Student Q&A Sessions
For FAQs from the student Q&A sessions held in August, please view the document below:
Student Q&A Sessions - August 2020
A Commitment to Inclusion and Racial Justice in the BScN Program
Posted July 29, 2020
As a School of Nursing (SON), we believe the voices of our students need to be heard. We are strongly committed to fostering an environment of inclusion, one that welcomes and advances diversity across the student body. We recognize that awareness is not enough. This is an important time to embrace change and move words into actions. The learning environment must feel safe and comfortable for all, embracing individual and unique perspectives.
The Bachelor of Science (Nursing) (BScN) program would like to thank all students who have recently shared experiences and recommendations to address elements of inclusion and racial justice. These contributions and active participation are very important to us. All feedback has been taken seriously and reviewed for immediate action. Justice for marginalized groups, including Indigenous and Black communities is recognized. We want to honour each perspective, particularly recommendations to move forward in the coming months.
As a Program and School, we would like to take a moment and publicly share the actions that both students and faculty have participated in to address these important issues of inequality. We recognize this is only the beginning - we must come together and continue to move forward. The first three actions are now complete. The remaining actions are currently in progress.
- Development of a new five-year SON strategic plan for 2020-25, embracing the values and perspectives of the University Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Office and the Faculty of Health Sciences Indigenous Health Initiative
- Completion of several student, patient, faculty and community focus groups to ensure voices have been heard and integrated in the development of all short- and long-term strategic actions for the SON
- Development and integration of a facilitated Indigenous admissions’ process for all three undergraduate BScN programs
- Focused Indigenous recruitment, dedicated to hiring of at least one full-time faculty member this year
- Cultural safety training for all full-time faculty teaching in the SON
- Required bias training for faculty and staff participating in any element of the SON hiring process
- Review of all narrative-based scenarios in the BScN curriculum, in order to strengthen elements of inclusion and correct perceptions of bias and racial injustice
- Review of curricular content that addresses elements of diversity and health in the mandatory course, Social Determinants of Health
- Development of a new Indigenous Health Policy and Nursing Practice course that is mandatory for all streams; the first offering will begin this academic year
- Development of a new SON and Student Inclusion and Racial Justice committee in order to address actions that must move forward
As we enter the new academic year, we welcome students to continue to share their experiences, feedback and ideas. It is important for all of us to work together to achieve an inclusive learning environment for students and faculty.
In closing, we believe we can do better together.
Joanna Pierazzo, RN PhD, Assistant Dean, Undergraduate Nursing Programs
Chris Gibson, Program Manager, Undergraduate Nursing Programs
Sandra Carroll, RN PhD, Vice-Dean, Health Sciences, Executive Director School of Nursing
Professional Appearance Policy
Please note that each professional practice setting has its own uniform/professional appearance and/or footwear policies that are also to be followed. Students are expected to adhere to the professional appearance policy of both the School of Nursing and those outlined by their professional practice setting.
This policy outlines the professional image expectations for students in the clinical practice setting and is based on principles for professionalism, infection control, personal safety, and role identification.
If an agency has requirements not covered by this policy, students must conform to agency requirements. Consideration may be made for individual dress that is specific to cultural or religious beliefs.
Inappropriately dressed students may be asked to leave the clinical area. Any time away from professional practice will be considered an absence.
All badges must be visible in the professional practice environment.
- McMaster students are to use their School of Nursing Identification Badge
- Mohawk students are to use their McMaster and Mohawk Student cards in an ID badge holder bought at the Health Science Bookstore
- Conestoga students must wear a yellow School of Nursing name pin purchased from the Conestoga Bookstore in addition to the agency approved Student ID
- Lanyards holding ID badges must have a quick release mechanism to prevent injury
Presenting a professional image can enhance the development of respectful relationships with patients. Therefore, in clinical practice situations, students are required to ensure respectful coverage while providing patient care. Below will provide some guidance as you prepare to return in Sept.
- Students of all sites, streams and levels (except Level 4 students in their final term, 4K10) are expected to wear Caribbean Blue scrubs with the “kaleidoscope” embroidered emblem for the McMaster-Mohawk-Conestoga BScN Program.
- Uniforms can be purchased from the Health Science or Conestoga bookstore.
- Plain, solid coloured, long sleeved shirts with snug sleeves may be worn under the scrub top, but sleeves must be able to be pushed up to the elbow to ensure hand hygiene.
