Fall Semester - Parent FAQ

Dear families of School of Nursing students,

The recent update from University President Fr. Mark Poorman has brought many questions from parents and students regarding School of Nursing plans for fall semester. We have compiled these questions into a FAQ document for your information.

These are uncertain times for all of us, and we face each and every day with many questions and unknowns. What I am certain of is the exceptional caliber of the School of Nursing faculty and staff. I am certain that our team has spent the entire summer preparing for the fall semester and for clinical practice. I am certain that students will continue to experience the unparalleled passion and support of the most dedicated nursing program in the country.
While there are many things we cannot predict, I can assure you that we are taking every precaution to provide students with learning opportunities that follow all state and national guidelines for clinical practice. I can assure you that students will continue to make progress toward graduation. I can assure you that we will continue to provide clear and timely updates with emerging information.
I wish you all a safe, healthy, and restful remainder of summer. We are eager to welcome students back next month and look forward to walking through this journey together.

Casey Shillam, PhD, RN
Dean of School of Nursing


Frequently Asked Questions for Parents - Fall 2020

How will my student know what to expect?

For students who will be in the Simulated Health Center (SHC), the simulation team will be sending the student an email with information and a video to demonstrate the new guidelines and procedures in place when they enter the SHC. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be provided for all students in simulation. The School of Nursing will be using a student newsletter to provide up-to-date information starting the week of August 3. The newsletter will serve as the primary method of communication regarding updates and emerging information for students of the School of Nursing.

Will there be PPE?

Yes. There will be a cloth mask distributed to each student. Face coverings are required in all classrooms, simulation, and clinical. PPE will follow hospital guidelines in each clinical setting. Clinical settings are expected to provide adequate PPE for students. In settings where PPE is not provided, the School of Nursing will provide the student with PPE, or the setting will not be used for clinical placements.

How will my student stay safe in clinical practice and simulation?

Students will be required to use PPE that matches the level required by the Oregon Health Authority guidelines. 

Will there be supervision in clinical?

Yes. Students attending clinical practice are sent in small groups, which are led by a clinical instructor on-site at the clinical agency. 

What happens if students are unable to go to clinical due to emerging circumstances?

If clinical sites are lost during the semester due to emerging circumstances, faculty are prepared to pivot to simulation. Simulation has been approved by the Oregon State Board of Nursing for replacement of clinical hours if circumstances for off-campus clinical placements are no longer available. Simulation includes high fidelity manikins and standardized patients who are actors that portray an array of real ­life scenarios. Currently, all clinical placements are expected to take place as scheduled.

How good is simulation?

The University of Portland School of Nursing simulation program is one of the most robust and well­-developed programs in the nation. Because of this, students are guaranteed to engage in clinical experiences often-times not able to be experienced in direct-patient care clinical rotations. Simulations are based on the most rigorous scientific evidence, and provide students with structured learning and debriefing, ensuring clinical judgement is developed throughout the learning experience.

Will nursing students take care of COVID-19 patients?

The majority of clinical partners have stated that students will not be assigned to care for COVID-19 patients. While students may not be directly assigned to these patients, there are no guarantees that students will not be involved in caring for patients with the novel Coronavirus. As with all health care providers in practice today, students will follow all CDC guidelines for providing direct patient care, including the appropriate levels of PPE and universal precautions.

What is important about the new curriculum? How is it better/different?

With the emerging complexity of the healthcare system, clinical partners and employers shared that new graduate nurses were lacking the ability to build on conceptual foundations and make clinical judgments based on multiple clinical situations. The traditional curriculum was subject-specific, which resulted in information-heavy teaching using lecture-based teaching strategies. The outdated curriculum focused on memorization and lacked support for the development of students' critical thinking skills. The new curriculum is a concept-based curriculum, founded on the best evidence in nursing science and the neurobiology of student learning. Rather than memorizing facts, students now engage in active learning with faculty, using application of concepts to develop critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills. The new curriculum provides exceptional preparation for graduates to practice in any healthcare organization.

Will there be a decrease in tuition?

The curriculum and simulation program provided by the world-class University of Portland School of Nursing faculty offers the highest quality learning experiences for students. Regardless of changes that may take place during the semester, there will be no decrease in tuition. For more information, please refer to Fr. Mark Poorman's email sent on Friday, July 17. The email message reads as follows:

  • UP remains committed to providing a quality education informed by our Holy Cross tradition, whether delivered in-person, via a hybrid format, or on line. Even in ordinary years, tuition does not cover the full cost of education at UP, and the University's costs will not diminish even if instruction is delivered in an alternate format. Thus, UP will continue to charge its published rates for tuition and fees during the Fall Semester. In the event that the University directs students to return to their homes from the residence halls, prorated reimbursements of room and board costs will be provided. The COVID-19 pandemic may be impacting some families in unexpected ways. If your family is experiencing financial hardship, please email the Office of Financial Aid at finaid@up.edu. While we cannot guarantee changes in students' financial aid packages, there may be other ways in which we can assist.

Will online teaching be high quality?

Before the pandemic, the School of Nursing was already utilizing on line technology in teaching through Moodle and other technological innovations. The nursing faculty have been working all summer to prepare to teach in a hybrid environment for the new academic year.

How can I be assured my student will be ready to graduate and pass NCLEX?

Along with the excellent Bachelor of Science (BSN) curriculum, students in the new curriculum will be using a new test preparation product. With the use of Examsoft for classroom on line examinations, which are provided in the same format as NCLEX questions, and the new test preparation product, students have multiple practice opportunities as well as dedicated time and programs to prepare for the NCLEX.

Can my student take all their courses online?

Students are able to take all classroom lecture-based courses on line. Simulation and clinical courses require students to participate in person with proper PPE. If a student wishes to take classroom courses on line, please contact Elisa Majors, Assistant to the Dean for Students (majorse@up.edu) to fill out the proper paperwork.