The College of New Jersey

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Frequently Asked Questions – BSN Program

How do I learn more about the undergraduate nursing program at TCNJ?

For more information, refer to the Department of Nursing website or contact nursing@tcnj.edu where you can find details about the curriculum requirements, 4-year program of study, academic policies, affiliating clinical sites, etc. The College hosts Lions days throughout the year for prospective students to learn more about the different career options at TCNJ, including nursing.

What are my chances of earning admission into the traditional BSN program within the School of Nursing, Health, and Exercise Science?

Admission to the undergraduate nursing program at TCNJ is highly competitive; thus, meeting the minimum requirements for admission does not guarantee admission. The number and the quality of the applicants will determine the competitiveness of the applicant pool. Historically, students who have built a solid science foundation, who demonstrate the ability to communicate clearly, who have an understanding of professional nursing practice, and who have excelled in any prerequisite course work have had the highest probability of earning admission. A cohort of up to 74 students will be selected from the pool of qualified applicants for study beginning each fall semester. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions should be contacted for further information.

What is the transfer process for potential students interested in joining the nursing major?

Transfer into the nursing program begins with application in the spring semester only. Please note that there are two separate processes dependent on if a potential student will be considered an external transfer candidate or internal transfer candidate. External candidates should apply and contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for specific direction. Internal candidates will find the process and internal transfer form on the Nursing Department website pages. The transfer process is highly competitive, occurs at the incoming sophomore level, and is dependent on the number of seats open within a given academic year.

I was charged with a misdemeanor/felony. Will I be able to be complete the nursing program and be licensed to practice nursing if I meet all the requirements of a successful graduate?

The New Jersey Board of Nursing discusses specific requirements pertaining to a criminal record and the effect on RN licensure in the State of New Jersey and can be found at: New Jersey State Board of Nursing: Criminal History – FAQs. Students interested in licensure in a state other than New Jersey should contact that particular state’s Board of Nursing to identify policies and regulations.

Potential and current students should be aware that one’s ability to complete the clinical requirements of the TCNJ nursing program is influenced by the policies and procedures of our affiliated clinical sites related to acceptance and placement of a student with a misdeameanor/felony. While the Department of Nursing will make a concerted effort to obtain a clinical placement site on behalf of our students, if expungement of a student’s record or charges is not achieved prior to a clinical course, it has been our experience that clinical affiliates will not accept placement and results in an inability to meet the clinical objectives of a course and thus program progression or completion.

How is TCNJ different from programs at other nursing schools?

TCNJ places emphasis on helping to develop tomorrow’s leaders in the profession of Nursing. Our program will not only help you develop excellent technical skills, but it will help you expand your awareness of global health care and the role of Nursing in it. We pride ourselves on preparing our graduates to continue setting goals for themselves that will take them on to positions of professional leadership, advanced practice or nursing education.

How academically rigorous is the program?

TCNJ is very academically demanding. However, excellent instruction, student-centered faculty, and plentiful student support services allow us to maintain a very high retention rate. Our program requires a rich background in the sciences. We challenge our students to build on this background because we believe it is essential in order to empower our graduates not only to succeed in their profession, but also to excel.

What is the average class size?

Typical nursing classes range from 15 to 30 students. We strive to limit clinical groups to eight students (two fewer than the maximum allowed by state law).

When I am a nursing major at TCNJ, how will I know what courses to take?

The 4-year plan of study outlines a semester by semester format that outlines the sequence of classes each nursing undergraduate needs to complete as part of the degree requirements. In addition, each student meets individually with his/her nursing faculty advisor at least twice a year. During these meetings, the advisor and the student discuss courses in which the student is currently enrolled and plan for subsequent semesters. Students should meet with their academic advisors before their assigned registration times in fall and spring semester the and prior to adjusting schedules whenever possible.

What if I need help to succeed in some courses?

TCNJ has academic support services. Faculty may offer assistance during office hours and students are encouraged to join a peer-to-peer study group. TCNJ has a Center for Student Success, as well as a Writing Center both that help students succeed and excel.

How do I schedule an appointment with an academic faculty advisor?

Newly admitted freshmen students should attend both an Orientation program and Welcome program specific to the nursing program. It is during the latter that a student will be informed of and have a opportunity to be introduced to their academic faculty advisor.
Current/continuing nursing students requesting to meet with their academic faculty advisor may email them directly for an appointment, call their office to schedule an advising appointment, or sign-up on advisement postings during pre-registration periods.

Students are instructed to refer to the Academic Advisement Policy and Procedure found on the Nursing Department web pages.

Why do I have a Laboratory Fee on my bill?

Beginning in the fall 2018 semester, TCNJ Department of Nursing implemented a Laboratory Fee for students enrolled in all Nursing clinical courses: NUR 230, NUR 240, NUR 324, NUR 330, NUR 334, NUR 340, NUR 344, NUR 420, NUR 424, NUR 440, and NUR 444. These fees are incurred starting in the fall semester of the second year of the program and continue into the fourth year. They cover a variety of assessment tools, uniforms and laboratory supplies, as well as simulation.

May I take courses during the summer at TCNJ or at another college or university?

