Nursing

Office: Cowan Hall Room 309 (Moving to  Hagener building by 2021)

Montana State University-Northern offers multiple-entry/multiple exit nursing programs that include an Associate of Science degree in nursing (ASN) and a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (RN-BSN Completion Program).

Montana State University-Northern Department of Nursing Associate of Science Degree in Nursing (ASN) and Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (RN-BSN Completion) are accredited by:

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850
Atlanta, Georgia 30326
404-975-5000
www.acenursing.org

Montana State University-Northern Department of Nursing Associate of Science Degree in Nursing (ASN) is fully approved by:

Montana State Board of Nursing (MT BON)
301 South Park
PO Box 2000513
Helena MT 59620-0513
406-841-2300
www.nurse.mt.gov

The RN-BSN Completion Program follows the Rules and Statutes of the Montana State Board of Nursing.

Advising Information

Nursing students are encouraged to meet with advisors at the beginning of each semester to confirm plans of study and make any necessary adjustments. Meeting with an advisor before registering for classes each semester will allow students to plan a schedule that will meet student needs and assist in completing requirements in an efficient manner.

The program prepares men and women for entry-level Registered Nurse positions in hospitals and other health care agencies. The ASN qualifies the graduate to write the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to become a registered nurse. The ASN degree program is an intense, demanding, accelerated education option for students desiring the opportunity to become RN’s and enter the workforce sooner than the four-year degree.

The prerequisite year of the ASN program is offered in both Havre and Lewistown. Upon admission to the nursing program students will participate in clinical experiences at various sites in their communities. Students who begin the program in Havre can complete their second year in Havre or at the MSU-Northern Great Falls campus. Students who begin the program in Lewistown will complete the program at that site. Placement is determined by grade point average. Placement is limited at each site.

All students in the MSU-Northern ASN program are required to take standardized proficiency examinations during the program. These examinations provide the student, faculty and program with information concerning student comprehension, application of nursing content and academic growth. Nursing students are required to pay fees for these examinations. These fees will be paid during the semester of the examination and are not refundable.

The RN-BSN Completion program provides the opportunity for registered nurses to continue their education in the profession. The RN-BSN program follows the Rules and Statutes of the Montana State Board of Nursing and is fully accredited by the NLNAC. The major builds on previous nursing education and is directed toward an expanded educational base in the areas of nursing leadership and management, community health, and advanced clinical practice. The BSN graduate is prepared as a generalist to practice in varied settings and has the foundation for graduate education.

The BSN classes are online and are scheduled innovatively to meet the needs of adult, non-traditional learners. Most BSN students maintain their jobs and residences and are able to attend classes without moving to the university setting. It is usually possible to attain BSN clinical experiences in the student’s geographic area of residence.

Further information and program requirements may be obtained by calling the Department of Nursing office at 406.265.4196 or the University toll-free number, 1.800.662.6132, or by visiting the Department of Nursing Web page at http://www.msun.edu/academics/nursing. Interested BSN students can contact Debbie Winegar at deborah.winegar@msun.edu for questions concerning admission into the program. 

Associate of Science Degree

Prerequisites for Entering the Nursing Program

The following is the policy for admission to the Associate of Science in nursing (ASN) program:

To be considered for admission the student must:

