The University offers Associate, Baccalaureate, and Masters degree programs with majors in nursing that provide options for career mobility.

The Associate’s Degree in Nursing meets the standards for and has been approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, leading to a California Registered Nurse (RN) license. Students who wish to practice in a state other than California may or may not have additional requirements to complete prior to applying for the RN license. Mount Saint Mary’s University is in the process of researching program professional licensure standards in other states. Contact Dr. Beverley Brownell at to discuss additional requirements that may be needed to obtain an RN license in a state outside of California.

The Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing meets the standards for and has been approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, leading to a California Registered Nurse (RN) license. Students who wish to practice in a state other than California may or may not have additional requirements to complete prior to applying for the RN license. Mount Saint Mary’s University is in the process of researching program professional licensure standards in other states. Contact Marie Seitz at to discuss additional requirements that may be needed to obtain an RN license in a state outside of California. 

The Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist track in the MSN program conforms to the California Board of Registered Nursing’s requirements for California Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Certification. For students who wish to practice in a state other than California, you may or may not have additional requirements you must complete prior to applying for your license. Mount Saint Mary’s University is in the process of researching program professional licensure standards in other states. Contact Dr. Madeleine Bruning at to discuss additional requirements that may be needed to obtain CNS certification in a state outside of California.


Mount Saint Mary’s University is an academic community committed to continuing exploration of our relationship to God, to other persons, and to nature. This exploration takes the form of programs devoted to excellence in the liberal arts and career preparation with a special focus on educating women for participation and leadership in our society and our time. The Catholic tradition of the University offers a value orientation for the student's personal and professional life, giving the motivation for a Christian commitment that views professional life as service.

Nursing is a service to humanity. It is a profession committed to: the promotion and restoration of health; the prevention of illness of individuals, families, groups, and communities; and support for a dignified death. It is the science whose main concern involves the life processes that positively affect the health status and integrity of persons, families, and groups. These life processes involve physiological, sociological, and spiritual life components. A focus on the interaction of these components delineates nursing science.

The Department of Nursing functions within the philosophy of the University and has developed a curriculum on the Roy Adaptation Model of Nursing. The Adaptation Model recognizes that a person is a bio-psycho-social-spiritual being in constant interaction with a dynamic and complex world. Humans possess both innate and acquired mechanisms which, in health, enable coping with the complex internal and external environment. In times of stress, these coping mechanisms may be disrupted. The ability to adapt to the internal and external environment at this time affects the person's position on the health-illness continuum. The promotion of adaptation in the direction of health depends upon an educational program which prepares the student to understand the person as a total being, to recognize and respect human values, and to utilize a scientific process within the framework of the adaptation model.

The goal of nursing is directing, maintaining, and reinforcing the adaptation of person, families, and groups toward optimal health.

The process involves:

  • Assessing the factors that influence the position on the illness continuum, the factors that influence the position, and the effectiveness of the coping mechanisms.
  • Determining the actual or potential health problem(s).
  • Establishing mutually acceptable goals.
  • Intervening by promoting adaptation through the modification of influencing factors and/or increasing the response in the coping potential.
  • Evaluating the position on the health-illness continuum to reaffirm and/or modify interventions.

Each student enters the nursing program with a unique background for potential growth. Students are active learners. Learning progresses from novice to beginning level practitioner in a variety of settings from simple to complex. Because each student is unique with different learning potentials and different critical thinking skills, the expectation is that the student will seek assistance and demonstrate growth at all stages of learning. The extent to which this distinct potential is achieved is determined by behavioral changes which are observed and evaluated in the context of the expected outcomes of the learning process.

The faculty believe the program has different levels of competencies for students to achieve their distinct potential. Options to select entry levels to promote career mobility are offered.

The faculty believe providing a supportive environment enhances learning at each level of the program. The faculty act as role models and therefore must be clinically competent and professionally active. In addition, they assume responsibility for individual advisement of nursing majors and provide opportunities for assistance in the event of academic difficulties.

Nursing Major Policy on Admission/Progression: Essential Performance Standards

American with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 was instituted by Congress to prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. Schools of nursing and state university systems, like other state and federally funded entities, are required to comply with the stipulations of the ADA. The ADA defines a qualified individual with a disability as an individual with a disability who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the employment position that such individual holds or desires. In addition, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination in admissions of a qualified person with disabilities.

