VUSN: Other Guidelines, Policies, and Procedures

Alcohol, Controlled Substance, and Smoking Policy | Animals | Artificial Intelligence (AI) | Children in the School | Code for Nurses | Conduct Policy | COVID-19 | Dress Code | Educational Resource and Materials Protection | Inclement Weather Policy | Net Etiquette Statement | Social Media Policy | Student Records - Family Educational Right and Privacy Act (FERPA)



Smoking is not permitted on any School of Nursing property. Students are not allowed to attend class or clinical practice under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances. Students suspected of using such substances will be asked to submit to voluntary breath, blood, or urine screening as a condition of progression. Additional information concerning alcohol and controlled substances can be found in the University Student Handbook ( 


Students are prohibited from keeping or providing for any animals on University property, including in University residences. Students with disabilities may use service animals and emotional support animals in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended and related laws, rules and regulations, including the Fair Housing Act. Students seeking approval for service animals or emotional support animals must comply with all University procedural requirements and animal responsibility standards. Refer to the VU Student Handbook ( for the policy and other details. Visiting animals must be kept outdoors and leashed. Students who violate this policy are subject to corrective action through the University’s accountability process and will bear any associated costs in rooms where animals are found in violation of this policy.



Unless explicitly stated by the course faculty, the use of generative AI will be treated similarly to assistance from another person. Students must not use generative AI tools to substantially complete an assignment or exam. In cases where generative AI is used, students must disclose its use. Course instructors have the discretion to regulate the use of generative AI tools in their courses, which may include permitting or prohibiting specific uses. Such policies should be clearly stated in the course syllabus and communicated to students. If there is any uncertainty regarding the use of generative AI, students are encouraged to ask their instructors for clarification.


Children are restricted from the School of Nursing except in unusual circumstances. Children should not accompany students to the school unless under exceptional or emergency circumstances. Any child brought to the school must be supervised at all times, by a parent or guardian. If a child is disruptive, the responsible parent/guardian will be asked to remove the child from the building. Children are not permitted in the IMC, skills lab, or computer labs. Students must obtain permission from the Course Coordinator, appropriate faculty, or class lecturer prior to bringing children to class.


The School of Nursing adheres to the American Nurses Association Code for Nurses. Refer to for more details. 

If you have any questions regarding appropriate uses and disclosures of patient information, contact the VUMC Privacy Office at 615.936.3594. Additional information on the HIPAA regulations can be found at VUMC’s HIPAA Web site: . Contact the Privacy Office by phone at 615.936.3594 or via email at for any Privacy Office requests or concerns.


Although the University values personal freedom, celebration, and recreation, the policies and regulations that apply to student conduct at Vanderbilt are also informed by principles that value the health, safety, and well-being of students and other members of the University community, as well as their academic and personal success. The University’s goal in establishing policies and holding students accountable for complying with them is to help students understand how their choices can affect not only their immediate neighbors, but also the University community as a whole.

Students and student organizations are expected to comply with all University policies, which are derived from tradition and evolve with contemporary practice. Ignorance of a policy is not a valid excuse for violating it. Grounds for corrective action cannot always be the subject of precise statement; however, when commonly held standards of conduct are broken, students must be held accountable if the University community is to be sustained. 

The office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity ( has original jurisdiction in all cases of nonacademic misconduct involving undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Vanderbilt University School of Nursing students are under the jurisdiction of Vanderbilt University Student Conduct Policies. Refer to


For up to date health and safety protocols regarding COVID-19 please visit the Vanderbilt University Health and Safety Protocols website at

About COVID-19 and Clinical Placement

The overwhelming majority of clinical placement sites require either documentation of a completed series of COVID-19 vaccinations or (in some cases) an approved exemption before allowing students to rotate at their facilities. Students are strongly encouraged to have the COVID-19 vaccine in anticipation of this requirement. VUSN will not assign clinical placement sites based on an individual student’s preference about COVID-19 vaccination, nor will VUSN reassign a student to a different site because of a student’s COVID-19 vaccination preference.

VUSN cannot guarantee students will be able to complete clinical rotations unless all agency requirements are met. You may not begin your clinical rotations until you have met all the site requirements and have received confirmation from your faculty and the Clinical Placement Office that you are cleared to start.