  1. Be admitted to Montana State University-Northern (a separate application to the University is required).
  2. Submit official copies of all university transcripts to Montana State University-Northern. Please send the official copies to the Department of Nursing for initial processing. Transcripts will be evaluated to determine credit allotment and articulation. No course requirement, including basic skills courses, will be waived simply on the basis that the applicant has a prior college degree.
  3. Required admissions criteria for acceptance into the ASN program:
    1. Applications are accepted from May 1 through May 31st.  If the student is taking a prerequisites during spring semester those final grades must be submitted with the application.  Accepted applicants will be notified by email and mail on or before July 1st.
    2. a minimum extracted GPA of 2.85 is required to apply.  the extracted GPA is calculated from the following courses completed with a  "C" grade or better, Anatomy and Physiology I and II, College Algebra, English, Nutrition, Chemistry, General Psychology and Introduction to Nursing.
    3. the Kaplan Admittance Exam must be scheduled, taken and passed with at least a 60% prior to applying.  The Kaplan Admittance Exam can be taken a second time if there are any more testing days available that year.
  4. Licensed Practical Nurses may apply to the ASN program. The LPN would apply to the program with  the same requirements.  If accepted to the ASN program, the LPN can take a skills test and computer test to test out of one course, Foundations of Nursing.  The LPN is required to take all other courses to receive an ASN degree.
  5. Students who desire to transfer into the Associate Degree Program for another school of nursing must meet the required admission criteria listed above and demonstrate competency in clinical skills.  Admission is granted on a space-available basis.
  6. Applicants not admitted into the Nursing Program by their expected date of admission must reapply for future consideration. There is no waiting list.
  7. The following prerequisite courses may be taken at MSU-Northern or at other accredited institutions. None of these courses are waived simply on the basis of a prior college degree. An advisor from the Department of Nursing will evaluate the transcripts from other institutions and will recommend the credit (if any) to be allowed.
    BIOH 201Human Anat Phys I4
    BIOH 211Human Anatomy & Physiology II4
    CHMY 121Intro to General Chemistry3
    CHMY 122Intro to Gen Chem Lab1
    M 121College Algebra3
    NRSG 100Introduction to Nursing1
    NUTR 121Clinical Human Nutrition2
    PSYX 100Intro to Psychology3
    WRIT 101College Writing I3
  8. Prior to starting NRSG courses the student must meet the following requirements:
    1. The student must provide proof that s/he:
      1. Had a physical examination verifying good health
      2. Had immunizations that are current for, or has documented proof of immunity to, the diseases of measles, mumps, and rubella (applied to students born after 1956)
      3. Is current for tetanus and diphtheria vaccination (Td) according to the Center for Disease Control guidelines
      4. Had the hepatitis B vaccination series, including titer, or has a valid waiver on file
      5. Is free of tuberculosis (annual update)
      6. Has professional liability insurance (provided by the Department of Nursing) (annual update)
      7. Has health insurance (annual update)
      8. Has current class C CPR certification (CPR for Health Care Providers) (annual update)
    2. Health standards must be met as required by participating clinical facilities. Additional tests must be taken as required by these facilities and the Department of Nursing faculty document that such standards are met
  9. Students are required to set up an account with CastleBranch. CastleBranch provides secure storage of    student’s required documents for the program. The student is responsible for the fees associated with this account. For more information:  www.castlebranch.com
    1. The following  documentation is required and must be completed in your CastleBranch account prior to the first day of class:
      1. Has MMR immunization or titer
      2. Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (Tdap) immunization or Titer.
      3. Had the hepatitis B vaccination 3 shot series or titer
      4. Has Varicella immunization or titer.
      5. Drug testing is required every fall semester.  The test is provided through CastleBranch. The cost of the drug test is the student’s responsibility. You will receive more information concerning the drug testing date after the start of the Fall semester.
      6. Background check provided through CastleBranch. The cost of the background check is the student’s responsibility. If you have any criminal activity stated on your background check, it is recommended that you contact the Montana Board of Nursing to determine if you are eligible to take NCLEX-RN upon completion of the ASN program.  http://boards.bsd.dli.mt.gov/nur
      7. Influenza immunization. (This is done during the fall semester, closer to October)
      8. American Heart Association BLS certification. *This course will be offered in the NRSG 233-Foundations of Nursing Lab during fall semester.
    2. Health standards must be met as required by participating clinical facilities. Additional tests must be taken as required by these facilities and the Department of Nursing faculty document that such standards are met
  10. Participation in the clinical area is dependent upon space availability. Those students having the highest academic achievement will be selected first, if the space is limited.
  11. Faculty members have an obligation to the client to ensure that nursing students who care for them are competent to do so. In the interest of safeguarding the client’s welfare, students must meet the criteria detailed in the Nursing Student Handbook. To be allowed to participate in clinical assignments the student must:
    1. Demonstrate good health status and practices and be free from any condition that could jeopardize client safety and comfort
    2. Demonstrate emotional stability
    3. Demonstrate sensitivity to client safety and comfort
    4. Practice within legal standards and demonstrate regard for professional ethics
    5. Comply with agency requirements pertinent to student participation
    6. Carry out client care assignments with the required knowledge and skill as determined in classroom theory and laboratory demonstrations
    7. Complete fingerprint and background checks

Students Note: You cannot participate in clinical experiences if you fail to keep current your proof of requirements. Failure in clinical experience also results in failure in the nursing course(s). Also, please note that all Associate Degree Nursing students pay a $600/semester program fee.

General Requirements for Progression and Graduation

To assure progression through the program, the Nursing student is required to maintain the total academic and clinical requirements. When assigned to clinical situations, the student must meet the criteria that assure safety and welfare.

