2014-2015 Graduate Student Handbook



Overview and General Information

Decker School Nursing Student Policies

[Approved by DSON 7/17/2001; Reviewed by B. Christophersen, June 2010]

[Approved by DSON 7/17/2001; Reviewed by B. Christophersen, June 2010]

[Reviewed by B. Christophersen, June 2010]

[ Approved by DSON Council October 18, 1993; Reviewed by B. Christophersen, June 2010]

[Approved by DSON March 2006 w/ corrections April 2006]

[Approved by DSON Faculty Council April 2006]

[Approved by Council for Implementation 1/29/90; Reviewed by B. Christophersen, June 2010]

Student Services

Decker Student Organizations

Graduate Nursing Student Policies and Requirements

Graduate Nursing Student Financial Aid, Scholarships and Funding

Graduate Nursing Program Curricula

Masters & Post-Masters



The Decker School of Nursing Graduate Student Handbook provides general, convenient, and pertinent information for graduate students to maximize the resources of this University. Additional information is included in the University Bulletin and in specific policies of the Decker School of Nursing which are distributed with course materials. Students should also be familiar with the University Rules and Expectations for graduate students found in the Graduate School Manual.

The Decker School of Nursing offers programs at the graduate level leading to the degrees: Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD), Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP), Master of Science in Nursing (MS), and post master's certificates (post MS) in nursing. At the master's and post master's level of study, students select a clinical specialization in family nursing, family psychiatric mental health nursing, community health nursing, or adult-gerontological nursing. They may also choose to pursue a functional role as a clinical nurse specialist*, educator, administrator or nurse practitioner. Students with a baccalaureate degree in nursing who are certified nurse midwives may complete requirements for the master's degree in family nursing. [*The CNS role is no longer available for the Family Nursing or Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing MS program options.]

This Handbook contains a lot of dos and don'ts, musts and should's, as well as requirements and recommendations. It is not wonderful reading, but we have tried to include things that will make your life in the Decker School more manageable. On behalf of the faculty and administration of the School, I offer my warmest welcome to you and wish you every success in your program.

Joyce Ferrario, PhD, RN
Dean and Professor


Decker School of Nursing Vision, Mission, and Statement of Philosophy
Approved by Faculty Council 10/14/2013

The Decker School of Nursing at Binghamton University will continue its role as a leading institution in Nursing Education, and over the next five years will emerge as a major contributor to Nursing Research and health care advancement.

Our mission is to disseminate and advance knowledge about human health care, health promotion and the treatment of illness in individuals, families and communities, with an emphasis on rural and other vulnerable populations. Students educated in our programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels will be able to practice Nursing from an evidence base. Consistent with its tradition as a public institution, the School will provide educational access and support to culturally and economically diverse students in an established culture of diversity, respect, and success with coursework and clinical experiences designed to promote socially just and competent care of all persons.
The ultimate goals of the School are to prepare future leaders in Nursing, healthcare, and healthcare research, and to promote the research and scholarship of its faculty and students, with a particular focus on solving the most challenging health problems in rural and other vulnerable populations, consonant with the goals of a research-intensive University. Finally, using additional strategies, the School will continue to educate the public and other professionals about emerging and established healthcare regimens.

Statement of Philosophy
The philosophy of the Decker School of Nursing (DSON) emphasizes the search for meaning, freedom of choice, integrity, personal responsibility, self-awareness, caring, and compassion for self and others. The Faculty is in accord with the stated mission of Binghamton University, a premier public institution, that is ". . . dedicated to enriching the lives of people in the region, nation, and world through discovery and education and to being enriched by its engagement in those communities."

The Faculty views nursing as an art and a science actuated by humanistic values. Nursing, as a science, is grounded in knowledge, generated through discovery, and implemented in evidence-based practice. Nursing, as an art, seeks to synthesize scientific, aesthetic and self-knowledge in providing direct care that promotes health, prevents illness, and maximizes the quality of life.
The focus of nursing is on human systems that consist of individuals, families, and communities, each existing interdependently with their environments. These systems experience ever-changing and complex states of health and require nursing care at various times along the life cycle. Nursing promotes self-actualization through health promotion, prevention of disease, restoration of health, and a peaceful and dignified death.

The Faculty believes in the essential dignity and worth of every person, family, and community as a unique and dynamic system. Human systems have aspects that are physical, social, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual in nature, culminating in a greater whole. The Faculty views all human systems as evolving, on a purposeful journey through the wide dimensions of human experience.

The Faculty believes that human systems are ultimately responsible for their own growth, values, and search for fulfillment, while recognizing that self-actualization takes place in relationship with other human systems and the broader ecosystem. To this extent human systems interact with society at large and become stewards of their environment.
People should have the opportunity to exercise freedom of choice in determining and attaining their goals without interfering with the freedom and well-being of others. The Faculty values the promotion of social justice, whereby the necessary resources for growth, development, and actualization are available to all people and communities.

Health is a complex phenomenon characterized by dynamic interaction between the internal and external environments of every human system. Human systems experience health, illness, and death in unique and varying ways. The Faculty associates good health with the harmonious balance among all aspects of the human system throughout the continuum of life. Any human system functioning at a high level of health will also be maximizing that system's creative potential. Groups such as families, communities, and societies follow a similar pattern of relationships, capacity for growth, respect for diversity, and balance needed for optimal health. The health of rural and other vulnerable populations is of special interest to the students and Faculty of the DSON, whether caring for a rural client in an urban system or influencing the community or health care systems of rural areas.

The health of human systems is nursing's greatest concern. Nurses respect the principles of social justice; realizing health care resources in some environments are limited and need to be distributed fairly. To provide comprehensive health care, nursing must be cognizant of health values, beliefs, and perceptions of human systems and their effect on well-being in the context of complex environments and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Caring, trust, compassion and mutual respect are fundamental to the nurse-client relationship. The nurse incorporates knowledge and self-awareness in the development of a therapeutic approach. Nursing has its own knowledge built on theory and discovery, and shares a knowledge base with other disciplines to generate and utilize the best evidence for effective care.

Within professional nursing there are multiple levels of practice. The nurse generalist, prepared at the baccalaureate level, applies theory and research from the physical, behavioral, and nursing sciences to the practice of nursing. The baccalaureate-prepared nurse becomes an intelligent consumer of research, uses research-based evidence to support clinical practice, and participates collaboratively to manage comprehensive health services for a diverse and multicultural population. Baccalaureate-prepared nurses demonstrate beginning leadership and management skills in the coordination of resources for client systems within a value system consistent with professional nursing. The nurse specialist prepared at the graduate level solves complex client care problems through a multiplicity of roles using theoretically driven strategies of advanced nursing practice. The master's-prepared nurse participates in research, uses evidence-based practice, assumes a leadership role in the planning, management, and improvement of health care, influences health policy, and promotes the continuing development of nursing as a profession. The terminal degrees in nursing are at the doctoral level, including the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). The PhD graduate from the DSON is actively engaged in designing original research to generate and test theory. The DNP graduate evaluates and implements research into evidence-based practice. Both degrees make an effort to enhance nursing practice in rural and other vulnerable populations and to develop policies that optimize the health of these populations. Together the nurse generalist and nurse specialist collaborate to advance the profession of nursing.

Nursing education is achieved through the active participation in discovery, practice and scholarship. The Faculty views education as a continuous lifelong process of becoming, aimed at the development of intellectual, aesthetic and professional interests that advance each learner towards personal and professional goals. The essence of learning and growth for both teacher and learner is the Faculty-student relationship. The Faculty prepare culturally, ethnically, and racially diverse nurses to strengthen the professions ability to meet the needs all people. The Faculty recognizes and supports the need for international collaboration and experiences for both students and Faculty, as we seek to generate a global vision in relation to health and nursing.

Additional units of the DSON such as Health and Wellness, serve to educate on the importance of healthy lifestyles. Health and Wellness and Nursing faculty can bring synergy to research into issues of health promotion and disease prevention.


Graduate School Manual and Decker School of Nursing Graduate Student Handbook

The Graduate School Manual is an invaluable resource to be referenced and reviewed by all Binghamton University Graduate School students. It provides comprehensive information on Graduate School programs of study and outlines all University policies and procedures to be followed as an enrolled student of the Graduate School at Binghamton University. The Decker School of Nursing Graduate Student Handbook is the graduate nursing student's resource to understanding Decker School Graduate Program-specific policies and procedures. The two manuals are designed to complement each other and should be used as such. It is strongly recommended that you become familiar with both handbooks.

Admission Requirements for all Degree programs (Matriculated) and Post MS Certificate programs

Decker School of Nursing admission requirements for all applicants to matriculated degree programs of study are posted online. Categories of admission for applicants can vary and are defined online in the Graduate School Manual. NOTE: Beginning full-time students must take and pass the NCLEX exam by August 15th. Students who do not pass will be blocked or removed from clinical course enrollment.

Admission: Non-Degree/Non-Matriculated Status

Full details regarding non-matriculated (non-degree) application and admission can be found online in the Graduate School Manual. Non-degree students may take up to 12 credits total, though some academic departments and schools limit that number further. Degrees or graduate assistantships are not granted to non-degree students. Depending on the curriculum requirements of a program, some courses taken as a non-degree student may be applied toward a degree, should you later gain admission to a Binghamton University graduate degree program.


Using BU Brain

It is strongly recommended that all students become familiar with the student information and registration system BU Brain. BU BRAIN Self Service is a software program designed to give students, faculty, and staff convenient access to campus tools and services. Students, faculty and staff can login to BU BRAIN Self Service using their PODS username and password.

Students will use BU BRAIN Self Service to register for classes, view grades, view unofficial academic transcripts, request official transcripts, print class schedules, view student accounts, view holds, view and update personal information, view and accept financial aid awards, and more. To MANAGE your Binghamton University Computer Account profile, go to https://password.binghamton.edu. This is also where you can reset or update your log-in information.


University Correspondence

Students who receive correspondence from a University office (this includes all on-campus departments such as Office of Financial Aid and Student Records (formerly the Registrar's Office); Student Accounts; Admissions, etc.), are responsible for taking appropriate action and/or responding as instructed when requests or directives are sent to them. Failure to do so may result in fines and/or canceled registration if the situation warrants such action.

NOTE: Additionally, electronic mail (E-mail) has been designated by the University as the official and primary means of communication with campus constituencies. Students are held responsible for the content delivered to them through e-mail vehicles such as official campus listservs and/or messages sent by any/all official campus personnel.

Students may find it helpful to forward their BU e-mail (B-MAIL) account to a preferred (personal) account to keep abreast of incoming information and to avoid having to check multiple accounts; instructions for forwarding e-mail are available via a link found under the "settings" area of B-Mail.


Identification Cards

See complete information about Binghamton University student ID cards online.



Expenses beyond tuition and University fees are variable depending on the specific courses in which the student is enrolled. The following is meant to serve as an estimate only and all costs are subject to change.

