Graduate student handbook

DNP, MSN, and Post-Master's Programs

It is important for graduate students to be aware of the University’s and Graduate School’s policies and procedures for graduate programs and to understand the policies relevant to their program contained in the General Catalog.  For more information about UNR’s Graduate School, visit the University of Nevada, Reno Grad School website.

The following are the key points from Graduate School materials, plus additional guidelines relevant to the MSN, DNP, and Post-Master’s Advanced Graduate Certificate programs.  Most of this information is also included in the General Catalog.  It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of and meet all requirements.  If there are any discrepancies among the University, Graduate School, or OSN policies and procedures, the strictest of the three authorities will be enforced and followed.

Orvis School of Nursing mission and vision

Founded in 1956, the Orvis School of Nursing (OSN) at the University Of Nevada, Reno, is the oldest school of nursing in the state and committed to serving the healthcare needs of the people of Nevada through excellence in teaching, research and service.

Inspired by values of caring, compassion, and inclusion, the mission of the Orvis School of Nursing is to prepare the next generation of nurse leaders to promote the health and wellbeing of diverse populations in Nevada, the nation, and the world through excellence in nursing education, discovery, and engagement.  The Orvis School of Nursing's vision is to educate and inspire current and future nurses to be providers and change agents improving the health and wellbeing of our society; to encourage and support research and innovation; to focus on the challenges of a rapidly changing and culturally diverse health care environment.

The school fulfills this mission and vision through four core themes:

Learning: Prepare diverse nursing graduates to improve health outcomes through high-quality undergraduate and graduate programs.  

Discovery: Lead in generating and disseminating nursing knowledge through the utilization of ongoing research and collaboration with industry partners.

Engagement: Strengthen the social, economic, and environmental wellbeing of people by engaging Nevada citizens, communities and healthcare agencies.

Diversity: Promote a diverse and inclusive community through recruitment, programs, and outreach.  

OSN Graduate Degree programs

The Orvis School of Nursing (OSN) at the University of Nevada, Reno offers Master’s and Doctoral education in nursing.  The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree offers the following: BSN to DNP with specialty tracks of Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and a Post-Master’s DNP for the Advanced Practice Nurse, Clinical Education Leadership, Health Policy, or Nurse Executive. 

Once admitted to a DNP track, a student is committed to that track.  Should the student wish to change or transfer to a different track than which they were originally admitted, the student is required to contact the Associate Dean for Graduate programs at the Orvis School of Nursing to re-apply for admission to the track to which the student wants, during the next application cycle.  The DNP tracks are competitive and there is no guarantee a current student will be automatically accepted to a different track through the re-admission process.

In addition, the OSN offers a Master of Science in Nursing degree with the following options: MSN Generalist, Nurse Educator, Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Nurse Leader.  Advanced Graduate (Post-Master’s) Certificates are also offered for each of the specialty track options.   

Once admitted to a MSN track, a student is committed to that track.  Should the student wish to change or transfer to a different track than which they were originally admitted, the student is required to Contact the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and re-apply for admission to the track to which the student wants during the next application cycle.  The MSN tracks are very competitive and there is no guarantee a current student will be automatically accepted to a different track through the re-admission process.

DNP Overview

The DNP differs from the PhD in Nursing or Doctor of Nursing Science degrees, by emphasizing advanced clinical practice, implementation of best practices, and evaluation of practice and care delivery models rather than individually initiated, original research.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is designed to be a terminal practice degree for clinically practicing nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and nursing leaders in health care organizations. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) suggests that the current level of preparation necessary for advanced nursing practice be moved from the master's degree to the doctorate level by the year 2025. The Institute of Medicine's 2003 report on Health Professions Education recommended strategies for restructuring all clinical education in the health professions to be consistent with the principles of 21st century health systems. These recommendations stressed that health science students and all working professionals develop and maintain proficiency in 5 core areas: delivering patient-centered care, working as part of interdisciplinary teams, practicing evidence-based medicine, focusing on quality improvement, and using information technology.

Graduates of the program receive a Doctor of Nursing Practice.  BSN to DNP students are required to attend a one to three days each semester, durin their clinical semesters, for onsite immersion days.  Both the defense of the proposed DNP Project and the final defense of the DNP Project will be conducted through a ZOOM meeting.  Students may come to campus for their defenses if they wish. The program is 68-72 credits, depending on the specialty track chosen and takes eight semesters to complete, including summers for full-time study. 

The Post-Master’s DNP students are required to attend a two-day on-campus meeting the first year for orientation to the program.  Both the defense of the proposed DNP Project and the final defense of the DNP Project will be conducted through a ZOOM meeting.  Students may come to campus for their defenses if they wish.  The program is 30 credits, all coursework is online, and takes five semesters to complete including one summer for full time study and eight semesters for part time including two summers. 

The UNR OSN DNP program prepares graduates for advanced clinical practice and leadership roles to serve the health care needs of the people of Nevada, the nation, and the professional community.  DNP graduates are equipped to assume a wide range of leadership roles in both direct and indirect health care settings.  DNP graduates may function as specialists in their advanced practice clinical roles, nursing faculty, or as healthcare executives, program and policy analysts.

DNP Essentials

In accordance with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the Doctor of Nursing Practice at the Orvis School of Nursing follows the guidelines set forth in the DNP Essentials.  “The DNP Essentials document outlines and defines the eight foundational Essentials and provides some introductory comments on specialty competencies/content. The specialized content, as defined by specialty organizations, complements the areas of core content defined by the DNP Essentials and constitutes the major component of DNP programs. DNP curricula should include these two components as appropriate to the specific advanced nursing practice specialist being prepared. Additionally, the faculty of each DNP program has the academic freedom to create innovative and integrated curricula to meet the competencies outlined in the Essentials document.” (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2006, p. 8).

The essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice

  1. Scientific Underpinnings for Practice.
  2. Organizational and Systems Leadership for Quality Improvement and Systems Thinking.
  3. Clinical Scholarship and Analytical Methods for Evidence-Based Practice.
  4. Information Systems/Technology and Patient Care Technology for the Improvement and Transformation of Health Care.
  5. Health Care Policy for Advocacy in Health Care.
  6. Interprofessional Collaboration for Improving Patient and Population Health Outcomes.
  7. Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Improving the Nation’s Health.
  8. Advanced Nursing Practice (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2006).

DNP program student learning outcomes

At the conclusion of the University of Nevada DNP program, graduates will:

  1. Provide advanced nursing care to improve patient and population health care outcomes in various direct and indirect settings.
  2. Assume leadership roles in the analysis, delivery and management of nursing care and health care systems.
  3. Provide evidence-based practice through the application of analytical methods, information systems technology, and clinical research.
  4. Collaborate with interprofessional teams to meet the healthcare needs of culturally and ethnically diverse individuals and populations.
  5. Act as change agent, leader, and advocate in the design, implementation, and evaluation of health care policy as it affects populations and the nursing profession.

DNP Overview

The DNP differs from the PhD in Nursing or Doctor of Nursing Science degrees, by emphasizing advanced clinical practice, implementation of best practices, and evaluation of practice and care delivery models rather than individually initiated, original research.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is designed to be a terminal practice degree for clinically practicing nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and nursing leaders in health care organizations. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) suggests that the current level of preparation necessary for advanced nursing practice be moved from the master's degree to the doctorate level by the year 2025. The Institute of Medicine's 2003 report on Health Professions Education recommended strategies for restructuring all clinical education in the health professions to be consistent with the principles of 21st century health systems. These recommendations stressed that health science students and all working professionals develop and maintain proficiency in 5 core areas: delivering patient-centered care, working as part of interdisciplinary teams, practicing evidence-based medicine, focusing on quality improvement, and using information technology.

Graduates of the program receive a Doctor of Nursing Practice.  BSN to DNP students are required to attend a one to three days each semester, durin their clinical semesters, for onsite immersion days.  Both the defense of the proposed DNP Project and the final defense of the DNP Project will be conducted through a ZOOM meeting.  Students may come to campus for their defenses if they wish. The program is 68-72 credits, depending on the specialty track chosen and takes eight semesters to complete, including summers for full-time study. 

The Post-Master’s DNP students are required to attend a two-day on-campus meeting the first year for orientation to the program.  Both the defense of the proposed DNP Project and the final defense of the DNP Project will be conducted through a ZOOM meeting.  Students may come to campus for their defenses if they wish.  The program is 30 credits, all coursework is online, and takes five semesters to complete including one summer for full time study and eight semesters for part time including two summers. 

The UNR OSN DNP program prepares graduates for advanced clinical practice and leadership roles to serve the health care needs of the people of Nevada, the nation, and the professional community.  DNP graduates are equipped to assume a wide range of leadership roles in both direct and indirect health care settings.  DNP graduates may function as specialists in their advanced practice clinical roles, nursing faculty, or as healthcare executives, program and policy analysts.

DNP Essentials

In accordance with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the Doctor of Nursing Practice at the Orvis School of Nursing follows the guidelines set forth in the DNP Essentials.  “The DNP Essentials document outlines and defines the eight foundational Essentials and provides some introductory comments on specialty competencies/content. The specialized content, as defined by specialty organizations, complements the areas of core content defined by the DNP Essentials and constitutes the major component of DNP programs. DNP curricula should include these two components as appropriate to the specific advanced nursing practice specialist being prepared. Additionally, the faculty of each DNP program has the academic freedom to create innovative and integrated curricula to meet the competencies outlined in the Essentials document.” (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2006, p. 8).

The essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice

  1. Scientific Underpinnings for Practice.
  2. Organizational and Systems Leadership for Quality Improvement and Systems Thinking.
  3. Clinical Scholarship and Analytical Methods for Evidence-Based Practice.
  4. Information Systems/Technology and Patient Care Technology for the Improvement and Transformation of Health Care.
  5. Health Care Policy for Advocacy in Health Care.
  6. Interprofessional Collaboration for Improving Patient and Population Health Outcomes.
  7. Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Improving the Nation’s Health.
  8. Advanced Nursing Practice (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2006).

DNP program student learning outcomes

At the conclusion of the University of Nevada DNP program, graduates will:

  1. Provide advanced nursing care to improve patient and population health care outcomes in various direct and indirect settings.
  2. Assume leadership roles in the analysis, delivery and management of nursing care and health care systems.
  3. Provide evidence-based practice through the application of analytical methods, information systems technology, and clinical research.
  4. Collaborate with interprofessional teams to meet the healthcare needs of culturally and ethnically diverse individuals and populations.
  5. Act as change agent, leader, and advocate in the design, implementation, and evaluation of health care policy as it affects populations and the nursing profession.

BSN to DNP and Post-Master’s DNP Curriculum Options

For any questions related to the Graduate curriculum, students may contact the individual track leaders or Dr. Stephanie DeBoor, the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs

BSN to DNP, Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)

(Approved by UCCC, 5/21/2013)

  Contact: Dr. Jackie Ferdowsali

The Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP) track of the BSN to DNP program prepares nurses to provide advanced practice in acute care settings through a program of study focused on the care of acutely ill patients and their families. An AGACNP can diagnose and treat medical conditions. In collaboration with the physician and other members of the health care team, AGACNPs provide direct care to patients from hospital admission through discharge. With an increasing inpatient population of acutely and critically, research has shown that nurse practitioners within these settings demonstrated evidence of reducing length of stay, hospital costs, and patient complications (Fry 2011), while improving communication among the heath care team, along with patient and family satisfaction. There are 72 credits and 780 specialty-specific practicum hours required for this track and an additional 240 DNP Project and Residency practicum hours.  The student may sit for national certification upon graduation.  Upon competition of the DNP/AGACNP, the graduate is able to:

  1. Synthesize theoretical, scientific, and contemporary clinical knowledge for the assessment and management of both health and illness states.
  2. Implements clinical reasoning and builds collaborative intra- and interprofessional relationships to provide optimal care to patients.
  3. Provide patient-centered, quality care to the adult and older adult population within the acute and critical care settings through incorporation of health promotion, health protection, disease prevention and treatment.
  4. Impart knowledge and individualize therapies through the activities of advocacy, modeling and teaching.
  5. Applies evidence based practice designed to improve quality of care and health outcomes, by overseeing and directing the delivery of clinical services with in an integrated system of health care.

BSN to DNP AGACNP Plans of Study:  Full- and Part-time plans of study can be located in the University catalog.

BSN to DNP Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

(Approved by UCCC, 5/21/2013)

 Contact: Professor Megan Pratt

The Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) track of the BSN TO DNP AND POST-MASTER’S program prepares students to provide primary care across the lifespan to individuals, families, and communities.  FNPs practice within private and clinic settings as well as urgent care facilities.  FNPs focus on health promotion and maintenance, and function in autonomous and collaborative roles guided by appropriate nurse practice acts.  There are 76 credits and 780 specialty specific, practicum hours required for this track and an addition 240 DNP Project and Residency practicum hours.  The student may sit for national certification upon graduation.  Upon competition of the DNP/FNP, the graduate is able to:

  1. Function in autonomous and collaborative roles guided by appropriate nurse practice acts.
  2. Provide primary care to individuals, families, and communities.
  3. Focus on health promotion and maintenance for clients.
  4. Utilize the process and method of scientific inquiry in the study of nursing.
  5. Contribute to the development of nursing science.
  6. Pursue opportunities for enhancement of advance practice.

BSN to DNP Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

(Approved by UCCC, 5/21/2013)

  Contact: Dr. Cameron Duncan

The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) track prepares advanced practice nurses to care for individuals and families with behavioral and mental problems. This specialty track within the BSN TO DNP AND POST-MASTER’S program prepares graduates to assess, diagnose, intervene (e.g. psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy), and provide follow-up to facilitate ongoing levels of wellness. The PMHNP is prepared to provide psychiatric and mental health care in a variety of treatment settings (e.g. hospitals, jails, home care, and outpatient clinics) and participate with other members of the health care team. With a shortage of mental health professionals and increasing demand for expert mental health care in rural health settings, the PMHNPs scope of practice brings critically relevant skills needed to care for persons experiencing the full range of psychiatric and mental health problems. There are 76 credits and 720 specialty specific, practicum hours required for this track and an addition 240 DNP Project and Residency practicum hours.  The student may sit for national certification upon graduation.  Upon competition of the DNP/PMHNP, the graduate is able to:

  1. Integrate scientific findings from nursing, biopsychosocial fields, genetics, public health, quality improvement, and organizational sciences for the continual improvement of nursing care across diverse settings.
  2. Provide advanced, ethical, evidence-based nursing services for multi-cultural and ethnic individuals, families, aggregates, and select populations.
  3. Apply patient-care and communication technologies to deliver, enhance, integrate, and coordinate care.
  4. Collaborate with other professionals and members of the community to provide optimal health care to individuals, families, special populations, and communities with an emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention.
  5. Respect diversity and address complex health care needs of persons, including the unserved and under-served, populations and communities, in the role of nurse leader, educator and/or advanced practice nurse.
  6. Participate in the ethical organization, management, and policy negotiations of health care delivery systems to use advocacy strategies to influence health and healthcare.
  7. Participate in the application of safe patient care and quality healthcare practices.
  8. Participate in the development of nursing as a science, through the use of theory, research, and scientific processes while acquiring a foundation for doctoral study.

Post Master’s DNP for Advanced Practice and Nurse Executives

(Approved by UCCC, 5/21/2013)

  Contact: Dr. Carrie Hintz

The post-master’s DNP program is offered ONLINE with annual meetings of two to three-days on campus for orientation and culminating project purposes. The program is five semesters long with one summer session. Total credits are 30, with an ongoing change project (capstone) occurring throughout the program.  Practicum hours are completed during the Residency course (NURS 765).  This residency provides students the opportunity to apply program concepts and develop and implement strategies for practice-level and/or system-wide practice initiatives to improve the quality of care. Tracks include:

  • Post Master’s DNP for Advanced Practice
  • Post Master’s DNP for Clinical Education Leadership
  • Post Master’s DNP for Health Policy
  • Post Master’s DNP for the Nurse Executive

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program description

Graduate education at the MSN level prepares registered nurses for advanced practice, educator, and leadership positions in health care.  MSN level study develops clinical competence and increased sophistication in exploring and identifying a theoretical framework for nursing practice.  MSN education also serves as an introduction to scholarly activity for those who wish to pursue a doctoral degree in nursing.  Research focuses on the search of nursing knowledge, analysis and evaluation of nursing theory, and the study of strategies for nursing application.  MSN education also provides students with the opportunity to realize their creative potential and collaborate with other health care professionals in maintaining effective nursing and health care.  Graduate Program Terminal Objectives are based on the revised AACN Essentials

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) AACN essentials

In accordance with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2011) the Master of Science in Nursing at the Orvis School of Nursing follows the guidelines set forth in the Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing.  “The Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing reflects the profession’s continuing call for imagination, transformative thinking, and evolutionary change in graduate education. The extraordinary explosion of knowledge, expanding technologies, increasing diversity, and global health challenges produce a dynamic environment for nursing and amplify nursing’s critical contributions to health care. Master’s education prepares nurses for flexible leadership and critical action within complex, changing systems, including health, educational, and organizational systems. Master’s education equips nurses with valuable knowledge and skills to lead change, promote health, and elevate care in various roles and settings. Synergy with these Essentials, current and future healthcare reform legislation, and the action-oriented recommendations of the Initiative on the Future of Nursing (IOM, 2010) highlights the value and transforming potential of the nursing profession. These Essentials are core for all master’s programs in nursing and provide the necessary curricular elements and framework, regardless of focus, major, or intended practice setting. These Essentials delineate the outcomes expected of all graduates of master’s nursing programs. These Essentials are not prescriptive directives on the design of programs. Consistent with the Baccalaureate and Doctorate of Nursing Practice Essentials, this document does not address preparation for specific roles, which may change and emerge over time. These Essentials also provide guidance for master’s programs during a time when preparation for specialty advanced nursing practice is transitioning to the doctoral level. Master’s education remains a critical component of the nursing education trajectory to prepare nurses who can address the gaps resulting from growing healthcare needs. Nurses who obtain the competencies outlined in these Essentials have significant value for current and emerging roles in healthcare delivery and design through advanced nursing knowledge and higher level leadership skills for improving health outcomes. For some nurses, master’s education equips them with a fulfilling lifetime expression of their mastery area. For others, this core is a graduate foundation for doctoral education. Each preparation is valued” (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2011, p.3). 

AACN (2011) states that Master’s education must prepare the graduate to:

  • Lead change to improve quality outcomes,
  • Advance a culture of excellence through lifelong learning,
  • Build and lead collaborative interprofessional care teams,
  • Navigate and integrate care services across the healthcare system,
  • Design innovative nursing practices, and
  • Translate evidence into practice (pp. 3-4).

The essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing

  1. Background for Practice from Science and Humanities
  2. Organizational and Systems Leadership
  3. Quality Improvement and Safety
  4. Translating and Integrating Scholarship into Practice
  5. Informatics and healthcare Technologies
  6. Health policy and Advocacy
  7. Interprofessional Collaboration for Improving patient and population health Outcomes
  8. Clinical Prevention and Population health for Improving Health
  9. Master’s Level Nursing Practice

MSN program student learning outcomes

The following are the revised (2012) terminal objectives for the MSN program of study. 