  1. Pass the required General Education courses. Students who does not pass the General Education courses that are embedded in the ASN curriculum cannot progress to next semester of the ASN program. The general education courses include:(Anatomy & Physiology II with Lab, Intro to Psych, Intro to Sociology, and Microbiology with Lab). Any student requesting an Incomplete in these 4 courses has to meet with the Dean for approval.
  2. Earn a grade of “C” or higher in all courses required for the nursing program, even the required General Education courses.
  3. Maintain an average of 80% or higher on tests and quizzes in order to pass the nursing course.
  4. Pass both the didactic and lab/clinical courses in the same semester. If either is not passed, both must be repeated together.
  5. Meet the criteria established for the standardized testing (Kaplan and Hurst Review) required for the nursing courses.

Reinstatement after Withdrawal from the Nursing Major

Reinstatement to the nursing major is not automatic. A former student must submit a petition to the Director of Nursing before the beginning of the semester. The petition must state the reason the student was unsuccessful and what has been done to increase the chances for success if readmitted. Students petitioning for reinstatement may be required to pass a written test and a practical performance exam for placement into the nursing program. Students who have left the program for non-academic reasons, and have been out for one year or less, may be reinstated without testing on a space available basis.

Additional information regarding student policies and guidelines may be found in the Nursing Student Handbook, which is updated annually.

Faculty Academic Advisors

  1. Faculty advisors are assigned to each student upon admission to the nursing program. As students’ progress to Level II, new advisors may be assigned. New advisors may also be assigned as students’ progress to the BSN program.
  2. A student is expected to meet with his/her advisor a minimum of twice per semester to discuss grades, academic plans or problems, course changes, etc. The student or the advisor has the right to initiate a change in the advising assignment. Students are encouraged to confer with advisors as academic problems, conflicts, or concerns arise.

Transportation

Students must provide their own transportation to and from the classroom and the clinical areas.

Program Fee

All students admitted into the ASN program pay a $600 program fee per semester.

Summary

If the above criteria are not met, or if there is any circumstance that may constitute an unreasonable risk to the safety and well being of the patient/client, a student may be removed from the program. The final decision regarding removal will be based on the judgment of the Nursing faculty and Director.

Bachelor of Science In Nursing Degree

The following is the policy for applying to the Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (RN-BSN) program:

  1. Apply for admission to Montana State University-Northern (a separate application to the University is required; obtain form from the Admissions Office or https://www.applyweb.com/msunorth).
  2. Submit official transcripts from any college and/or university that you have attended or are currently attending either electronically using “National Student Clearinghouse” or mail transcripts to MSU-Northern Registrar’s office, P.O. Box 7751, Havre, Montana, 59501. Transcripts will be evaluated to determine credit allotment and articulation.
  3. A cumulative GPA of 2.50 or higher.
  4. Be licensed as a RN or eligible to sit for the NCLEX (Licensure required for clinical practicum courses).
  5. Applications are accepted year round.
  6. The following required general education courses may be taken at MSU-Northern or at other accredited institutions. None of these courses are waived simply on the basis of a prior college degree except as provided by the Montana Board of Regents policy. An advisor from the Department of Nursing will evaluate the transcripts from other institutions and will recommend the credit, if any, to be allowed
  7. CAPP 120Introduction to Computers3
    M 121College Algebra3
    Select one of the following:3-4
    Introduction to Statistics
    Interm Statistical Concepts
    Business Statistics & Research
    WRIT 101College Writing I3
    Cultural Diversity elective3
    Humanities/Fine Arts elective6
    History/Social Science electives6
  8. Students are required to set up an account with CastleBranch. CastleBranch provides secure storage of student’s required documents for the program. The student is responsible for the fees associated with this account. For more information:  www.castlebranch.com
  9. Prior to starting the clinical courses the student must meet the following requirements:
    1. MMR immunization or titer
    2. Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Tdap) immunization or titer.
    3. hepatitis B vaccination series or titer
    4. Two-Step TB Test or QuantiFERON test
    5. Has professional liability insurance
    6. Copy of  Montana RN license
    7. Current BLS certification
    8. Background check provided through CastleBranch.

General Requirements for Progression and Graduation

The MSU-Northern Department of Nursing is required to follow the Montana State-Wide RN-BSN Completion Model Curriculum adopted in 2016.

To assure progression through the program, the student must meet the total academic and clinical requirements. When assigned to clinical situations, the student is also required to assure patient safety and welfare.

To progress in the MSU-Northern RN-BSN Completion Program without interruption, the student is required:

  1. Earn a grade of “C” or higher in all courses required for the nursing program.
  2. Maintain a GPA of at least 2.5, or higher, while enrolled in the RN-BSN Completion Program
  3. Students accumulating two grades of “W” or two grades below “C” in any course(s) required for the Nursing Major will be dropped from the program and may not be readmitted for 3 years.
  4. To progress in the program, the nursing student is required to successfully pass both the didactic and clinical portions of a course. If either is not passed, the entire course must be repeated.
  5. RN-BSN Completion students are required to complete the program within five (5) consecutive years of beginning the program as descripted with your approved Degree Plan.

