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Field Experience Regulatory Requirements

State Regulatory Agency Requirements

The ability for students to participate in—and complete—a required practicum in each state depends upon the statutes and regulations of that state. Students are responsible to know and understand the statutes and regulations of that state—and whether the student meets the requirements to engage in a practicum in that state. Students should inform the College of Nursing Office of Field Experience when moving to another state or outside of the United States to ensure their practicum placement meets state requirements..

All students must comply with the applicable federal, state, and local guidelines and requirements related to COVID-19 safety. Students must also comply with any additional requirements imposed by their practicum site.

The following states have specific regulatory requirements related for field experience:  

Indiana

Please be aware that the state of Indiana limits the number of students who can be appointed to each field site. Students seeking to do their field experience in Indiana may experience challenges identifying practicum sites in Indiana. Given these limitations, students in Indiana are encouraged to begin identifying practicum sites at least three full quarters prior to the time their field experience is expected to begin, to increase their opportunity for placement and avoid potential delay. Students must notify their field experience coordinator as soon as they identify a practicum site and preceptor, so Walden University can evaluate the impact of the regulatory limits on site availability.

Note: Applications to complete a practicum at a site that cannot accept additional students due to these regulatory limitations will be denied. Students with questions about the availability of a specific practicum site in Indiana should contact the Nursing Field Experience Office.

Maryland

Please be aware that the state of Maryland limits the number of students who can be appointed to each field site. Students seeking to do their field experience in Maryland may experience challenges identifying practicum sites in Maryland. Given these limitations, students in Maryland are encouraged to begin identifying practicum sites at least three full quarters prior to the time their field experience is expected to begin, to increase their opportunity for placement and avoid potential delay. Students must notify their field experience coordinator as soon as they identify a practicum site and preceptor, so Walden University can evaluate the impact of the regulatory limits on site availability.

Note: Applications to complete a practicum at a site that cannot accept additional students due to these regulatory limitations will be denied. Students with questions about the availability of a specific practicum site in Maryland should contact the Nursing Field Experience Office.

New York

Please be aware that, due to the state’s regulatory requirements, Walden University does not enroll students from the state of New York, and applications for field experience will not be approved for sites located within New York. Current students who were originally enrolled while residing in New York are permitted to complete practicum experiences in the state of New York. Please reach out to Office of Field Experience staff if you have questions.

Rhode Island

Please be aware that, due to the state’s regulatory requirements, Walden University no longer enrolls students from Rhode Island. Please reach out to Office of Field Experience staff if you are a Rhode Island resident who has not yet submitted a practicum application.

Washington State

Please be aware that Walden University is approved by the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission to provide practice experiences in Washington State for a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN and BSN tracks); Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a specialization in Nursing Education; Nursing Informatics; Nurse Executive; Family Nurse Practitioner; Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner; Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner; and Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, as well as the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

For more information, go to the following website: Nurse Licensing | Washington State Department of Health

Attention students completing practicum in Washington State: Please be aware of the following Washington Administrative Code—WAC 246-840-533(6)—requirement: A preceptor in graduate nursing programs must be experienced in the specialty area for at least 1 year; and not be related to, or a personal friend of, the student. Practicum experiences are not approved in the state of Washington for the MSN Public Health program.

State Board of Nursing Field Experience Requirements

Some state boards of nursing have additional approval requirements. Because of these additional state board requirements and approvals, students who will engage in practicum experiences in the following states must submit their applications via Meditrek® by the application deadline. Late applications will not be accepted for these states:

Non-U.S.-Based Student Requirements

To be approved for field experience, non-U.S.-based students must adhere to the following requirements.

