Safe and Professional Performance in Clinical Laboratory Settings (BSN/MEPN Programs)
All pre-licensure students in the College of Nursing are expected to demonstrate safe, professional behavior, which includes promoting the actual or potential well-being of clients, health care workers, and self. The College of Nursing promotes the American Nurses Association (ANA) Code of Ethics for Nurses in guiding all student nurse conduct.
Students in the College of Nursing are expected to demonstrate accountability in preparation, execution, evaluation, and documentation of nursing care according to expected individual student learning outcomes for clinical practice.
The purpose for setting safe and professional performance clinical standards is to:
- identify expectations of the College of Nursing
- to comply with licensure regulations and agency agreements
- to identify and help students who need assistance and support them to succeed in the nursing program.
Safe practice occurs when:
- students practice within the standards of care published by professional nursing organizations
- students practice within the policies & procedures of the health care agency to which they are assigned for clinical rotations
- students practice within the scope of the role of a student nurse [skills, etc.]
- students promote & maintain patient rights
- students abide by the ANA’s Code of Ethics for Nurses
- students abide by the rules and expectations as outlined in specific course syllabi
- students abide by the rules and expectations as outlined in their program-specific handbook
Questions about safe practice standards or behaviors should be referred to course faculty and/or the program director.
Unsafe Patient Care
Unsafe patient care occurs when the student practices outside of the role of a student nurse and places the safety of patients or their families at risk. Examples include but are not limited to:
- Lacking essential theoretical or psychomotor skills needed for patient care
- Providing medication administration/discontinuation without supervision [including programming of pumps or silencing alarms]
- Violating clinical site or federal policies & procedures [such as HIPAA, etc.]
- Routine violations of professional/ethical standards [inappropriate behavior, poor communication, routine tardiness, etc.]
The College of Nursing may remove students from the clinical rotation and/or recommend dismissal from the program for any student who engages in unsafe practice, illegal or unethical conduct as outlined in the implementation section below. Students who have a previous remediation for unsafe patient care and then commit a second act of unsafe patient care are at risk for immediate dismissal.
Implementation of Policy
Incidents of unsafe or unprofessional behavior(s) will be documented using a Student Progression Report (SPR). Unsafe behavior may also be documented in final course clinical evaluations if there are unresolved, ongoing, or multiple offenses.
In addition to completing the SPR, the course chair will immediately report to the Division Chair and Program Coordinator any student who:
- has put patient safety at risk while at a clinical site; OR
- is at-risk for not providing safe patient care through skill deficiency
The SPR will outline that the student has either provided unsafe patient care, or that the student unable to demonstrate the knowledge and skills associated with providing safe patient care. In all circumstances, the course chair must meet immediately with the student to review the SPR and potential implications (failure to pass a skill competency assessment, removal from clinical site, etc.)
Students identified for skill deficiency must complete remediation and demonstrate competency prior to returning to the clinical practice site. The SPR will also outline the remediation activities to address the concerns along with a timeline for completion.
The student has a right to provide input and/or data regarding his/her clinical performance and to consult with the clinical instructor, the course chairperson, faculty mentor, and/or program coordinator. The clinical instructor will document unsafe or unprofessional behaviors and take appropriate action, which may include one or more of the following:
- A conference between the student and clinical instructor;
- Consultation by the clinical instructor or course chairperson(s), the student and/or program coordinator; or
- Referral to university services (Campus Health, Counseling & Psychological Services, Disability Resources Center, etc.) for support & recommendations;
- Removal (temporary or permanent) from the clinical practicum with appropriate action, e.g., with a failure to meet clinical course student learning outcomes, leading to possible suspension or dismissal from the nursing program.
The Safe and Professional Performance in Clinical Laboratory Settings policy applies to students enrolled in any BSN or MEPN program.