Policies, Procedures, Requirements & Resources


Nursing students admitted into the upper division nursing major must assume responsibility for any costs incurred while meeting the clinical agency requirements. Nursing students are expected to provide their own transportation to all site-based experiences. Nursing students also must assume responsibility for the costs of their name pins, uniform(s), lab coats and faculty-approved stethoscopes, as well as any costs incurred to maintain their health (throat cultures, doctor visits, etc.) and meeting any clinical agency requirements. Initial costs for book purchases for Term 1 nursing students in the Generic Option can total approximately $1,000. Most textbooks are used throughout the program and include electronic versions downloaded to the student's laptop.

Nursing students need to provide for themselves compatible computer access for electronic communication for coursework and departmental needs.   

Undergraduate students admitted to the nursing major in fall 2012 or later pay supplemental tuition (sometimes called tuition differential) of approximately $35 per credit in fall 2012 (subject to change).  The fee is designated for services that directly impact students.  Student representatives provide annual input to the Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences about the use of differential tuition funds through Student Nursing Advisory Council meetings on the Rochester and Winona campuses.   

Professional-Related Organizations

Minnesota Nursing Students' Association (MNSA): This is a pre-professional organization with membership at the local, state, and national levels. Pre-nursing students are welcome and encouraged to join. The Winona campus MNSA office is located in Stark Hall, Room 314. Names of current officers are posted on Nursing Department bulletin boards in Winona and Rochester.

Undergraduate Nursing Clubs: The Winona State Nursing Club is designed to serve as a social support system for those majoring in nursing and to promote community service activities and fundraising efforts by nursing students.  The Nursing Club has class officers and a nursing faculty advisory.  Membership includes any pre-nursing students and junior and senior nursing students in the Generic Option. There are separate clubs on the Winona and Rochester campuses.

Kappa Mu Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau: This nursing honor society recognizes superior achievement and development of leadership qualities, fosters high professional standards, and encourages creative work. Membership is by invitation and includes nurses in the southeast Minnesota area as well as students.

Program Assessment

The Department of Nursing has a comprehensive assessment plan that provides for systematic evaluation of program and student outcomes. Students may participate in evaluation of program outcomes through completion of surveys and evaluations.  Student outcomes are tracked through  testing, assignments and evaluations in classroom and clinical settings.  Program assessment also includes feedback from alumni and employers.  Assessment is required in order to maintain accreditation.

Honors In Nursing Program

This program gives eligible students an opportunity to participate in scholarly activity above and beyond the normal course of study provided within the Nursing Department. Students in the Honors in Nursing Program have an opportunity to work closely with faculty advisors to pursue research or clinical projects and receive recognition for their achievements.   To be eligible to apply, a student must have a minimum of Term 2 status in the nursing major, have completed or enrolled in a Nursing Research course, and have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.6 GPA at the time of application (GPA is not rounded up). The student must form an Honors Committee of WSU faculty members, one of whom is willing to serve as honors advisor. The student must complete a scholarly project that involves research or clinical focus approved by the Honors Committee. In the semester preceding graduation, the student must complete a written report and present the completed honors project.  

Students are encouraged to register for NURS 490 Independent Study in Nursing to earn credit for working on the honors project. Students who successfully complete the Honors Program will, upon graduation, have their official transcripts stamped with the words, "Graduated With Honors In Nursing"; their graduation status (Honors in Nursing) will be indicated on the graduation program and noted during graduation ceremonies. The specific details and steps in this process are available from the Department of Nursing.

Minimal Standards within the Nursing Major

To satisfy the academic standards of the nursing major, students must:

  1. Achieve a grade of "C" or above in each required nursing course. Grades less than "C" constitute a failure in the nursing major. Students must adhere to the University standards for retention and scholarship.
  2. Maintain a level of health that does not interfere with the student's ability to function adequately and safely in the nursing major. The student is expected to seek appropriate professional assistance as needed. The faculty may recommend the need for assistance, a leave of absence and/or withdrawal from the program.  Verification from an appropriate health care provider of adequate health to function adequately and safely may be required.
  3. Follow the guidelines for appropriate behavior on and off campus specified by university policies.
  4. Follow the ethical responsibilities outlined in the Undergraduate Nursing Student Handbook.
  5. Complete the forms for the background studies conducted by the licensing division of the Department of Human Services on behalf of the Department of Health. Under the 1995 amendments to the Vulnerable Adults Act, individuals who provide direct contact service to patients or residents in select health facilities must undergo a background check.  Students are responsible for payment of fees associated with required background studies.