  • A non-U.S.-based student is one who is not a resident of the United States, is licensed to practice in the U.S., or is otherwise authorized to practice in their jurisdiction and who desires to be educated in a U.S.-based program.
  • Non-U.S.-based students must choose preceptors who hold a graduate degree from a U.S. accredited academic institution or a foreign academic institution formally recognized or accredited by the competent authorities in the country where students wish to complete their field experience. Preceptors based outside of the United States (“non-U.S. preceptors”) must be experts in the specialization fields students have chosen. Non-U.S. preceptor expertise should be documented on the Preceptor Commitment Form that students submit with their practicum application. Non-U.S.-based preceptors must hold an active, unencumbered license in a U.S. state or the equivalent thereof within the country where the practicum experience will occur.
    • Students with field sites outside of the United States may petition for an exception to the professional liability insurance requirement, if it is determined that professional liability insurance is too costly or does not exist in the country where the student will be conducting the practicum. An exception for obtaining professional liability insurance can be authorized by completing a Professional Liability Insurance Waiver Request. The waiver request form can be obtained from and must be submitted to the Office of Field Experience. The form must be completed by a duly authorized representative of the practicum site not the student. Submission of a professional liability insurance waiver request does not guarantee approval.
  • Non-U.S.-based students must provide evidence of current and active nurse licensure or other authority to practice in the jurisdiction where the practicum will take place. The licensure or other authorization must authorize the student to conduct practice at a level consistent with RN licensure in the United States. Non-U.S.-based students who encounter issues with obtaining proof of licensure or authority to practice, should contact the Office of Field Experience.
  • Non-U.S.-based students must comply with all other requirements demanded of students conducting practicum experiences in the United States.
  • Non-U.S.-based students should contact nursing field experience coordinators early to ensure that they identify a qualified preceptor and acceptable practicum site and that they meet all other requirements.

Note: Late practicum applications will not be accepted from students seeking to do their practicum experiences outside of the United States.

Students who are licensed in the United States but who are currently located outside of the United States may not be able to complete practicum unless they can find an acceptable site.

Walden University’s MSN specialization program is designed to prepare graduates with an active U.S. registered nurse (RN) license to practice in their chosen area of specialization at an advanced level in the United States. However, Walden will consider, on a case-by-case basis, admission of students from other countries who hold a U.S. RN license or the international equivalent thereof, are authorized to work in the U.S. or are otherwise authorized to work and practice in the jurisdiction where they intend to complete their practicum.

Walden University’s MSN specialization program is not designed to prepare students to practice in Canada or any other country. Walden makes no guarantee that completion of the program will allow a student to practice in their area of specialization outside of the United States, including Canada. Questions regarding locating a U.S. field site should be directed to Office of Field Experience staff.

Relocation and Impact on Field Experience

Students who are considering relocating are advised to contact their student success advisor prior to any decision to relocate in order to determine how relocation may impact progress in their program. Advisors can provide information and guidance on how relocating may result in possible changes, restrictions, and/or additional requirements affecting field experience. Each state’s regulatory agency (typically the state Board of Nursing) and Higher Education Authority govern the field experience rules and regulations in their respective states, and students may be unable to complete field experience in the state or country in which they plan to relocate. Walden is committed to working collaboratively with students to secure field sites across the United States, so it is imperative that students contact their student success advisor immediately when considering relocating.

The MSN specialization program is designed to prepare graduates with an active registered nurse (RN) license to practice in their chosen area of specialization at an advanced level in the United States. However, each state Board of Nursing has its own academic and certification requirements and issues its own credential to practice in that state. We encourage students to consult the appropriate Board of Nursing or state agency in the state in which they reside, want to do their practicum, and intend to practice in order to determine specific requirements. Additionally, prospective students are advised if they choose to relocate to carefully review, evaluate, and understand the requirements of the applicable licensure board in the state in which they intend to relocate. Walden enrollment specialists can provide guidance relating to the state-by-state requirements; however, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand, evaluate, and comply with all requirements in their particular state, as requirements vary widely. Walden makes no representations or guarantee that completion of Walden coursework or programs will result in receipt of licensure or other authority to practice in any jurisdiction.

Students should review the list of state practicum restrictions at Restricted States - Restricted States for Practicum.

Completion of Practicum in Another State 

Students who are considering completing practicum in a state different than their home state must carefully review, evaluate, and understand the requirements of the applicable regulatory authority in the state in which they intend to complete practicum. Each state’s regulatory agency (typically the state Board of Nursing) and Higher Education Authority govern the field experience rules and regulations in their respective states, and students may be unable to complete field experience in the state they intend to do practicum. Walden is committed to working collaboratively with students to secure field sites across the United States. Students completing practicum in a different state must have an active, unencumbered license in the state where students plan to complete practicum. Students who are considering completing practicum in a different state should contact the Field Experience Office in order to determine their ability to participate in field experience, successfully complete the program, and impact licensure requirements.

Students should review the list of state practicum restrictions at Restricted States - Restricted States for Practicum.