  1. Integrates scientific findings from nursing, biopsychosocial fields, genetics, public health, quality improvement, and organizational sciences for the continual improvement of nursing care across diverse settings.
  2. Provide advanced, ethical, evidence-based nursing services for multi-cultural and ethnic individuals, families, aggregates, and select populations.
  3. Apply patient-care and communication technologies to deliver, enhance, integrate, and coordinate care.
  4. Collaborate with other professionals and members of the community to provide optimal coordinated health care to individuals, families, special populations, and communities with an emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention.
  5. Respect diversity to address complex health care needs of persons, including the un-served and under-served, populations and communities, in the role of nurse leader, educator, and/or advanced practice nurse.
  6. Participate in the organization, management, and policy negotiations of health care delivery systems to use ethical principles and advocacy strategies to influence health and healthcare.
  7. Participate in the application of safe patient care and quality health care practices.
  8. Participate in the development of nursing as a science, through the use of theory, research, and scientific processes, while acquiring a foundation for doctoral study.

(Accepted by OSN Faculty and UCCC Approved 2/6/12)

MSN and Advanced Graduate Certificate (Post-Master’s) curriculum options

For any questions related to the Graduate curriculum, students may contact the individual track leaders or Dr. Stephanie DeBoor, the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs

Nurse Educator  

Contact: Dr. Rochelle Walsh

The Nurse Educator Track of the MSN program integrates scientific findings, nursing and learning theories, informatics, and technology into the development and evaluation of curricula and educational programs in diverse educational settings. Graduates provide ethical, evidence-based nursing education services for multi-cultural and ethnically diverse, students, staff, families, select populations, and communities. There are 420 required practicum hours for this specialty track.  The student may sit for national certification upon graduation.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Educator Track

Full- and Part-time plans of study can be located in the University catalog by accessing program information through the Degree Programs link. 

Nurse Educator, Advanced Graduate (Post-Master’s) Certificate Program

Note: This program is open to nurses who have already earned a master's degree in nursing.  Full- and Part-time plans of study can be located in the University catalog.

Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)

Contact: Dr. Jackie Ferdowsali

The Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP) track of the MSN program prepares nurses to provide advanced practice in acute care settings through a program of study focused on the care of acutely ill patients and their families. An AGACNP can diagnose and treat medical conditions. In collaboration with the physician and other members of the health care team, AGACNPs provide direct care to patients from hospital admission through discharge. There are 780 required practicum hours for this specialty track.  The student may sit for national certification upon graduation.

Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Program requirements can be located in the University Catalog. Full- and Part-time plans of study can be located in the University catalog by accessing program information through the Degree Programs link.

Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Advanced Graduate (Post-Master’s) Certificate Program

Note: This program is open to nurses with a master's degree in nursing and requires a minimum of 500 practicum hours.  The student may sit for national certification upon graduation.

Full- and Part-time plans of study can be located in the University catalog by accessing program information through the Degree Programs link.

Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

Contact: Professor Megan Pratt

The Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) track of the MSN program prepares students to provide primary care across the lifespan to individuals, families, and communities.  FNPs practice within private and clinic settings as well as urgent care facilities.  FNPs focus on health promotion and maintenance, and function in autonomous and collaborative roles guided by appropriate nurse practice acts.  There are 780 required practicum hours for this specialty track.  The student may sit for national certification upon graduation.

Family Nurse Practitioner

Program requirements can be located in the University Catalog. Full- and Part-time plans of study can be located in the University catalog by accessing program information through the Degree Programs link

Family Nurse Practitioner, Advanced Graduate (Post-Master’s) Certificate Program

Note: This program is open to nurses with a master's degree in nursing and requires a minimum of 500 practicum hours.  The student may sit for national certification upon graduation.

*Providing review of transcripts represents completion of required core coursework.

Full- and Part-time plans of study can be located in the University catalog by accessing program information through the Degree Programs link.

Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)

Contact: Professor Zhizhong Li

The MSN program at the University of Nevada, Reno is designed to prepare graduates in the emerging role of the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL). In response to healthcare and consumer needs, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing proposed the advanced practice role of the CNL in order to prepare effective leaders for health care delivery systems to work within all settings. A beginning CNL graduate would encompass the roles of clinician, outcomes manager, client advocate, educator, information manager, systems analyst, risk anticipator, team manager, member of a profession, and life-long learner (AACN, 2007). After successful completion of the Orvis School of Nursing MSN degree requirements (including a total of 420 clinical hours; a minimum of 300 hours in a supervised CNL role immersion practicum with an academic/practice partner), the CNL track graduate would meet the educational requirement to sit for the AACN CNL Certification Examination.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Clinical Nurse Leader Track

Full- and Part-time plans of study can be located in the University catalog by accessing program information through the Degree Programs link.

Clinical Nurse Leader, Advanced Graduate (Post-Master’s) Certificate Program

Note: This program is open to nurses with a master's degree in nursing. The student may sit for national certification upon graduation.

Full- and Part-time plans of study can be located in the University catalog by accessing program information through the Degree Programs link.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

Contact: Dr. Cameron Duncan

The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) track prepares advanced practice nurses to care for individuals and families with behavioral and mental problems. This specialty track within the MSN program prepares graduates to assess, diagnose, intervene (e.g. psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy), and provide follow-up to facilitate ongoing levels of wellness. The PMHNP is prepared to provide psychiatric and mental health care in a variety of treatment settings (e.g. hospitals, jails, home care, and outpatient clinics) and participate with other members of the health care team. With a shortage of mental health professionals and increasing demand for expert mental health care in rural health settings, the PMHNPs scope of practice brings critically relevant skills needed to care for persons experiencing the full range of psychiatric and mental health problems. There are 720 required practicum hours for this specialty.  The student may sit for national certification upon graduation.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Full- and Part-time plans of study can be located in the University catalog by accessing program information through the Degree Programs link.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Advanced Graduate (Post-Master’s) Certificate Program

Note: This program is open to nurses with a master's degree in nursing.  There are a minimum of 500 required practicum hours for this specialty. The student may sit for national certification upon graduation.

Full- and Part-time plans of study can be located in the University catalog by accessing program information through the Degree Programs link.

Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (CPNP)

Contact: Professor Ashley Walker

The Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner provides holistic care for pediatric patients with acute, complex, critical, and chronic illness across a variety of care settings including hospitals, intensive care units, subspecialty clinics, emergency departments, and the patient's home. Practitioners work independently and collaboratively to ensure quality health care. 

Another part of the NP's role is to assist the patient and family in negotiating health care delivery systems. Upon completion, students are eligible to sit for the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board's CPNP-AC exam, which validates entry-level knowledge of graduates.

Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Advanced Graduate (Post-Master’s) Certificate Program

Note: This program is open to nurses with a master's degree in nursing and nationally certified and licensed as an APRN. There are a minimum of 500 required practicum hours for this specialty. The student may sit for national certification upon graduation.

Full- and Part-time plans of study can be located in the University catalog by accessing program information through the Degree Programs link.

Important forms

Most forms that will be needed throughout your graduate coursework can be found on the Graduate School webpage.

Whenever possible, please complete the DocuSign version of the form.

Graduate Progression Forms

  • Program of Study Requirements
  • Declaration of Advisor
  • Change in Program of Study
  • Graduate Credit Transfer Evaluation Request
  • Change of Advisory Committee
  • Leave of Absence
  • Notice of Reinstatement to Graduate Standing

Graduation Forms

  • Graduation Application Completed in your individual MyNevada account
  • Notice of Completion (Master’s)
  • Notice of Completion (Doctoral)
  • Final Thesis Review Approval
  • Master’s Thesis Filing Guidelines

Health insurance

All domestic degree seeking graduate students, who are enrolled in six or more credits (regardless of the course level) in a semester, will be automatically enrolled and billed for the University sponsored health insurance for each term they are eligible (fall & spring/summer). If a student has other comparable coverage and would like to waive out of the student health insurance, it is the student’s responsibility to complete the University online waiver form prior to the deadline. If approved, a health insurance waiver is good for the current academic year only. A new waiver must be submitted each academic year. All international graduate students are required to carry student health insurance, and the cost will be automatically added to your student account. Any international graduate students with insurance questions must contact the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) directly.

View information on graduate health insurance.

Graduate student association

The Graduate Student Association represents all graduate students and promotes the welfare and interests of the graduate students at the University of Nevada, Reno. The GSA works closely with appropriate university administrative offices, including the Graduate School and Student Services and reports to the President of the University. The GSA government functions through the Council of Representatives, Executive Council and established committees.

Graduate assistantships

All graduate students holding an assistantship (teaching GTA or GRA) are considered Nevada residents for tuition purposes. Non-resident tuition is only waived for the duration of the assistantship. To be eligible for an assistantship, students must be admitted to a degree-granting program and be in good academic standing. The student must have an overall GPA of at least 3.0 and must be continuously enrolled in at least 6 graduate level credits (600-700) throughout the duration of the assistantship.

State-funded assistantships (GTA/GRA) may be held for a maximum of: three (3) years for master’s degree students and five (5) years for doctoral degree students.

More information about graduate assistantships can be found on the Graduate General information page and the Graduate Assistantship handbook.

Plans of study/advisement

Upon admission to the DNP or MSN (including Post-Master’s certificates) program, students should meet with their Track Leader for advisement.  During your meeting your advisor should provide you with a plan of study that will serve as an outline for progression throughout your program.  This plan will be based on full-time, part-time or post-master’s certificate status.  Of note, the plan of study and program of study are not the same.  The plan of study is a semester by semester overview of the program track.  The program of study is a form required by the graduate school (See important forms).

