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Palomar College Learning For Success

Nursing Education Department

Registered Nursing Program

Spring 2021 FAQ for Nursing Students

Emergency Funding

Click here to find out more information on CARES Act funding. You may apply for funding in your MyPalomar account.
Click here to apply for a Student Emergency Grant through the Palomar College Foundation.

Where can I find information about additional Student Resources?
Please click here to find more information on:

  • Academic Counseling Services
  • Food & Nutrition Center
  • Disability Resource Center
  • Emergency Grants
  • Veterans Services
  • Additional Resources are listed here.

Phone appointments are available at:

Why are we not able to proceed with Spring 2021 semester as normal?
The impacts of COVID has changed our healthcare facilities’ ability to allow nursing students to participate in clinical rotations. The situation changes day by day. Only very recently was the Palomar Nursing Program made aware that previously planned clinical placements would not be fulfilled. Palomar College’s administration and your faculty instructors are working diligently to reschedule and plan on how we can proceed with Spring. Information will be shared with you as it becomes available.

Can I skip Spring semester altogether?
All students have the option to defer the Spring 2021 semester, and start again in Fall 2021. If you would like to defer, please notify Jena Lansford. You will need to drop your courses through your MyPalomar account before February 15th to receive a refund on tuition.

Will my ATI fees be refunded? Will I still have access to ATI?
Your ATI fees will either be refunded for Spring 2021, or automatically applied to Fall 2021. In either case, you will not pay ATI fees twice for one course. If your ATI fee is refunded, you will not maintain access to ATI resources. If your ATI fee is applied to Fall 2021, you will maintain access to ATI resources.

Will I still have access to Canvas?
If you choose to defer and drop your nursing courses for Spring 2021, you will not have Canvas access, since you are not enrolled.

Am I at risk of losing my seat in the program for any reason?
Whether you choose to defer in Spring 2021, you are unable to secure clinical placement, or you are unable to complete your clinical hours, you will not lose your seat in the Palomar Nursing Program. Your seat in the program will not be impacted due to COVID. All policies related to academic performance, attendance, and conduct as they relate to your participation in the program are still in place.

If I already received an email indicating that I am continuing in Spring 2021, is my spot guaranteed?
This email was sent to students who currently have a clinical placement for Spring. Placements are determined by our healthcare partners, who reserve the right to revoke our approval at any time. If current placements are cancelled due to COVID, students may not be able to proceed with the semester.

If the lottery selected me as a student for “Potential Placement,” will I still be starting the semester?
All students have the option to start the semester, attending lectures and labs. Students selected for potential placement may start the semester with the understanding that there may not be a secured clinical placement for them at this time, but a placement may become available mid-semester. However, there is no guarantee that future placements will become available, or that current placements will remain available.

What if I receive a clinical placement by mid-semester, but do not finish my required hours before the end of the semester?
Students have the opportunity to complete the required clinical hours by June 30, per the BRN. Students in this position will temporarily receive an “Incomplete”  for the Spring 2021 semester until the clinical hours are completed. Once the clinical hours have been completed, you will be awarded a letter grade for the Spring 2021.

What if I am unable to complete my clinical hours by June 30?
Students who are unable to complete their clinical hours due to a lack of clinical placements will be unable to complete the course in Spring 2021, and will be expected to repeat the course in Fall 2021.

As a student selected for “Potential Placement,” at what point should I stop attending class due to a lack of clinical placements?
This is a very personal decision, depending on your life experience and the challenges you will face moving forward. You have the option to defer completely until Fall 2021. You have the option to begin attending classes hoping for a future clinical placement. Please keep in mind that the deadline to drop your courses for Spring 2021 and receive a refund on your tuition is February 15th. The deadline to withdraw from your courses for Spring 2021, without a refund, and receive an “EW” on your transcript is March 27th. If you choose to start the semester, we will continue to share information with you as it becomes available, so you can make an informed choice using current information.

If I am selected for “Potential Placement,” and choose not to begin the semester, can I join mid-semester if a placement becomes available?
No. Students are not able to join mid-semester after they receive notification of a clinical placement. Students must start the semester at the beginning if they want to be considered for possible clinical placement for Spring 2021.

Why are so many second semester students guaranteed placements?
Second semester has more students who were guaranteed placements because of the hospital location, the type of placement, and the deadline for clearance and approval. These specific rotations have already been processed and cannot be changed to accommodate other semesters or students.

