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School of Nursing’s Plans for the Fall Semester

Dear Penn Nursing Students:

By now, you have likely seen the University’s plan for the Fall semester. We’re writing today to provide you with additional information from Penn Nursing.

Penn Nursing’s enduring values—social justice, innovation, inclusion, impact, and integrity—will guide us more than ever as we navigate these uncharted waters together. We’re committed to delivering excellence in education, whether learning is conducted in person or virtually. Our plan reflects our responsibilities as a community that interacts with patients, focusing on preserving health and safety, while sustaining our commitments to teaching, learning, research and service.

Since mid-March, we have adopted new ways of learning and working. Research has been paused; clinical rotations and projects have been put on hold.

While our goals as a school remain constant, we must also be mindful of new building-occupancy constraints as we confront the need for continued social distancing and other safety measures. The use of Fagin Hall will prioritize skills-lab/simulation, clinical education, and research, which is explained in detail below.

The global pandemic has presented many challenges, and Penn Nursing has worked ceaselessly to meet them, responding in ways that have been humbling at times, but also inspiring. There have been occasions for sorrow as well, both in our personal and professional lives, and we have come together in different ways to respond. We have seen the intersection of public health, public policy, and social justice like never before—and discovered unique opportunities to be part of the solution. 

Our community is truly extraordinary, and we are confident that as Penn Nursing and the wider University move ahead with plans for the Fall 2020 semester, our resiliency and innovation will be the foundation for our success. We want to thank you for your dedication, hard work, good humor and flexibility over the past several months, as we ask the same from you in the months ahead.

Academics and Instruction (Fall 2020 Term)

BSN/ABSN

  • All didactic content for all Nursing courses (NURS XXX)—lectures, seminars, discussion groups—regardless of class size will be conducted virtually using Canvas, BlueJeans, or other platforms as needed. 
  • Only Nursing simulation/skills labs and clinicals will be held in-person (See Simulation and Clinicals).
  • The format of  courses offered in other Schools at the University will be determined by their respective departments.
  • The School of Nursing Orientation for new BSN students (Fall 2020) will be delivered in a virtual format using BlueJeans Events. Detailed information will be forthcoming.

 

MSN and DNP (Nurse Anesthesia)

  • All didactic content for all Nursing courses (NURS XXX)—lectures, seminars, discussion groups—regardless of class size will be conducted virtually using Canvas, BlueJeans, or other platforms as needed.
  • Only Nursing simulation/skills labs and clinicals will be held in-person (See Simulation and Clinicals).
  • DNP Anesthesia students will continue/resume their DNP projects which require data collection in conjunction with guidelines set by  healthcare facilities and agencies.
  • The School of Nursing Orientation for new MSN students (Fall 2020) will be delivered in a virtual format using BlueJeans events. Detailed information will be forthcoming.

 

Simulation and Clinicals

  • Only Nursing simulation/skills labs and clinicals will be held in-person.
  • Simulation course instructors will provide guidelines for participating in simulation and skills lab activities that meet COVID-19 precautions, including social distancing, masking, hand-washing and other requirements and as dictated by Fagin Hall occupancy guidelines.
  • Clinical course directors/faculty will provide students with orientation to and guidelines for participating in clinicals in each course.
  • Each clinical agency will determine how student clinicals will be structured (i.e., rotation dates/times). We will all need to be flexible to ensure that each agency can accommodate us given their workloads and our need to fulfill clinical requirements
  • Each clinical agency will also determine safety measures that must be strictly adhered—including the use of PPE, attesting to being asymptomatic for/no exposure to COVID-19—in order to participate in clinicals there. Failure to abide by site guidelines could result in student removal from clinical training from that site, and placement in another site could be delayed.
  • Students will be provided all needed PPE by the clinical site where they have been placed or by the School. PPE requirements are subject to change and may vary among sites.
  • Clinical site placements, and training requirements at individual sites, are subject to change. Clinical training may be discontinued at any site per directives from the site.
  • Students that are exposed to or test positive for COVID-19 will be required to undertake 14-day quarantine before returning to clinical. Guidelines for return to clinical will be provided and will need to be met in order to return to clinical training.
  • Public health guidelines, heightened risks and precautions in healthcare settings, and expectations of patients and patient care require that students strictly adhere to the Student Campus Compact throughout the term to remain in clinicals. Violations could result in missed clinical and delayed graduation.

 

DNP (Post-MSN)

  • Starting with the Fall 2020 incoming cohort, this program will be fully online.
  • All didactic content for all Nursing courses (NURS XXX)—lectures, seminars, discussion groups—regardless of class size will be conducted virtually using Canvas, BlueJeans, or other platforms as needed.
  • The School of Nursing Post-MSN DNP Orientation/intensive on-campus visit for new students has now been converted to virtual delivery for Fall 2020. Detailed information will be forthcoming.
  • DNP (Post-MSN) students will continue/resume their DNP projects which require data collection in conjunction with guidelines set by healthcare facilities and agencies.

 

PhD

  • All didactic content for all Nursing courses (NURS XXX)—lectures, seminars, discussion groups—regardless of class size will be conducted virtually using Canvas, BlueJeans, or other platforms as needed.
  • All Qualifying Exams, Candidacy Exams, and Dissertation Defenses will be delivered via BlueJeans or other platforms as needed.
  • The PhD New Student Bootcamp and orientation will be held virtually for Fall 2020. Detailed information will be forthcoming.
  • PhD student research will be consistent with and directed by the University and School Research Resumption Plans. Please review and follow the SON instructions for opt in to research resumption during Phase 1 and 2.

 

Advising and Student Support

  • Faculty advising and mentoring for all Nursing students will be offered in a virtual format using BlueJeans.
  • The Office of Academic Affairs will continue to offer programming to students in a virtual format throughout the fall semester. We are exploring options for limited in-person programming that can be offered in compliance with COVID-19 precautions and all University safety guidelines.
  • Office of Academic Affairs professional advising staff are available to schedule virtual appointments with students utilizing BlueJeans. Use the following email addresses in place of walk-in advising.

 

More information will be forthcoming over the coming weeks.

 

Julie Sochalski, PhD, RN, FAAN
Associate Dean for Academic Programs

José A. Bauermeister, PhD, MPH
Chair, Department of Family and Community Health

Julie Fairman, RN, PhD, FAAN
Chair, Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences

Christina M. Costanzo, EdD
Assistant Dean for Admissions & Academic Affairs