Transportation costs to clinical sites are the responsibility of the student. Cost will vary depending on distance.

Malpractice insurance - a one time per semester charge of approximately $35 per semester is assessed for any course in which the student encounters a client/patient in conjunction with course requirements (observational experiences are included). A current list of these courses is housed in program offices. This fee is assessed regardless of outside malpractice insurance policies under which a student may have current coverage and is a required charge mandated by SUNY.

Health evaluation and immunization costs are the responsibility of the student.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation certification is required annually. Fees for courses vary.

Textbooks required for nursing courses average between $500-$1000 per full-time semester.

Uniform and medical equipment costs are the responsibility of the student.

An annual fee is charged to enroll in Typhon, a clinical experience management system, which is required for all graduate students enrolled in clinical courses.



Campus parking stickers are available for a fee through Campus Parking Services. All students must have the required decal and tags to park on campus. Unpaid parking fines can result in an inability to register for courses. See all University Parking information online.


Mail (Traditional and Electronic)

All graduate students have a physical mail folder located in the Student Services Office of the Decker School, AB 114. Students should check their physical mail folder at least once per week to collect any returned papers or correspondence that are placed into your student file by faculty, staff, or administration.

It is strongly recommended that students check their Binghamton University E-mail (I.e., B-Mail) accounts on a daily basis as important announcements are distributed electronically, and electronic mailboxes fill to capacity. When left unattended, electronic mailbox are set up to reject messages received once the in-box reaches capacity causing the recipient to miss important communications that may not be re-sent.


Computer Use at DSON and Blackboard (Course Management Software)

Computers available to students in the Decker School of Nursing are equipped with Microsoft Office computer software and/or applications. Students therefore need to become proficient with Microsoft software and/or applications in order to use in-house facilities.

Additionally--many instructors who teach at the Decker School use Blackboard--a campus course management system. Students need to become familiar with navigation and use of the Blackboard system as course announcements, assignments, discussion boards, grades and other details are posted for enrolled students' class participation. Detailed information on the use of the Blackboard system is provided by course faculty when using the system to manage a course.

Read the complete policy on Student Technology Requirements in order to ensure you have an optimal educational experience.


Change of Address

Students who have a change of address while enrolled will use BU Brain to update their information. In addition, please promptly notify the Graduate Program Office in the Decker School of any change of address or telephone number (including temporary changes), AB 110.


Decker School of Nursing Office Information

Administrative, faculty, and staff offices of the Decker School are located in the Nursing Building. Administrative office rooms and phone extension follow:

Office Room Extension
Decker School of Nursing Dean 's Office AB-108 7-2311
Graduate Programs (Secretary) AB-110 7-4712
Undergraduate Programs (Secretary) AB-112 7-4713
Student Services AB-114 7-4954
Clinical Site Coordinator AB-116 7-4845
Kresge Center for Nursing Research AB-315 7-4625


University Telephone Numbers

Office Phone
Bookstore 777-2745
Campus Police 777-2393
Career Development Center 777-2400
Computer Services Helpdesk 777-6420
Financial Aid (SW 109) 777-2428
General Information 777-2877
Graduate School (Admin. Bldg.) 777-2284
Kresge Center for Nursing Research 777-4625
Lost and Found (UU) 777-2877
Off Campus College (off-campus housing) 777-2767
Residential Life (on-campus housing) 777-2321
Snow Line (Inclement Weather) 777-SNOW
Student Accounts (SW 117) 777-2702
University Libraries (Hours) 777-2800
University Libraries (Information) 777-2194
Student Records (formerly the University Registrar)  777-6088



Decker School Nursing Student Policies

Human Subject Review Guidelines

All research and capstone projects involving human subjects must be reviewed and approved prior to initiating any research or project. Human Subject Review Forms can be obtained at http://humansubjects.binghamton.edu/. The level of the review (exempt, expedited, or full review) depends on the type of research needed for your particular study or project.

DSON Standing and Continuing Ad Hoc Committees

Decker's School of Nursing committees are comprised of students, faculty, and administrators. The following describes the purpose, responsibility, and membership of the Decker School of Nursing Faculty Council and its seven standing committees. Students are encouraged to consider membership on Decker School committees.

I. DSON Faculty Council: Faculty Council is the major deliberative and legislative body of the DSON.

Faculty Council has seven standing committees with additional ad hoc committees established by the Council during the academic year for the purposes defined in the resolutions creating them.

II. Standing and Ad Hoc Committees:

1. Committee on Committees :


a. Prepare secret ballots and conduct elections where appropriate for membership on Faculty Council standing committees

b. Prepare secret ballots and conduct elections for the chair of Faculty Council

c. Make appointments to fill vacancies as they arise on standing committees

Faculty Membership : 3 Faculty including at least 1 tenured faculty

Student Membership : 1 Undergraduate Student and 1 Graduate Student

Meetings : Every other month (3 times each semester).

2. Undergraduate Curriculum Committee :

Functions :

a. To review the philosophy, objectives, purposes, curriculum, and organization of the undergraduate program and recommend revisions to the DSON Faculty Council.

b. To review curriculum requirements from entry to graduation.

c. To approve proposals for new courses and make recommendations to the DSON Faculty Council.

d. To evaluate program, program outcomes, including NCLEX results and make recommendations as appropriate.

Membership :
1. Voting Members:

a) 4 Faculty, at least 1 of whom is tenured.

b) The associate dean/director of Undergraduate Programs

c) Project directors of active undergraduate level training grants

d) 2 Undergraduate students

2) Nonvoting Members:

Pertinent program coordinators, liaisons, and directors are expected to attend.

Meetings : Monthly.

3. Undergraduate Educational Policies Committee:


a. Develop and recommend to DSON Faculty Council new educational policies and standards.

b. Evaluates existing educational policies and standards and, where necessary, recommend changes to Faculty Council. (Including but not limited to policies for admission, retention, progression, graduation, honors, awards, grievances, and academic dishonesty.)

c. Approve action regarding individual student academic status.

d. Decides outcomes of student petitions for exceptions to educational policy. Appeals would be made to the Dean.

e. Evaluates decisions granting academic credit for prior learning and revises as appropriate.

Membership :

1) Voting Members

a) 4 faculty—including at least 1 tenured faculty

b) 2 undergraduate students

2) Non-voting members :

Pertinent program coordinators, liaisons, and directors are expected to attend.

Meetings : Monthly.

4. Student/Faculty Affairs Committee:

Functions :

a. Facilitate social functions

b. Recommend undergraduate award recipients for school, foundation, and university awards.

Membership :

1. Six (6) Faculty representing the undergraduate and the graduate programs

2. Four (4) Students – student membership to include representation from the undergraduate and graduate programs

Meetings : Monthly.

5. Master's/DNP Program Committee:

Functions :

a. Evaluate graduate programs (e.g. philosophy, objectives, curriculum, resources, faculty, students, and graduates), make recommendations to the Graduate Council and inform the Decker School of Nursing Faculty Council.

b. Establish, maintain, and review master's educational policies (e.g. admission, retention, promotion, graduation, and honors)

c. Act on admission, retention, promotion, and graduation of students.

d. Approve new master's courses, forward actions to the Graduate Council for approval, and inform the Decker School of Nursing Faculty Council.

e. Appoint ad-hoc committees as necessary

Membership :

1. Voting Members :

a. 4 faculty--including at least 2 tenured faculty members and the director of the Graduate Programs

b. Project directors of active master's level training grants

c. 1 master's student

d. 1 DNP post MS student

2. Non-voting Members :

Pertinent program coordinators, liaisons, and directors are expected attend.

6. Doctoral Program Committee:

Functions :

a. Evaluate doctoral programs (e.g., philosophy, objectives, curriculum, resources, faculty, students, and graduates), make recommendations to the Graduate Council, and inform the Decker School of Nursing Faculty Council.

b. Establish, maintain, and review doctoral program educational policies (e.g., admission, retention, promotion, graduation, and honors)

c. Act on admission, retention, promotion, and graduation of doctoral students.

d. Approve new doctoral courses, forward actions to the Graduate Council for approval, and inform the Decker School of Nursing Faculty Council.

e. Appoint ad-hoc committees as necessary.

Faculty Membership :

1) All faculty holding earned doctorates and the Director of Graduate Programs

2) Student Membership : 1 Doctoral Student

7. Undergraduate Admissions Committee:

Functions :

a. Review admission criteria and procedure for admission and forward recommendations to Faculty Council for action.

b. Work with the Undergraduate Admission's Office to admit selected freshmen, transfer, and intra-university transfer (IUT) students to Undergraduate Admissions office.

c. Make recommendations to readmit students in collaboration with the Undergraduate Educational Policies Committee.

Membership :

1) Voting Members : 5 Faculty—including at least 1 tenured faculty, the Director of Undergraduate Programs, and the Director of Student Services.

2) Non Voting Members : Pertinent program coordinators, liaisons, and directors are expected to attend.

Meetings : Monthly.

University Calendar

The Decker School of Nursing adheres to the University Calendar. Students whose religious beliefs require celebration of holidays at times which differ from the official University calendar should make arrangements with individual instructors for missed classes.

Policy Regarding Inclement Weather

In the event of inclement weather students are strongly advised to contact the appropriate faculty member or members prior to traveling to campus or clinical.

Policy and Procedure Guidelines for Occupational Postexposure Prophylaxis

07/01 jmfc; Reviewed by B. Christophersen 06/10; 8/12; 8/14

Purpose: To provide a process for access to evaluation and treatment for any Decker School of Nursing (DSON) student sustaining an occupational exposure. Prompt evaluation and treatment of health care workers following occupational exposure enhances positive outcomes. Evaluation and treatment of the exposure should be made by a health care professional as soon as possible, ideally within one hour, and no later than thirty-six hours post-exposure.

"Health Care Worker" — any person (e.g. employee, student, contractor, attending clinician or volunteer) whose activities involve contact with patients or with blood or other body fluids from patients in a healthcare or laboratory setting.

"Exposure" — percutaneous injury (e.g. a needlestick or cut with a sharp object), contact of mucous membrane or nonintact skin (e.g. when the exposed skin is chapped, abraded, or afflicted with dermatitis), or contact with intact skin when the duration of contact is prolonged (e.g. several minutes or more) or involves an extensive area, with blood, tissue, or other body fluids.

"Body Fluids" — includes a) semen, vaginal secretions or other body fluids contaminated with visible blood that have been implicated in the transmission of HIV infection; and b) cerebrospinal, synovial, pleural, peritoneal, pericardial and amniotic fluids which have an undetermined risk for transmitting HIV.