Once a semester you are required to make an appointment with your Track Leader for advisement and to ensure you are progressing as planned through the program.  If for any reason the Track Leader is unavailable you may meet with the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs.

Once the student has selected a chair for their Graduate Committee, the chair and track leader will be responsible for co-advising.  The chair will provide advisement for thesis/project work and the track leader will provide advisement for program progression. 

Timeline for degree completion

All DNP and MSN degree specialty tracks are designed with full and part time plans of study.  Many of these options can be completed in five to eight semesters.  All work toward a doctoral or master’s degree (transfer credits, credits completed at UNR prior to program admission, and all examinations) must be completed within six (6) calendar years immediately preceding the granting of the degree.  Requests for extensions must come from the major advisor with concurrence of the OSN Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and be based on an academic or humanitarian rationale for the delay in degree completion.  Not to exceed one year.

Courses and course load

  1. Only graduate courses (numbered 600 or higher at UNR) are applicable toward the DNP, MSN, and Post-Master’s certificate/degree. These include web-based courses, if available.
  2. Transfer Credits: These are credits transferred from another institution. Credits completed at UNR in another program or as a graduate special do not need to be transferred. Transfer credit can be requested on the Graduate Credit Transfer Evaluation Request formavailable on Graduate School website, and must be signed by the student, major advisor, and graduate director. Transfer credits applied to a master’s program must comply with the time limitation on master’s work (6 years). Thus, if a student took a course five years prior to admission, they would have to complete the degree within one year for the course to apply to the degree. Credits from a completed master’s degree will be exempt from the 8-year time limitation for those students pursuing a doctoral degree.
  3. Graduate credit may not be obtained through Extension courses or Correspondence courses.

Continuous enrollment

To maintain “good standing” all graduate students are required to enroll in a minimum of three (3) graduate credits each fall and spring semester until they graduate. International students may be required to enroll in nine graduate credits each fall and spring semester depending on the requirements of their visa. All students holding assistantships (whether teaching or research assistantships) are required to enroll in a minimum of six (6) graduate credits each semester they hold the assistantship.

Leave of absence

Students in good standing may request a leave of absence by completing a Leave of Absence form during which time they are not required to maintain continuous registration. Usually, a leave of absence is approved for one or two semesters. The leave of absence request may be extended by the student filing an additional leave of absence form. Students applying for a leave of absence should not have any “incomplete” grades which could be changed to “F” and have a detrimental impact on their cumulative GPA. Requests for leave of absences must be received by the Graduate School no later than the last day of enrollment for the semester the leave is to begin.

Military mobilization

Any student who has their education interrupted by mobilization or activation to duty; every possible effort will be made to return the student back into the academic track as close as possible to the point prior to activation. Following the recommendation of NSHE Policy Chapter 16, Section 6- Student Military Mobilization/Activation as well as Chapter 3 of Volume 2 of the Federal Student Aid Handbook, University of Nevada, Reno outlines its readmission policy for Service members to benefit individuals returning from service.  If needed students may apply for a leave of absence

Reinstatement

When a student has been absent for one semester or more without an approved leave of absence, he or she may request reinstatement via the Reinstatement form. This form allows the program the option to recommend the student be re-admitted to their graduate program based on their previous admission OR require the student to re-apply for admission which would require students to submit a new application for admission and pay the application fee. The Notice of Reinstatement to Gradate Standing must be received by the Graduate School no later than the last day of enrollment for the semester the reinstatement is to begin.

Grades and Their Consequences

(Revised 1/13/2014)

  1. Good Standing: In the OSN, students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA. To be counted toward a graduate degree, each graduate course must be completed with a grade of “B” or better.  However, to remain in good standing in the program, students are required to maintain a 3.0 “B” grade point average in both the core and specialization coursework.
  2. Probation/Dismissal: If the graduate grade-point total is 2.4-2.99 the student will be placed on probation and must then raise the cumulative graduate GPA to 3.0 by the end of the following semester or the student will be dismissed from graduate standing. If the student’s GPA is 2.3 or less the student is dismissed from graduate standing, or if the student’s GPA remains below 3.0 of two (2) consecutive semesters, the student is dismissed from graduate standing.  
  3. A student may register for and begin a course only two times. A student who has registered for the same course twice and has withdrawn, or received a grade less than a “B”, is ineligible for progression in any track of the DNP or MSN program or certificate and will be dismissed from that designated program of study. The student is ineligible for readmission unless approved by the OSN Associate Dean for Graduate Programs.
  4. If a student fails (receives less than a “B”) and/or has withdrawn from a combination of two or more courses, they will be dismissed from their program of study. The student is ineligible for readmission unless approved by the OSN Associate Dean for Graduate Programs.
  5. A student who has failed to progress, been suspended, or dismissed from any of the Nursing Graduate Programs and is seeking reinstatement/readmission, will be required to meet with the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and the Graduate Panel (consisting of two graduate nursing faculty, a graduate faculty representative outside of nursing, and a graduate nursing student from a different track). The panel’s decision is final.

Graduate grading scale policy*

Purpose: To provide consistency in grading across the graduate curriculum, the following grading scale is to be used by the Orvis School of Nursing faculty for all graduate courses.

Grade  Percentage

A             95.00-100

A-            90.00-94.99

B+           87.00-89.99

B             83.00-86.99**

B-            80.00-82.99

C+           77.00-79.99

C             73.00-76.99

C-            70.00-72.99

D+           67.00-69.99

D             63.00-66.99

D-            60.00-62.99

F              <60.00

*Approved by the OSN graduate committee February 11, 2008.
**A final grade below B in any graduate nursing course is considered as not passing.
Grades as posted in the Graduate Grading Scare are grades earned.  No grades are rounded up. 

Academic dishonesty

Students are expected to conduct themselves as professionals in all settings.  A student may receive academic and disciplinary sanctions for cheating, plagiarism, or other attempts to obtain or earn grades under false pretenses.  See Academic standards.

Chain of command

If for any reason an issue arises for a student, whether it is a personal matter, grade concern, faculty conflict, peer to peer conflict, etc. there is a specific chain of command within the OSN to handle these situations.  For course issues, such as grade or faculty concerns, etc., the student should first reach out to the faculty of record for that specific course. If there is no resolution of the students’ concern the second step would be to contact the specialty track leader.  All other concerns and those regarding program progression should be taken directly to the specialty track leader.  If the student feels there is still no resolution of their specific issue or concern, they may contact the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs.  Finally, if the student feels there has been no resolution of the issue, they may contact the Dean of the OSN

Grade appeal

Any student who has concerns regarding a grade they have received, may file a grade appeal.  There are very specific steps and time frames associated with this policy and procedure, so please read it carefully.  Situations of academic dishonesty are not eligible for the grade appeal process.  Please see the University Grade Appeal Policy & Procedures.

Post-Master’s DNP Residency Practica, BSN to DNP and MSN Immersions & Clinical Practica Requirements

Immersion day

Students within nurse practitioner tracks may be required to come to campus 1-3 days/semester to participate in an immersion.  Immersions serve for students to interact with faculty, Standardized Patients, practice hands on procedures, learn from specialty guests, etc.  To strengthen your learning opportunities, animal products are often used for teaching procedures (suturing, chest-tube insertion, I&D, etc.). If a student has a personal or religious objection to working with animal products; it is the student’s responsibility to discuss this objection with the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs a minimum of 2 weeks prior to immersion day(s), so an alternative can be provided.  Students receive clinical/practicum hours for time in the immersion setting. Graded assignments are included in the co-requisite theory course(s).  Any student who has previously failed or withdrawn from either a theory or clinical course must repeat the associated immersion day(s).  Immersion day(s) are mandatory on campus assignments and failure to attend may result in failure of the course(s).  

Practica/clinical placement

Throughout the state we have vetted preceptors.  The faculty of record will assign students to those preceptors.  Students who are outside of the state of Nevada will need to assist with finding a preceptor/mentor for their clinical and residency placements. All Practica/clinical placements for students are a collaborative arrangement.  While students may have ideas for where they would like to have clinical experiences, these must be discussed and approved by the track advisors and faculty of record for that specific course prior to meeting with any prospective preceptor.  A "Preceptor Agreement", outlining the agreed upon relationship between each preceptor and student must be completed and provided to the Track Advisor and course faculty for approval prior to the first week of the semester.  The OSN need up to date Curriculum Vitae for of clinical preceptors.  Some practicum settings require a full contract with the University.  Contracts can take up to 6 months, at times longer, to obtain.  Students must keep this in mind when considering preceptors and settings.  

Students must be with a preceptor when in the clinical setting.  Students may not be in the clinical setting at any time when the university is not in operation (e.g. spring break, observed holidays).  Students in breach of these rules will be dismissed from the program. 

 Clinical evaluations (in person, virtual, on campus Standardized Patient, or phone) will be conducted by the faculty of record.  There must be a meeting (virtual, face to face, phone) among the preceptor, student, and faculty of record at the beginning of the practicum, mid-term and final.  While feedback is sought from the preceptors the course grade is the direct responsibility of the faculty of record.       

Fit for duty

All students must be able to meet the minimum requirements of the job description for their specialty within the practicum settings they have been assigned. As part of the admission process, MSN, Post-Master’s Advanced Graduate Certificate, BSN to DNP and DNP students were required to have a physical examination and provide a note from their MD or practitioner stating “fit for duty”.  If for any reason during the program, your physical status changes, you must provide an updated “fit for duty” note from your practitioner in order to return to coursework and the practicum setting.  In the case of a serious injury or illness, you may request a leave of absence. 

