.

Revised and approved 12/2005, 11/2013, 3/2017, 4/2017, 2/2018; 3/2020; University links updated 4/2017

2-30. Student Participation in Conducting Research, Policy #C1980

Purpose: To provide guidance to faculty when involving students in research as part of the research team or when supervising student research projects.

In addition to assisting students in research projects required for credit in a course, faculty members are encouraged to make learning opportunities in research or projects available to students outside of class within the CON or with other SDSU college(s) or department(s).

Students may work with faculty members conducting research and must observe the following:

  1. Employed research assistants or other personnel on a grant. Contact the Human Resources office and complete the required documents.
  2. Enrolled students in graduate research practicum, undergraduate Fishback Honors College research, undergraduate research & evidence-based practice course, graduate thesis, graduate dissertation, graduate project, special topics, or independent study credits. When students are involved in research, and are enrolled for academic credit, a contract or syllabus between the student and the faculty member needs to be negotiated. The negotiated contract must be forwarded to the department or college awarding the credits.
  3. Volunteers working in a faculty-initiated research project. Faculty members may not award course credit or waive any course assignments in exchange for students serving to advance any part of the faculty member’s research which is unrelated to the course objectives.

Written and Approved by the research Committee 4/2017; Approved by the bylaws and handbook committee 5/2017; Reviewed by the bylaws and handbook committee 4/2017, 3/2020, 1/2022

2-31. Syllabus, Policy #C3440

Description: Specify the College of Nursing (CON) required and optional components to be included in the course syllabus. 

  1. All CON syllabi will utilize the appropriate CON syllabus template located in the CON handbook (Graduate, Undergraduate Theory, or Undergraduate Clinical).
    1. Graduate courses
      1. Practicum courses will include a statement regarding required clinical hours.
      2. Graduate grading guidelines - #G4230
      3. Courses that must meet online review criteria will utilize links and statements as referenced in syllabi template.
  2. Syllabus format is required to follow the SDSU Course Syllabus Policy 2.3
  3. The course instructor will forward an electronic copy of the current syllabus to the appropriate graduate or undergraduate nursing office.  In addition, the syllabus for each course will be permanently maintained in the Dean’s office.

Reviewed by the bylaws and handbook committee 5/2017 12/2016, 3/2020; University links updated 11/2016

2-31a. Graduate Syllabus Template

See graduate syllabus template.

2-31b. RN to B.S.N. Course Syllabus Template

See RN to B.S.N. course syllabus template.

2-31c. Undergraduate Theory Course Syllabus Template

See undergraduate theory course syllabus template.

2-31d. Undergraduate Clinical Course Syllabus Template

See undergraduate clinical course syllabus template.

2-32. Travel - Student, Policy #C4340

Description: This policy states that students are responsible for their own travel.

Students are responsible for their own transportation to class, clinical and practicum. Travel time does not count as clinical or practicum time.

Reviewed by the graduate committee 5/2015; Revised and approved by the bylaws and handbook committee 5/2017, 11/2018

2-33. Use of Mobile Devices in a Clinical Setting, Policy #C2230

Purpose: To provide guidance to students and faculty regarding the use of mobile devices during clinical. Clinical includes all acute, community and simulation experiences.

  1.  Mobile devices may only be used during clinical for educational purposes. Use of mobile devices during clinical for personal reasons is prohibited. A mobile device includes but is not limited to: smart phones, laptops, tablets or smartwatches.
  2.  HIPAA
    1. All students have been advised of and are expected to comply with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations. All patient related information is confidential. Patient related information is defined as all information related to the health, business, or personal matters of the patient or patient’s family. This includes but is not limited to Protected Health Information (PHI) that is based on a patient’s diagnosis, examination, treatment, observation, or conversation, and information maintained in medical records that contain diagnostic or treatment related information.
    2. Protected Health Information (PHI) may not be entered into personal mobile devices.
    3. Still photos, audio and video recording are prohibited.
  3. Cleaning of mobile devices must comply with the infection control policy and procedure at the clinical site. If the device becomes contaminated, it should be cleaned with the recommended disinfectant. If a patient is on isolation, the mobile device may not be taken into the patient’s room unless it is approved within the infection control policy and procedure.
  4. Additional restrictions may be imposed by the individual clinical facility policy regarding the use of mobile devices.

Reviewed and approved by the bylaws and handbook committee 5/2017, 3/2017, 1/2018, 4/2021; Reviewed by the undergraduate curriculum committee 2/2017, 4/2021; Reviewed by the graduate curriculum committee 3/2017; 4/2021; university links updated 11/2015, 1/2018

2-34. Work-Study Assistance

Description: The College of Nursing employs work-study students each year at each site as available. Work-study is a federally funded program and is part of the financial aid awarded to students. Students’ hours will vary. Nursing majors may be placed in the Nursing Skills Lab and Continuing Nursing Education office, or in departmental offices where their duties do not involve undergraduate instructional materials or student files. Non-nursing majors may be placed in the Undergraduate, RN to B.S.N. and Nursing Student Services offices.

Faculty may request student assistance through administrative support staff.

Formerly Policy# C2240
Reviewed by the bylaws and handbook committee 5/2017, 12/2015, 12/2021