Reinstatement after Withdrawal from the Nursing Major

  1. A student who has been removed for academic performance or who has withdrawn from the program, may reapply to the Department of Nursing for readmission to the RN-BSN Program.
  2. A student who has been removed for academic performance or who has withdrawn from the program is required to petition the Department of Nursing APG Committee and the Department of Nursing Director in writing for readmission to the RN-BSN Completion program. The written petition gives permission for the APG Committee and Director to review the student’s record. It also includes the following documents:
    1. A copy of their Current transcript;
    2. A written success plan describing how he/she plans to meet the course requirements and identifying how he/she will overcome the barriers of the past;
    3. A written summary of his/her nursing academic career plan;
  3. The APG Committee will consider each case on presentation of the information submitted in the petition. There is no guarantee that the student will be readmitted.
  4. Readmission depends on:
    1. The APG’s evaluation of the likelihood of the applicant’s successful performance in succeeding course work;
    2. All admission criteria being met.
  5. If approval for readmission is granted, the student will resume the nursing program at a point of entry which allows for smooth progression to the next sequence as determined by the APG Committee.
    1. The student may be advised to audit a previous nursing course so that transition can be made smoothly and student achievement enhanced.
    2. Students may be advised to successfully complete the appropriate standardized examinations as required by the Department of Nursing.

Additional information regarding student policies and guidelines may be found in the Nursing Student Handbook, which is updated annually.

Courses to be Taken and Where They Are Offered

This information is provided in sample curriculum plans for the BSN degree. These are available as separate documents and should be included in the packet of application materials.

Faculty Academic Advisors

Faculty advisors are assigned to each student upon admission to the program. A student is expected to meet with his/her advisor a minimum of twice per semester to discuss grades, academic plans or problems, course changes, etc. The meeting may be face-to-face, by e-mail, or by telephone. The student or the advisor has the right to initiate a change in the advising assignment. Students are encouraged to confer with advisors as academic problems, conflicts, or concerns arise.

Transportation

Students must provide their own transportation to and from the clinical areas.

Requirements Prior to Starting Clinical Courses (NRSG 304, NRSG 360, NRSG 486)

The student must meet the following requirements prior to starting any clinical practicum and maintain currency throughout the nursing program. Students cannot participate in the clinical experiences if they fail to keep the proof of requirements current. This will result in failing the nursing course(s).

  1. The student must provide proof that s/he:
    1.  Had a physical examination verifying good health.
    2.  Had immunizations that are current for (or has documented proof of immunity to the diseases of measles, mumps, and rubella). This requirement applies to students born after 1956.
    3. Carry out patient/client care assignments with the required knowledge and skill as determined in classroom theory and laboratory demonstrations.
    4. Is current for tetanus and diphtheria vaccine (Td) according to the Center for Disease Control guidelines
    5. Had the hepatitis B vaccination series including titer or has a valid waiver on file.
    6. Is free of tuberculosis.
    7. Has professional liability insurance (provided by the Department of Nursing).
    8. Has health insurance.
    9. Has current Class C CPR certification (Basic Life Support for Health Professionals).
  2. Students are expected to participate in clinical experiences in hospitals, nursing homes, and other community agencies at varied time schedules. Students who are employed must arrange with employers to allow for flexibility in meeting their academic and clinical schedules. The clinical schedule may involve day, evenings, and weekend assignments.
  3. Participation in the clinical area is dependent upon space availability. Those students having the highest academic achievement will be selected first, if the space is limited.
  4. Faculty members have an obligation to the patient/client to ensure that nursing students who care for them are competent to do so. In the interest of safeguarding the patient/client’s welfare, students must meet the criteria detailed in the Nursing Student Handbook. To be allowed to participate in clinical assignments the student must:
    1. Demonstrate good health status and practices and be free from any condition that could jeopardize patient/client safety and comfort.
    2. Demonstrate emotional stability.
    3. Demonstrate sensitivity to client safety and comfort.
    4. Practice within legal standards and demonstrate regard for professional ethics.
    5. Comply with agency requirements pertinent to student participation.
    6. Carry out patient/client care assignments with the required knowledge and skill as determined in classroom theory and laboratory demonstrations.

If the above criteria are not met, or if there is any circumstance that may constitute an unreasonable risk to the safety and well-being of the patient/client, a student may be removed from the program. The final decision regarding removal will be based on the judgment of the nursing faculty and Director.