Classroom Dress Guideline

  • In class students may wear comfortable clothes, while the type and fit of clothing reflect mindfulness and respect of community guest speakers, faculty, and peers.
  • The specific classroom dress code is at the discretion of the individual faculty in creating a professional environment.
  • Student IDs will display given first and last names (no nicknames) and no titles.

General Clinical Requirements

  • In all clinical settings (for orientation, patient assignments, or clinic visits) students will wear professional dress (no jeans), closed toe shoes, lab coat with nursing patch sewn on left shoulder, and identification badge clipped to the lapel or neck and NOT at the waistline. Students are expected to be well groomed and in neat, clean attire at all times.

PreSpecialty Clinical Experiences

Students will wear black scrubs with nursing patch sewn on left shoulder, black, dark brown, or white full leather, or non-canvas, full heeled shoes, black or white socks and identification badge. A plain white or black short sleeved or ¾ length sleeve T-shirt may be worn under the scrubs.

  • Uniforms should be clean and pressed. Lab coats are worn over the uniform to and from the unit but should not be worn during the clinical experience.
  • Long hair must be off the collar.
  • Fingernails should be short, clean, and without polish. Acrylic nails are not allowed.
  • Only a single plain band ring, watch, and one small pair of stud earrings in the ear lobes may be worn during client care.
  • All visible piercings other than in the earlobes should be removed.
  • Minimize visible tattoos. Any tattoos that could be perceived as offensive should be covered.
  • If a student is outside the hospital or off the unit dressed in their uniform, a lab coat should be worn.
  • Uniforms should be worn to and from clinical only.
  • If assigned to an institution outside VUMC, follow the dress code for that facility. If conflicting guidelines are present, contact clinical faculty for direction. 

Psych/Mental Health Clinical-Additional Guidelines

  • Students will wear professional dress (no jeans), closed toe shoes, lab coat with nursing patch sewn on left shoulder, and identification badge clipped to the lapel or neck and NOT at the waistline.
  • To ensure safety and comfort of students and patients in the psych clinical setting, students must NOT wear high heels, open toed shoes, skirts or dresses, low cut shirts, cropped pants, or scarfs or ties around the neck. 

Community Health Clinical-Additional Guidelines

  • The type of clothing and requirement of lab coat vary with each clinical site and instructor. 

Specialty Clinical 

  • Requirements for type of clothing and lab coat are dependent on the specialty instructor and/or course syllabus information and/or clinical site.
  • A VU identification badge should be worn in the clinical setting at all times.


As a professional courtesy to the many who contribute expertise and effort to the creation of educational resources and materials for VUSN courses, please follow this policy regarding the appropriate use of materials as it relates to the course. Educational resources and materials include instructional media, lectures, and handouts, some of which may include copyrighted items.

  • Students should ask permission of the course coordinator to record classroom discussions, lectures, demonstrations, and/or simulations.
  • Any recorded instructional media, whether provided by the school or recorded by the student, and handouts should:
  • Be used for educational purposes of the course only.  
  • Not be shared with students not enrolled in the course.
  • Be deleted once the student graduates or otherwise ends the student relationship with Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.


This policy is to provide uniformity for students, faculty, and staff regarding the cancellation of classes due to inclement weather conditions or other adverse events impacting normal operations of the School of Nursing. 

Key Definitions:

Inclement Weather Event

The existence of hazardous weather conditions that pose a threat to life or property.

Yellow Alert Standby for Inclement Weather Announcement

Standby, prepare for inclement weather.

Orange Alert Inclement Weather Announcement

Inclement weather is in the area and has the potential to disrupt normal medical center operations. The Emergency Operations Plan is activated and an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is opened to handle the event.

Thunderstorm Watch

An advisory issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for the development or approach of severe thunderstorms on the Vanderbilt campus.

Thunderstorm Warning

An advisory issued by the National Weather Service when a severe thunderstorm (a storm with winds in excess of 58 miles per hour or with ¾” or larger hail, or both) is indicated on radar.

Weather Advisory

An advisory is issued by the National Weather Service when hazardous weather is occurring, imminent, or likely. Advisories are for less serious conditions than warnings that cause significant inconvenience and if caution is not exercised, could lead to situations that may threaten life or property.

Weather Warning

A warning is issued by the National Weather Service when a hazardous weather event is occurring, imminent, or likely. A warning means weather conditions pose a threat to life or property. People in the path of the storm need to take protective action.

