Nursing, B.S.

The nursing program at Carroll College offers a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in nursing, preparing students to practice as professional nurses and/or for graduate studies in nursing. Upon graduation, students are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Successful passage of the NCLEX-RN exam is required for practice as a Registered Nurse. The Montana Board of Nursing makes all final decisions on issuance of RN licenses in Montana. The baccalaureate degree in nursing at Carroll College is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (http://www.aacn.nche.edu/ccne-accreditation). The program is also approved by the Montana State Board of Nursing.

Baccalaureate Nursing

A baccalaureate degree in nursing represents a comprehensive, holistic approach to the delivery of health care for individuals, families, and both local and global communities. Baccalaureate nurses utilize evidence-based practice models as they assess and plan care for the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of their clients. Proficient in nursing skills, leadership skills and health systems assessment, the Carroll nursing graduate is well-prepared to function as a generalist practitioner.

Options for Admission to the Nursing Major

Students seeking admission to Carroll’s Nursing major have four options for entry, depending on their status: 1) Direct Entry, 2) Pre-Nursing Admission, 3) Transfer Admission, and 4) Accelerated Nursing Program for Postbaccalaureate Students.

Direct Entry into the Nursing Major

Students are accepted into the major with acceptance into the college and no additional application process is required. Nursing majors enroll in the pre-licensure BSN curriculum beginning the first college semester. Direct entry students must meet all the progression criteria to maintain their placement in the nursing major. (See criteria for Progression in the Nursing Major.)

Students who wish to be considered for direct entry into the nursing major must meet the following criteria:

  1. Minimum 3.30 GPA
  2. Minimum, composite ACT score of 24 or new SAT score of 1190 (Math and Combined Reading and Writing).
  3. Completion of 1 year of Chemistry by the 6th semester.
  4. Completion of 1 year of Biology by the 6th semester
  5. Completion of mathematics through Intermediate Algebra (Algebra II) by the 6th semester
  6. Submission and completion of application (receipt of all supporting credentials) by November 1 listing NURSING as the first major of interest

*Please note that not all candidates meeting the minimum eligibility criteria will be selected for the Direct Entry Option.

Pre-Nursing Admission into the Nursing Major

Students admitted into the pre-nursing licensure curriculum will have the opportunity to apply to the nursing major during their first year at Carroll. Pre-nursing students must be formally accepted to the nursing major in order to register for nursing courses. Applications for Admission to the nursing major are accepted in the spring semester each year for admission into the major the following fall semester. All students who currently have listed Pre-Nursing as their major will receive notification regarding the admission process via Carroll College email. Final decisions regarding admission to the nursing major will be made after grades from the spring semester are available. Spring grades are posted by the Friday after graduation and students will have until the following Friday to notify the nursing department and/or Registrar of any grade changes. Please note that if there are more applications than spaces available, a Priority Ranking System will be used (see below for details).

Students seeking admission into the nursing major must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be admitted to Carroll College as a degree-seeking student.
  2. Complete or be enrolled in the following pre-requisites with a “C-” or better at the time of application: BI 201, BI 202, CH 111, CORE 110 or ENWR 102, Oral Communication course (e.g. CO 101 or FR 101 or SP 101), PSY 105, PSY 203.
  3. BI 201, BI 202, CH 111, CH 112, and BI 214 (or the equivalent of these courses) must have been completed within 5 years of admission to the nursing program at Carroll College. Any of these courses, taken prior to the five-year limit, may be analyzed by the nursing department for possible use depending on individual circumstances.
  4. All required science classes and labs must be face-to-face (online courses will not be accepted). The nursing department may grant an exception on a case-by-case basis for CH 112, which does not require a lab.
  5. Have an overall college career Grade Point Average of 3.0 or higher on a 4-point scale. (This includes all attempted credits at an accredited college or university.)
  6. Repeat or withdraw from no more than two (2) courses considered pre-requisite to nursing or nursing courses taken either at Carroll or other institutions.
  7. Complete all required course work, to include independent study or “incompletes”, by established deadlines.
  8. Complete criminal background check as instructed by the Department of Nursing, to be paid by the student. Students with background checks that reveal a record will be evaluated individually to determine whether they will be admitted to the nursing major. Alcohol and drug violations may interfere with Montana Board of Nursing approval to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam.
  9. Provide documentation of freedom from communicable tuberculosis and immunity to hepatitis B, and measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR).
  10. Students with an academic integrity violation on file at Carroll College will be evaluated individually to determine whether they will be admitted to the nursing major.

Please note: meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to the nursing program.

The Carroll College Department of Nursing has a primary responsibility to the education of future professional nurses—a responsibility seriously recognized by the Admissions Committee, charged with selection of those candidates who best demonstrate the academic achievement, emotional maturity, integrity, and motivation necessary for consideration for admission.