    "Minnesota law requires that any person who provides services that involve direct contact with patients and residents at a health care facility licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health have a background study conducted by the state. An individual who is disqualified from having direct patient contact as a result of the background study, and whose disqualification is not set aside by the Commissioner of Health, will not be permitted to participate in a clinical placement in a Minnesota licensed health care facility. Failure to participate in a clinical placement required by the academic program could result in ineligibility to qualify for a degree in this program."
  6. Meet clinical agency requirements when enrolled in courses with site-based experiences: yearly Mantoux skin tests; diphtheria-tetanus immunity; flu shot; measles, mumps and rubella immunity; polio immunity; Hepatitis B vaccination; chicken pox immunity/titer; medical/hospital insurance coverage; a physical examination (within the past 10 years); health care provider CPR certification; and professional liability insurance. 

Professional Retention and Progression Policies

  1. No nursing course may be repeated more than once due to withdrawal or grade less than "C." (A grade of "D" or less is considered to be a failing grade.) No theory exams can be retaken. Students who fail or withdraw from a course (theory and/or clinical) will be able to continue part-time in the nursing major if they have satisfied progression policies and as space allows.
  2. Students will not be allowed to continue in the nursing major if they have failed or withdrawn for academic reasons from the same nursing course more than once or from two different nursing courses over more than one semester.
  3. A student may be dismissed from a course for breach of ethical responsibilities. See the Undergraduate Nursing Student Handbook or contact the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for information regarding University expectations and policies. A student dismissed for such a violation will not be allowed to continue in any clinical nursing course that semester, will be dropped from the nursing major at the end of the semester, and will be not readmitted to the major.
  4. A student may be dismissed from a nursing course for breach of clinical safe practice guidelines as described in the course syllabus.
  5. Students who once were admitted to the nursing major, completed at least one nursing course, but currently are not enrolled in the nursing major have one year from the date of withdrawal/failure to file a progression plan approved by the nursing advisor (for Generic Option students) or the RN to BS Completion Coordinator (for RN to BSN Completion students). After one year, the student must reapply for admission to the nursing major.
  6. All students are assigned to a clinical site-based experience sequence. If a student varies from the assigned plan, space in clinical courses cannot be assured.
  7. All part-time students must file a written progression plan that has been approved by the nursing advisor or the RN to BS Completion Coordinator (for RN to BS Completion students).
  8. Students who change from full-time to part-time status in the nursing major for academic or personal reasons must file a progression plan developed with the assistance of their academic advisor and must obtain plan approval from the department chairperson or designated faculty member (for Generic Option students) or the RN to BS Completion Coordinator (for RN to BS Completion students). This plan is based on space availability in clinical courses and completion of prerequisites for courses.
  9. The grade of "Incomplete" (I) may be granted at the discretion of the course instructor in special cases where, for reasons beyond the student's control, some course assignments were not finished but the student was passing all other aspects.  For courses that are prerequisite to subsequent nursing courses, the "Incomplete" must be resolved by the second week of the new semester.

Credit by Examination

A student may receive credit by examination and/or demonstration of competence for courses or parts of courses in the Generic and RN to BS Completion programs. Faculty permission is needed for some course challenges. 

Graduation Requirements

Graduation requirements include completion of WSU University Studies Program or General Education requirements or their equivalent for transfer students as well as all nursing major course requirements. A total of 120 semester credits is needed to graduate with a baccalaureate degree from WSU and at least 30 of the 120 credit hours must be completed in residence during the junior and senior years combined.  A complete list of graduation requirements may be found at http://www.winona.edu/registrar/323.asp

A formal application for graduation must be submitted after registering for the final term of classes, and no later than the mid-term date of the graduating term.   


Withdrawal from a nursing course and/or the University must be completed according to WSU guidelines. 

Obtaining Licensure As A Registered Nurse

After graduation, Generic Option nursing graduates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in order to obtain a Registered Nurse (RN) license. Students may apply for licensure in the state of their choice. Contact information for all state boards of nursing and information about the NCLEX-RN can be obtained from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing at http://www.ncsbn.org/.

Complaint Policy of the Department of Nursing

The Department of Nursing Strives to provide an environment of mutual respect, cooperation, fair treatment, stewardship of resources, integrity, and quality education and services.  Even with this commitment, problems and concerns sometimes occur.  Resources and procedures are available to students and other parties for appealing decisions or policies, addressing concerns, resolving grievances and complaints, and dealing with retaliation.

Students, faculty, staff or other constituents who have a concern are expected to follow established policies and procedures for a concern or complaint found in the Complaint Policy for the Department of Nursing.  Download the complete policy.