  1. All DSON students will receive the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard and NYSHD Infection Control Mandatory Training annually and demonstrate successful completion of a test on the required content prior to entry into the clinical setting. RN and graduate students who can provide documentation of having received such training from their work sites will be excused from the DSON training.
  2. If a student sustains an exposure, the student shall immediately notify the supervising faculty member and the nurse or nursing supervisor in charge of the clinical practice setting.
  3. Wash exposure site with soap and water.
  4. The need for emergent wound care (e.g. laceration) should be determined with prompt follow-up if indicated.
  5. The student (under the direction of the faculty member) and the nurse from the agency will complete the appropriate incident reports and/or risk assessment questionnaire. A copy of this/these report(s) will be forwarded to the DSON for inclusion in the student's personal health file.
  6. Assessment of Exposure Risk- the student and the source patient should be evaluated to determine the need for postexposure prophylaxis. The exposure should be evaluated for potential to transmit HIV based on the type of body substance involved and the route and severity of exposure (See attached diagrams from MMWR, 05/15/98, pp. 14-15). Should there be a question on either the part of the student, faculty member or supervisor regarding need for further evaluation for possible treatment, the Employee Health Officer or Infection Control Department of the involved clinical agency should be consulted. The source patient should be evaluated as per agency policy and procedure.
  7. Should the exposure be assessed to be high-risk, Employee Health or Infection Control at the clinical agency will be notified.
  8. The appropriate agency staff will review the incident with the student, provide counseling specific to HIV and Hepatitis B and C testing, risk assessment and need for postexposure prophylaxis. A copy of these recommendations should be obtained for inclusion in the student's health file. The faculty member or appointed designee will act as a support and resource person for the student during this process.
  9. If the student elects postexposure prophylaxis, it should be obtained as soon as possible (Employee Health at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital; United Occupational Medicine at UHS). Documentation of the treatment plan should be forwarded to the DSON for inclusion in his/her health file. The student should also include a statement regarding plans for treatment compliance. The student is advised to seek counseling during the treatment period. Resources to be identified for the student as needed.
  10. Any accrued costs in evaluation and treatment will be the responsibility of the student. If cost is prohibitive, the student is encouraged to discuss the issue with the Clinical Site Coordinator at the DSON.
  11. If the student declines recommended treatment, he/she must state in writing that he/she is aware of possible negative consequences of the decision. A copy of this refusal will be included in the student's health file.
  12. Documentation of health clearance by a health care provider is necessary before the student will be allowed to return to the clinical area.
  13. If the exposure is assessed to be at low risk, the student should be informed that follow-up is not recommended at this time. If there is further concern on the student's part— referral to the local health department or a private health care provider will be made.
  14. The content of this policy should be reviewed annually and evaluated for current standard of care.

Policy and Procedure Guidelines for Standard Precautions

07/01 jmfc
Reviewed by B. Christophersen 06/10; 8/12; 8/14

Purpose: Medical history and examination cannot reliably identify patients infected with HIV or blood-borne pathogens. Blood and body fluid precautions should be consistently used for all patient contacts when exposure to blood and body fluid is anticipated.

"Health Care Worker" — any person (e.g. employee, student, contractor, attending clinician or volunteer) whose activities involve contact with patients or with blood or other body fluids from patients in a healthcare or laboratory setting.

"Exposure" — percutaneous injury (e.g. a needle stick or cut with a sharp object), contact of mucous membrane or non-intact skin (e.g. when the exposed skin is chapped, abraded, or afflicted with dermatitis), or contact with intact skin when the duration of contact is prolonged (e.g. several minutes or more) or involves an extensive area, with blood, tissue, or other body fluids.

"Body Fluids" — includes a) semen, vaginal secretions or other body fluids contaminated with visible blood that have been implicated in the transmission of HIV infection; and b) cerebrospinal, synovial, pleural, peritoneal, pericardial and amniotic fluids which have an undetermined risk for transmitting HIV.

Procedure: The following precautions are taken from the MMWR, August 21, 1987, published by the Center for Disease Control.

  1. All health care workers should routinely use appropriate barrier precautions to prevent skin and mucous membrane exposure when contact with blood or other body fluids of any patient is anticipated. Gloves should be worn for touching blood and body fluids, mucous membranes, or non-intact skin of all patients, for handling items of surfaces soiled with blood or body fluids, and for performing venipuncture and other vascular access procedures. Gloves should be changed after contact with each patient. Masks and protective eye wear or face shields should be worn during procedures that are likely to generate droplets of blood or other body fluids to prevent exposure of mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, and eyes. Gowns or aprons should be worn during procedures that are likely to generate splashes of blood and or other body fluids.
  2. Hands and other skin surfaces should be washed immediately and thoroughly if contaminated with blood or other body fluids. Hands should be washed immediately after gloves are removed.
  3. All health care workers should take precautions to prevent injuries caused by needles, scalpels, other sharp instruments or devices during procedures; when cleaning used instruments; during disposal of used needles; and when handling sharp instruments after procedures. To prevent needle stick injuries, needles should not be recapped, purposely bent or broken by hand, removed from disposable syringes, or otherwise manipulated by hand. After they are used, disposable syringes and needles, scalpel blades, and other sharp items should be placed in puncture-resistant containers for disposal; the puncture-resistant containers should be located as close as practical to the use area. Large-bore reusable needles should be placed in puncture-resistant container for transport to the reprocessing area.
  4. Although saliva has not been implicated in HIV transmission, to minimize the potential risk associated with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, mouthpieces, resuscitation bags, or other ventilation devices should be available for use in areas in which the need for resuscitation is predictable.
  5. Health care workers who have exudative lesions or weeping dermatitis should refrain from all direct patient care and from handling patient care equipment until the condition resolves.
  6. Pregnant health care workers are not known to be at greater risk of contracting HIV infection than health care workers who are not pregnant; however, if a health care worker develops HIV infection during pregnancy, the infant is at risk of infection resulting from perinatal transmission. Because of this risk, pregnant health care workers should be especially familiar with and strictly adhere to precautions to minimize the risk of HIV transmission.
  7. The content of this policy should be reviewed annually and evaluated for current standard of care.

Policies for Student Clinical Practice

11/22/02 jmfc
Reviewed by B. Christophersen 06/10; 8/12; 8/14

Health/ Practice Requirements
All students participating in clinical laboratory experiences must meet standards regarding health status as outlined by the New York State Department of Health Code- Section 405.3 (2002). Inclusive in the code is a regulation that states that the health status of all persons involved in direct patient care must be assessed prior to the individual's assumption of patient care duties. The evaluation needs to be "of sufficient scope to ensure that no person shall assume his/her duties unless he/she is free from a health impairment which is of potential risk to the patient or which might interfere with the performance of his/her duties, including the habituation or addiction to depressants, stimulants, narcotics, alcohol or other drugs or substances which may alter the individual's behavior". Student health status should be evaluated at least annually with reassessment as frequently as judged necessary. The information provided must be of sufficient quantity and quality to allow a decision to be made that supports quality patient care and safe practice.

Students participating in clinical courses in the nursing major are required to submit a completed Annual Student Health Evaluation form to Certified Background. The clinical site coordinator for DSON manages all health requirements through Certified Background. The health/practice requirements as outlined below must be fulfilled and be completed prior to beginning clinical course work.

The DSON will not provide opportunities for clinical experiences for students who fail to meet the following requirements/ responsibilities. A completed physical examination documented on the DSON form and submitted to Certified Background and to Decker Student Health Services. University requirements are less stringent than those of the DSON; therefore, students cannot assume that meeting Binghamton University requirements is sufficient. University Health Services will accept the DSON documentation. Annual Student Health Evaluation forms are available from the Clinical Site Coordinator and on the DSON website.

Two intradermal Mantoux Tuberculin tests are required for the first semester before entering the clinical setting and then one annually thereafter. Students with a positive Mantoux Test will be required to have a chest x-ray and show satisfactory (to the University) evidence of follow-up health care. A TB screening form must be completed annuallly for those with a positive Mantoux history.

DSON students must provide proof of immunity to specific communicable diseases as outlined on the Annual Student Health Evaluation form. In addition, the DSON recommends the Hepatitis B immunization series. Hepatitis B infection is a major occupational hazard for health care workers because the procedures performed may involve contact with blood or blood-contaminated body fluids. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, the risk of acquiring Hepatitis B infection is often highest during professional education programs and immunization should be completed during study in schools of nursing, medicine, dentistry and other health professions. If for personal reasons, a student elects not to receive Hepatitis B vaccine, a statement of declination needs to be signed by the student and on file with Certified Background. 

The health care agencies used by the DSON for clinical experiences require that students have annual certification in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. Students must assume responsibility for obtaining and maintaining annual CPR certification. The level of certification required is equivalent to that of "Professional Rescuer". Students will be required to show evidence of CPR certification prior to the beginning of the nursing sequence and annually in order to participate in nursing courses with a clinical component. While the Decker School does not require evidence of CPR for freshman and sophomore nursing students, certification for these students is recommended. NOTE: The Decker School does not accept online certification for CPR.

Malpractice insurance is required by Binghamton University in the amount of $3Million/$3Million and it is required that all nursing students registered in clinical courses purchase this coverage through the University at a nominal charge. Students may elect to carry private insurance as additional coverage.

Graduate and RN students enrolled in clinical courses must have a copy of their valid license to practice nursing on file with the school.

Students must provide proof of current personal health insurance coverage.

All students will be required to sign a confidentiality statement to be kept on file at the DSON.

Students may be asked to comply with additional requirements of selected clinical agencies (i.e. drug testing; removal of artificial/acrylic nails; more frequent Mantoux testing) in order to participate in clinical experiences in those agencies. Any cost incurred in fulfilling additional requirements will be the student's responsibility. Clinical agencies may request copies of selected information from students' health records. Students will be required to sign a release so that this information may be forwarded to the agencies. Delay or failure to sign a release may lead to a delay/denial of clinical placement.

Students experiencing health problems or a change in their health status which may affect their ability to function safely in the clinical laboratory setting must submit an additional statement from their health care provider. This statement should address any limitation or restrictions resulting from the health problem. This information should be submitted directly to the Clinical Site Coordinator. This must be done prior to the laboratory experience or upon return if the student has been absent due to the health problem. Binghamton University (BU) also may require a student to undergo an appropriate medical evaluation at BU expense prior to readmission or resumption of clinical placement (classes).

Responsibilities of Patient Care
All students of the DSON are expected to provide care to patients to whom they are assigned. Assignments/ placements are to be based on the level of skill and knowledge of the student and the educational objectives of the learning experience. When a clinical instructor is not "on-site", responsibility for the provision of patient care must be explicitly defined and mutually agreed upon by the clinical instructor and the clinical agency.

In some clinical courses, student preference of clinical site may be considered. Students will not be placed for an educational clinical experience at their work site with a relative or significant other. Such a situation often contributes to role confusion and the potential for a conflict of interest. In health organizations with multiple sites, a placement at a site other than the student's actual work site within the employing organization may be considered and will be done at the discretion of DSON faculty. The DSON reserves the right to make final clinical placements based upon student, course, preceptor, agency and DSON needs.

