James Madison University

Master of Science in Nursing Program


Graduate Practicum Experience Policies

Dress Code and Uniforms:


The following dress code guidelines are reflective of agency policies. As guests in practicum agencies, students are expected to convey dignity and respect through their dress and behavior.

  • The nursing student photo ID is to be worn with the lab coat and street clothes when in a practicum experience.  
  • Jewelry must be simple and in good taste. Body art and body piercing jewelry other than earrings may not be visible. Tongue bars, brow, or nose jewelry may not be worn during practicum experiences.
  • Nails are to be short in length and well-groomed. Unchipped clear or pale shades of nail polish may be worn. Artificial nails are not allowed during practicum experiences for safety reasons.

Liability Insurance


JMU through the State of Virginia provides malpractice coverage to the amount required in The Code of Virginia. Coverage is per occurrence for each individual student and covers student practice that is an assigned course-related activity. It will NOT cover student work outside course experiences.

Students are advised to purchase additional insurance beyond the state's policy. Two carriers are Nurses Service Organization (www.nso.com) and Nurses Protection Group (www.npg.com).

Expectation of Competent Behavior and Performance:


  • Unsatisfactory or unsafe behaviors - may result in clinical probation or removal from the course (and subsequent failure of the course) at the discretion of the faculty practicum instructor. When a student is placed on clinical probation, the faculty instructor will document the incident or pattern of behavior. The instructor and student will meet to discuss the incident and to establish specific re-evaluation criteria and behavioral goals that will be put in writing and signed by the student and faculty member. Following clinical probation, subsequent unsatisfactory performance in the clinical or laboratory setting will result in faculty review and possible failure of the course.
  • Physical or mental inability to perform practicum responsibilities - If a student has sustained an injury (e.g. broken bone), illness, or disability after entry into the nursing program that prevents the student from meeting the objectives of a practicum course, the student may need to withdraw from the course. The practicum instructor will determine:
    • Whether course objectives can be met within the time frame of the course.
    • Whether the student is able to receive an incomplete (I) in the course and satisfy requirements within 3 weeks of the end of the semester; or
    • Whether the student will need to withdraw and re-take the course when the problem is resolved. This will affect student progression within the program

Responsibilities to Practicum Sites


The School of Nursing contracts with agencies for practicum courses and both students and faculty are guests in these agencies. Many agencies require that we provide them with documentation relative to CPR certification, criminal record, professional liability insurance, results of TB testing, etc.; the information you provide for us may be shared with them. In addition to other policies relative to practicum experiences, the following expectations relate specifically to practicum sites and personnel:

  • Students are expected to act in a responsible, respectful manner in all interactions with clients and staff.
  • Students are expected to comply with written policies and procedures governing nursing practice in the practicum agency or institution, including policies and procedures regarding hazardous material, standard precautions and health requirements.
  • HIPAA - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act- "The Department of Health and Human Services and all other health care agencies must insure that their customers ( ex: patients, insured individuals, providers and health plans) that the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of electronic protected health information they collect, maintain, use, or transmit is protected." APA ref (Federal Register, 2003, p1). Individual practicum sites may require students to attend their own HIPAA training sessions.
  • Students are responsible to notify both the faculty and appropriate agency personnel if they will be absent from an assigned experience due to illness, weather or other reasons.
  • When students miss practicum experiences as an excused absence (for reasons including inclement weather, death of a family member or illness) the student must “make up” the practicum experience in some manner. The practicum faculty instructor will determine how the student is to make up the experience, in collaboration with the course coordinator and academic unit head as needed.
  • All information and personal data gained in practicum experiences must be treated confidentially.
  • Students are expected to dress in accordance with nursing school policy and as acceptable to the agency.
  • If a student is injured during any clinical experience, the designated agency procedure is to be followed.

CPR Certification:


Current Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), for both adults and children (Course C), is required of all graduate nursing students. The course must be the American Heart Association Healthcare Provider course. Certification must be valid prior to initial enrollment in practicum and residency courses and maintained throughout the program. Students are responsible for securing and maintaining initial and re-certification. A copy of the CPR certification card documenting valid, current certification must be uploaded to Truescreen prior to beginning the first practicum or residency course. The copy must be front and back of the card, and the card must be signed. Students will not be allowed to begin practicum courses unless this validation has been received. Courses are offered through many local community agencies including rescue squads, chapters of the American Heart Association, hospitals, wellness centers, the University Recreation Center as well as through health courses at JMU. It is your responsibility to locate a certification course. Courses are not continuously available, so you must plan ahead to meet this requirement.