COVID-19-We follow the County, State and CDC guidelines for COVID-19 diagnoses, exposures and symptoms.  If there is a discrepancy between the policies, the OSN follows the strictest policy for the protection of the student and community.  Students are expected to self-report accurate details of all possible exposures.  Students may be required to quarantine.  Those students who have tested positive for COVID-19 may return to the clinical setting in compliance with the State of Nevada and CDC guidelines

There are practicum sites that may require students to have additional testing (Drug and Background) and immunizations (e.g. Flu vaccine).  In the event of a positive Drug test or Background check, students will be advised to do a self-report with the licensing State Board of Nursing.  In addition, a report will be filed by the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs with the licensing State Board of Nursing. 

Students must have current documentation of program requirements (Unencumbered license, Immunizations, BLS, ACLS, TB, Professional Liability, etc.) within their on campus files. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that their documents are kept current. Students will not be allowed in the clinical setting and will be suspended until the missing or expired documentation is received and reviewed by the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs.

Fit for duty policy

  • Fit for duty policy: Graduate students

    Purpose: The Orvis School of Nursing (OSN) is committed to protecting the safety, health and well-being of its students, faculty, staff as well as the patients and employees of our affiliate institutions and clinical agencies. Therefore, the purpose of this policy is to establish clear expectations regarding student psychological and/or physical fitness for duty in the clinical setting and to outline the consequences of unsafe or unethical student behaviors. Every student in the Orvis School of Nursing program is expected to act in a safe and ethical manner consistent with the ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses.  https://www.nursingworld.org/

    Policy & Procedure:    

    The rights of patients and the public to safe professional practice supersedes students’ learning and skill acquisition needs. Faculty has an obligation to assess and make professional judgments with respect to each student’s fitness for safe practice during clinical hours. Combined with the OSN Graduate Handbook policies, “Fit for Duty” policies and requirements of our clinical agencies provide the framework and expectations for student participation and behaviors at the individual sites.  Each student is responsible to know how to access agency policies and procedures as an additional reference.   

    In circumstances where a ‘Fitness for Duty’ evaluation may be initiated, the faculty will proceed appropriately according to this policy.  If the clinical agency has a different policy of fit for duty the most restrictive policy will supersede but not exclude this policy.

    • In the event that a faculty member makes a professional judgment that a student’s psychological and/or physical condition impairs the student’s ability to perform safely, the student will be asked to leave the clinical area. The student must immediately comply with this request.
    • Students with a fever over 100.4o F, frequent diarrhea, vomiting, cough, visible rash of infectious nature, conjunctivitis, open wound that cannot be adequately covered, or inability to control bodily secretions may not participate in clinical activities of any kind. Students with minor upper respiratory infections may be required to wear a face make while providing patient care.
    • Students must be able to meet the physical requirements of the clinical agency where they are assigned for clinical practice. If a student requires an assistive device for either a temporary or long term medical reason that does not meet the ADA requirements of reasonable accommodation related to a qualified disabling condition the device may not be allowed. The ability to maintain patient safety by providing safe patient care cannot be compromised for any reason. Patient care is integral to learning the professional/advance practice role and light duty and/or non-patient care tasks or alternative assignments are not available. 
    • Students demonstrating signs or symptoms of chemical impairment will be required to submit to drug and alcohol testing. When requested by faculty, the student must report for testing immediately upon leaving the clinical site.
      • Signs of chemical impairment for which a student may be required to undergo drug and/or alcohol screening include, but are not limited to: labile mood, disheveled appearance, reddened eyes, dilated or constricted pupils, tremor, decreased coordination, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, confusion, paranoid thinking, impaired perception of reality, slurred or rapid speech, unstable gait, odor of alcohol or other chemical substance, syncope, or needle marks.
      • A student, who is required to undergo drug and/or alcohol screening pursuant to this policy, must arrange for transportation to an approved testing site. Students being sent for chemical screening may not operate a motorized vehicle to report for required drug and/or alcohol testing.
      • A student (at their own expense) must undergo drug and/or alcohol testing at South Reno Concentra located at 6410 South Virginia Street. Reno, NV, 89511. The student must report to this facility within one hour of leaving the clinical site. If outside of the Reno/Sparks area, the student must report to the nearest Concentra or like lab.
      • Drug and alcohol testing results must be provided to the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs before the student may return to clinical. Results provided by the student must be signed by a representative of the testing facility, and enclosed in an envelope that is sealed at the testing site in a tamper-evident manner. Positive results are subject to self-reporting to the licensing State Board of Nursing.  Additionally, a report will be filed by the Associate Director for Graduate programs to the licensing State Board of Nursing. 

    A student who refuses to submit to drug and/or alcohol screening when requested pursuant to this policy will be suspended and or dismissed pending further investigation.

    A student who is taking a prescribed schedule II – V controlled substance while under the care of a medical provider, must comply with agency policy. A student may not provide direct patient care with a non-prescribed controlled substance or schedule I controlled substance in his or her system, whether or not the student demonstrates signs or symptoms of impairment. 

    • A faculty member may remove a student from the clinical area because of failure to adhere to the OSN dress code, inadequate preparation, or unsafe or unethical practice NAC 632.890
      • Examples of unsafe or unethical clinical practice include but are not limited to:
        • Negligent patient care
        • Patient abuse, either physical or verbal
        • Excessive sleepiness
        • Unprofessional behaviors
      • unsafe performance documented by the clinical faculty member
        • Refer to the syllabi and/or rubrics

     

    • In the event that a student is asked the leave the clinical area because of signs or symptoms of physical, emotional, psychological or chemical impairment, or unprofessional behavior prohibited by this policy, the Orvis School of Nursing Graduate student absence policy (in Graduate Handbook) will apply to any clinical time missed for any reason.
    • If a student is excluded from clinical due to illness, impairment, or injury, faculty may request medical documentation that permits a student to participate in direct patient care. If requested, this documentation must be provided before a student will be permitted to return to the clinical setting. 
    • Prior to return to the clinical setting, the student must meet with the clinical faculty, Track leader and the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs.

    Consequences

    Before being permitted to return to the clinical area, the student may be mandated by OSN to obtain a Fit for Duty assessment, which may include but is not limited to physical exam, psychological exam, and/or drug /alcohol testing. If recommended, the student must comply with treatment and further monitoring to continue in the clinical course.  If the student refuses this assessment, treatment, and/or further monitoring the student may not be permitted to return to the clinical site, resulting in failure of the course and potential dismissal from the program. If dismissal from the clinical site is due to unethical, unprofessional, or unsafe clinical practice, then a clinical improvement plan will be initiated prior to returning to the clinical setting.  If the student has been referred for medical or psychological treatment, the student will be permitted to return to clinical practice if the treatment provider has deemed the student fit for duty.

    Information will be shared with the treatment provider(s) and OSN designated reporting party, with the student’s written consent.

    If the student is removed from a clinical setting due to documented chemical impairment, the student will be dismissed from the nursing program. Failing to present for a chemical impairment evaluation within allotted time period, failure to report for specimen collection, tampering or attempting to tamper with a specimen or the results, will result in dismissal from the program. 

  • Fit for duty safety analysis form

    Any time a student is exhibiting signs of chemical impairment, the faculty and student will complete the Safety Analysis Form (Appendix B) and student will be escorted for testing.  

    Fit for duty safety analysis form

Standards of conduct/class conduct

Students are expected to conduct themselves as professionals.  In any class/practicum related activity, students must demonstrate behaviors consistent with the ANA Code of Ethics and the Nursing Scope of Practice.  A student may receive academic and disciplinary sanctions for disruptive behavior outlined in the academic standards policy.

Unprofessional conduct/chemical impairment

A student displaying any behaviors in class or practicum setting which are interpreted to be unprofessional (NAC 632.890) or demonstrating signs or symptoms of chemical impairment will be immediately removed from the setting.  Those students who are identified as demonstrating unprofessional behavior will be required to meet with the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs.  The student may be suspended from the program pending investigation of the complaint.  Pending the results of the investigation, the student may be dismissed from the program.  In addition, a complaint may be filed with the State Board of Nursing. 

Those students exhibiting signs of chemical impairment will be required to submit to drug and alcohol testing (at the student’s expense), and will be suspended from the program pending investigation of the complaint. The faculty and student will complete the Safety Analysis Form and student will be escorted for testing.  Pending the results of the investigation, the student may be dismissed from the program.  In addition, a complaint may be filed with the State Board of Nursing. 

Exposure to blood or bodily fluids/needlestick

(Revised 9/11/19)

If an exposure occurs: Immediate first aid for a percutaneous exposure includes cleansing the area with soap and water. Mucotaneous exposures should be flushed with water, and eye exposures should be flushed with normal saline. No attempt should be made to express blood from a percutaneous exposure site and the site should not be cleaned with caustic agents (i.e. bleach). If the student has sustained a deep laceration, the student should be referred to the emergency room of their participating provider for injury management.

A student in the School of Nursing who has blood or body fluid exposure while in a clinical agency is treated in a similar manner to any type of accident occurring within a clinical agency. The student must immediately notify the clinical faculty who will assist the student in triaging the exposure. The faculty member will contact the National Clinician’s Post-Exposure Hotline (888/448-4911) to assist in evaluating the exposure. Before contacting the Post-Exposure Hotline, the faculty member will determine the date and time of the exposure, where and how the exposure occurred, the type of device used, and the severity of the exposure (i.e. mucotaneous splash, superficial scratch without bleeding, moderate puncture or cut with a small amount of bleeding, or a deep puncture or cut with profuse bleeding). If for any reason the National Clinician’s Post-Exposure Hotline is unavailable to assist in evaluation, the student will immediately go to the Emergency Department covered by the student’s private medical insurance.  For reference in handling exposure, the CDC guidelines for Management of Occupational Blood Exposure are located in Appendix E.