DSON faculty and students are expected to practice nursing in adherence to the ANA Code of Ethics (2001)-. Student behavior in the clinical area that is identified by faculty or a clinical agency as unprofessional may result in removal of the student from the clinical placement and further investigation of the student's fitness to practice. Only when the DSON determines that the student is fit to practice will the student be permitted to resume his/her duties and responsibilities in the clinical area.


Reasonable Accommodations

Approved by DSON Council October 18, 1993
Reviewed by B. Christophersen 06/10; 8/12

The following document has been developed to assist in the recruitment, admission, and progression of students in the Decker School of Nursing. This document includes a statement regarding Reasonable Accommodation for Students with Disability Related Needs and the Essential Skills required to meet program objectives.

Reasonable Accommodation for Students with Disability Related Needs
In compliance with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, Reasonable Accommodation for Students with Disability Related Needs will be determined on an individual basis taking into consideration the Essential Skills which must be performed to meet program objectives. Decisions regarding Reasonable Accommodation will be directed toward maximizing the student's independence while maintaining personal and client dignity and safety. Note: Please contact course coordinators promptly with special needs.

Essential Skills

The following activities are representative of essential skills expected of students in the Decker School of Nursing beginning with the first semester. The student will be expected to:

  1. Provide evidence of annual Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation certification at the Professional Rescuer level or equivalent.
  2. Elicit health history from clients.
  3. Position and transfer of clients appropriately.
  4. Use correct body mechanics.
  5. Use appropriate handwashing techniques.
  6. Gown, glove, and mask appropriately.
  7. Perform sterile technique.
  8. Complete a bedbath, including oral care.
  9. Make an occupied bed.
  10. Perform range of motion for client. (e.g., perform passive exercises)
  11. Assess pertinent body systems. (e.g., cardiovascular, respiratory, neurological, musculoskeletal)
  12. Auscultate heart, bowel, and breath sounds.
  13. Auscultate vital signs. (e.g., pulse, blood pressure)
  14. Inspect. (e.g., skin)
  15. Palpate. (e.g., pulses)
  16. Percuss. (e.g., abdomen)
  17. Perform procedures ordinarily requiring manual dexterity and precision. (e.g., insertion of urinary catheter, manipulation of ophthalmoscope and otoscope)
  18. Demonstrate focused observational skills in the assessment of body language, territoriality, and speech patterns.
  19. Interpret emotions and meanings from client's verbal and nonverbal behaviors accurately.
  20. Communicate empathy through the appropriate listening skills.
  21. Give and receive relevant verbal and nonverbal feedback.
  22. Demonstrate the interpersonal and analytical skills necessary to participate actively in all phases of group development.


DSON Grievance Procedure [Approved with revisions by Faculty Council, April 24, 2006]

In accordance with our humanistic philosophy, effective interpersonal communication based on mutual trust and respect is an essential part of nursing. The Decker School of Nursing (DSON) strongly supports a climate in which attempts to understand differences are guided by these principles. We believe that most issues can be mutually resolved at the informal level, and that learning can be enhanced through the use of this process. The following procedure shall be utilized to resolve an academic grievance brought by students or faculty at the Decker School of Nursing. A grievance involves a case in which one party believes another party has harmed him or her directly and seeks some redress or resolution of a perceived harm. Possible cases may include, but are not limited to: disagreements over course or program requirements, the process by which a grade was determined, intellectual property, unfair treatment, or whether due process was followed. Interpersonal conflicts that do not affect a student's grades, academic progress, intellectual property, and the like cannot be grieved. The formal grievance procedure is preceded by an informal process for seeking resolution and an informal mediation process. The DSON strongly supports that all efforts to resolve the issue at the informal level are exhausted prior to resorting to the formal process. The informal or mediated process must be completed prior to beginning the formal process.

Informal Process for Seeking Resolution

A. The complainant first must attempt to find resolution by discussing the issue with the person against whom the complaint is directed. This action constitutes the beginning of the informal process.

Informal Mediation Process

A. If no mutually agreeable resolution is reached during stage 1A, the complainant must next seek resolution from the Course Coordinator, if the course has one.

B. If no mutually agreeable resolution is reached during stage 2A, the complainant must then seek resolution from the appropriate Program Director. If a mutually agreeable resolution is not reached in the informal mediation process, the individual may proceed to the formal process of review by the Formal Grievance Committee.

C. If the complainant feels that meeting with any person will involve reprisals or other unpleasant consequences, then he/she should meet directly with the appropriate Program Director. Following this meeting, the Director must inform the person against whom the complaint is made about the complaint and the issues involved.

D. The Director shall attempt to mediate the dispute through discussions with each of the persons, together or separately.

Formal Grievance Procedure

If there is no informal resolution as outlined above, the formal grievance process is the next step for redress. Any individual who feels that she/he has an unresolved grievance may request the case be heard by the Grievance Committee. The individual must write a chronology of events leading up to the specific grievance. This chronology should describe the informal ways redress was sought, and detail the specific complaint, i.e. what issue, event, or circumstance is being grieved. This detailed signed charge will be submitted to the Deans Designee who will review it and ensure that all means of resolution through the informal process have been exhausted. If the Deans Designee deems that the informal process has not been completed, she/he will direct the grievant to return to the informal process. Upon receipt of this detailed, signed charge, the Deans Designee will notify in writing all parties involved including the Chairperson of the Voting faculty. Voting Faculty will appoint the members of the Grievance Committee and notify the Dean's Designee of the composition of the committee. The Grievance Committee shall convene at the earliest convenient time


The Deans Designee will initiate the formal process by convening the Grievance Committee. Composition of the Committee shall include:

  • Three faculty members elected by Voting Faculty Committee. At least one of the faculty members must be tenured.
  • Two student members appointed by the Voting Faculty Committee. • The membership shall select the chairperson from among the tenured faculty.
  • Before a hearing begins, if anyone involved in that case accuses a member of being biased, the other members of the Committee shall decide, by a secret ballot, whether that member shall be disqualified from the committee.
  • A Committee quorum shall consist of three Committee members with the proviso that at least one of those be a student and two be faculty.


The Grievance Committee is not a legal or judicial body but an advisory one. The Committee hears and deliberates cases involving grievances but renders no binding verdicts, judgments, or decisions. After evaluating a case, the Committee sends to the Deans Designee of the DSON non-binding findings and recommendation(s) as to the action that might be taken. If the Deans Designee is a party to the case, the Dean will appoint another designee to decide the case. The parties in the case will also be informed of the committee's recommendation(s) by the Deans Designee with the final disposition. The final disposition of a case is not within the authority of this Committee.

Notification of Parties Involved

The Deans Designee's office shall notify all parties of the charges under consideration not less than 7 working days prior to the scheduled hearing. This notification shall be in writing and shall become a part of the grievance record. The notice should be delivered by hand, and a signed receipt obtained. If that is not possible, it should be sent by certified mail. If the return receipt is delayed, then the campus or U.S. mail should be used with the most recent address. This notification shall inform all parties, with sufficient particularity and in sufficient time to ensure opportunity to prepare for the hearing. All parties will be informed of the following:

  • The specific charges brought against him/her (allegation, time, place, and a brief description of the circumstances of the occurrence and parties involved). • The time and place to appear before the Committee for a hearing.
  • His/her right to review documents before a hearing is available or during the hearing.
  • His/her privilege to have one person of one's own choosing appear with him/her in a support capacity. This support person cannot directly address the committee or parties involved in the grievance.
  • His/her right to be present at any portion of the meeting when evidence is heard with respect to the case.
  • His/her right to bring questions to the committee or address the committee, but not the other party.
  • His/her right to bring witnesses and/or present evidence with respect to the case.
  • His/her right to request that any person involved in the case be present at the time he/she appears before the Committee.
  • His/her right to challenge the impartiality of any member of the Committee, in accordance with Article 3, A, 4.
  • His/her right, after the Deans Designee has made a decision, to appeal the decision.
  • The procedures and policy of the Grievance Committee as outlined in the present document.
  • The fact that proceedings will be taped and tapes will be forwarded to the Deans Designee for his/her review only.

Hearing of the Grievance

The hearing shall consist of at least three parts:

    • The initial presentation of evidence and all relevant information, and discussion with parties bringing evidence.
    • Discussion of the committee members with the involved parties, the grievant's adviser(s), and witnesses, if appropriate.
    • The deliberations of the evidence by the Committee and the formulation of its recommendation to the Deans Designee.
    • All parties and their adviser(s) have the right to attend and participate in the presentation and discussion phases of the Committee hearing. If a named party is not present at the hearing, then the hearing is conducted with the party absent. As soon as a named party appears before the Committee, the chairperson shall review the named party's rights and privileges and the chairperson will acquaint the named party with the purpose of the meeting which is to assess the evidence in light of the full context in which the grievance occurred and to render a fair and equitable recommendation to the Deans Designee. During the deliberation phase, no one other than Committee members shall be present and no new evidence may be introduced at that time.

Decision of the Committee

    • A record of the hearing, usually a tape recording, shall be made to allow for review by the Deans Designee of the DSON only. This recording will not include the deliberation phase of the hearings.

Professional Ethics and Academic Honesty Policy for Graduate Students

Students are responsible for maintaining the integrity of and hold individual responsibility for their course assignments. Failure to do so is a violation of the Academic Honesty Policies of both the University and the Decker School of Nursing. See http://bulletin.binghamton.edu/program.asp?program_id=291 for the University's policies on Academic Integrity and the Student Academic Honesty Code. This link will also allow students to review violation category definitions per the University's Academic Honesty policies. See DSON Academic Honesty Policy for department specific procedures re: Academic Honesty. For more information on Academic Honesty at the University level including forms, please see the Provost's web site: http://www.binghamton.edu/academics/provost/honesty.html.


Policies and Procedures for Student Incident Reports

[Approved by Council for implementation 1/29/90; Reviewed by B. Christophersen 06/10]

I. Policy for Reporting of Incidents

All incidents involving a student, specifically a student and patient occurring at a clinical site during an affiliation,must be reported to the instructor of record for that experience. An incident is defined as any unusual occurrence, with or without injury, which interferes with the functioning of the system or the patient, e.g. patient fall, incorrect procedure, medication administration error/occurrence, exposure to blood and/or body fluids, delay in treatment. 1

Incidents that threaten the safety of the patients, students, or staff in an agency are reportable to the New York State Department of Health within twenty-four hours of occurrence. This reporting is the responsibility of the agency in most situations. Each agency will have a policy for such reporting that defines reportable and non-reportable incidents.

Incidents involving students will be investigated by the instructor of record for the affiliation and the results of the investigation as well as any actions taken will be documented.

