Graduate – Advanced Nursing Practice and Education (ANPE) (MSN, Post Master’s, DNP) Student Handbook

It is your responsibility to become acquainted with University and College of Nursing policies, Regulation, rules, and procedures and abide by them. This handbook is maintained on the College of Nursing web site; change in guidelines or procedure will be updated electronically.

The College of Nursing and its students follow the policies of East Carolina University as set forth in the 2022-2023 Graduate Catalog and East Carolina University Policy Manual, Policies, Regulations and Rule Guidelines. Academic Regulations are also located in the 2022-2023 Graduate Catalog Procedures unique to the College of Nursing Department of Advanced Nursing Practice and Education are described in this handbook.

ECU cannot confirm whether any of its courses or programs meets requirements for professional licensure outside of the State of North Carolina. ECU strongly encourages students to contact applicable licensing boards in states they wish to pursue licensure prior to seeking admission or beginning study in an academic program.

Students should refer to the ECU homepage Quick links to access E-mail, Canvas, Academic Calendars, Pirate Port and other ECU resources.

Change of Name and Address

It is the obligation of each student to notify the Office of the Registrar of any change in name address. A student may also change their address via Pirate Port. Failure to do so can cause significant delay in communication with the students.

Students Serving as Witnesses to Legal Documents

It is Illegal in the state of North Carolina for nursing students to witness living wills (NCGS 90-320-322). It is the procedure of ECU College of Nursing that graduate and undergraduate students are no to serve as witnesses to legal documents of any kind (will, informed consent, living wills, etc.) while in the role of the nursing student in a clinical practicum.

Resolution of Incompletes

Graduate students must resolve incompletes within one academic year. However, in order to ensure timely progression through plan of study, students are encouraged to resolve the incomplete within one semester after receiving the incomplete. If a student needs to receive an incomplete, they should promptly meet with the instructor and the student’s advisor to arrange an appropriate timeline for completion of the telework and discuss progression.

Admission and Compliance Requirements

All College of Nursing requirements may be found in the CON Student Handbook in the section labeled “Compliance Policies and Clinical Requirements”.

Dress Code

The uniform identifies the East Carolina University College of Nursing students and indicated to others their individual and professional standards. The following guidelines are adapted from the requirements 4prevention. If a student is unable to comply with the professional dress code/uniform as specified, they should submit their concern in writing to the Department Chair.

Professional dress is required when in clinical or a community agency and while on campus and will reflect nursing professionalism.

  • When students are wearing a lab coat, it should be clean and pressed with the ECU CON student identification visible and no other agency/employment logo or writing.
  • Clinical attire – when attending clinical practicum experiences, the student is representing the ECU College of Nursing and their professional program, concentration, or specialty.
    • Clothing – Students should dress in neat, clean, wrinkle-free business dresses must be scrub set (if permitted by practice or agency). Skirts or dresses must be appropriate length and cut for stooping and bending, as may be required during some patient care. If when seated, the hem comes to 3 inches above the knee, opaque tights or leggings should be worn. Business casual does not include revealing clothing (bareback, open shoulders, crop tops, cleavage showing with changes in position, legging, yoga pants or tight-fitting pants without long tunic/sweater covering or denim). Hats ae not allowed.
    • Shoes – Must be non-permeable (for ready cleaning) and closed-toe and heels. Shoes should be professional in appearance, safe for the clinical setting (such as less than 1-inch heels) and must be neat and clean.
    • ECU CON Identification – the ONE Card or student picture ID is used as an ID and should always be visible. For compliance with NCBON, include RN and Role, i.e., nursing or NP student. Some clinical or community agencies may require agency specified student badges o be worn.
    • Student should never wear their employment ID badge when in activities related to their student role.
      • Professional badge holders are acceptable.
  • It is expected that appearances should not hinder the formation of a therapeutic relationship with patients/clients. Therefore,
    • Cosmetics should be minimal and subtle with no fragrances.
    • No artificial nails, including gel or acrylic overlays, extensions, or colored nail polish. Short, clean nails only per OSHA and CDC standards.
    • Potentially offensive tattoos must be covered.
    • Minimal jewelry that does not interfere with infection control and safety guidelines, clinical examination, or treatment skills.
      • Rings on fingers limited to 2 per hand (excluding wedding bands).
      • Pierced jewelry limited to ears (tongue, nose, eyebrow piercings, etc. must be removed while in the clinical). Ear piercing should be studs only.
      • Other piercings (gauges) should be plugged closed with plug matching skin tone or clear inserts.
    • Hair must be professional and in natural shades. Hairstyle and beards should be simple, neat and trim, clean, secured to prevent hair from hanging over patients, and away from the face allowing proper use of equipment and PPE. No head coverings except for religious purposes may be worn but must allow for the use of stethoscopes, PPE, and other medical instruments.
  • There may be additional considerations based upon concentration, specialty, or agency requirements.

Children in the Classroom

Children in the classroom can be disruptive to other students, therefore students are expected to secure childcare prior to attending on-campus or synchronous online classes.

Lactation Room

Lactation Room is in room 2546 in Laupus Library. The main desk can help students access the room. This room is designed to provide a private space for students and faculty.

CON Technology Team

The College of Nursing at East Carolina University has a technology team that provides a wide variety of services to faculty, staff, and students. These services include hardware and software support for faculty and staff computers, learning management system support for instructors and students. Web site services, multimedia support, special projects/special needs, and much more. The college of Nursing has a strong Distance Education support team for instructors and for its online graduate students.

Student Representation on College of Nursing Standing Committees

College of Nursing Standing Committees call for graduate student representation. If you are interested in serving, contact your program director for further instructions. The committee function is described in the College of Nursing Unit Code of Operations. Students are invited to participate on the Research and Scholarship Committee, Global Health Committee, Graduate Curriculum Committee and the Graduate Student Affairs Committee.

College of Nursing Recognition Ceremony

At the end of each fall and spring semester, the College of Nursing schedules a ceremony to recognize students who have completed their programs of study. Summer graduates may participate in the fall ceremony. Each MSN and DNP student is recognized and hooded during the College of Nursing ceremony. This occasion is significant for graduates and their families/friends. Participation is encouraged.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships may be available. Information on graduate assistantships may be found at Graduate School-Assistantships. If you are interested in additional information, please contact the ANPE Department Chair.

Student Travel Assistance

The College of Nursing, with the assistance of the ECU Graduate School, attempts to provide travel assistance to graduate or doctoral students who are delivering poster or podium presentations at scholarly conferences. When budget allows, students may receive support on time during each academic year. Students must request funding from the Department Chair of the student’s program. If approved, after attending the conference, students submit travel document’s program. If approved after attending the conference, students submit travel forms and reimbursement. Student may be asked to prepare a brief presentation to share information they learned at the conference.

Sigma International Honor Society-Beta Nu Chapter

The purpose of Sigma International Honor Society of Nursing is to:

  • Recognize superior achievement.
  • Recognize the development of leadership qualities.
  • Forster high professional standards.
  • Encourage creative work.
  • Strengthen commitment to the ideals and purpose of the profession.

Beta Nu Chapter of was established on East Carolina University’s campus in 1974. For nurse leaders, in addition to what is listed, they must be legally recognized to practice nursing in their country and have a minimum of a baccalaureate degree or equivalent in any field.

A member of Sigma may transfer their membership or have dual membership. For additional information, contact the ANPE Department Chair.

Other Nursing Organizations

Other nursing organizations active in the ECU College of Nursing include those listed at College of Nursing – Student Organizations

The Master of Science in Nursing Program prepares graduates for advanced practice nursing and for leadership roles in a variety of community based or acute care provider agencies. The MSN program offers concentrations in: Health Systems Leadership, Adult-Gerontology or Neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialist, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Nurse-Midwifery, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Nursing Education. Certificate programs are available for post-master’s study in all concentrations.