Weather Watch

A watch is used when the risk of hazardous weather has increased significantly, but its occurrence, location, or timing is still uncertain. It is intended to provide enough lead-time so those who need to set their plans in motion can do so. A watch means hazardous weather is possible. People should have a plan of action in case a storm threatens, and they should listen for later information and possible warnings. 

Faculty/Staff Communications: During inclement weather event or other adverse events impacting normal operations faculty/staff are updated via the following communication modes:

  1. Overhead Announcements
  2. E-mail system communication
  3. E-mails from the Dean/Senior Associate Deans
  4. Text alerts through AlertVU at (You must sign up to receive alerts.)


Cancellation/Delay of Start Time for a Clinical Rotation:

  1. The decision to cancel or delay the start time of a clinical rotation will be made by the faculty member or preceptor responsible for the clinical.
  2. Faculty will communicate with students the status of the clinical (as applicable) in one of the following manners:
    1. Voice mail message left on the faculty member’s phone or
    2. Personal phone call to each student by the faculty member
    3. Brightspace announcement

Cancellation/Delay of Start Time for Classes:

The decision to cancel or delay the start time for a class will be made by the faculty member responsible for the class.

Canceled classes/clinicals will be rescheduled at the discretion of the faculty member responsible for the course.

Student Notification Instructions for Cancellation/Delay of start time for classes:


Faculty will communicate instructions and/or cancellation of classes by:

  1. Creating an Announcement posting in Brightspace
  2. Sending an e-mail to students through the e-mail function in Brightspace 

In the event of inclement weather, students are required to check the Brightspace site of each of the classes they are enrolled. In the event the Brightspace system is not operational, instructions regarding the cancellation of classes will be posted by the course instructors through use of the Vanderbilt University voice-mail system.


Net Etiquette describes professional communication and behaviors for online communication and interaction including but not limited to email, discussion board postings, chats, wikis, and blogs to ensure a forum for dynamic and engaged learning. The expectations for Net Etiquette at VUSN may be described across 3 general areas: 1) Respect & Courtesy, 2) Participation & Collaboration, and 3) Presentation of Self. An inability to uphold Net Etiquette expectations may have repercussions related to Student Conduct. Refer to the VU Student Conduct Policy located at

Respect and Courtesy

Teaching and learning processes work best with free and open exchange of ideas, yet in an electronic setting, without the benefit of facial expressions, body language, or tonal cues, miscommunication and misunderstanding may occur. Behaviors that demonstrate respect and courtesy include:

Participation and Collaboration

Active participation and collaboration in the online educational community enhances learning outcomes. Behaviors that demonstrate participation and collaboration include:

  • Preparing constructive, comprehensive, mindful responses to others
  • Clarifying statements as necessary
  • Discussing with faculty any discomfort with what someone else has written
  • Completing and submitting group work in a timely fashion
  • Preparing for discussions by reading all postings or communications before responding
  • Sharing helpful information with all classmates

Presentation of Self 

Conduct in the online setting is as important as face-to-face interaction. Communication and social presence of an individual in a course contributes to the perception of their professionalism and competency by others. Behaviors that result in the best presentation of self include:

  • Authentic, honest, and kind communication
  • Use of formal, clear, concise, appropriate language
  • Use of proper titles and preferred pronouns to address others unless otherwise directed
  • Careful consideration before use of emoticons, humor, sarcasm or jokes, use judiciously 
  • Composition of written communication, discussion board posts, or other online assignments offline, before posting
  • Re-reading, proof-reading, and editing communications and discussion board postings before uploading or sending
  • Referencing and assigning appropriate credit to others’ work or posts



Social media platforms allow VUSN students to engage in professional and personal conversations. The goal of this policy is to protect both VUSN students as well as the School of Nursing. The VUSN policy is a set of expected standards of conduct for all VUSN students. Students are expected to respect themselves and others, to act responsibly, and to be accountable for their actions. The Vanderbilt University student accountability system addresses student violations of University policy through fair, consistent, and confidential procedures. Any policy violation is subject to investigation by Vanderbilt University and may result in disciplinary action.