II. Procedure for Reporting Incidents

    1. Report the incident promptly to the instructor. If the instructor is not immediately available to the student or there is any evidence of immediate danger for the patient or others, report the incident immediately to the appropriate charge nurse or other supervisor of the unit, agency, or system where the incident occurred. Proceed to notify the instructor subsequent to the above action.
    2. The student together with the instructor will complete an Incident Report (agency form) as soon as possible following the incident. Both the student and instructor will sign the form and forward to the supervisor within the system. Incidents involving patients where there is real or potential injury or untoward effects must be communicated to the attending physician. The decision as to who will communicate with the physician is usually jointly determined by the supervisor in the agency and the instructor. Most often, it is the student with the guidance and support of the instructor.
    3. Incidents that require additional investigation by the agency must be reported immediately to the instructor of record who in turn reports the incident to the appropriate program coordinator. Should the student be questioned about the incident by the agency staff or any other party after the initial reporting process, the student should decline to respond until the instructor is present.
    4. In most situations, agency incident reports cannot be photocopied; therefore, the student and instructor will need to write a narrative description of the incident. The description should be sufficiently detailed so as to clearly describe what occurred. A copy of this report should be forwarded directly to the appropriate program coordinator. The report is a confidential document and will be kept in a locked file. It will not become a part of the student's permanent file. (Medication errors may be documented on the Decker School of Nursing form--see attachment.)
    5. In addition to completing a Decker Incident Report, a University Policy Incident Reporting form (CS-13 form) must be filed within 3 days of the incident to Environmental Health and Safety.
    6. In situations where the agency does not view the situation as a reportable incident but faculty/student believe it to be an unusual occurrence, a narrative report must be completed and forwarded as described under #4.


Criminal Background Screening and Drug Screening Administrative Policy

[Reviewed by B. Christophersen 06/10]

Clinical agencies are beginning to require criminal background checks for everyone working in the facility, including students. All DSON students participating in a clinical experience are required by clinical agencies used by the DSON to undergo a criminal background screening and/or drug screen. In addition, some agencies may require more stringent screening than indicated below, including fingerprinting. The student will be required to submit to DSON results of a criminal background screening by Certified Background.com or another approved agency as determined by the DSON (such as Federal military clearance) done within the past calendar year. This documentation will be due prior to the start of the semester in accordance with the due dates for all other clinical requirements (health forms, proof of CPR, etc). The student is responsible for all costs associated with these requirements. The Criminal Background Screening will be required annually while attending DSON. For more information about this process and its costs, please see http://www.certifiedbackground.com.

Results will be disclosed to the agency/clinical site to determine if the student can attend clinical within the facility. Any student that delays, fails or refuses to provide a Criminal Background Screening to the DSON by its due date, will be unable to attend clinical, which may result in a failure for the course. Positive Criminal Background Screening results may hinder a student's opportunity for state licensure. DSON recommends a student contact his/her state board of licensure to clarify any concerns regarding licensure. Should a student be convicted of a criminal offense between the first and second background screening, he/she must immediately disclose this to the DSON for review with the clinical site. The clinical site will determine whether the student will be permitted to continue to participate in clinical. Any such incident may jeopardize the student's enrollment at the University and licensure.

Reports from Criminal Background Screening will be stored with the student's health file in the Clinical Site Coordinator's locked filing cabinet. After the student signs a release each year, the DSON will assume responsibility for releasing written verification of a clear criminal background check to the clinical agency. Again, failure, delay or refusal to sign the release, allowing the DSON to provide the results to the agencies, will prevent the student from attending clinical, which may result in a failure for the course. All documentation from the Criminal Background Screening reports will be destroyed upon graduation or dismissal from the program.

Disclaimer: The Criminal Background Screening procedure does not ensure the security of students, patients, faculty or staff.


Code of Ethics for Nurses

(Revised 2-14-2011 as voted on by Faculty Council)

The nurse, in all professional relationships, practices with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth, and uniqueness of every individual, unrestricted by considerations of social or economic status, personal attributes, or the nature of health problems.

The nurse participates in establishing, maintaining, and improving health care environments and conditions of employment conducive to the provision of quality health care and consistent with the values of the profession through individual and collective action.

The nurse's primary commitment is to the patient, whether an individual, family, group, or community.

The nurse participates in the advancement of the profession through contributions to practice, education, administration, and knowledge development.

The nurse promotes, advocates for, and strives to protect the health, safety, and rights of the patient.

The nurse collaborates with other health professionals and the public in promoting community, national, and international efforts to meet health needs.

The nurse is responsible and accountable for individual nursing practice and determines the appropriate delegation of tasks consistent with the nurse's obligation to provide optimum patient care.

The profession of nursing, as represented by associations and their members, is responsible for articulating nursing values, for maintaining the integrity of the profession and its practice, and for shaping social policy.

The nurse owes the same duties to self as to others, including the responsibility to preserve integrity and safety, to maintain competence, and to continue personal and professional growth.

© 2001 American Nurses Association

Web Site for Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements:

Click here to view. (Subject to update and revision by the American Nurses Association.)


Student Services

Advisement for Assistance in Program Planning
Graduate students:

All graduate students should become familiar with the University Bulletin, the Graduate School Manual, and the Decker School of Nursing Graduate Student Handbook. Students should seek advisement from their assigned faculty academic adviser early and as often as is necessary. Students receive a mutually agreeable program plan at Orientation before beginning their program of study that identifies part-time or full-time study status. This program plan will remain on file in the Graduate Program Office. All students should follow this program plan to degree completion. Permission to deviate from this program plan is required from the faculty adviser and the Director of Graduate Nursing Programs.

Faculty advisers make notations on Advisement Record forms regarding advisement sessions and the proposed program plan to complete remaining requirements. These advisement forms are kept in the student folder. This documentation serves as a record of the student's progress throughout the curriculum for the student, faculty, adviser, and the Program Offices and is used to monitor student completion of program requirements. The student is urged to request a copy of advising notations and proposed program plan developed by the student and faculty adviser.

As a graduate student, petitions for exception to policy may be submitted via a written letter to the Chair of the Graduate Nursing Program's MS and/or DNP Committee as is appropriate. The committee chair will bring it forward to the committee members for review at the next scheduled meeting. See Petitioning an Academic Regulation elsewhere in this publication. Graduate students should see the Decker School's Graduate Program Director for further information regarding the process of petitioning for exceptions to policy.

Each matriculated graduate student is assigned a faculty academic adviser who works to advise the student on curricular progression throughout their program(s) of study. Non-matriculated students are encouraged to seek program planning and academic advisement from the Director of Graduate Programs.

In consultation with a faculty adviser, an appropriate program of study is planned for each student. It is important for the student to complete prerequisites for courses as specified and to be aware that certain courses must be taken in sequence or concurrently. Ongoing communication with the Director of Graduate Programs or faculty adviser is strongly encouraged.


Computing Services

Computing services are available at several sites throughout the campus.

1. Students may access computers from public computer pods across campus, but nursing-related software and programming is only available on the Decker School computers housed in the Decker School computer pod on the ground floor.

2. The Computing Services Center provides access to mainframe, mini/micro, and consultation services.


In order to use the library facilities at Binghamton University , a valid University ID card is required. Each library (Science, Main , Fine Arts) has a procedure for validating the ID for use in that particular library.

The Decker School of Nursing collection is held in the Science Library. Support and management of the collection is the responsibility of the nursing or health science bibliographer. Materials pertinent to some courses are also housed in the Bartle Library. Students are encouraged to participate in a university library orientation scheduled early in the semester.


Nurse Practitioner Certifications, Educational (Course) Completion Verifications, and Hospital Certification Requests

For the initial (i.e., upon student's graduation) NP certification process after completion of an NP program, DSON at no charge to the student submits specific Certification of Professional Education forms as is required by NY (and/or other states as well as national testing agencies) on behalf of any student who completes a Nurse Practitioner program. Additional (multiple) certification requests placed by alumni for state and/or national certifications and/or hospital privileges may be assessed a $10.00 charge per verification/certification. A fee of $25 may be assessed for complicated documentation for hospital privileges or certification. Fees for extensive requests are assessed on a case-by-case basis and at the discretion of the Director of Graduate Nursing.


Decker Student Organizations

Graduate Nursing Student Organization

Graduate students have opportunities to participate in the governance of their student life through membership in the Graduate Student Organization, and through service on the School of Nursing Standing Committees .

The Graduate Nursing Student Organization coordinates program wide activities and is responsible for the administration of its budgeted allotment from the University Graduate Organization. The money received funds outside speakers, conferences, and educational materials for graduate student enhancement.


Sigma Theta Tau International

Zeta Iota Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International, the international honor society of nursing, recognizes superior academic achievement, academic integrity, professional leadership potential, and/or marked achievement in the field of nursing. The purposes of the Chapter are to:

1. Recognize superior achievement

2. Recognize the development of leadership qualities

3. Foster high professional standards

4. Encourage creative work

5. Strengthen commitment to the ideals and purposes of the profession

Eligibility for membership in the Zeta Iota Chapter is by invitation. Students who have completed at least one-half of the courses in the nursing major and have a grade point average of 3.0 and rank in the highest 35 percent of the senior class qualify for invitation to membership. Graduate Students (Master's and Doctorate) must have completed ¼ of the nursing curriculum; achieve academic excellence (at schools where a 4.0 grade point average system is used, this equates to a 3.5 or higher); meet the expectation of academic integrity. Inductions are held during the academic year. An invitation to become a member of the nursing honor society is a distinct honor and privilege.

The Binghamton Nursing Honor Society was founded on April 26, 1980. It became a Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International on April 24, 1982.


Graduate Nursing Student Policies and Requirements

Petitioning an Academic Regulation

A student may petition an Academic Regulation by writing a letter to the Chair of the Master's and/or DNP Program Committee in the School of Nursing who will bring it to the committee for review at the next scheduled meeting and as appropriate. The letter should include all relevant information regarding your situation, why you wish to petition the regulation, and what outcome you are seeking.

Meetings are scheduled on a regular basis during the academic year. Students may attend the meeting to provide further information regarding their petition. If the student does not wish to attend, they may have an advocate speak for them. The assigned faculty adviser or the Director of the Graduate Program may be able to provide more information prior to your petitioning.


Your "University Bulletin"

The Bulletin in effect when you matriculate into the School of Nursing stipulates the policies by which you may expect to proceed through the program. For example, if you enter in the Fall 2014, then the 2014-15 Graduate Bulletin is your contract with the University. The rules and regulations printed at the time are the ones to be followed while you are a student at Binghamton University.

You may be allowed to change your bulletin. To make the change, you must go to the Graduate Program Coordinator in the School of Nursing to request a change. You can only change to a bulletin printed after you entered the School of Nursing. (You cannot change to a bulletin printed at an earlier date.)

A change is not made unless you request it. After it is approved, your request is placed on file.

To view the current University Bulletin see University Bulletin.