Graduates of this program are prepared to do the following:

  1. Integrate theories and research from nursing and relates disciplines to guide advanced clinical practice; to administer nursing system; and to influence health policy decision.
  2. Demonstrate proficiency in the ability to critically test theory-based interventions in practice and to participate in studies, which advance professional practice and expand knowledge.
  3. Function independently within an interprofessional framework to provide or direct expert care that is ethical and sensitive to the needs of a culturally diverse population.
  4. Exercise nursing leadership in collaboration with professional colleagues to maintain, reformulate or refine systems of health care that are effective, efficient, and responsive to the needs of all people.
  5. Demonstrate a strong professional identity characterized by a commitment to continues leaning, ethical decision making, scholarly work, and the capacity to effect desirable changes.
  6. Acquire a sufficient knowledge of nursing theory and research on which to base doctoral study in the discipline.
  7. Integrate a global health perspective in the development of visionary solutions to health care problems for all citizens but particularly for those in rural underserved areas.
    (GFO approved 12/12/13)

The graduate program in nursing offers a Master Science Degree in Nursing with various concentrations. All concentrations are described in the Graduate Catalog.

The current curriculum is based on the AACN The Essential of Master’s Education in Nursing (2011).

A course in statistics with a grade “C” or higher and basic computer skills with both applications software and the internet are prerequisites for all concentrations.

Degree Requirements are located in the ECU Graduate Catalog. Depending upon the concentration area chosen within the degree program, the Master of Science in Nursing requires 38-53 s.h. credit. Concentrations are listed below.

  • Health System Leadership, 38 s.h.
  • Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist in Adult Health, 43 s.h.
  • Neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialist, 43 s.h.
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, 42 s.h.
  • Nurse-Midwifery, 53 s.h.
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, 43 s.h.
  • Nursing Education, 37-40 s.h.Rev. 7-27-11/cwm Approved
    9/22/2011 by GFO
    Edited and Under Review 07/21/2022

Students are required to earn a grade of “B” or above in all courses. Students earning below a “B” in any course will meet with their faculty, advisor, and specialty director to develop an intensive remediation plan and/or determine if the student may progress in the program of study. Students must adhere to Graduate School Academic Eligibility Standards and Probation and Termination Policies, found in the current ECU Graduate Catalog.

Clinical placements for MSN students are negotiated with the directors of the concentration, the clinical preceptor and the student. Each concentration has requirement for education and practice that the preceptor must meet as well as required practicum hours and activities. The concentration directors are responsible for verifying that an ECU Con contract exists with each clinical agency. Students are responsible for their own transportation to clinical sites.

All MSN graduate programs require student to successfully complete a comprehensive assessment. The assessment is a portfolio in NUR 6993 Advanced Nursing Synthesis in the MSN program. The purposes of the comprehensive assessment are to assess the student’s ability to:

  • Synthesize advanced knowledge from using and related sciences for specialized practice;
  • Integrate research and theory in advanced professional practice;
  • Evaluate issues that impact advanced nursing practice; and
  • Communicate ideas effectively.

Each concentration will provide specific guidelines for completion of the comprehensive assessment portfolio to be completed in NUR 6993 prior to graduation.

Upon admission to the program, each MSN students is assigned to a Concentration Director (CD) who serves as the student’s academic advisor or other faculty member assigned within the student’s declared concentration. This advisor, a member of the East Carolina University Graduate Faculty, will be responsible for assisting the student in meeting the requirements of the program. Generally, the advisory process includes:

  • An initial online or face-to-face conference with the advisor to plan the overall program of study.
  • Contact with the advisor at least once per semester; per semester; preferably prior to the online registration period.
  • Continued regular contact with the advisor, even if the student is not taking coursework during a particular semester.

Advisors are available to help students select cognate options, schedule and sequence courses, assist with concerns, and for referral to other university resources.

