May 25, 2024  
College Catalog 2018-2019 
College Catalog 2018-2019 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Nursing (A.A.S.)

The Nursing program at Onondaga Community College offers an associate in applied science degree and is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). The program prepares students for entry level into the profession of Nursing. Upon graduation, graduates of this program receive an Associate Degree in Applied Science for Nursing and are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nursing (NCLEX-RN). Graduates of Onondaga’s Nursing program find employment in hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies, community or ambulatory care settings and industrial clinics.

The program welcomes students of all ages and diverse backgrounds, with or without health care experience. Full-time or part-time study is available; however, it is expected that students complete the program within three years.

The nursing program at Onondaga Community College offers several modes of delivery including a hybrid of web-enhanced nursing theory through Blackboard online learning management system, hands on clinical and lab experiences, course overviews and one-on-one remediation. Clinical experiences are offered in a variety of settings including acute care at local hospitals, long-term care at nursing home/rehabilitation facilities, community based clinics and home care. The curriculum offers a flexible pace and is designed to allow students to complete a college education while maintaining part-time employment or full-filling obligations at home. In addition to expertise in professional nursing practice and teaching, nursing faculty offer individualized advisement and academic counseling that promote student success.

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing

Onondaga Community College’s Nursing program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), located at 3343 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, GA 30326. Contact information: 404-975-5000 or visit

Admission Requirements

Before your application to the program can be considered, you must have the following prerequisites:

  1. A high school diploma or its equivalent.
  2. Placement into college-level English and reading at Onondaga.
  3. Placement into credit-bearing college level math within 2 years of the semester you are applying for, as determined by Onondaga mathematics placement test or equivalent coursework.
  4. Successful completion (minimum grade of 77 or C+) of one year of high school chemistry (must be Regents if New York State), or CHE 151 , general chemistry or equivalent. A laboratory is not a required component for these courses.
  5. Successful completion (minimum grade of 77 or C+) of one year of high school biology (must be Regents if New York State), or BIO 151  or BIO 152  or BIO 121  (preferred) at Onondaga. A laboratory is a required component of these courses.
  6. Designated level on standardized nursing preadmission test (TEAS).
  7. All students participating in clinical or laboratory courses must be able to perform all of the essential skills as outlined in this catalog.

A competitive process is used for admission to Nursing with points assigned to specific criteria. Admission will be offered to qualified students in ranked order from highest to lowest, beginning at the review deadlines until all spaces are full.

Ranking points will be awarded for:

  1. Courses taken within the last three years of education that meet the grade requirement (science, mathematics, English), especially for good grades in Anatomy and Physiology I and II.
  2. Previous certification as a health care provider (EMT, CNA, LPN, etc.) with documentation.
  3. New review if student met prerequisites at previous admission cycle but the program was full (student must have reapplied to the program for each new admission cycle).
  4. Completion of the TEAS exam (Test of Essential Academic Skills).

Application deadlines for prerequisites complete with supporting documentation:

  1. Fall admission and readmission is March 1.
  2. Spring admission and readmission is November 1.

Advanced Standing Options

Students seeking advanced standing must start the sequence of nursing courses with an advanced placement course which is offered once a year during the summer. Students are advised to check with the Financial Aid office to determine eligibility for financial aid.

LPN Advanced Standing

Licensed Practical Nurses may receive up to 10 hours of credit based on the equivalent education in their curriculum. Students should have an official copy of their LPN transcript sent to the College prior to acceptance into the program. At least three semesters of nursing courses will be required to complete the nursing component of the degree.

It is highly recommended that BIO 171 Anatomy and Physiology I  and BIO 172 Anatomy and Physiology II  are completed prior to starting the Nursing Program.

Transfer Student Advanced Standing

A favorable letter of recommendation from a Chair of Nursing of a previous nursing program is required to be considered for admission into the program. Without a favorable letter from the previous nursing program, a transfer student will not be admitted.

Students transferring nursing courses from another RN nursing program should send their application and official transcripts to Admissions. The Nursing department will review nursing credits and determine equivalency of coursework for courses with a grade of B or better. Nursing courses over five years old will not be accepted.

It is highly recommended that BIO 171 Anatomy and Physiology I  and BIO 172 Anatomy and Physiology II  are completed prior to starting the Nursing Program.

College-Level Science Courses

Required college-level science courses completed seven years or more before matriculation in the Nursing program, or with a grade less than C+, must be repeated.


See Scholarship section for sources.

The Program

The Nursing program consists of an arts and sciences component and a nursing component. Graduates with an A.A.S. in Nursing will be able to utilize the nursing process to assist clients to maintain or restore an optimum level of independence in meeting fundamental needs or to achieve a peaceful death.

Arts and Sciences Component

The arts and sciences component includes 24 credits.

Nursing Component

The nursing courses are organized around the concepts of nursing process and human need theory.

Students learn and practice through individualized instruction materials (readings, multimedia materials, taped lecture information, etc.). Small group lectures and discussions are held to clarify and reinforce the material. There are rarely any large, lecture-style classes.

Each nursing course has an expected level of achievement stated. The student must satisfactorily demonstrate the required level of performance for each course. This is called competency-based education. The minimum standard of achievement remains constant but the amount of time the student spends to achieve it will vary.

Students determine their own learning needs and goals, and evaluate their own progress. The amount of time students will spend completing the material in each course will depend on their ability, interests, and available study time. In order to promote student success in the program and on the licensing examination, a nationally normed standardized program of comprehensive assessment and review has been incorporated.

Clinical experience begins during the first semester that students are enrolled in nursing courses and continues until graduation. Students spend the first half semester of clinical in the Nursing department learning laboratory. During this time, students get to know each other and faculty, orient to the program and to the profession, and practice nursing skills to prepare for experience with clients in local hospitals. Among the agencies where students gain acute care clinical experience are University Hospital at the Downtown campus and Community General Hospital campus, Crouse Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital, and VA Medical Center.

Additional Costs

In addition to tuition, books, malpractice insurance1 and other fees2, nursing students are required to have the following:

  • Annual physical examination3
  • Current CPR certification4
  • Laboratory equipment kit
  • School uniform, lab coat, name pin, white uniform shoes
  • Stethoscope
  • Watch with number of seconds visible

Each semester, additional variable expenses include lunches and parking fees during clinical experiences.

Initial and follow-up care as a result of injury or exposure to illness in the clinical setting is at the student’s expense. Neither the College nor clinical agencies assume any responsibility for health care costs. Students must be covered by an active health insurance policy.

A complete list of current expenses can be obtained from the Nursing department.

  1. Malpractice insurance is a fee paid to the College to cover students while they function as Onondaga Community College Student Nurses. It is not personal indemnity coverage.
  2. In order to cover the cost of the required Review and Assessment Program, all Nursing students will pay a one-time fee when registering for their first NUR course and another one-time fee in their last semester before graduation.
  3. New York State law requires that students have a completed and current health form on file with the College prior to clinical experience.
  4. CPR: For Professional Rescuer: a current certification valid up to two years from date of issue.
  5. Criminal background checks may be required by the clinical agency at the expense of the student.

Time Commitment

The number of hours per week that a student could expect to spend in class, clinical, study, library, transportation and testing depends on the number of courses for which the student registers and the rate at which the student desires to progress in the Nursing program. It is expected that students will complete the program within two to three years of starting the first nursing course.

Part-time students registered for nursing courses need to plan on an average of twenty hours per week for these courses. Once you begin the nursing component, you will register for four credits of nursing clinical each semester. This equates in time to one (8-hour) day each week in a nursing care setting. Mastery and completion of a particular clinical course may take longer than one semester. In this case, an extended clinical course will give you the extra time needed. Students must also plan on preparatory time to review the chart and pertinent texts, and to prepare the nursing process record weekly. Complete details will be given at each clinical orientation.

Students should consider these time commitments in planning for transportation, child care, and employment. Because of the heavy time commitment in the program, it is strongly recommended that students do not attempt to work on a full-time basis. Class and clinical hours cannot be scheduled around a student’s work hours.

Students must be available one eight-hour day per week for clinical. Another two days per week will be required, to take exams, practice nursing skills, evaluation of nursing skills, and to attend course overviews. Additional hours of reading/study time will be required.

Mission Statement

The Nursing Department at Onondaga Community College provides excellence in education, making a positive difference in the lives of students and the well-being of the community.


The nursing faculty seek to graduate nursing leaders that are empowered, self-motivated, critical thinkers who will positively impact global and local citizens. We further strive to inspire nurses who reflect a commitment of excellence to the community by demonstrating diversity, equity, and inclusion in all areas of health care.

Core Values

The following core values provide the framework of organizing the nursing curriculum:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Diversity
  • Technology
  • Professionalism
  • Caring
  • Leadership
  • Safe and Competent Practice

Program Outcomes

The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) requires that accredited nursing programs have an identified plan for systematic program evaluation and assessment of educational outcomes for educational effectiveness. The following is a list of the required outcomes and their definitions for the Onondaga Community College Department of Nursing program:

  1. It is the expectation of the Department of Nursing that licensure exam pass rates for first time writers will be at or above the national mean 100% of the time.
  2. It is the expectation of the Department of Nursing that at least 50% of an entering cohort will complete the program within three years of starting the first nursing course.
  3. It is the expectation of the Department of Nursing that at least 80% of graduates and employers responding to surveys indicate satisfaction with adequacy and effectiveness of the program at moderate degree or above.
  4. It is the expectation of the Department of Nursing that at least 80% of graduates responding to the graduate survey are employed or engaged in ongoing education in the field.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. The graduate will use critical thinking in applying the nursing process for safe clinical decision-making.
  2. The graduate will utilize information technologies to advance knowledge, support evidence-based practice and foster safe quality patient outcomes.
  3. The graduate will demonstrate commitment to diversity and inclusion through global awareness and recognition of uniqueness of the individual in the delivery of compassionate, patient-centered care.
  4. The graduate will demonstrate leadership ability through effective communication, respectful collaboration with multidisciplinary teams, and appropriate delegation for effective management of care.
  5. The graduate will demonstrate a professional identify that encompasses a commitment to integrity, accountability, personal growth/wellness, advocacy, and service to others.

Completion Requirements

Arts and Sciences

  • English Credits: (6) 1
  • Sociology Credits: (3)
  • General or Introductory Psychology Credits: (3)
  • Science Credits: (12) 2

Total Credits: 24


Total Credits: 40

Total Program Credits: 64


1. Developmental/Tutorial English courses, English as a Second Language, and English for Foreign students do not satisfy the English requirement.

2. Two (2) semesters of Human Anatomy and Physiology, and one (1) semester of Microbiology, with laboratories, are required.

3. Of the four specialty clinicals, only two will be required at each level.

Academic Requirements

In addition to the requirements outlined in the Academic Rules, the following requirements apply to students matriculated in the Nursing program:

  1. Matriculated Status
    Because of the limited enrollment capacity of the Nursing program, a matriculated Nursing student in good academic standing who discontinues enrollment for reasons other than graduation for two or more consecutive terms (summer and winter sessions excluded) will be placed on inactive status. Readmission to the program is required and will be considered by the Nursing department.
  2. Withdrawals
    A student will not be permitted to withdraw from a Nursing theory course after a failing grade has been earned. A student who has demonstrated a failing grade in a NUR clinical course during clinical week #3 or after will not be allowed to withdraw from that clinical course.
  3. Grading
    1. Grading System
      The quality point system used to determine academic standing for students in the Nursing program is as follows:
      Exceeds Mastery EM = 4.0
      Mastery + M+ = 3.5
      Mastery M = 3.0
      Master - M- = 1.0
      Non Mastery NM = 0.0

      The grade of IP (In Progress) does not carry quality points.
    2. Repeated Courses
      A student is allowed to repeat a course with a NUR prefix only once.

      Students who fail to receive M or better for a repeated NUR course will lose matriculation in the program.
  4. Academic Standing
    1. Loss of Matriculation: A student in Nursing who earns a failing grade in any two clinical courses will lose matriculation.
    2. Reinstatement in Same Curriculum: Contact the Nursing department for specific guidelines.
  5. Degree Requirements
    Students matriculated in Nursing must achieve a minimal grade of M in all NUR courses and a minimum grade of C in all other required courses, except BIO 171 , BIO 172 , and BIO 205  for which a minimum of C+ is required.

Note: When a grade of C is required, a grade of C- is considered below minimum standards; when a grade of C+ is required, a grade of C is considered below minimum standards.

Graduation Requirements

  1. All requirements outlined for the A.A.S. degree in the catalog.
  2. A grade of M (Mastery) or B or better in all required Nursing (NUR) courses.
  3. A grade of C or better in all required Liberal Arts and Sciences courses except BIO courses.
  4. A grade of C+ or better in BIO 171 , BIO 172 , and BIO 205 . The co-requisite Biology courses (BIO 171 , BIO 172 , and BIO 205 ) must have been completed no more than seven years prior to matriculation in the Nursing program.
  5. Consistent demonstration of:
    1. Entry-level clinical skills
    2. Safe professional judgment
    3. Academic and professional integrity

Note: When a grade of B or C is required, a grade of B- or C- , respectively, is considered below minimum standards; when a grade of C+ is required, a grade of C is considered below minimum standards.

*The ever-changing nature of nursing and/or refinements in instructional methods may necessitate changes in nursing curriculum requirements and policies. The faculty reserves the right to make such changes with adequate notice given to students active in the curriculum. In addition, the faculty reserves the right to review the current knowledge and skills of students who have taken a course with a NUR prefix five or more years before.

Suggested Semester Sequence

Clinical course progression: Students must complete all previous level courses in full before progressing to the next level clinical. Clinical courses within a level must be completed in sequence, and will require application of theory course content.

Total Credits: 14

Total Credits: 16

Total Credits: 10

Total Program Credits: 64


If Arts and Science course requirements are completed before beginning nursing courses, students may not be able to maintain full-time status with nursing courses only, due to the sequential nature of the nursing courses and the number of nursing credit hours required. Check with the Financial Aid office for requirements for financial aid awards.

Special Considerations

  1. Non-Discriminatory
    Students accepted to the program will be expected to provide care in a variety of settings to individuals and families without regard to race, creed, color, national origin, gender, age or disability.
  2. Good Moral Character
    In order to be eligible to take RN boards (NCLEX exam), you must have the required educational background and be of good moral character. Persons charged with or convicted of a crime (felony or misdemeanor) in any state or country, or who have committed an act which raises a reasonable question as to the applicant’s moral character (e.g., professional misconduct, unprofessional conduct, incompetence or negligence, or the termination of professional training, employment or privilege or voluntary/involuntary leaving to avoid termination by any hospital or licensed facility) shall be referred to the executive director of the Office of Professional Discipline or his/ her designee. This is a lengthy process and the applicant is responsible for his/her own legal fees. A person concerned with his/her eligibility is advised to initiate the process well before graduation.
    (Source: Nursing Licensing Application Packet published by the New York State Education Department, Office of Professions)
  3. Essential Skills
    The following is a representative list of the essential skills, with or without accommodation, expected of students enrolled in the nursing program:
    1. Communication
      1. Elicit health history/information from a patient, computer and health records including those written in cursive English
      2. Give and receive, understand and be understood regarding relevant verbal English and nonverbal feedback
      3. Record information accurately and efficiently
    2. Observation and Sensory Skills
      1. Assess pertinent body systems including inspection of skin, respirations, temperature, color, odors, and motor function of the patient
      2. Auscultate (listen for cardiac, lung and abdominal sounds)
      3. Palpate (feel) for pulses, lumps
      4. Percuss (short quick blows by the fingers usually to the chest or abdomen in order to obtain a sound for the determination of density, size or position)
      5. React/respond to signals, alarms, and other displays indicating immediate patient need
    3. Manual Dexterity and Motor Skills
      1. Position and transfer patient safely
      2. Use appropriate hand washing techniques
      3. Gown, glove and mask appropriately
      4. Perform sterile techniques
      5. Perform nursing procedures
      6. Apply and/or utilize patient care equipment and devices
      7. Administer medications
      8. Perform range of motion (passive) exercises for the patient
    4. Conceptual and Analytical Reasoning
      1. Demonstrate abilities to calculate, measure, and analyze
      2. Exercise good judgment
      3. Utilize critical thinking in the process of delivering care and comfort to patients
    5. Social Skills
      1. Perform effectively under stress
      2. Display flexibility
      3. Demonstrate compassion
      4. Develop effective relationships with patients, staff, peers, families, and other health team members
      5. Demonstrates good moral character consistent with ANA Code of Ethics
    6. Information Technology Skills
      1. Perform basic technology functions using a variety of available interfaces (personal computers, tablets, electronic equipment)
      2. Access and search internet using standard web browsers
      3. Manage personal passwords