Current Level

All students who have completed 24 credits of graduate level coursework after the baccalaureate degree are considered level 2 students. Students who reach Level 2 are considered full time with only 9 credits or registered coursework. Doctoral students are considered Level 3 until they have completed all course work and only need to complete their dissertations (ABD--All But Degree). ABD students are considered Level 4. For more information click here.


A Normal Academic Load

You are considered a full-time student by the University if you are carrying 12 or more credits per semester until after you have reached Level 2 (I.e., successfully completed 24 credit hours of graduate level coursework); after 24 credits of graduate level coursework has been successfully completed, only 9 credits of registered coursework is required to be considered full time in each semester thereafter.

Students are admitted as part-time or full-time matriculated students when beginning their program of study at the Decker School of Nursing. Permission from the Graduate Program Director is required in order to change from part-time study to full-time or full-time study to part-time. It is important to see an academic adviser before you request a change of program plan in order to maintain the integrity of your program and timeliness to award of degree.


 Registration/Course Add, Drop, Withdraw, Etc.

The Office of the Student Records/the University Registrar requires that all University students meet registration related deadlines. A copy of the current Add/Drop/Withdraw deadlines can be found here. Policies and procedures related to registration can be viewed here.

It is not the responsibility of the Graduate Nursing office to monitor your registration. Please verify that you are registered for the appropriate courses each semester.


Continuous Registration and Leave of Absence

The official complete policy for Continuous Registration must be reviewed online in the Graduate School Manual.

All students who have been admitted into a degree-granting program must maintain continuous registration each major (fall and spring) semester for a minimum of one (1) credit hour.

Once enrolled, students are expected to make continuous progress toward the degree or certificate. Unless the student maintains continuous registration or is granted an official leave of absence by the Graduate School, he/she is ineligible to return until readmitted. Graduate students are not required to maintain matriculation during the summer unless they intend to complete their final degree requirements during this period. Students graduating in the summer must be registered for at least 1 credit in one (=any) summer session.

Students who have begun a semester and then find that they cannot finish that semester should officially withdraw from their courses. Readmission is not automatic. Students who are readmitted are required to register and pay for one credit for each semester they have not registered, plus one credit for the semester they re-enter, up to a maximum of four credits.

Students who wish to absent themselves from studies for a semester or two are allowed to register for one credit of continuous registration (NURS. 700) with department assistance. The continuous registration rubric should not be used on a routine basis. Absence from a class does not constitute official withdrawal. Also, students going off campus to fulfill an internship related to degree requirements should remain registered.

The official complete policy for Leave of Absence must be reviewed online in the Graduate School Manual.

A leave of absence is granted only in exceptional circumstances, such as prolonged illness or other unusual personal hardship, and requires detailed justification. Students on leave are excused from the registration requirement during the period of the leave. Leaves are normally granted for six months; if necessary, an extension of another 6 months, for a total of up to one year, may be approved. If possible, requests for leaves of absence should be submitted one month prior to the semester for which the leave is requested.

A student requesting a leave of absence must submit the Application for Graduate Student Leave of Absence.

When a leave of absence is granted, the period of leave of absence is not counted against the time limitation for completing a degree. During the period of leave of absence, a student is not eligible to participate in the student insurance plan.

Students must be registered during the semester their degree requirements are completed.


Grade of Incomplete

The official complete policy for Incomplete Grades must be reviewed online in the Graduate School Manual.

The student must request the Incomplete grade option from the instructor, but it is the instructor's decision as to whether it is appropriate or not. 

Graduate students who are given an Incomplete may be given up to six months from the last day of classes to make up the incomplete work, which includes having the new grade submitted to the Registrar's Office. Under exceptional circumstances only, the six month grace period for incomplete grades may be extended for up to another six months. Requests for extensions of incomplete grades require the approval of the course instructor and the Dean of the Graduate School or designee. Requests must be made at least one month before the six month deadline. It is the student's responsibility to make the request for extension of Incomplete to the Graduate School.

The Decker School requires that an internal (DSON) Incomplete Contract between student and faculty member be drawn up to identify the remaining course objectives to be completed and a deadline by which the work is to be submitted to the instructor for grading. Incomplete Contract forms are available in the Graduate Nursing Office, AB 110-A.

The Incomplete contract will help both student and faculty member to avoid the student's grade of Incomplete changing to a Grade of "NC" or No Credit--an action that will automatically transpire via Banner when a faculty member does not enter a letter grade in place of the grade of Incomplete within the normal grading period after semester classes are over. Once an Incomplete grade has changed to a grade of NC, the student has no further opportunity to complete the course and the course will appear on the final transcript as No Credit. The Incomplete Contract is also used to monitor student progress in completion of coursework and the degree and/or certificate.

Note that when a student is course complete there can be no grades of Incomplete remaining on a student transcript or the student is deemed ineligible for graduation and will be prohibited from graduating per Graduate School policy.



  • The official Graduate School policy on Withdrawals can be found here.
  • The official University Registrar policy on Withdrawal and related information can be found here.

To withdraw from the Decker School of Nursing, the student must complete a formal withdrawal petition. This form is required for a student who wishes to drop ALL fall or spring semester courses to maintain good standing and / or a student wishing to resign from the University.

Students who withdraw prior to the "Add/Drop" deadline will have all current semester courses deleted from their record. Students who withdraw after the "Add/Drop" deadline will have a grade(s) of "W" appear on the official academic transcript for all courses along with the notation of the date of their withdrawal. 

If a student decides they must leave a program of study in the middle of a semester, they are still required to officially withdraw per University policies as reflected in both the Graduate School's and Registrar's policies (links above).

Failure to petition for official withdrawal during a semester means that the student will receive a grade(s) of "F" on the official transcript in all courses for which they do not satisfactorily complete course requirements. It will also result in the need to reapply should a student decide they wish to return for study in a future semester. See the Continuous Registration policy for penalties that result from failure to maintain continuous registration.

There is no academic penalty for withdrawal from the University up to the last day of class in any given semester.



All students admitted to a degree program must register for each semester, excluding summer, until all degree requirements have been completed. Students who fail to maintain continuous registration--unless granted a formal leave of absence--are ineligible to resume graduate study until readmission has been approved. A student applying for readmission to a graduate program is subject to the rules, procedures, curriculum, and standards in effect at the time of readmission. Readmission is not automatic and may be subject to additional conditions and fees set by the department or school or by the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Research.

Non-matriculated students who fail to register for more than two consecutive semesters, excluding summer, are not permitted to register for courses until they have been readmitted.

Application for readmission is completed online. A fee is assessed for all applications for readmission to Binghamton University graduate degree programs. If you are seeking readmission, it is recommended that you contact both the Department and the Graduate School for guidance.


Preparation of Written Assignments for Nursing Courses

Students in School of Nursing courses are required to type all written assignments unless specifically advised otherwise. In addition, the School has adopted the use of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, latest edition, by the American Psychological Association.

APA Video by Dr. Susan Seibold-Simpson.


Transfer Credit

Matriculated students may petition to have credits earned at other institutions transferred toward the Binghamton University School of Nursing Graduate degree. The student should submit the institution's course syllabus (or syllabi) and an official transcript showing successful completion of each course (if one is not already on file) to the Director of Graduate Studies for each class that consideration for transfer of credit is being requested. Credits petitioned for transfer will not be eligible for transfer if they have been used to satisfy the requirements of another degree. (See full policy in the Graduate School Manual). Students enrolled in master's of nursing programs may request consideration for a maximum of 12 credits in transfer.

Credits for which transfer is sought must be graduate level courses completed with a grade of B (3.0) or better to be considered. Courses without a letter grade cannot be transferred. When courses are approved for transfer, the letter grades are not reflected in the Binghamton University transcript, nor are they considered in determination of the student's grade point average. Courses taken more than five years prior to matriculation may not be used without approval from the Graduate School Director. Consult the Graduate Nursing Program Assistant with any questions you may have regarding transfer of credit.


Grading System of the Graduate School and the Decker School of Nursing (See Graduate School Policy online.)

For the purpose of computing semester or cumulative averages, each letter grade is assigned a quality point value as follows:

A = 4.0 B = 3.0 C = 2.0
A- = 3.7 B- = 2.7 C- = 1.7
B+ = 3.3 C+ = 2.3 F = 0


These letter grade values are combined with course credit hours to produce an average. A cumulative average of 3.0 is required for graduation and to be considered in good standing in the Graduate School.

Students who drop a nursing course after the drop deadline will be assigned a grade of W (withdrawn) which will appear on the official academic transcript.

Students may repeat courses in which they received a grade of B- or lower with approval of the Graduate Program Coordinator and the Graduate School. Students should submit a petition to the Office of the Graduate Program Director. See official course repeat policy in the Graduate School Manual.

When a course is repeated with the approval of the Graduate School, the grade received in the second attempt is substituted for the first in the computation of the student's grade-point average and in the awarding of credit. However, the first grade remains on the student transcript.

The following requirements must be met by students enrolled in all Master's of Science in Nursing, Doctorate in Nursing Practice, and post-graduate Certificate programs of the Decker School:

  • The Decker School will require a grade of B (= numerical grade of 83) or better in all courses required for the MS in Nursing program.
  • In every course that has a clinical component, students must pass both didactic and clinical components of the course, effective fall 2013.


Requirements for Graduation

In addition to the general policies of the Graduate School, the following are requirements that must be met by students in the Graduate Program of the School of Nursing:

  1. Students must have a final cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 in those courses required for the program in nursing and a grade of B or better in all courses per the DSON Grading policy.
  2. Successful completion of a master's synthesis experience is required for completion of the master's program. All master's degree students complete a paper or a project as a final synthesizing experience and as part of course requirements. Students are encouraged to examine and make decisions regarding these options early in their programs. 
      • MS students may alternatively elect to complete a MS thesis to fulfill the MS Synthesis Experience requirement. Students register for an Independent Study course through the Graduate Program Office when electing to complete a MS Thesis. Credits earned by completing a thesis may be used to satisfy elective credit requirements. Students planning to pursue a PhD in nursing are encouraged to consider the MS thesis option. Thesis guidelines are found online in the Graduate School Manual. Students selecting the thesis option must seek advisement from their faculty adviser one year prior to graduation.
      • Students enrolled in the master's program are expected to complete degree requirements within five years.
  3. Successful completion of a DNP Capstone project is required for successful completion of the DNP program. See the DSON's DNP Handbook for full details.
  4. See applicable graduation policies and procedures in the Graduate School Manual.


Probation Policy of the Graduate School

The official Probation policy for the Graduate School can be found here.


Statement of Expectations Regarding Computer Literacy

It is expected that all graduate students in the Decker School of Nursing will have a level of computer literacy before they begin graduate study. The expectation for literacy is defined in the following list of expected competencies.

The student will:

  1. Understand Windows or an equivalent operating system so that the student can save files and copy files with ease.
  2. Use basic computer applications, such as word processing software applications (E.g., Microsoft Word), spread sheet applications (E.g., Excel). and e-mail programs.
  3. Be fairly competent in keyboard skills.

Students will not be asked to document or demonstrate these skills prior to admission; however, in courses where these skills are required, students who do not have them will be at a great disadvantage. Instructors will not assume responsibility for remediation of these skills. If you need to develop these skills, several options are available.

  1. Workshops are available on this campus and may also be available in your local area. Contact the Computer Center for schedules.
  2. Formal computer coursework is not necessary. Some students have found it helpful to seek guidance from friends and family members who have familiarity with word processing and internet searching.
  3. The Decker School of Nursing has some software available that will provide self-learning. Contact the Kresge Center for Nursing Research for availability.

If you have questions, please contact the Graduate Program Assistant for assistance.


Declaration of Candidacy (Both University and Decker School of Nursing)

At the beginning of the semester in which a student intends to graduate, the student must complete the Graduate Application for Degree form(s). These online forms are available on the University Commencement page and Graduate School's web site and must be completed by the University deadline to assure your name will be in the commencement brochure and that you receive valuable commencement information in a timely manner. A cumulative average of at least 3.0 is required for a graduate degree. See Grading Policy.


Audits (See full policy in the Graduate School Manual.)

The following guidelines must be followed if students register to Audit a course while enrolled:

  1. The appropriate form to Audit a course must be completed and signed by the instructor of record for a course. The audit form is only available from the Registrar's Office on campus.
  2. Individual written contracts for Audit must be established between instructor and student. A copy of this contract should go to the student, the instructor, and the student's file.
  3. Grading - the proper grade will be:
    1. Audit - if the contract is successfully completed.
    2. Withdrawal - if the contract is not completed.


School of Nursing Uniform Code

The student is required to meet the dress code of any agency to which he/she is assigned for clinical experience. The faculty member will inform students of particular regulations during orientation to the agency/clinical service. Non-compliance to the dress code will lead to disciplinary action by the faculty, relative to the seriousness of the infraction.

Students visiting families in the community not under the aegis of a clinical service/agency with a dress code should dress in a professional manner.

Independent Study Guidelines

Approved by MS/DNP Committee-Fall 2013

Independent study is a mechanism by which students can study a definitive area in depth under the direction of faculty members. Students engaged in independent study are responsible for their own learning within the guidelines of the learning contract established with the supervising faculty member. Independent study can be counted as elective credit and may--with the approval of the Director of the Graduate Program--be used in place of a regular course. Note that extenuating circumstances must be validated by the Director to accommodate a request for the use of an Independent Study in place of a normal course offering. The grade option (normal letter grade v. pass/fail) for independent study is determined by the faculty member in consultation with the student.

Students who wish to pursue independent study should use the following procedures:

  • Meet with faculty who have expertise in the area to be studied to determine faculty willingness to supervise.
  • Obtain an Independent study Form from the Graduate Office and request that the faculty supervisor sign it.
  • Return the signed form to the Graduate Office to complete the registration procedure.
  • Establish the learning contract with the faculty supervisor, including objectives, work plan and evaluation procedures.

If the Independent Study involves a clinical component, the following procedures should be followed in addition to those previously stated:

  • Clinical placement must be facilitated through the Clinical Site Coordinator in consideration of the goals and objectives of the Independent Study.
  • Student and faculty supervisor will clearly articulate in writing, the learning objectives and evaluation procedure(s) to the clinical preceptor prior to the student's initial clinical experience for the Independent Study.
  • It is required that the student and faculty supervisor confer with the clinical preceptor on a regular basis to discuss the student's clinical performance and progress towards fulfillment of objectives.
  • The Graduate Program Assistant must be notified at the time of registration when an Independent Study to be undertaken has a clinical component so that the appropriate malpractice and liability insurance fee is attached to the course providing required coverage.


Nurse Practitioner NYS Prescribing Requirement

Nurse practitioner students are required to complete the Prescribing Information for Nurse Practitioners and Midwives continuing education course in NYS prior to taking the Role I course. This learning experience may be accessed online. There is a fee to complete this NYS requirement, but you earn two continuing education contact hours. Students are required to give a copy of their certificate of completion to their Role 1 faculty member.


Clinical Placements

Clinical placements must be made through the Clinical Site Coordinator. Requests for specific preceptors can be made, however, may not always be available. Students may identify a specific site to the office of clinical placement. The site and preceptor must be evaluated for clinical appropriateness by the DSON Clinical Site Coordinator.


Graduate Nursing Student Financial Aid, Scholarships and Funding

Financial Assistance

The Decker School of Nursing has a limited number of teaching, graduate, and research assistantships. These provide stipends plus tuition scholarships and require full time enrollment. Activities involve assisting faculty in teaching and research.

Some professional nurse traineeships, with monies allocated by the Division of Nursing, Department of Health and Human Services, may also be available. Traineeship awards may include a stipend and tuition scholarship and require full- or part-time enrollment. Other fellowships may be available.

Application forms for assistantships and traineeships are available online. Students who request financial assistance are responsible for completing and returning application forms on an annual basis. Decisions are made early in the summer as soon as all necessary information about financial support has been received.

The acceptance of financial assistance, in the form of an assistantship or traineeship is regarded as a contract between the school and the student. Any changes require mutual consent and should be considered only in extreme circumstances. Students who do not maintain appropriate enrollment during the semester will incur a debt to the University in the form of tuition payback. Therefore, the decision to drop all or part of the course work must be made after careful thought as students MAY INCUR A DEBT EQUAL TO THE TOTAL COST OF TUITION FOR THE SEMESTER.

To be eligible for funding, a student cannot have any incomplete grades. Any Incomplete grades must be replaced by a letter grade before the start of each semester.


Procedures for Initiating Fellowships, Assistantships, and Traineeships

All students awarded financial assistance for a fellowship, assistantship or traineeship:

  1. Must return all necessary forms completed and signed to the DSON Dean's Office (AB 108).
  2. Must report to the University Graduate Office, ADM134, within the first two weeks of every semester to complete all necessary payroll forms.
  3. Must report to the Sponsored Fund Payroll Office, BI 1213, (traineeship and grant funded TA/GA) to complete necessary payroll forms.

Failure to complete these procedures may result in a loss of stipend and/or tuition assistance.

Information regarding other forms of financial assistance is available in the Graduate Office and the Financial Aid Office.



A limited amount of scholarship funding is available directly through the Decker School. These include the Decker Foundation, Alumni and other scholarships. Each award has different requirements for eligibility. Applications are available in spring semesters (usually mid- to late-March) via DSON's web site, and decisions are made during the summer. Students must be matriculated to be eligible for these scholarships.

Research Funding

There are two sources of funding for graduate students in the Decker School of Nursing who wish to complete a research project. The first is from José's Fund, and the second is from the local Zeta Iota Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau.


Sigma Theta Tau

Sigma Theta Tau scholarships are given to support the research of its members. Sigma Theta Tau scholarship applications are also available through the Center for Nursing Research. Applications for this scholarship are accepted throughout the year and applications are approved by the Executive Committee of the Zeta Iota Chapter.

Other sources of funds to support thesis and independent study are available through community groups and agencies. For assistance in locating possible funding sources, speak with the the Graduate Program Office, Director of the Center for Nursing Research, or the chairperson of your thesis or dissertation committee or independent study project.


José Reichel Fund

José's Fund is an endowment given in memory of José Reichel, who was the secretary in both the Graduate Office and the Kresge Center for Nursing Research. She was loved by all the graduate students, and upon her death a fund was established by her family and friends to support graduate student research. Applications for this fund are located in the Decker School of Nursing Dean's office. The application must be submitted to the Dean's office on or before January 30th for use of funds during the current academic year.


Graduate Curricula

Master's and Post-Master's Programs

Decker School of Nursing Master's and Post-Master's Program Outcomes

MS Essential I: Background for Practice from Science and Humanities

Integrates nursing and related sciences including emergent genetic/genomic evidence into the analysis, design, implementation, and evaluation of advanced nursing care to diverse populations while accounting for client values and clinical judgment.

MS Essential II: Organization and Systems Leadership:

Enacts leadership skills and behaviors to assure high quality, culturally responsive, cost effective health care within a variety of organizational systems and in collaboration with interprofessional teams and using sound economic principles.

MS Essential III: Quality Improvement and Safety

Initiates quality improvement methods to ensure client safety and improve health care outcomes by monitoring, analyzing evaluating health care data within complex health care systems.

MS Essential IV: Translating and Integrating Scholarship into Practice

Translates evidence into practice through application of relevant theory, use of clinical practice guidelines, critical appraisal of research, and acquisition/dissemination of knowledge to resolve practice problems, enhance healthcare delivery, and improve health outcomes for aggregates.

MS Essential V: Informatics and Healthcare Technologies

Employs information management systems and emerging technologies to deliver and coordinate care across multiple settings, analyze point of care outcomes, ensure safe and effective quality care, support lifelong learning and health literacy, and communicate health information with individuals and groups.

MS Essential VI: Health Policy and Advocacy

Promotes social justice by advocating, analyzing, interpreting, developing and implementing health care policy at the institutional, local, state and/or federal level for the betterment of nursing practice and healthcare delivery.

MS Essential VII: Interprofessional Collaboration for Improving Client and Population Health Outcomes

Uses effective verbal and written communication strategies to develop and lead interprofessional teams and partnerships to promote and improve client and population health outcomes.

MS Essential VIII: Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Improving Health

Synthesizes principles and determinants of health to advance equitable and proficient services for health promotion and the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and evaluation of responses to health or illness in individuals, families, communities, and aggregates/clinical populations.

MS Essential IX: Master's Level Nursing Practice

Ensure the delivery of safe, quality, evidence-based care to diverse populations presenting with complex health care problems in a variety of settings at the local, state, national or global level exemplifying the highest standards of the profession.

MS Essential X: Ethics

Demonstrates accountability for personal and professional conduct exemplifying core nursing values and ethical behaviors, and consistent with the legal scope and standards of practice.


Programs of Study

The Decker School of Nursing offers a program at the graduate level leading to a Master of Science degree. The major and clinical specialization is in family nursing, family psychiatric mental health nursing, community health nursing, or adult-gerontological nursing. Students will select a functional role as a nurse practitioner, clinical specialist, educator, or administrator. Students may pursue a dual functional role--with the exception of nurse educator which can only be the primary functional role or pursued as a post MS certificate--by completing additional course credits and are strongly advised to meet with a faculty advisor to help develop a curriculum plan to include the appropriate course credits which will result in successful completion.