Students are personally responsible for the content they publish on blogs, wikis, social networks, forum boards, or any other form of user-generated media. Remember that content contributed on all platforms becomes immediately searchable and can be immediately shared. This content immediately leaves the contributing individual’s control forever and may be traced back to the individual after long periods of time.

This policy is not intended for internet activities that do not associate or identify a student with VUSN, do not use Vanderbilt email addresses, and are purely about personal matters.


Social Media Platforms – Technology tools and online spaces for integrating and sharing user- generated content in order to engage constituencies in conversations and allow them to participate in content and community creation. Examples are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tiktok, and YouTube.

Procedure/Specific Information 

Because of the constantly evolving nature of social media platforms, these guidelines do not attempt to name every current and emerging platform. Rather, they apply to those cited and any other online platform available and emerging including social networking sites and sites with user-generated content. Examples include but are not limited to the following: 

  1. YouTube
  2. Facebook
  3. Instagram
  4. LinkedIn
  5. Twitter
  6. Blogs
  7. Google docs or other shared workspace

Guidelines for Online Professional or Personal Activity

These guidelines apply to VUSN students who identify themselves with VUSN and/or use their Vanderbilt email address in social media venues such as professional society blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. for deliberate professional engagement or casual conversation.

  1. Follow the same nursing ethics, HIPAA, privacy and general civil behavior guidelines cited in this policy including respecting copyrights and disclosures, and not revealing proprietary financial, intellectual property, patient care or similar sensitive or private content inclusive of the posting of client pictures.
    1. Protect confidential information. While posting to friends, many of the sites are open to anyone browsing or searching. Be mindful about what is published. Do not disclose or use confidential information or that of any other person or agency. Respect HIPAA regulations. Do not post any information about clinical rotations or clients in any online forum or web page. A good rule of thumb is to ask if what is posted on a social media site is okay to be on the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper, credited to you.
  2. If an individual identifies themselves as a VUSN student in any online forum and/or use their Vanderbilt e-mail address, the student needs to ensure that it is clear that they are not speaking for VUSN, and what they say is representative of their individual personal views and opinions and not necessarily the views and opinions of VUSN.
  3. VUSN students are mindful about how they present themselves in online networks. By virtue of self-identifying as part of VUSN in such a network, students connect themselves to, and reflect upon, VUSN faculty, staff, and even patients and donors.
    1. Be mindful about how you present yourself. VUSN students are preparing for a career providing services to the public. VUSN and future employers hold you to a high standard of behavior. By identifying yourself as a VUSN student through postings and personal web pages, you are connected to your colleagues, clinical agencies, and even clients/patients. Ensure that content associated with you is consistent with your professional goals. If you identify yourself as a VUSN student, ensure your profile and related content is consistent with how you wish to present yourself to colleagues, clients, and potential employers. Remember that all content contributed on all platforms becomes immediately searchable and can be immediately shared with everyone. This content immediately leaves the contributing individual students control forever.
    2. Respect others. VUSN is an organization whose students, faculty, staff, and clients have a diverse set of customs, values, and points of view. Do not be afraid to be yourself, but respect others. This includes not only the obvious (no ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, pornographic images, etc.) but also proper consideration of privacy and of topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory – such as politics and religion. Remember, what may be humorous to some, may be offensive to others. Civility is an important component of online communication.
  4. If someone or some group offers to pay a student for participating in an online forum in their VUSN student role, offers advertising for pay and/or for endorsement, this could constitute conflict of interest and VU policies and guidelines apply.
  5. If someone from the media or press contacts students about posts made in online forums that relates to VUSN in any way, students should alert their academic director and contact the VUSN Director of Communications, Nancy Wise, (at 615.322.3894 or by e-mail at before responding.
  6. At the end of each course, students are provided an avenue to evaluate course materials/faculty. Therefore, social media vehicles are considered inappropriate locations to provide this feedback.
  7. Vanderbilt University has a robust social media handbook. While some of its information is geared to staff and faculty, the best practices section contains valuable information that is applicable for all social media users:
  8. If you have questions about social media or how to respond to comments on your account, please contact Nancy Wise, Director of Communications. She can offer insight, support, and if necessary, connect you with Vanderbilt University’s web experts.


Vanderbilt University is committed to the protection and confidentiality of student education records, adhering closely to the guidelines established by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of education records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their education records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate and misleading data through informal and formal hearings.

Refer to the VU Registrar Office website for details: