Nov 29, 2020  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog

Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing

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Kathleen B. LaSala, Dean and Professor
Health & Life Sciences Building, Office 115
(540) 678-4374

Explore the Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing on our university website.


To educate lifelong learners who provide holistic care and promote wellness, inspired by global health ideals.

Overview of Nursing Program

Since the 1960s, Shenandoah University has played an integral role in the education of nurses in the northern Shenandoah Valley. This rich tradition includes a program of study in the SON that culminates in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Preparation for present and future nursing practice must address the ever-changing, increasingly complex and multi-dimensional health needs of our society. To become educated, learners become involved in intellectual work and critical thinking in order to transform information into knowledge, skills, values, meanings and experiences necessary for the provision, management and coordination of general nursing care for individuals, families, groups and communities at the baccalaureate level. The scholarly habits of learning, established early, increase the graduate’s lifetime ability to contribute to the discipline/profession of nursing and to society.

Program Accreditation

The baccalaureate degree in nursing, master’s degrees in nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice and post-graduate APRN certificates at Shenandoah University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791.  The master’s degree and post-graduate certificate in nurse midwifery are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME), ACME National Office Suite 1550, 8403 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring, MD 20910.

All programs in the School of Nursing are approved by the Virginia Health Regulatory Boards, also known as the Virginia Board of Nursing, Perimeter Center , 9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 300, Henrico Virginia 23233-1463, (804) 367-4515, (804) 527-4455 (Fax), Automated License Verification: (804) 270-6836,

Undergraduate Program Outcomes

BSN Program Outcomes:

  1. Synthesize knowledge from the liberal arts, sciences, and nursing science as a basis for professional nursing practice.
  2. Apply evolving information technology to monitor healthcare outcomes.
  3. Integrate concepts of illness prevention/wellness, quality, safety, ethics and leadership into professional nursing practice.
  4. Demonstrate effective communication and collaboration with patients, families  and interprofessional teams.
  5. Deliver safe, quality nursing care to diverse populations.
  6. Advocate for institutional, professional, and governmental policies to influence healthcare outcomes of diverse populations.
  7. Integrate evidence-based research into professional nursing practice to provide quality care for patients, families and communities.

The BSN may be achieved via several tracks including:

  • Traditional four-year (Winchester Campus only)
  • Transfer (Winchester Campus and Scholar Plaza site in Loudoun County, Virginia)
  • Accelerated second degree (Winchester Campus and Scholar Plaza site in Loudoun County, Virginia)
  • Registered Nurse (RN) to BSN - Online program

The curriculum highlights the art and science of nursing and includes experiences in the classroom, clinical sites, and local and global communities. Students have access to modern facilities and equipment at both the Health and Life Sciences Building in Winchester and the Scholar Plaza site in Loudon County, Virginia. Facilities include well-equipped nursing skills labs, computerized simulation laboratories, health professions library services, distance learning equipment, and multiple technology-equipped classrooms. Undergraduate students participate in the university technology program.

Students admitted to nursing must meet the following Technical Standards for Nursing as described below and found in the School of Nursing Student Handbook.

Essential Qualifications for Candidates for Admission, Progression and Graduation

Nursing technical standards for admission establish expectations and abilities considered essential for students admitted to the nursing program in order to meet theoretical and clinical course objectives required to achieve the level of competency necessary for graduation and practice of essential functions as a registered nurse. All students admitted to nursing are expected to be able to demonstrate the abilities specified throughout their program of study.

Students must demonstrate the ability to function competently in a variety of clinical situations and to provide a broad spectrum of care. Students who require technological support or other accommodations must be able to perform in a reasonably independent and timely manner that does not affect the quality of care, the safety of patients or other individuals, and in a manner that does not impose undue hardship on the School of Nursing or other members of the health care team.

Use of trained intermediaries to carry out functions described in technical standards is not permitted. A student’s judgment and skills may not be mediated by reliance upon someone else’s power of selection, observation, or clinical ability.

Students must satisfy the following with or without reasonable accommodation, in order to be admitted, progress, and graduate:


  • Must have functional use of the senses of touch, speech, smell, hearing, and vision.
  • Must be able to observe patients to assess their health status accurately, including verbal and nonverbal signals such as facial expressions, gestures, temperature, position, equilibrium, and movement.
  • Must hear and see signals from monitoring equipment.
  • Must be able to elicit, transmit, and record patient data and other information from faculty, classmates, clinicians, and other personnel, and family members using the English language orally and in writing.