Licensure Review

The Office of Field Experience conducts professional license verification and review as part of the practicum application process. Verification and review of licensure and certification will be done for all students who apply for practicum and all preceptor nominees for preceptorship. Information for this review will be gathered from NURSYS®, state boards of nursing, state medical boards, and any other applicable professional credentialing authority. Any information that is attached to a professional license or certification verification will be reviewed by the College of Nursing’s Office of Certification, Licensure, and Compliance. The information that will be reviewed includes past and present credentialing licensure information in states in which the preceptorship candidate or preceptor nominee is or has been licensed, such as state licensing board orders, consent agreements, letters of reprimand or censure, complaints, malpractice claims, settlements and awards, or other indication of action taken against the license by a professional regulatory authority, as well as verification of certification, as applicable. The Office of Field Experience may request additional documentation associated with student or preceptor license to assist with the license review process.

This information will be reviewed as part of the application and preceptor approval process. Practicum applications will not be approved until this review has been completed and the license is accepted.

Licensure Review of Students. The Office of Field Experience will conduct a routine professional license verification search and review as part of the practicum application process. This search and review will be completed for all students applying for practicum and all nominees for preceptorship. Information for this review will be gathered through NURSYS®, state boards of nursing, state medical boards, or any other applicable professional credentialing authority. Any information that is attached to a professional license verification will be reviewed by the College of Nursing’s Licensure and Compliance department. The information that will be reviewed includes past and present credentialing information, such as state licensing board orders, consent agreements, letters of reprimand or censure, complaints, malpractice claims, settlements, and awards or other indication of action taken against the license by a professional credentialing authority.

If students have a past or present order, consent agreement, letter of reprimand, censure or complaint, or any other information issued by the professional credentialing authority regarding the students’ professional license, the students will be required to inform their field site and preceptor of this information. The field site and preceptor will need to confirm that the students will be able to complete the field experience at the site prior to the approval of the students’ practicum application. Written documentation from the field site and preceptor, which confirms that (a) the field site is aware of the past or present board issued information (as described previously); and (b) the field site has agreed to accommodate the practicum placement, must be submitted to the Office of Field Experience with the practicum application. After the review of the license information, the Office of Field Experience staff will send instructions to students to request acknowledgment forms from their preceptor(s) or field site administrator(s).

Note: If the status of a student’s authority to practice changes at any point after the student begins practicum, the student is required to inform the director of the Office of Certification, Licensure, and Compliance (nurslicensure@mail.waldenu.edu); the field site administrator; and the preceptor. Status changes, such as actions or restrictions placed on a student’s license, can affect the student’s ability to complete the practicum requirements and the program.

Licensure Review of Preceptors. A routine professional license verification will be obtained by Walden for all preceptor nominees. Any negative information—both past and present—that is part of the license verification will be reviewed by the College of Nursing’s Licensure and Compliance department. Some examples of negative information are disciplinary orders issued by a professional licensing board; malpractice information and letters of complaint; censure; or reprimand. This information will be reviewed as part of the preceptor approval process and could lead to a determination that the nominated preceptor does not meet university qualifications. Students will have the opportunity to appeal the decision or nominate a replacement preceptor who will undergo the same review. Students should be aware that their practicum application will not be approved until an acceptable preceptor is approved.

Many students find it helpful to take a look at their preceptor nominee’s license information prior to submitting their practicum application. If students choose to review this information, it can be found online through NURSYS® or the corresponding state board of nursing website if the nominated preceptor is a nurse, or by reviewing the preceptor’s license information provided by their professional licensing authority (medical board, department of health, etc.). If students have any questions about this process or any possible negative information regarding a potential preceptor, they should contact nurslicensure@mail.waldenu.edu.

Students With Disabilities

The College of Nursing at Walden will not discriminate on the basis of disability and is committed to providing all qualified students with disabilities equal access to its programs, services, and activities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

In postsecondary education, it is the students’ responsibility to self-identify disability status and register with the Office of Student Disability Services prior to requesting accommodations. To register, students should submit documentation of disability along with Walden’s Accommodation Request Form to disability@mail.waldenu.edu.

The process and form are available from the Office of Student Disability Services. Students with disabilities requesting accommodations to access field experiences, such as a practicum and/or internship, should register with the Office of Student Disability Services prior to registering for those field experiences and clarify their specific accommodation needs. In most cases, field experience sites have their own systems for ensuring equal access for employees/interns with disabilities. The Office of Student Disability Services will help address any gaps in those systems.