Why did we accept new students if there weren’t enough spaces?
All students were accepted into the program before we experienced clinical placement cancellations. All admitted students were included in the lottery to be equitable to all nursing students.

Which students were included in the lottery system?
All students were included in the lottery, including students who initially chose to defer. Students who originally opted to defer may have changed their minds when presented with new information, so everyone was given an equal opportunity for placement in the semester. The lottery system is the most equitable system for nursing students when determining how placements will be offered.

Why aren’t clinical spots being awarded based on points and performance?
The nursing application point system is specifically prescribed by the Chancellor’s Office and applies only to applicants.  The Nursing Department does not have policies regarding nursing students’ points or performance defining priority while participating in the program. Since we do not have these policies in place, it would be inequitable to select students based on points, performance, merit, etc. The lottery system is the most equitable system for nursing students when determining how placements will be offered.

Why can’t we complete our clinical virtually online?
The California Board of Registered Nursing by law requires that 75% of lab/clinical hours be in-person direct patient care. We have applied for, and received, a waiver to reduce the required hours of in-person direct patient care to 50% for medical-surgical and geriatric rotations, and 25% for obstetric, pediatric, and psychiatric rotations. Currently there are no circumstances in which we can complete 100% of our clinical hours virtually.

Can I look for my own clinical site?
Your faculty are actively working to secure additional clinical placements. Under no circumstances should students solicit their own placements.

Will we be completing clinical hours with Temperature Screenings and Vaccine Clinics?
The BRN is allowing students to complete one week’s worth of clinical hours at temperature screenings and vaccination stations.

Why are other schools able to continue their programs?
There are so many variables that determine why a program may be able to continue during this time. Each program has a curriculum structure that is individually approved by the BRN. Palomar’s approved program involves lecture, lab, and clinical being held concurrently. Other programs may be structured differently and have the semester split with lecture, lab, and clinical occurring individually. When a school’s program has been approved by the BRN, the program must be conducted in that way. Any changes to the structure of the program are considered major curriculum revisions, which involves a lengthy approval process. It is possible that other nursing programs have been heavily impacted by COVID along with Palomar.

Will I be required to receive the COVID vaccine series?
At this time, vaccines are not required, but are highly encouraged. It is likely that in the future, the vaccine will become mandatory for nursing students.

How will Fall 2021 placements be determined?
We currently do not have enough information to create plans for Fall 2021. Our current priority is Spring 2021. We will share information with students as it becomes available.

If students are unable to complete Spring 2021 and have to restart in Fall 2021, will they be given priority over students who chose right away to defer to Fall 2021?
We cannot predict what COVID will bring to us in Fall with the College and with clinical placements, but we are hopeful that by the end of Fall semester, all current students will be able to complete their course and move on.

Financial Aid Questions

Will I still receive financial aid if I drop my courses prior to the start of the semester?
If you do not attend any courses in Spring 2021, financial aid will not be disbursed.

Will a lapse in attendance for a semester affect my financial aid?
Having a lapse in attendance for a term will not negatively impact your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) with Financial Aid. A new FAFSA/CADA will need to be submitted for future aid eligibility in Fall 2021.

Will I have to pay back my disbursed financial aid if I begin the semester but am unable to complete it?
You will not be required to pay back funds , however this will impact your overall 6-year limit of Pell eligibility. Click here for more information.

Can I still apply for the Palomar College Scholarship application if I am deferring this semester?
Yes, students can still submit the scholarship application. If deferred, the Foundation will work with students on a case-by-case basis.

Who can I contact for additional information specific to my situation?
Financial aid files are reviewed individually. If you have specific questions, contact the Financial Aid Office at 760-744-1150 x2366 or finaid@palomar.edu .

Veteran Questions

What if I am unable to finish the semester due to lack of clinical placements?
You will lose months of limited allotted benefits. This could negatively impact you over the course of your nursing program. If you are in this position, proceeding with Spring 2021 may not be the best option for you.

How will a lapse in attendance for a semester affect my veteran benefits?
Veteran students will not get benefits while not in attendance.

Do I need to contact the VA and let them know I’m deferring the Spring semester?
Yes. If you are using your GI Bill, federal law requires you to update the VA with changes in your academic schedule.

Who can I contact for more information specific to my situation?
If you have specific questions, contact Veterans’ Services at 760-744-1150 x2173 or veterans@palomar.edu .