Motor Skills

  • Must demonstrate sufficient manual dexterity and other motor skills to execute movements reasonably required to engage in assessment and patient care procedures, including palpation, auscultation, percussion, administration of medication, and emergency interventions such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation, application of pressure to stop bleeding, and suction of obstructed airways.
  • Clinical settings may require the ability to carry and lift loads from the floor, from 12 inches from the floor, to shoulder height and overhead.
  • Must be able to occasionally lift 50 pounds, frequently lift 25 pounds, and constantly lift 10 pounds.
  • Must be able to maintain consciousness and equilibrium and have the physical strength and stamina to perform satisfactorily in clinical settings.
  • Must have the capability to navigate easily and quickly in small spaces in order to execute appropriate care to a patient.
  • Must have the ability, within reasonable limits, to safely assist a patient in moving, for example from a chair to a bed, or from a wheel chair to a commode.
  • Must have a reliable means of transportation in order to travel to educational experiences off campus for clinical experiences.


  • Must be able to measure, calculate, analyze, integrate, and synthesize data accurately and make decisions that reflect consistent and thoughtful deliberation of appropriate data.
  • Must be able to quickly read and comprehend extensive written material.
  • Must be able to evaluate and apply information and engage in critical thinking in the classroom and clinical setting.


  • Must possess interpersonal skills sufficient to communicate effectively with students, patients, families, faculty, colleagues, and other professionals of diverse religious, cultural, or social backgrounds.
  • Must be able to clearly express his or her ideas and feelings and demonstrate a willingness and ability to give and receive feedback.
  • Must be able to convey or exchange information at a level allowing development of a health history, identify problems presented, explain alternative solutions, and give directions during treatment and post treatment.
  • Must be able to process and communicate information on the patient’s status with accuracy in a timely manner to members of the health care team. Appropriate communication may rely on the individual’s ability to make a correct judgment in seeking supervision and consultation in a timely manner.


  • Must possess the emotional health required for the full utilization of his or her intellectual abilities, exercise good judgment, and provide prompt completion of all responsibilities related to the diagnosis and care of patients and families.
  • Must be able to maintain mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients, family, other students, faculty, staff and other professionals under all circumstances including stressful situations.
  • Must have the emotional stability to function effectively under stress and able to adapt to an environment that may change rapidly without warning or in unpredictable ways.
  • Must be able to experience and effectively communicate empathy in sharing the situations and experiences of others.
  • Must know that his or her values, attitudes, beliefs, emotions, and experiences affect his or her perceptions and relationships with patients, families, and others. The student must be able and willing to examine and change his or her behavior when it interferes with productive individual and/or team relationships.
  • Must possess skills and experience necessary for effective relationships in diverse academic and working environments.

Professional Conduct

  • Must possess the ability to reason morally and practice nursing in an ethical manner.
  • Must be willing to learn and abide by professional standards of practice.
  • Must possess personal qualities that include compassion, empathy, altruism, integrity, honesty, responsibility and tolerance.
  • Must be able to engage in patient care delivery in all settings and to all patient populations regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, disability or any other basis protected by law.

All students must meet the essential requirements of the program as outlined in the Technical Standards for Nursing. Reasonable accommodations will be granted to qualified students with disabilities to the extent the accommodation will enable them to perform the essential functions of the program and will not create an undue hardship – however no accommodations are given that will alter the essential program requirements. Therefore all students must pass all courses at an acceptable level and master all essential clinical competencies as established by the nursing program. Questions regarding the technical standards for nursing should be directed to the dean of the School of Nursing.

While the nursing program requires students to have essential skills for the program, the program has a duty to accommodate where accommodations can be had, and that accommodation process is based upon an individualized assessment of the applicant/student. Therefore, it is advised that students with disabilities must register with the Office of Learning Resources and Services before any accommodations can be granted to the student. Revealing a disability is voluntary and student disability information is handled in a confidential manner. Reasonable accommodations will be made to comply with the university’s responsibilities to facilitate equal access to university programs, events, activities, and services for students with disabilities according to the legal, ethical, and philosophical principles of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For any questions regarding disability service, please contact the director of learning resources and services at

In addition to the SU policy on Accommodation of Persons with Disabilities in the university catalog, the SON supports the guidelines for ADA set forth by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). These guidelines serve to guide applicants and students of nursing in understanding what functions, standards and competencies will be required of them during their course of study and whether or not some accommodations will be necessary in order for them to be successful. The NCSBN has offered a perspective on core licensure requirements at the following website:

Students should determine their ability to meet these standards. In addition, they should notify the faculty as soon as possible of any special accommodation required to complete requirements for the course of study in their nursing education program. At the time of application for licensure, applicants will be asked by the Virginia Board of Nursing about any accommodations that were necessary to complete nursing education requirements. The Virginia Board of Nursing will also request disclosure of any felony, plea agreement, misdemeanor conviction, or drug related behaviors. All accepted nursing students must complete a criminal background check prior to enrolling in classes.

Nursing Policies and Procedures

In addition to policies and procedures of the university as identified in this catalog and including the Student Life section of the catalog, nursing students are responsible for reading, understanding and implementing policies and procedures found in the School of Nursing Student Handbook.  

Students must meet the Technical Standards for Nursing as described in the School of Nursing Student Handbook. All nursing students are sent a copy of the School of Nursing Student Handbook and may access this handbook via the Exxat Program.

Transfer Credit

Shenandoah University admits transfer students who have been successful in regionally accredited institutions of higher education. Applicants must provide official transcripts from regionally accredited institutions in a timely manner in order for applications to be complete and to be considered for full admission.

Transfer credit for nursing courses is evaluated by the nursing faculty. It is the student’s responsibility to request consideration of all transfer credits and to arrange that official transcripts be sent to the Office of Admissions at Shenandoah University in a timely manner.

Once students are admitted into the Shenandoah University undergraduate nursing program, all nursing courses with an N prefix must be taken within the School of Nursing. Courses completed prior to admission to Shenandoah University will be evaluated on an individual basis.

Science Policy for School of Nursing: a student enrolled in the university or under consideration for admission to the undergraduate nursing program may attempt no more than two science courses a maximum of two times each to be considered for matriculation into the School of Nursing. An attempt is any enrollment in a course that results in completion, withdrawal or an incomplete. Students currently enrolled in the university may repeat one science course originally taken at SU at an outside institution. Quality points for the repeat course will be used to calculate SON required science GPA. Pluses and minuses recorded on the student transcript are not included when calculating the science GPA. Science courses taken more than 10 years prior to matriculation are not considered.

For further information contact [email protected]

School of Nursing Academic Progression Policy

Please see the SON Student Handbook for complete policy.

Grading Criteria

Grading criteria of the SON are divided into three areas:

  1. Academic Grades
  2. Safety
  3. Professional Behavior

Students must demonstrate proficiency in all these areas in order to successfully pass required courses in the nursing program. Failure to meet any one of the three areas constitutes failure of the course. Requirements for academic grades are identified in each course outline. Professional behavior and safety are expected of all SON students. Refer to the Professional Behavior and Safety Performance section in the SON Student Handbook for criteria.

Undergraduate Grading Scale*:

93 - 100 = A

85 - 92 = B

78 - 84 = C

70 - 77 = D

Below 70 = F

*Undergraduate students enrolled in Nursing (N) courses are not awarded +/- grades

Progression Policy

A minimum grade of 78 must be achieved before rounding of a grade may occur.  After a 78 is achieved rounding may only occur for the final grade at the faculty’s discretion.

Nursing courses are designed as a sequenced curriculum.  Continued progression requires successful completion of all courses in one semester prior to progression to the next semester.  

If cumulative GPA falls below 2.0 , the student will be placed on nursing academic probation for the following semester. If the following semester the student is still on probation, the student will be dismissed from the program.

A second failure of a nursing course will result in dismissal from the program. (See School of Nursing Student Handbook for complete policy).

Licensure Considerations

Upon completion of the baccalaureate degree in nursing, students apply for state licensure, which involves taking the NCLEX exam. Successful completion of this exam results in state licensure to become a Registered Nurse (RN). Students and graduates are subject to the current Commonwealth of Virginia, Health Regulatory Boards, Board of Nursing statutes regarding legal limitations of licensure, licensure examinations and professional practice. Please see the Virginia Board of Nursing website for more information.

Students who have been convicted of a felony or who may have had previous legal experiences that would interfere with their ability to become licensed as a registered nurse are responsible for informing the dean of the School of Nursing and for contacting the Board of Nursing regarding their eligibility for licensure and the licensure application procedure. All accepted nursing students must complete a criminal background check prior to enrolling in classes.

Upon acceptance into the Nursing Program, the following will be required for all tracks:

  1. Current American Heart Association CPR certification as a Health Care Provider.
  2. Meet university and nursing health, physical examination and immunization requirements. Current evidence of health insurance is required of all students.
  3. Criminal background check, fingerprinting and random urine drug screen as directed by the SON.

Failure to successfully complete 1-3 above will result in inability to participate in nursing courses, and students will not be able to continue in the nursing program.

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