If the exposure occurs in an acute facility, the faculty member will inform the patient of the exposure and work with unit staff to obtain patient consent for a STAT needlestick panel. If the exposure occurs in a community agency, the faculty will inform the patient of the exposure if possible and contact the National Clinician’s Exposure Hotline for direction. The faculty member will review the patient’s medical record, if available, to identify whether the patient has a known history of HIV, HCV, or HBV. If the patient has a known history of HIV, the faculty member will attempt to obtain a recent CD4 count and viral load of the source patient. The National Clinician’s Post-Exposure Hotline staff will triage the exposure as low-risk (PEP is not indicated), potentially high risk (PEP may be indicated), or high risk (PEP is indicated). The decision to be tested, however, is the choice of the individual exposed.

If the student is deemed by the Post-Exposure Hotline to have experienced a potentially high- risk or a high risk exposure, the student will be immediately referred to the emergency department covered by the student’s private medical insurance. It is the responsibility of the student to know which facility is covered by their individual insurance policy. If the determination is that the student’s exposure is low risk, the student will be sent to UNR Student Health Services for baseline testing and evaluation. If an exposure occurs outside of Student Health Services hours or if the clinical experience takes place more than 50 miles from the University campus, the student is to be referred to the nearest emergency room that is covered by their individual health policy regardless of the triaged exposure risk.

The University of Nevada Reno is not liable for treatment or medication costs and students are not covered by the clinical agencies’ workers compensation policies. Each student enrolled in the School of Nursing must carry individual medical insurance coverage at all times and all costs are the responsibility of the student.

In the event of a potential or documented exposure to a patient with active Tuberculosis, the exposed student is encouraged to have a PPD skin test at baseline at three months after exposure. If student has had a prior positive PPD skin test, they must have a QuantiFERON-TB drawn.  A student who has a positive PPD skin test within 18 months of a previous negative result should discuss treatment options with his or her medical provider. A student with a positive PPD skin test will be excluded from clinical practice until a chest x-ray or QuantiFERON-TB blood test demonstrates the absence of active disease.

An incident/occurrence report must be completed at the clinical agency. Faculty will consult unit management to facilitate timely reporting. The clinical course coordinator and/or the program coordinator will be contacted to assist with student triage and reporting as necessary. Faculty will complete the OSN Bloodborne Pathogen & Communicable Disease Student Exposure Form and submit the completed form to the OSN director within 24 hours of a communicable disease exposure. The OSN director will keep this documentation on file for a period of not less than ten (10) years following the date of the exposure.  The faculty will need to assist the student in completing the Blood Borne Pathogen and Communicable Disease Student Exposure Reporting form(s).

Blood borne pathogen guidelines and exposure form

  • Blood borne pathogen exposure guidelines

    I. Purpose and Policy

    The purpose of these guidelines is to reduce the risk of student exposure to blood borne pathogens such as, but not limited to, Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

    Standard Precautions is an approach to infection control that requires the application of blood and body fluid precautions for all patients and patient specimens regardless of diagnosis. Standard precautions will be the minimum standard of practice throughout Orvis School of Nursing. Whenever possible Body Substance Isolation will be used. Body Substance Isolation takes Universal Precautions one step further and requires the same barrier precautions for all moist body substances and surfaces, not just those associated with the transmission of HIV and HBV. All human blood and body fluids will be handled as if they are infectious.

    II. Prevention of Blood Borne Pathogen Exposure

    Education and Training in Standard Precautions and Body Substance Isolation Procedures:

    Students will be required to participate yearly in Blood Borne Pathogen Exposure Prevention and Control Class during the first week of level one and level four clinical.  The student must also have satisfactorily demonstrated skill in using personal protective equipment and procedures before receiving a patient care assignment.  The OSN office will maintain documentation of yearly attendance.

    Hepatitis B Vaccine:

    Students will be required to have completed the hepatitis B vaccine series, have documentation of titer immunity, or to have signed a declination prior to going to clinical sites. Students may receive the series through Student Health Services, Washoe County Health Department, Orvis Nursing Clinic, or their own private health care provider.

    III. Methods of Compliance

    Students will become familiar and comply with the Blood Borne Pathogen Exposure Policy of the clinical sites to which they are assigned.

    IV. General Screening

    The Orvis School of Nursing will not undertake any program of screening faculty or students for antibody to HIV. Any student or faculty wishing to be tested will be referred to his/her private physician, the UNR Student Health Center, or the county health department.

    V. Accidental Exposure Incidents

    A student in the School of Nursing who has blood or body fluid exposure while in a clinical agency is treated in a similar manner to any type of accident occurring within the agency. The student should immediately notify the clinical faculty who will then immediately notify the supervisor within the health care facility where the accident occurred. As much information as possible about the source patient should be collected (i.e. HBV antigen, HCV and HIV antibody status). The clinical agency will require the completion of an incident/occurrence report and will usually ask for permission from the client to test for blood borne pathogens.

    The student should report to a health care provider within two hours to discuss post-exposure prophylaxis treatment. The student should be aware that post-exposure testing and post-exposure prophylaxis treatment is not a covered service at the UNR student health center.  While testing and treatment may be initiated at student health services, the student will be required to pay for these services at the time of treatment. In the event of a blood borne pathogen exposure, it is imperative that the student know where and how to seek evaluation and care, as post exposure prophylaxis must be initiated within two hours.  Should the student have a private insurance policy (yourself, your employment, or through your parents); it is still necessary for students to determine if exposure to a blood borne pathogen is a “covered service” of their policy.

    The University of Nevada Reno is not liable for treatment or medication costs.  Each student enrolled in the School of Nursing must carry health insurance and must provide validation of this coverage each semester to the program coordinator or designated staff.  The insurance must provide coverage for exposure to infectious/communicable diseases.   

    The cost of personal health care, including care required as the result of blood borne pathogen exposure in clinical practicum experiences, is not covered by the University, the School of Nursing, or the clinical agencies workman’s compensation policy.

    The University of Nevada Reno does have a Student Accident Insurance policy that would cover students for a blood borne pathogen exposure.  The policy is limited to $10,000 and only covers the student in off campus locations (i.e. hospitals or non-university clinics).  The coverage is only in effect while you are a student.

    The exposed student will be encouraged to have testing for HIV at baseline, 6 weeks, 12 weeks and 6 months. The decision to have testing or not, however, is the choice of the individual exposed.

    The clinical instructor and student will complete the OSN incident report to document the exposure. The faculty will forward the information to the Director of Orvis School of Nursing for follow up.  The school of nursing will keep this documentation on file for a period of not less than ten years following the date of the exposure.

    The clinical instructor must notify the Director of the School of Nursing when a student has been accidentally exposed. Notification of the Administration is necessary to assist in the protection of the faculty and College in the event of subsequent liability issues or actions occurring following the incident.

    VI. Guidelines for Exempting Students from Clinical Assignment to Clients with Blood Borne Diseases:

    Confirmed Pregnancy:

    The risk of transmission of communicable diseases to pregnant health care workers is not known to be greater than the risk to those not pregnant.  However, a pregnant student may not be eligible to receive triple therapy post-exposure prophylaxis in the event of a high-risk exposure due to the teratogenic effects of protease inhibiting medications.  

    Based on the above information, there is no epidemiological reason to exempt pregnant students from caring for patients with blood borne diseases.

    Incompetent Immunological Systems:

    Students with diagnosed immunological deficiencies are at an increased risk for developing opportunistic infections that may be present in clients with blood borne diseases as well as other non-infected clients.

    The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Nurses Association do not recommend barring HIV-infected health care workers from practicing their profession, though in some cases, disclosure of the student’s status may be indicated and mandated by law.

    Students with HIV infection need not be restricted from clinical experience unless they have some other illness for which any health care worker would be restricted. Symptoms of HIV (i.e. fatigue, paresthesia, vision problems, or dementia) may limit a health care worker's ability to safely practice.

    Infections:

    Any student with an infectious process could further compromise the client with an incompetent immunological system.

    All students with exudative or weeping skin lesions should be restricted from direct client care contact.

    The decision to exempt a student from clinical experience will be made on a case-by-case basis by the faculty responsible for the clinical course. Decisions about longer exemptions (more than one clinical session) will be made in consultation with the student's physician and appropriate university faculty/administrators.

    VII. Student Acceptance of Clinical Assignment

    Students who have received formal classroom instruction in blood borne pathogen exposure control and can satisfactorily demonstrate knowledge and skills requisite to such care are expected to accept clinical assignments in order to meet the course objectives.

    The decision to exempt a student from clinical experience will be made on a case-by-case basis by the faculty responsible for the clinical course.

    VIII. Confidentiality

    Within the Code of Federal Regulations are statements designed to protect medical information and the privacy of the individual, providing there is no overriding need for the public to know. To mandate that a person infected with HIV be required or requested to notify College authorities is difficult, if not impossible to enforce and legally challengeable.

    Individuals involved with health caregiving services that know they are infected with a blood borne disease are ethically and legally obligated to conduct themselves responsibly in accordance with the following protective behaviors.

    1. Seek medical advice.
    2. Follow College and/or agency guidelines when involved in direct client care.
    3. Be knowledgeable about and practice measures to prevent transmission of blood borne diseases.

    No specific or detailed information concerning complaints or diagnosis will be provided to faculty, administrators, or even parents, without the express written permission of the individual in each case except as required by law. This position with respect to health records is supported by amendment to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. Health officials and other institutional officers must remember that all confidential medical/health care information is protected by statutes and that any unauthorized disclosures may create legal liability.