ADA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 eligibility requirements vary depending on the type of services, activities, and functions needed in particular areas. The practice of nursing is an applied discipline with cognitive, sensory, affective, and motor components. Hence, students must be able to perform the functions which are necessary for the safe practice of nursing and essential to the licensing standards with or without reasonable accommodations in order to be admitted to or progress in the nursing program at Mount Saint Mary’s University.

Core Performance Standards

  1. Ability to think critically, such that the student can begin to make clinical decisions, identify cause-and-effect relationships with clinical date, and develop nursing care plans.
  2. Ability to demonstrate interpersonal abilities such that the student can appropriately interact with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds.
  3. Ability to clearly communicate in verbal and written forms such that students can communicate nursing actions, interpret client responses, initiate health teaching, document and understand nursing activities, and interact with clients, staff and faculty supervisors.
  4. Ability to maneuver in small spaces and move from one place to another such that the student can move around in clients’ rooms and bathrooms, into and out of work spaces, access treatment areas, and procure needed emergency materials when indicated. While health care agencies must meet ADA physical access standards, potential clients with equipment may limit the amount of available space in which to move.
  5. Ability to demonstrate gross and fine motor skills sufficient to provide safe and effective nursing care such that the student can move and position clients in and out of bed, ambulate and transport patients, calibrate and use equipment, and perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  6. Ability to hear well enough to monitor and assess clients’ health needs such that the student can hear cries for help, alarms on equipment, emergency signals, breath and heart sounds on auscultation, and various overhead codes.
  7. Ability to see well enough to observe and assess clients’ health status and changes in condition such that the student could see grimacing, movement, changes in skin color, rashes, and other observed client changes or responses.
  8. Ability to have tactile capabilities sufficient for physical assessment such that the student could successfully perform palpation, note changes in skin temperature, perform skills related to therapeutic activities and identify by touch other changes in client condition.

Credit for policy given to Point Loma Nazarene College printed with permission from Point Loma Nazarene College

For students who have met the criteria or wish to be considered for accommodation must meet with the Director of the Learning Resource Center. A document on University letterhead listing the accommodations must be provided to the instructor the first day of class.

In appropriately documented cases, every effort will be made to adapt the delivery of curriculum, including assessment requirements and processes for developing academic skills, to accommodate and meet the needs of the student with documented disabilities. At the same time, the Department honors and respects the ethical responsibility of faculty to ensure the safety and competence of our graduates as well as the safety of their patients. Adaptations to normal course requirements will not be made if to do so would compromise the essential nature of any course, or would disregard skills or knowledge deemed essential for the competent practice of the entry level nurse. Additionally, at no time will an accommodation be made that might compromise the safety of the consuming public.

Department of Nursing Policies

Policies apply to each nursing program

Nursing focuses on prevention and promotion of health. Students admitted to and progressing through Mount Saint Mary’s University Nursing Program are strongly encouraged to engage in health practices which model those they are teaching to patients. Prior to enrollment in the first nursing course, students will be informed of the nursing department health policies.

Every student admitted to the nursing courses must have completed the following health data. Clinical agencies will not accept a student who has not met all of the following health requirements:

  • Past medical history on which the student attests that physical and emotional health are such as to allow for full participation in both clinical and theoretical components of the nursing curriculum.
  • Physical examination, including a visual screening, urinalysis, and complete blood count, must be completed by a licensed physician, certified nurse practitioner, or physician's assistant annually.
  • A two-step PPD/Mantoux skin test for Tuberculosis is required on admission to the nursing program. Then annual testing is required. If the student tests positive or has previously tested positive, a chest x-ray is required every year.
  • A flu vaccine is required annually, unless contraindicated or a waiver is signed. For some clinical agencies the student must follow the clinical agencies protocol when not vaccinated (ie restricting direct patient contact, care, or wearing an mask with direct patient care).

Immunizations Required for Nursing Programs

  • Polio – Series of three doses for those under 18 years of age.
  • Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) – If born in 1957 or later, the student must have two doses, with at least one since 1980. Students born prior to 1957 may either have one dose or demonstrate proof of immunity through titers or have two doses.
  • Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (TDaP).
  • Hepatitis B – Unless the student can demonstrate immunity through a titer, all nursing majors must have completed at least two of three shots prior to beginning clinical. The second shot is given one month after the first, and the third shot is due six months after the first.