Specifically, the responsibilities of CDs and/or advisors and students are as follows:

Concentration Director / Advisor Responsibilities
  1. CD is responsible for checking:
    1. Transfer credits
    2. Credits taken outside a program in which student have been formally admitted.
    3. Credits from another degree.
    4. Credits that might be used for transfer if within the six-year period in which program must be completed. (This means transfer credit cannot be more than six – yeas old at time of graduation)
    5. Evaluation of credit from a second degree or other work that may have application for meeting program requirement.
  2. CD/advisor is responsible for preparing a petition addressed to the Administrative Board, Graduate School, for consideration of credits for transfer. This action should be initiated by the CD/advisor as soon as possible after the first advisement session. Petition is signed by CD/advisor and the petition is sent to the Graduate School for action.
  3. CD/advisor is responsible for program planning for the entire program at the time of initial advisement. A plan of Study for each student is in DegreeWorks.
  4. CD/advisor is responsible for checking the Plan of Study when their advisee is within twelve hours of graduation. The CD/advisor and student approve the Plan of Study in DegreeWorks. Care should be taken to make sure that coursed listed on the Plan of study are congruent with coursed taken to fulfill program requirements. CD/advisor are responsible for advising and receiving schedules for advisees prior to registration each semester.
Student Responsibilities
  1. Each student, new or continuing, has primary responsibility for assuring that they are completing degree requirements.
  2. Keeping informed about dates and processes for on-line registration.
  3. Student contract established with instructor on removing Incompletes.
  4. Making applications for graduation and for a placement in clinical practicum.
  5. Monitoring Degree Works Plan of Study to ensure accuracy and making sure that program requirements are met.
  6. Checking with advisor to determine needed courses.
  7. Meeting with advisor during the semester prior to graduation; if any problems are found the CD/advisor and/or department chair should be notified immediately.
  8. Submitting clinical compliance documentation by specified deadlines is imperative. Failure to meet these deadlines may result in inability to enroll in courses for the semester.
  9. Students are responsible for notifying their CD and/or advisor of failing course grades.

Please Note:

  • Official communication is conducted via student ECU e-mail accounts.
  • Student should check their e-mail daily for announcements and information.
  • All MSN students are required to save their work (syllabi, papers, projects, returned, exams, etc.) throughout their program. Faculty may periodically review the portfolio purpose of outcome evaluation.
Electives are selected by the student according to the curriculum plan of each concentration in the MSN program. The student’s CD and/or advisor will recommend suitable courses from which to choose.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is a practice-focused terminal degree earned by specialists in advanced nursing practice. The DNP focuses on developing nursing expects in translating and applying research findings in clinical practice. Graduates of the DNP program are prepared as nurse leaders in interprofessional health care teams and work to improve systems of care, patient outcomes, quality and safety. The DNP Nurse Anesthesia program is offered face-to-face, while the other specialty areas (AGPCNP, FNP, Post-Master’s APRN and Leadership) are offered in a hybrid model with limited campus requirements. All clinical placement rotations are completed in North Carolina. Three pathways exist to enter the DNP program at the ECU College of Nursing: the post-master’s DNP, the BSN to DNP and the post-doctoral certificate.

The purpose of the DNP is to prepare nurses for advanced nursing practice roles and as clinical scholars skilled in the translation of research and other evidence into clinical practice, measurement of patient outcomes, and transformation of health care systems to ensure quality and safety. Graduated will be leaders in policy advocacy and setting national agendas.

The emphasis of the DNP is to prepare advanced practice nurse leaders in interprofessional health care teams and work to improve systems of care, patient outcomes, quality and safety. The location and mission of the College as well as the expertise of the faculty provide a unique opportunity for the discovery of knowledge related to nursing and health issues in rural underserved areas. The faculty is committed to individualized, intra-professional and interprofessional education based on the student’s interests and career goals.

The curriculum is based on the AACN The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (2006) found at AACN Essentials the Essentials” Core Competencies for Professional Nursing Education please note only 2021 are now posted.

The DNP program objectives reflect integration and application of the knowledge and skills obtained in the program. At the completion of the program, the DNP graduate will be able to:

  1. Integrate nursing science with knowledge from ethics, the biophysical, psychosocial, analytical, and organizational sciences as the basis for the highest level of nursing practice.
  2. Demonstrate organizational and systems leadership for quality improvement in health care systems.
  3. Apply clinical scholarship and analytical methods to evidence-based practice.
  4. Use information systems technology and patient care technology to improve and transform health care.
  5. Demonstrate leadership in health care policy for advocacy in health care.
  6. Collaborate with inter-professional and intra-professional teams to improve patient and population health outcomes through the application of evidence-based health resources.