- Students should change into and out of their uniform on site to prevent the potential spread of infection. Uniforms should be kept clean and laundered.
- All students, including Level 4 are subject to the same principles for professional appearance
- Students must wear a separate pair of shoes for professional practice, as regular street shoes are not permitted due to policies related to infection control
- Footwear must be in good condition, have an enclosed toe and heel, no mesh or holes, low to medium heel, and slip resistant soles as per occupational health and safety requirements
- Shoes must be solid coloured with very limited designs or logos
Additional details regarding professional appearance will be made available in the BScN Handbook. It is the responsibility of all students to review prior to attending a clinical placement.
Fall 2020: Frequently Asked Questions
Updated July 16, 2020
Question: Will there be available study space in the library to work on days when there is an in-person lab?
Answer: With minimal in-person sessions on campus, there is no plan at this time to provide library space in health sciences. If you are needing to travel between a first year nursing lecture and lab, you may let the BScN (firstname.lastname@example.org) office know so we may adjust your labs. Our goal is to provide pre-recorded lectures for the year one nursing course so this situation will not be a concern.
Question: Will any of the BScN courses be in-person this Fall?
Answer: The clinical lab courses in the Basic (N1I02) and the Accelerated Streams (N2U04) will be conducted in-person in the simulation lab. The number of labs will vary depending on the stream. The Basic and Accelerated streams will have about 6-7 in-person labs. The RPN stream will have a few more labs in their 3A04 course. All in-person clinical placements in levels 3 and 4 are being planned as usual. The community clinical course (3QQ3) will be offered virtually in the Fall.
Question: Will BScN courses be in-person in the Winter term?
Answer: At present, the university is planning for in-person delivery in January. As such, the BScN program will plan for in-person classes and labs.
Question: Is there any on campus housing for nursing students who have in-person labs?
Answer: Yes, nursing students have been provided priority access since they have in-person labs. Please contact email@example.com and specify that you are a nursing student with in-person classes.
Question: Since the Fall term is online and level 2 learners do not have clinical placements, is there still a requirement to complete Non-Academic Requirements (NARS)?
Answer: As a student in a professional program, you will need to complete NARS every year that you are in the program. This information is posted on our website:
Question: For course selection, why does mosaic still show my application status?
Answer: There are processes that take place automatically that change your status in Mosaic. This may take a bit of time, but it will be updated prior to enrolment in your courses. This takes place in early to mid-July. If you would like to see the courses you will be taking, this information is available on our website: https://nursing.mcmaster.ca/current
If you have additional questions about your academic plan, please contact academic advising firstname.lastname@example.org
Question: In first year, do we need to buy a stethoscope, a blood pressure cuff and a uniform?
Answer: Yes, you would need to buy each of these items, in addition to your text books. In order to assist you with this, the program office has organized special lab kits for clinical courses in levels 1-3 of the program. An information sheet with these details and how to purchase has just been sent out.
Question: Where do I look to keep informed of BScN program updates for the Fall?
Answer: The program has posted information in two locations. For incoming first year students, please visit our admission page: https://nursing.mcmaster.ca/prospective-students/admission
Returning students can review Fall updates on the following link:
June 6, 2020
Dear Returning Student,
By now you have received information that the Fall term will be online. In the University President's messaging, it was noted there may be a few exceptions for health professional courses. This exception includes professional practice courses in the BScN program.
With the uncertainty of placement approvals in hospital and community agencies this Fall, we have had to make some difficult decisions. Our decisions have considered what is possible in terms of clinical placements during this pandemic and what we may need to delay to ensure appropriate academic planning. We have also considered elements of equity across our Consortium, with the same decision applied at each of our sites.
At this time, we are hopeful we can attain Level 3 and 4 placements. In Level 3, the Community Practice Course (3QQ3) will be offered as an online, virtual offering.
In terms of level 2, the following changes will be made for this academic year:
- 2L03 will be offered in the Winter term instead of this Fall
- 2P03 will be offered in the Spring/Summer
- A 3-unit elective can be taken in the Fall term instead of the Winter
As a Collaborative BScN Program, our commitment continues to be educational quality in a safe learning environment for both you and your teachers. Should anything change in terms of the above information, we will communicate this to you in an email.
If you have specific questions that have not been addressed, please email email@example.com.
Joanna Pierazzo, RN, PhD
Assistant Dean, Undergraduate Nursing Programs
Associate Professor, School of Nursing