    Revised April 2006
    Approved by Director& OSN Faculty
    April 24, 2006

  • Blood borne pathogen and communicable disease student exposure form
    • This form must be completed by the student in collaboration with clinical faculty for any exposure or potential exposure to a communicable disease that occurs during the course of a clinical rotation. An exposure or potential exposure is defined as a percutaneous injury or direct skin and/or mucous membrane contact with blood or body fluids or a reasonable belief that an exposure may have occurred. 
    • Please complete this form as thoroughly as possible. This form is required in addition to any form required by your clinical agency.
    • While your first priority is to obtain appropriate exposure management and post-exposure prophylaxis therapy if indicated, this form must be completed prior to leaving clinical on the day that the injury or exposure occurred.
    • This information will remain confidential and will be maintained in a locked cabinet at the Orvis School of Nursing for a period of not less than ten years following the exposure. Information in this form will remain confidential and will only be utilized by public health agencies in the mandated reporting of diseases, or as required by law.

    Blood borne pathogen and communicable disease exposure form

    Source patient data & post-exposure follow up

Dress/uniform

(updated and approved 12/8/2014)

For clinical/practicum/residency rotations, students are required to dress in business/professional and a white lab coat or navy blue scrubs and a white lab coat with the University of Nevada, Reno OSN embroidered logo. A name badge may be provided by the clinical site and must be worn during all practicum hours.  If the name badge is lost, the student will need to secure a replacement badge.  Additionally, students must have their identification (UNR/Wolf Card ID) badge visible.  Obtain a UNR/Wolf Card ID at the Wolf Card Office in the Joe Crowley Student Union.  Photo identification (driver’s license, passport, etc.) is required.  ID cards may only be issued to students who have registered for classes. 

Exceptions to this policy are otherwise defined by the environment in which the student is assigned (i.e. Pediatrics, Psych/Mental Health).  Students may be sent home from clinical sites for failure to comply with required dress/uniform standards.

Lab coats and scrubs can be obtained from the following uniform stores in Nevada as they carry our logo:

In Reno, Reno Uniforms 70 W. Taylor St. 775-657-6025

In Las Vegas, Las Vegas Uniforms 953 967 E. Sahara Avenue 702-734-7070

Absenteeism

Each DNP, MSN, and Certificate track has very specific clinical hour requirements to ensure eligibility for certification testing within that specialty. Clinical hours are expected to be completed within the semester assigned. Clinical hours may not be “banked” and rolled over to another semester. Based on those requirements, any missed clinical hours will need to be made up before the end of the semester for that course, otherwise a student may receive an unsatisfactory grade, have to repeat the course, and maybe ineligible to progress within the program.

If unforeseen circumstances arise, (i.e. hospitalization), the student may request an incomplete for the course, or a medical withdrawal and complete the course during the next offered semester (this may delay progression within the program).  

Chair and graduate committee

The declaration of advisor/major advisor/committee chair form

This form must be received by the graduate School no later than the end of the second semester for all DNP and MSN students.  The form can be found on the graduate school website at https://www.unr.edu/grad/student-resources/forms

Prior to the completion of 12 credits, the student will select a chair.  It is the student’s responsibility to meet with a potential Chair(s) to discuss development of a Committee.   All OSN Graduate Faculty (doctoral prepared) members are eligible to fill this role. When a faculty member has agreed to chair the student’s committee, the completed Declaration of Committee Chair form will be submitted to the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs for signature prior to sending to the Graduate School.  

  1. The committee Chair is the graduate faculty member of the OSN who will guide the student in developing the DNP Project and MSN thesis and in implementing the various steps of that proposal. The Chair and student will determine other committee members to complete the committee makeup. The second committee member will be another OSN faculty member approved by the Graduate School and ideally, someone with some understanding of the student’s chosen area of concentration.  The third faculty member; Graduate Representative, is generally selected from the university-at-large.  According to the graduate school, the university-at-large member is given the role of representing the graduate school, assuring compliance with graduate school regulations and procedures, and reporting any deviation from prescribed standards to the graduate school. https://www.unr.edu/grad/student-resources/graduate-faculty

    For The MSN project, committee make-up is slightly different. The committee is made up of four nursing faculty.  One of the faculty serves as a chair and the other three make up the project committee.  The committee will guide the student in the development of a clinical problem, project, and the various steps of proposals. (updated 2/3/21).

  2. The Graduate School rule regarding committees is that they should be formed prior to completion of 12 graduate credits. 

  3. Graduate Committee members must have graduate faculty status or approval of the Dean of the Graduate School. Contact the OSN Associate Dean for Graduate Programs to initiate this request.

  4. Students working on a project in the community may find it helpful and even vital to include a key person from the workplace on their committee. Preferably, this person should be doctoral educated (Ph.D., Ed.D. Dr.P.H., M.D., etc.), in which case it may be possible to obtain Graduate School approval for their role as an official committee member.  If this is not possible, this person can at least serve on the committee ex officio.  Contact the OSN Associate Dean for Graduate Programs to initiate this request.

  5. The student’s Chair and committee (Committee make-up will vary depending on whether student is in the DNP or MSN program of study) should meet with the student to review, approve, and, sign off on the student’s Program of Study, which should be detailed on the Graduate School’s Program of Study Form (See Below and see Important Forms section).

Program of study

  1. Students should discuss their program of study with their Track Leader advisor. The responsibility for approving a student’s program of study lays with the student’s Chair, other members of his/her Graduate Committee, the track leader, and the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs (Graduate Director).  This information is recorded by the student on the Graduate School’s Program of Study Form, which once finalized, must be signed by the Committee Chair, and each member of the Graduate Committee and forwarded to the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs for approval.  Once the Program of Study form has been reviewed and approved by the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, the student will submit the form to the Graduate School.  The student should make a copy of the original form for their student file prior to submitting to the Graduate School. https://www.unr.edu/Documents/graduate-school/program-of-study.pdf
  2. Elective- or Transfer-course choices should be made in collaboration with the student’s Chair and support the student’s areas of specialization and her/his research and professional interests. All degree requirements including elective/transfer courses must be included on the Program of Study Form.

Important note: The Program of Study Form should be submitted to the Graduate School as soon as possible after the completion of 12 credits in the program.  Should a student need help with course decisions prior to selecting a Chair and committee, the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs can assist in approving and recommending courses.  If elective-course choices change, an amended Program of Study Form should be completed, necessary signatures obtained, and the form submitted to the Graduate School.

DNP project (NURS 788)

Introduction

Both the BSN to DNP and the Post-Master’s DNP program requires a change project as the culminating experience for the program. The process for developing the project usually begins in the second semester of full-time study (fifth semester of part-time study) and continues throughout the remaining three semesters. A minimum of six credits of NURS 788 is required to complete the project.  Students have three faculty members on their Project committee: two nursing faculty (doctorally prepared) and a third member (doctorally prepared) who serves as a representative of the Graduate School. The following describes the project in more detail, but the syllabus provides clear credit objectives and examples of project options.  Note: you may alternatively hear the project referred to as the “Capstone.”  Preparation for the DNP Project may begin as early as the first semester a student is enrolled in the program. Students must have a chair who has signed the Declaration of Advisor form.  Faculty will review with student the NURS 788 syllabus to plan the 6 credits for project completion. 

DNP Project Guidelines

The purpose of the DNP project is give the student an opportunity to synthesize the advanced knowledge and skills developed in DNP coursework. One of the ways the student demonstrates the synthesis of advanced practice and leadership skills is through production of a DNP project report. The AACN provides guidelines regarding the DNP project. https://www.aacnnursing.org/DNP/Tool-Kit 

While there is a lot of information on the page regarding the DNP project, students are highly encourage to review the content. 

What constitutes a DNP project?  The DNP project gives the student the opportunity to develop, and ultimately, demonstrate a synthesis of senior leadership and advanced practice skills within the context of health care improvement. Thus, the setting, purpose, and objectives of student projects will vary, but every project will include the synthesis of strategic, creative thinking, decision-making, business planning, project management, and communication skills that are hallmarks of a DNP-prepared graduate. Students will explore the impact of the project at both micro and macro-levels of healthcare.

Timetable: The student is oriented to the process for developing and completing the project during the initial orientation held on campus in the first fall term of the DNP program. At that time, an overview of the project and an introduction to DNP faculty members eligible to supervise students’ projects takes place. Faculty members present their research, evidence-based practice, education projects, and/or leadership expertise and interests. This provides students with information about faculty with similar interests as their own and as possible chairs and members of project committees as they progress through the DNP program.

Before the end of the first semester of coursework, the student should speak with an advisor about her/his interests and opportunities for the leadership or advanced practice project. The exchange should include a discussion of potential chairs and members of the project committee and their readiness to assume such a role. Although plans may subsequently change after exposure to new ideas through coursework, student discourses, and employment transitions, a continuing dialogue about the potential project with the advisor is essential. By the end of the semester and with the advisor’s approval, the student finalizes the selection of a faculty chair for the project. In collaboration with the Chair of the Committee, the additional members who comprise the Project Advisory Committee are selected.  Students may seek advisement for selection of a chair from the Associate Dean.

Since the DNP Project is a synthesis of the program objectives and relates to advanced practice and nursing leadership, students track the hours spent in the Project courses to document their contribution toward the 1000 hours of supervised clinical practice requirement of the program.

In the second semester, the student is engaged in project planning.  The Project Advisory Committee reviews the proposed plan and toward the end of the semester, the student defends the project proposal. The student will prepare a PowerPoint presentation to highlight the background of the project, stakeholders, pertinent literature, framework, methodology as necessary, and timeline.  The Project Committee must approve the project plan prior to implementation.  During the proposal defense the student’s program of study will be signed. In some instances the student may need to seek IRB approval.  In this case the student will work with their Chair to submit a proposal to the IRB. 