Titers Required for Nursing Programs

  • Measles: demonstrate immunity through serological testing or be immunized for rubella, rubeola, mumps
  • Varicella (chicken pox) Titer: If the result is negative, two doses of a varicella vaccine are required one month apart.
  • Hepatitis B Titer: After the third shot of the hepatitis B series is completed, the student must demonstrate proof of immunity. A Hepatitis IGG AB titer is drawn a minimum of 30 days after the 3rd shot is received. If the titer is negative, a fourth vaccine may be required with a repeat titer after 30 days. If the titer continues to be negative it is recommended for the student to have a medical evaluation to determine the efficacy of further Hepatitis B immunization.

If a student is not able to comply with these health requirements, the student must obtain a written statement to this effect from her/his licensed healthcare provider and submit it to the Nursing Department.

Health Policies for Students

Students have the responsibility of disclosing any temporary health condition, which may hamper their ability to perform the essential performance standards. A written medical release from their health care practitioner must be submitted to the Nursing Department prior to returning to the clinical area.

Clinical agencies may have requirements other than those above. If so, students will be instructed to obtain the necessary tests. The student is not allowed to participate in clinical experiences if the healthcare screening process is not completed prior to the start of the clinical rotation.

A student with a health condition (i.e., pregnancy, seizure disorder, HIV positive, diabetes, infectious disease, emotional problems, etc.) that may have a safety consideration must immediately notify the clinical instructor so that assignment modification can be made as necessary. The Department of Nursing has the responsibility to determine those health issues that may interfere with the student's progress in the clinical area.

To ensure success in the program, all students with documented disabilities must inform each nursing instructor at the beginning of each course, so that reasonable accommodations can be made.

Criminal Background Checks for Clinical Placement Policy Required for Nursing Programs

To comply with clinical agency requirements, nursing students are required to have a clear criminal background check to participate in placement(s) at clinical facilities. Background checks are required for registration in clinical nursing courses. The initial background check satisfies this requirement during continuous enrollment in the program. Should your educational process be interrupted, a new background check will be required. Students under 18 years of age are exempt from this requirement.

  • Individual degree options may have additional requirements, and are subject to change.

Religious Policy

Mount Saint Mary’s University acknowledges the diversity of its students and respects the rights of students to observe their religious beliefs and practices in response to a formal written student request. However, accommodations cannot be guaranteed in instances where such would create an undue burden on faculty, a disproportionate negative effect on other students who are participating in the scheduled educational activity, or jeopardize patient care.

Procedure:  Students beginning new programs or courses of study will be advised by that department as to university-, program- or course-specific procedures that should be followed to obtain an accommodation for religious practices or observances. Students are encouraged to be proactive in reviewing university-, program- and course-specific assignments/activities in advance of matriculation/registration to determine whether these requirements might in some way conflict with their religious beliefs, practices or observances. Should such conflicts be in evidence, students should discuss possible options with the appropriate university official or faculty member. Reasonable accommodations may not be feasible in instances where there is a direct and insurmountable conflict between religious beliefs or observances and requirements of a given program.

It is the student’s responsibility to make arrangements with the course instructor or program director as soon as possible, but no less than 30 days in advance of the religious holiday during which the student is requesting to be absent. It is also the student’s responsibility to meet all course obligations. Such requests are required for any and all educational activities scheduled for the date(s) in question, e.g. classroom exercises, laboratory assignments, exams, clinical/experiential assignments, etc. Finally, students are obligated to abide by the policies and procedures on religious practices and observances of any given patient-care institution (i.e., hospital, clinical setting) in which they are completing a portion of their educational experience. If a potential conflict between a student’s religious beliefs, practices or observations and institutional policy is identified, the student is to bring such to the attention of the program director as soon as possible.

It is the course instructor or program director’s responsibility to negotiate with a student the parameters of reasonable accommodations. The accommodations should be not more difficult than the originally scheduled activity or assignment. Instructors or program directors are not obligated to provide materials or experiences to students that would not normally be provided to all other students. In the event a student and instructor or program director cannot reach an agreement regarding reasonable accommodations, the student may request a review of the request by a designated university official. The decision of the designated university official will be final.