The Department of Nursing reserves the right to accept for admission into the major the number of students for whom a quality educational program can be provided and in order to fulfill the accreditation guidelines mandated by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. If there are more applications than spaces available, the Department will use a Priority Ranking System based on the following criteria to select students for admission. Criteria will be applied after spring grades become available.

  1. Successful completion of items 1-9 above.
  2. Overall college career Grade Point Average (this includes all attempted credits at an accredited college or university).
  3. Selected GPA from the following Carroll courses: BI 201, BI 202, CH 111, CORE 110 or ENWR 102, Oral Communication course (e.g. CO 101 or FR 101 or SP 101), PSY 105, PSY 203. A course from another institution must be accepted at Carroll as an equivalent course to be calculated in this selected GPA.
  4. Completion of Core or nursing prerequisites without need for repeating courses (no D’s or F’s) or withdrawals.
  5. Current enrollment and the number of credits completed at Carroll College. Students who have completed 24 or more Carroll credits by the end of the spring semester will be ranked higher on this criteria than students who have completed at least 12 Carroll credits.
  6. No academic integrity violation on file in the Registrar’s Office at Carroll College.
  7. A standardized exam to measure aptitude for nursing success, to be paid by the student, may also be required.
  8. Interviews by the Department of Nursing faculty may be required.

Transfer Admission into the Nursing Major

Carroll College may accept a select number of external transfer students into the nursing program. Interested transfer students should contact the Office of Admission for current requirements and to apply to the college and nursing major. Accepted students will enroll in classes beginning in the fall semester following their acceptance into the college and nursing major, completing a bachelor’s degree in 3 years.

Accelerated Nursing Program for Postbaccalaureate Students

The accelerated nursing program is a second pathway to obtain a baccalaureate degree in 15-months. It is designed for students who have completed a bachelor’s degree and want to complete additional coursework required to become a licensed Registered Nurse and work in healthcare.

The following admission requirements must be met to apply to the accelerated nursing program: 

  1. Complete or be enrolled in the following prerequisites (or their equivalent) with a “C -” or better at the time of application. *All required science classes and labs must be face-to-face (online courses will not be accepted). The nursing department may grant an exception on a case-by-case basis for Organic & Biochemistry, which does not require a lab.
    • Anatomy & Physiology I and II with labs*
    • Essentials of Chemistry + lab*
    • Organic & Biochemistry*
    • Microbiology with lab*
    • Intro to Sociology
    • College Composition
    • Basic Communication
    • Statistics
    • General Psychology
    • Developmental Psychology
  2. May be completed upon application or taken concurrently with the accelerated nursing classes. Note: For the theology or philosophy classes, one must be an ethical reasoning course.
    • One theology class
    • One philosophy class
  3. Other requirements:
    • Hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
    • Have an overall college career Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher on a 4-point scale (This includes all attempted credits at an accredited college or university).

Progression in the Nursing Major

To progress in the nursing major, the student must:

  1. Have a grade of “C-” or better in all required nursing classes and the following co-requisites: BI 214, CH 112, MA 207, PHIL 107 or PHIL 208, SO 101. All nursing courses must be taken at Carroll College unless the nursing department grants an exception. Direct Entry nursing students must also have a “C-“ or better in all nursing prerequisites (BI 201, BI 202, CH 111, CORE 110 or ENWR 102, Oral Communication course - e.g. CO 101/FR 101/SP 101, PSY 105, PSY 203) to maintain their placement in the nursing major.
  2. All required science classes and labs must be face-to-face (online courses will not be accepted). The nursing department may grant an exception on a case-by-case basis for CH 112, which does not require a lab.
  3. Maintain a minimum cumulative Carroll GPA of 2.75 at the end of each semester after admission into the nursing major.
  4. Pass/Fail grades may be acceptable for courses not co-requisite to nursing courses as long as the student is within the parameters of the guidelines of the Academic Policies as stated in the Carroll College Catalog currently in effect.
  5. In the event of a college academic integrity violation, the student’s ability to progress in the nursing major will be determined on an individual basis.
  6. Students who receive any legal action that would appear on a criminal background check, such as a misdemeanor or felony charge or conviction, must immediately inform the chair of the Nursing Department, and will be evaluated individually to determine whether they will be allowed to progress in the nursing major.
  7. Students must demonstrate the academic achievement, emotional maturity, integrity, and motivation necessary for progression in the nursing major.

If the student does not meet the above progression criteria, they are not eligible to continue in the nursing major. If a student does not pass required nursing course(s), they must demonstrate competency in the failed course(s) with a grade of "C-" or better prior to taking any other nursing courses.

Policy related to Student Withdrawal and Re-application/Re-entry to the Nursing Major is found in the Department of Nursing Student Handbook.