Students may need to re-take courses during one or more winter term or summer sessions. The science department may offer these courses so that students can continue in the nursing curriculum in a timely fashion. All nursing courses must be taken at TCNJ and due to their sequential nature, may require an alternation in BSN program plan of study. A student’s academic faculty advisor should be consulted early on to provide guidance and direction for any student incurring academic challenges. The Assistant Dean within the School of Nursing, Health, and Exercise Science is another individual who can help students navigate through the process of repeating a course. Students wishing to take a course at a university or college closer to home during the summer will need to obtain permission of the Chair of the Nursing Department. The NJ Online Transfer Credit Equivalency System should be used to ensure a course at another NJ institution of higher learning is equivalent and will be recognized by the Records and registration Department at TCNJ. A course offered from a college or university outside of NJ will require that the student obtain a course syllabus and outline from the out of State institution for review and approval by the TCNJ Department Chair that the course relates to e.g. CHE 111 would require approval from the Chair of Chemistry Department.

Please see the Nursing Department Academic Policy and Procedures for further guidance.

What options do you offer for distance learning or internet based classes?

While we currently do not offer distance learning options, we are actively exploring this possibility. We place great emphasis on its role in developing a community of nursing professionals. Our challenge is to find ways to present distance learning options while preserving the mentoring and collegial relationships fostered in our curriculum.

Do you offer weekend courses?

The College of New Jersey does not currently offer any weekend course options.

How many nursing students make up a clinical group?

To provide a safe educational experience in the clinical area, faculty-student ratios are kept low to provide a safe clinical experience for students. The State of New Jersey sets this ratio as one (1) Clinical Adjunct Faculty member to ten (10) students. TCNJ Department of Nursing attempts to keep the faculty -student ratio lower than that regulated by the State. As such, most clinical groups will have a 1:8 ratio.

How are clinical groups determined?

In order to provide for the widest variety of experiences during the nursing program, students are assigned to clinical groups by Course Leaders in consultation with Clinical Faculty. Students are assigned to attend clinical at a number of our affiliated health systems, hospitals and community agencies. The clinical sites are located within an hour of the TCNJ campus.

How do students get to the clinical sites to which their assigned?

Students are responsible for arranging their own transportation to and from clinical sites. It is recommended that car-pools be established so that students can share the cost of transportation. However in some circumstances, it may be required that a student travel on their own to and from an assigned site.

When will I be ready to start the clinical component of the program, and when would I graduate?

The clinical component of the program begins in the second semester of the student’s sophomore year. Prior to entering clinical courses, students must complete all pre-requisites as noted in the most recent Nursing Department Academic Policy and Procedure document as well as meet all clinical requirements. The clinical requirements are listed in the above document and include such things as CPR requirements, health history and physical forms, immunizations and titers, criminal background clearances, child abuse clearances, and TB testing. Many clinical clearances are updated annually and are required by our clinical agency sites. All clinical requirements must be completed prior to entering any clinical course. TCNJ has a Clinical Site Coordinator whom can guide students in understanding the clinical requirement process and who monitors that all clearances are up-to-date. The Clinical Site Coordinator will notify Course Leaders and Adjunct Clinical Faculty as to the status of students.

The sequence of coursework with clinical experiences is five semesters ranging from spring of the second year through completion of spring semester of the fourth year. Students complete the program dependent on their academic success. It is noted that an entering freshman may complete the program in eight semesters of study, however the need to repeat any required course will extend the program of study to five years or more.

What are the clinical requirements?

Clinical requirements include such things as a health and physical exam, immunizations, titers, CPR certification, child abuse and criminal background checks, including background checks and urine drug screens. These may change, and students are provided guidelines and deadlines for completing these each semester following the first year. These are subject to change depending on the clinical host site requirements and policy changes.

Can I enroll in the program on a part-time basis?

The BSN program at TCNJ is not available on a part-time basis. Coursework is sequential in nature and offered for the most part once per academic year. Dyad coursework that includes clinical becomes more time intensive and requires students to enroll full time.

Do many students have part-time jobs while in the nursing program college?

The number of nursing students at TCNJ have part-time jobs while taking classes, and use the summer months to earn money to help them pay for college expenses. It is noted however that the curriculum is intensive and requires flexibility related to both clinical assignments, laboratory requirements related to didactic coursework, Boot camps and Simulation experiences. Part-time employment can never take priority over your academic and clinical learning as such is not a excuse for any absence in the program.

What is the BSN program’s NCLEX pass rate?

The six-year average NCLEX pass rate for 94%. The pass rate for graduates of the 2017 academic year is 97%.

What percentage of BSN graduates get employed?

100% of our students who seek full-time employment upon graduation are placed within six months. A large number of our graduates also go on to begin their graduate studies upon completion of the BSN.

What options do you offer for graduate study?

TCNJ currently offers master’s level programs. These are the Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (Primary Care), Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Leader and an MSN in School Nursing.

Do you suggest students go immediately into graduate study?

TCNJ does not take a specific stance on whether it is best to enter graduate school immediately upon graduation or to gain workplace experience first. We believe that such a decision should be made after considering a broad range of criteria, including career goals, personal resources, and personal philosophy. While no one can make this decision for you, we do provide a highly supportive environment in which to weigh the options and make the best decision possible.

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