Family Nursing

This clinical focus prepares the nurse as an expert in family-centered health care family nursing. Graduates are able to assess the health status of client families; provide expert nursing care; coordinate the care given by others; and assume leadership, consultative, and teaching roles with clients and other health personnel. Research skills are used in the analysis and evaluation of nursing practice. All students must complete core courses which address nursing theory, health assessment, nursing research, professional issues, and the health care delivery system. The curriculum is enriched by support courses as well as electives. The clinical focus is family nursing where the family is viewed as a unit which both affects, and is affected by its members. Students are urged to pursue personal and professional goals through their electives, and some opportunity exists for concentration in a specific phase of the life cycle. Functional role courses prepare students as either nurse practitioners, educators or administrators. Students elect one of these role options. Courses in other functional roles may fulfill elective credit.

Certified Nurse Midwives who hold a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing may complete requirements for the Master of Science degree in family nursing through the master's completion for CNM's program.


Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing

Graduates of the program in family psychiatric mental health nursing are prepared to provide comprehensive, client-centered mental health care to individuals, families and groups across the lifespan. Students acquire in-depth knowledge in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental illness, as well as the promotion of mental health. Students may select a functional role preparation as a family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, nurse educator, or nurse administrator. Nurses who have a master of science degree in nursing may enroll in the post-master's family nurse practitioner certificate program.


Community Health Nursing

Graduates of this program are committed to aiding the community to achieve optimal health. Graduates are able to assess and diagnose actual and potential health problems of the community; work with families, groups and communities; and assume provider, consultative, leadership, facilitative, and evaluative roles with the community. In addition, graduates are able to apply sociocultural, public health, epidemiological, and advanced nursing theory to the care of families, groups, and communities. Research skills are used in the analysis and evaluation of nursing practice. All graduates must complete core courses that address nursing theory, family theory, health assessment, nursing research, professional issues, and the health care delivery system. Support and elective courses enrich the program. Functional role courses prepare students as nurse educators, nurse administrators, clinical nurse specialists or community health primary care nurse practitioners.


Adult-Gerontological Nursing

The population focus of adult-gerontology encompasses the young adult through the older adult, including the frail elderly. Thus nurses educated and certified in the adult-gerontology population are educated and certified across both areas of practice, adult and gerontology. Graduates of this program are prepared to provide advanced nursing care to persons in primary, secondary, and tertiary care settings. The program in adult-gerontological nursing provides students with an in-depth understanding of health and illness in the adult and older adult populations. They are prepared to provide advanced nursing care to well adults/elders, acutely and chronically ill adults/elders, and frail older persons in community or institutional settings. Students choose functional preparation in one of four functional roles:  Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Educator, and Nurse Administrator. Research skills are used to analyze and evaluate nursing practice. All graduates complete core courses as well as elective and support courses. Graduates of the Adult-Gerontological NP program will be eligible to apply for New York State Certification as a Nurse Practitioner in Adult/Gerontology. They will also be eligible for national certification as a Nurse Practitioner in Adult/Gerontology through the American Nurses Credentialing Association (ANCC). Graduates who complete with the clinical nurse specialist role will be eligible for national certification as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Adult/Gerontology through the American Nurses Credentialing Association (ANCC).


Post Master's Nurse Practitioner Certificate Programs

Post master's Nurse Practitioner certificate programs exist in all Decker School of Nursing clinical areas. These programs are available to students already holding a master's degree in nursing who desire preparation as a Nurse Practitioner. Students are expected to be competent in research and knowledgeable about nursing theory and professional issues.


Advanced Certificates

Advanced Certificate in Nursing Education

An online application must be completed and fee paid for enrollment to earn the certificate. This program encompasses current technological trends while preparing students for the role of nurse educator to teach at both the undergraduate and graduate nursing degree levels.  Nurse Educator role courses must be taken in sequence with the exception of N.558.

Currently enrolled master's in nursing students completing the nurse educator functional role may choose to complete the Advanced Certificate in Nursing Education by completing one additional four-credit course (N.558) in addition to the three required role courses (N.556, N.557, and N.590). Otherwise--applications for enrollment may be submitted only if applying as a post MS student. 

The Advanced Certificate notation will appear on the official transcript upon successful completion of the advanced certificate program.

Advanced Certificate in Disaster Management

An online application must be completed and fee paid for enrollment to earn the certificate. This program is open to both matriculated graduate and post master's graduate students in the Decker School of Nursing who are interested in Disaster Management. Graduates of this certificate program are prepared to develop and implement educational programs for first responders, community-based organizations, voluntary organizations and academic institutions. Because the Community Health Nursing masters' program grant serves public health agencies in rural areas, and many of the employees of these agencies are unable to attend a three-hour class on a weekly basis, the Certificate is offered in an online format. However, each course meets three times per semester on campus. These classes allow the students and faculty to meet each other, offer instruction on Blackboard, allow for Hazmat demonstrations, drills and tabletops, and allow students to present their projects. The Certificate in Disaster Management requires the successful completion of four (3 credit) graduate courses in Disaster Management for a total of 12 credits to include:  

  • NURS 540, Essentials of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • NURS 546, Community Health's Response to Emerging Health Threats
  • NURS 547, Community Health's Response to Disaster Preparedness
  • NURS 549 Community Health's Response to Chemical and Radiological Incidents

The Advanced Certificate notation will appear on the official transcript upon successful completion of the advanced certificate program.

Advanced Certificate in Forensics

An online application must be completed and fee paid for enrollment to earn the certificate. The Forensics certificate program is open to all individuals who have a baccalaureate degree and who are interested in forensics. The Graduate Certificate in Forensic Health requires the successful completion of three (3 credit) graduate courses in forensic health for a total of 9 credits. Potential applicants need not be students at Binghamton University; however they do need to matriculate by applying for the certificate. Courses can be completed in any order. All students are required to successfully complete N.581G, Forensic Health of Victims, plus two additional graduate level forensics courses in order to earn the certificate. Students will be expected to choose their other two courses with the advisement of the program coordinator, Dr. Mary Muscari. Students are also invited to take individual courses, if they do not wish to complete the certificate. This does not require matriculation. Please note:  If a student completed an undergraduate forensics course or courses through the Decker School at Binghamton University, they cannot repeat coursework of the same title at the graduate level.

The Advanced Certificate notation will appear on the official transcript upon successful completion of the advanced certificate program.


Organization of the Curriculum

Course specific program plans vary depending upon the student's choice of clinical and role preparation. To assure that students are on track for completing all program requirements, it is essential that students meet with their assigned faculty adviser at least once per semester.

Curriculum Plans are available by clicking here.



Students should check the current course schedule or check with their faculty adviser each semester to determine what elective offerings will be available. Additional graduate elective courses in related fields are available throughout the University.


Prerequisites or Corequisites

Many courses in the program have prerequisite or corequisite requirements. For that reason it is important that you meet with an academic adviser every semester to ensure that your program plan is appropriate. Course descriptions found in the Bulletin will assist you in planning as they list the particular co-and/or prerequisites for each course offered in the DSON.


Clinical and role courses are required to be taken sequentially (I.e., Clinical and Role I, Clinical and Role II, and Clinical and Role III)--and optimally--clinical and role courses are taken not only sequentially but also paired together. When clinical and role courses cannot be taken together in the same semester (I.e., Nursing 521, Family Practice I, and Nursing 553, Nurse Practitioner Role I, etc.), the clinical courses must be taken before the role courses (I.e., Nursing 521 must be completed before Nursing 553).

Please See an Academic Adviser Each Semester to Avoid Delay in Your Educational Program.



Students have the option of writing a thesis as an elective. When the thesis option is chosen, the specific procedure outlined below should be followed.

  1. The process of thesis begins when the student makes an appointment with the Graduate Program Director to discuss the topic and feasibility of doing a thesis. Since the thesis becomes a part of the student's graduate program, thesis planning needs to begin as the student gathers interest in the activity.Students selecting the thesis option must seek advisement from their faculty adviser one year prior to graduation.
  2. The Graduate Program Director will suggest faculty members who might constitute the committee.
  3. The Director of the Graduate Program appoints the committee after meeting with the student and appropriate faculty.
  4. Faculty sign a thesis committee agreement constituting commitment to serve.
  5. Students can the Graduate School Thesis guidelines online.


Capstone Project (Master's)

See DSON web site for full details.


Doctoral Programs

The PhD Program

The Ph.D. program in nursing is designed to prepare nurse scholars with skills and knowledge necessary to conduct research on rural health and vulnerable populations. Graduates of the program are expected to assume leadership roles in nursing related to rural health and vulnerable populations in academic and practice settings.

To view the Curriculum guide, click here.

The DNP Program

This program is designed to prepare Nurse Practitioners and Clinical Nurse Specialists to respond more efficiently to challenges in health care delivery and emerging health care needs for the future—-tomorrow's practice. The DNP program will incorporate the advanced practice content and competencies currently taught in the master's program. The DNP focuses on providing graduates with knowledge and competence in health systems leadership, policy development, and interdisciplinary collaboration to improve health care quality and increase health care access for all populations. Transforming health care delivery recognizes the critical need for clinicians to design, evaluate, and continuously improve the context within which care is delivered.

To view the Curriculum guide, click here.

Decker School of Nursing DNP Program Outcomes

Click here to see Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) Program Outcomes.

Faculty Advisers

Doctoral students will be assigned a faculty adviser to assist in program planning. As the students' research or capstone project interests become more fully defined it is likely that the faculty member who is or is likely to become dissertation chair will assume primary advising activity.

Teaching Requirement

Since it is likely that the majority of PhD in Nursing students graduating from the program will be employed in academic settings, students must demonstrate expertise in teaching before graduation. Specific guidelines for meeting this requirement will be individually determined, and a Teaching Practicum course will be required if a student has no prior teaching experience.

Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive examination for PhD students is planned for the third year of the program (post-master's entry level full-time students.) The comprehensive examination for part-time students is planned for the summer before Year 5 of the program. Each student's chair and committee develop questions based on the student's research area of interest.


Final Doctoral Projects

Capstone Project (DNP)

Under the guidance of a committee, students will complete a Capstone Project which will result in the implementation of a plan for improvement for one of the following: health care delivery system; program development and evaluation; development of a patient-focused intervention; or organizational changes that influence health care policies to reduce health care disparities.

The Capstone Project Committee will consist of three members, two faculty members from DSON and the other member a clinical mentor that should be considered a content expert of the topic being studied.

Dissertation (PhD)

Students will complete a dissertation before graduation. Nursing 607 Advanced Research Practicum is designated as the course in which the dissertation proposal is prepared. Students will be working with their committee members and course faculty. When the committee agrees that the proposal is complete, an oral defense will be scheduled. The format for submitting a dissertation can be found here. Data cannot be collected without approval from the student's committee and Binghamton University Institutional Review Board.

Dissertation committees are formed using the guidelines of the Graduate School. The committee is comprised of a minimum of three members. The chair must be a faculty member in The Decker School of Nursing. Final decision regarding the membership of committees rests with The Doctoral Program Coordinator.


Last Updated: 11/11/14