After the project proposal is approved, the student is able to begin work on the project, unless IRB approval is required.  During implementation, the student applies knowledge from previous and concurrent coursework to continue activities on the project. The student’s Project Committee chair supports the student by acting as a resource and reviewing the student’s progress. The student initiates activities on the project throughout the semester under the guidance of the Chair of the Project Committee. Throughout the semester, it is the student’s responsibility to stay in contact with the Committee Chair and set periodic meetings for review of the work.

The student works with the Project Committee chair throughout to finalize the work of the project and to prepare the final defense of the project to the committee.  An Executive Summary which includes by is not limited to Background and Significance, problem statement, stakeholders, review of the literature, methods, framework, results, implications for nursing, conclusions, etc. must be approved by the Committee chair before it is sent to other members of the committee.  A PowerPoint presentation is developed that acts as an outline for the defense of the project.

Once the work on the DNP project has commenced, satisfactory progress must be made each semester in order to receive a passing grade in NURS 788.  You must communicate with your chairperson as to what constitutes “satisfactory progress.”  A minimum of six credits of NURS 788 are required to graduate. 

MSN research/project requirement NURS 797 Thesis or NURS 794

Introduction

A standard of graduate nursing education is scholarship.  The student is expected to develop a topic of thesis/project prior to completion of 12 credits.  The scholarship requirement consists of one of the followingplans: (1) thesis, NURS 797, or (2) project, NURS 794.Prior to the completion of 12 credits, the student is expected to complete the Request for Graduate Advisory Chair and Declaration of Advisor form

This form begins the process for identifying a Chair (must be a doctoral prepared nursing faculty member) and two other committee members, one within the School of Nursing and one outside the School of Nursing with graduate faculty status https://www.unr.edu/grad/graduate-faculty or approval from the Graduate School Dean.    

  1. Thesis (NURS 797, Plan 1)

Definition:

The MSN Thesis is nursing oriented in nature and requires independent research processes aimed at discovery and/or development of elements or relationships derived from theory.  The MSN thesis, while research based, does not necessarily require the generation of new data.  The thesis requires a minimum of 6 credits (NURS 797) and is graded as satisfactory or unsatisfactory (S/U).

Objectives:

    Provides the student with the opportunity to:

  1. generate a research question/hypothesis within a theory/conceptual framework
  2. analyze the relevant literature,
  3. implement the research with an appropriate design,
  4. analyze and interpret data, and
  5. Make recommendations for replication, revisions, or future investigations.

General Thesis Guidelines

 (Revised and approved 11/24/2011 by OSN Graduate Committee)

The following guidelines are provided to assist you in the preparation of your thesis.  Always refer to your chair for any specific questions and timelines.

  1. Choose a Chair for your thesis Committee. It is suggested that at the end of NURS 735, (Introduction to Knowledge Development and Scientific Inquiry) the student should seed a faculty member to serve as chair of their thesis committee.  The Declaration of Advisor/Major Advisor/Committee Chair

This form must be completed and signed by the requested faculty who will serve as chair of the thesis committee.  The completed form must be submitted to the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs for signature and sent to the Graduate School for final declaration.

  1. Negotiate with chair to set a meeting time to discuss your topic of interest.
  2. The Chair and student will select additional Committee members. The Committee is composed of three members, two nursing faculty members (one, doctoral prepared, serving as chair) and one discipline outside of nursing members.
  3. Begin writing.
  4. Submit the first three/four chapters of your thesis to your chair for review. Your chair will decide when it is appropriate to submit your writings to other members of the committee.
  5. Negotiate with Chair setting a date and time for proposal meeting. Thesis Proposal Meeting and completion of Program of Study; the student will meet with his/her chairperson and discuss dates for a Thesis Proposal meeting, keeping in mind the calendars of other committee members for mutual date. Prior to initiation of the research, all details related to the thesis must be discussed, negotiated, and approved by the student’s Thesis committee.  At the proposal defense, the Program of Study Form, will be signed by the chair, committee members, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, and graduate school signatures.  Make sure a copy of this form is placed in your file. This form can be located on the Graduate School website under forms.  https://www.unr.edu/Documents/graduate-school/program-of-study.pdf
  6. Once you have obtained approval from your Chair and Committee members begin Institutional Review board (IRB) application process. Guidelines for submitting an IRB application can be found on the Research Integrity Office website.  If not already completed you will need to complete the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) course prior to applying to the IRB.
  7. Once you have received IRB approval you may begin your data collection.
  8. Begin writing Chapter 4 and submit to Chair. Once approved by Chair, you may submit your writings to other members of the committee.
  9. Set final defense date. Pay very close attention to timeline requirements and important dates located on the Graduate School website. 
  10. The final copy of your thesis will be submitted to the Committee 2-4 weeks prior to your final defense date. The exact timeframe of this submission will be determined by your chair.
  11. Thesis Defense. Two (2) hours should be scheduled for this defense.  Bring to your defense completed, for signature, The Master’s Degree—Notice of Completion form.  This form can be found on the Graduate School website.
  12. Submit your thesis to the Graduate School in accordance with Thesis/Dissertation guidelines and submission requirements, located on the Graduate School website.
  13. Don’t forget to register for Graduation!

Professional Project (NURS 794, Plan 2)

(Revised and approved 02/03/21 by OSN Graduate Curriculum and Program Committee)

NURS 794 Graduate Nursing Scholarship-Capstone Project

For the MSN capstone project, graduate student will translate and integrate current research/literature in an evidence-based practice project.  The project’s purpose is to improve the health outcomes of identified individuals, communities, or populations.  Students will select a chair.  The Chair must sign the Declaration of Advisor form.  Once the form has been signed and proper signatures obtained, the student and chair should set up a meeting to review the student learning outcomes and requirements of the NURS 794 capstone project. 

During this course you will completing a scholarship change project. You will be leading evidence-based quality improvement initiatives in order to improve the health of patients, families, communities and populations. Over several semesters you will work on identifying a problem, investigate literature for evidence-based solutions and develop a proposal for a change project. The intent of this course is to uphold the rigor and standards of the graduate school at UNR while ensuring you fully understand each expectation. For graduation, the student must complete 4 credits of NURS 794.  Pay close attention to the requirements of each credit as they must be completed each semester when the credit is taken.  See below for each credit requirement.

Credit 1:
Problem Identification Executive Summary and Proposal Development
Community Partner Identification
Literature Review Table and Synthesis of Literature Summary
Journaling and Group Discussion Board

Credit 2:
Capstone Project Proposal Presentation
Community Partner Negotiation and Contract
Peer Evaluation
Journaling and Group Discussion Board

Credit 3:
Capstone Change Project Timeline and Updates
Attendance at Final Presentation
Peer evaluation
Journaling and Group Discussion Board

Credit 4:
Capstone Change Project Timeline and Updates
Capstone Change Project Presentation and Executive Summary
Attendance at Final Presentation
Peer evaluation
Journaling and Group Discussion Board

 

  1. One of the NURS 794 committee members will be assigned to chair your proposal during the first credit of NURS 794. It is suggested that at the end of NURS 735, Introduction to Knowledge Development and Scientific Inquiry the student should seek a faculty member to serve as chair of their project committee. The Declaration of Advisor/Major Advisor/Committee Chair form must be completed at this time.  The completed form will be submitted to the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs for signature and sent to the Graduate School for declaration.
  2. NURS credit assignments will be completed as identified within the syllabus
  3. Follow all requirements of NURS 794 and credits.
  4. At the end of the final credit of NURS 794 the Master’s Degree – Notice of Completion form will be completed. This form can be found on the Graduate School website.  Committee members will sign this form upon successful defense of the project.  

Graduation process

  1. Students have a total of 6 calendar years to complete all masters or doctoral degree requirements.

  2. The Application for Graduation must be purchased and completed online in MyNevada. All DNP, MSN and Post-Master’s MSN students must complete this application process. This application includes the intended date of graduation, degree, and dissertation or thesis title (if applicable).  Graduation deadlines are as follows:
        March 1st for May (Spring) Graduation
        June 1st for August (Summer) Graduation
       October 1st for December (Fall) Graduation
    LATE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED 

    An applicant who does not complete all degree requirements by the specified deadline for the semester they applied for, must purchase and complete a new online graduation application. 

    Note that only May and December have official graduation ceremonies.

  3. A Program of Study Form must be completed by the student and approved/signed by all members of the student’s Graduate Committee upon completion of 12 credits toward the MSN degree. The program of study form is then forwarded to the graduate coordinator for approval and then to the Graduate School for final approval.

  4. An oral presentation and defense of the student’s project or thesis to her/his Graduate Committee and other interested faculty and students must occur prior to the final exam period of the semester in which the student plans to graduate.

  5. Dates for Submission of Thesis: The final date for submission of the thesis in final form is one week before the close of the semester. No extension of this deadline is permitted. The Graduate Dean makes final approval of theses. The Graduate School will always have a complete list of semester graduation deadlines posted online.  See Graduate School website for Thesis Guidelines.   
    Important note: The “end of the semester” is usually the Monday following the end of the final examination period.

  6. Following the successful completion of the above, the student’ Advisory Committee will sign a Notice of Completion and the student will seek the final signature of the OSN Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and submit the original to the Graduate School—a necessary component of the final approval of the student’s graduation.
  1. Completion of Graduate Survey.

References 

American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2008). The essentials of doctoral education for advanced nursing practice. Retrieved from http://www.aacn.nche.edu/dnp/Essentials.pdf

American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2008). The essentials of master’s education in nursing. Retrieved from http://www.aacn.nche.edu/education-resources/MastersEssentials11.pdf

Institute of Medicine. (2003). Health professions education: A bridge to quality. Washington DC: National Academies Press.