Access to Clinical Experiences

Clinical experience begins in the 200-level nursing courses and occurs in diverse community settings, varying from Helena’s hospitals to public health, assisted-living, long-term care, home visits, and psychiatric and school settings. Although nursing clinical is primarily in Helena, out of town clinical may be required, necessitating personal transportation. In addition, on-campus clinical experiences are provided in the on-campus nursing clinical simulation center. Each nursing course at Carroll provides quality, personalized learning experiences.

Nursing students are expected to purchase Carroll College nursing scrubs, nametags, hand-held mobile device, and other items needed for clinical/ lab experience. As part of the application process and prior to beginning 200-level courses, nursing students must show proof of freedom from communicable tuberculosis and immunity to hepatitis B, varicella, and measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). Students are required to have current American Heart Association Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers certification prior to beginning clinical and must update this CPR certification as required. Students must update their TB test annually and obtain an annual flu vaccination as required.

Professional nursing is regulated in Montana by the Board of Nursing to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. As part of their educational program, student nurses are entrusted with the responsibility of providing certain kinds of nursing care to clients/patients. It is the responsibility of the faculty to determine that the student nurse has demonstrated reasonable competence to render nursing interventions without risk to the client/patient. If the faculty member’s evaluation of the student nurse’s behavior or health status indicated that he or she is likely to provide unsafe nursing care as outlined in the course expectations, the Statutes and Rules of Nursing, and the ANA Code of Ethics, the faculty has the legal responsibility to deny the student nurse access to clinical learning experience. Professional liability insurance coverage is required for students engaged in clinical experiences and is included in registration fees.

The Carroll College Department of Nursing reserves the right to make changes in these admission and progression criteria.

CCSNA

The Carroll College Student Nurses’ Association is the college chapter for the state and national Student Nurses’ Association. CCSNA brings students together to help further the growth of nursing, providing opportunities for education, experience, service and fellowship.

Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI)

STTI is the Honor Society of Nursing, whose vision is to “support the learning, knowledge, and professional development of nurses making a difference in global health” (www.nursingsociety.org). Nursing programs at Carroll College and the Montana State University College of Nursing form the STTI chapter for Montana, called Zeta Upsilon At-Large Chapter. Membership is by invitation to nursing students in the fall of their senior year who demonstrate excellence in scholarship, and to nurse leaders exhibiting exceptional achievements in nursing. An annual induction ceremony is held at both Carroll College and MSU-Bozeman.

The current 4-year curriculum plan for the Carroll College Department of Nursing is available on the nursing homepage of the Carroll College website.

Nurse Specialty Courses

Carroll College, in collaboration with SCL Health Montana Region, is offering two nursing specialty courses for candidates possessing an RN with one or more years of recent nursing experience in a hospital setting. The courses will be offered as special topics courses as:

  • Introduction to Emergency Nursing Course
  • Introduction to Intensive Care Nursing Course

Clinical hours will be completed at St. Vincent Healthcare, Billings, Montana.

I. Major Program Requirements

56 semester credits in nursing, including the following:

NU201Fundamentals & Health Promotion

4

NU202Assessment & Health Promotion

4

NU208Nutrition for Healthcare Professionals

3

NU301Care of the Childbearing Family

4.5

NU302Psychosocial Health

4.5

NU304Illness Across the Lifespan I

4

NU305Clinical Nursing Care I

4

NU307Evidence-Based Practice Research Methods

3

NU308Pathophysiology & Pharmacology

3

NU404Illness Across the Lifespan II

4

NU406Nursing Leadership & Management

4

NU413Clinical Nursing Care II

4

NU414Community & Public Health Nursing

4

NU417Capstone Clinical

3.5

NU427Comprehensive Nursing Review

3.5

II. Other Program Requirements.

Required classes:

BI201Intro to Human Anatomy & Physiology I

4

BI202Intro to Human Anatomy & Physiology II

4

BI214General Microbiology

3

CH111Essentials of Chemistry: General

3

CH111LEssentials of Chemistry Lab

1

CH112Essentials of Chem:Organic/Biochemisty

3

MA207Introduction to Statistics

3

 

PHIL205Ethics

3

or

PHIL208Bioethics

3

or

TH222Health Care Ethics

3

 

PSY105General Psychology

3

PSY203Developmental Psychology

3

SO101Introduction to Sociology

3

*BI 201, BI 202, CH 111, CH 112, and BI 214 (or the equivalent of these courses) must have been completed within 5 years of admission to the nursing program at Carroll College. These courses taken prior to the 5-year limit may be analyzed by the nursing department for possible use depending upon individual circumstances. All required science classes and labs must be face to face (online courses will not be accepted). The nursing department may grant an exception on a case-by-case basis for CH 112, which does not require a lab.

Nursing students are expected to purchase Carroll College nursing scrubs and other items needed for clinical/lab experience.