Post-Master’s DNP NP Students

Post-Master’s DNP students can expect on-campus sessions per specific courses as noted below. Specific dates/times are posted prior to each semester on the College of Nursing DNP website.

BSN to DNP and Post-Doctoral Certificate Students

Additional face-to-face time (on campus or via synchronous online opportunities) is required for DNP students to provide skill building and evaluation processes to ensure assimilation and application clinical knowledge for entry level into advanced practice nursing in a safe and appropriate manner. BSN to DNP NP students can expect a minimum of 12 required campus visits over the full BSN to DNP program of study. Students will be notified with ample time to arrange obligations to meet these campus requirements. Campus visits are required for the following courses in the prescribed program of study:

All DNP Students excluding DNP Health Systems Leadership:

  • NURS 6610
    • Three – Four one-day visits for standardized evaluation.

DNP-NP Students:

  • NURS 8118
    • Two Campus visits, ranging from 1-3 days each
  • NURS 8119
    • One campus visit, ranging from 1-3 days
  • NURS 8120
    • One campus visit, ranging from 1-3 days
  • NURS 8122
    • One campus visit, ranging from 1-3 days
  • NURS 8123
    • One campus visit, ranging from 1-3 days
  • NURS 8124
    • One campus visit, ranging from 1-3 days
  • NURS 8269
    • One campus visit, typically one day
  • NURS 8272
    • One campus visit, typically one day
  • NURS 8274
    • One campus visit, typically one day
  • NURS 8277
    • Two campus visits, typically one day each

A great deal of behind-the-scenes work occurs to support your clinical experiences. The Director of Community Partnerships and Practice, has administrative oversight of all clinical partnerships and agency contracts. The Clinical Placement Coordinator for each specialty will facilitate clinical placement of students.

While we make every effort to negotiate clinical rotations in students’ preferred site, clinical placement decisions ultimately rest with the faculty. Due to competition for clinical sites, students maybe placed within a four-hour commute (one0way). Once clinical placement are confirmed, any change will be facilitated by the faculty. We are committed to ensuring an appropriate clinical experience that will meet program objectives and ensure the clinical requirements for the certifying examination.

Elective (6000 level or above) may be required beyond the basic DNP core curriculum that support the area of interest, project focus or role development. Students considering a career in academia/nursing education will need to take an additional 12 credits hours in curriculum development and pedagogy. Students completing the 12 credit hours will earn a post-masters certificate.

  1. 6903 Curriculum Development in Nursing (3)
  2. 6904 Educational Concepts, Theories, and Strategies in Nursing 6905(3)
  3. 6905 Nursing Education Role Practicum I (3)
  4. 6909 Evaluation in Nursing Education (3)

Elective hours five the student more flexibility in selecting course work to support the scholarly project. Discuss possible disciplines for elective courses with your academic advisor. Disciplines to consider for electives include Gerontology (GERO), Public Health (MPH), Public Administration (PADM), Psychology (PSYC), Sociology (SOCI), Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences (CSDI), Community Health (COHE), Health and Human Performance (EXSS and HLTH), Management (MGMT), Adult Education (ADED), Education leadership (LEED), Child Development and Family Relations (CDFR), Social Work (SOCW), and Microbiology and Immunology (MCBI).

Students are advised by DNP specialty director until an advisor is assigned. Academic advisors work with students as they progress through their program of study, electives, or independent study for their learning.

The DNP program is designed to include for DNP Project courses that guide the project development, implementation, and evaluation. The DNP Project focuses on the application of available evidence in clinical setting and is focused on quality improvement and social determinants of health. These projects may include application and evaluation of clinical practice guideline, system evaluations, and recommendations for improvement.

Students are required to earn a grade of “B” or above in all courses. Students earning below a “B” in any course will meet with their faculty, advisor, and specialty director to develop an intensive remediation plan and/or determine if the student may progress in the program of study. Students must adhere to Graduate School Academic Eligibility Standards and Probation and Termination Policies, found in the current ECU Graduate Catalog.