Health Requirements

▼   Clinical Health Requirements

As part of the nursing curriculum, the College of Nursing partners with healthcare agencies nation-wide and abroad so students can have hands-on experience in a clinical setting. This provides students with the opportunity to learn vital nursing skills and apply theory in a practical way.

In order to participate in clinical courses, students must clear specific health and physical requirements to be allowed on site and interact with patients and clients. PLEASE NOTE, FACILITIES WILL NOT ALLOW STUDENTS ONSITE THAT DO NOT MEET THESE REQUIREMENTS. THOSE STUDENTS WILL BE AT RISK OF NOT COMPLETING CLINICAL COURSE REQUIREMENTS. Clinical courses are a mandatory part of the College of Nursing’s programs of study, therefore, students will need to comply in order to meet degree requirements. Also, healthcare agencies may have additional requirements above and beyond those of the College of Nursing. It is up to the student to meet those requirements and bear any associated cost.

Requirements may update at any given time in alignment with CDC standards. Students should refer back to this section for any updates. 

▼   Student Requirements

In order to maintain, track, and submit health records, students must create a profile with Castle Branch. This profile will serve as the student’s individualized document management system while enrolled at the College of Nursing. Through this account, students will be able to upload and update health requirements, maintain records in one secure location, track upcoming due dates, and view any outstanding requirements.

To complete admission to the College of Nursing and to be cleared to perform a clinical rotation, students must:

  • Upload health requirements to Castle Branch
  • Make sure each record receives a “Cleared ” status prior to the submission deadline noted in the acceptance letter
  • If a record is rejected, work with Castle Branch to make the appropriate correction
  • If the profile has missing documents or records with a “Rejected ” status by the submission deadline:
  • The profile will be considered incomplete
  • The student will not be eligible to participate in the clinical course for the semester
  • The student may be dropped from clinical course(s)

Important Points:

  • Requirements are set in the interest of student personal safety, the safety of patients, and the safety of other healthcare providers
  • Students must meet the submission deadlines so the College of Nursing advisors have enough time to review the records.
  • Specific requirements are determined per individual specialty options and are subject to change
  • Some facilities may require additional testing and/or paperwork
  • Students are liable for maintaining current and accurate health records throughout their enrollment in the nursing program
  • Without proper documentation, students will not be eligible to participate in the clinical course for the semester and may be dropped from course(s)

Read the next section for more information about Castle Branch, including how to place an order and create a profile.

▼   Using Castle Branch

What is Castle Branch?

Castle Branch is a HIPAA compliant third-party vendor that provides a central clearing house for required health documents. Use of Castle Branch enables College of Nursing advisors to review student records as part of admission requirements.

Upon acceptance to the nursing program, students will purchase three bundled items in a package from Castle Branch:

  • A Medical Document Manager (one-time purchase)
  • A Background Check (one-time purchase, unless the facility requires the student to purchase a renewal)
  • An 11-Panel Urine Drug Screen (one-time purchase, unless the facility requires the student to purchase an updated screen)
  • HIPAA and OSHA modules are available for additional purchase as needed

Creating a Castle Branch account enables the student to:

  • Upload all the required documents needed for compliance
  • Receive notices from Castle Branch about upcoming due dates, deadlines, and renewals of records
  • See if a record was rejected, why it was not accepted, and steps needed to gain approval
  • Use Castle Branch as an online storage space for personal documents, and access other services

When should the Castle Branch account be created?

The Fall 2018 Castle Branch package will be available for purchase starting April 13, 2018. After April 13, 2018, students will be able to create accounts.

How will a student access Castle Branch initially?

When ordering the Castle Branch package, students will need to select the appropriate College of Nursing package per program of study. Initial cost for the package is $160. Note, this is a one-time fee per program of study with the exception of add-on modules (HIPAA or OSHA) or specific facility required renewals (updated Urine drug screens or Background Checks). Add-on modules or facility required renewals are available for purchase by the student as needed.

Please visit https://www.castlebranch.com/online_submission/package_code.php and click "Place Order." Be sure to choose the expected starting term/year and appropriate package code. Insert the appropriate package code below to set up a Castle Branch account:

Program of Study

Package Code

BSN to DNP

MSN to DNP

Post Graduate Certificate retooling to DNP

NV69

BSN to MSN

RN to MSN

Post Graduate Certificate

NV37

Traditional BSN

NV30trad

Accelerated BSN

NV30acc

RN to BSN

NR67

 

Urine Drug Screen

Once the package order is placed through Castle Branch, students will receive all instructions needed for the drug screen.  Castle Branch will electronically register students for a drug screen through LabCorp.  Students will receive an email from LabCorp, approximately 24-48 hours after paying for the request, containing the necessary information for the screening.  A list of LabCorp testing facilities can be found in this link: https://www.labcorp.com/wps/portal/findlab

Students should provide a copy of the e-mail received from Castle Branch to any authorized LabCorp facility.  Please note that admission to the College of Nursing is contingent upon the results of the drug screen and background check, and the completion of the Medical Records Manager; however, official reports will be sent to us directly from Castle Branch so students may submit the Acceptance Packet after paying for the package.

I still need help!

Still need help? Please contact Castle Branch directly with questions and concerns about student accounts. Resources include:

▼   Medical Documents Manager

Below is a general summary of the requirements students must have. Start the profile early to ensure everything is completed on time! Evidence of the following must be submitted:

  1. MMR – Measles (Rubeola), Mumps, and Rubella
    • Undergraduate Students:
      • Undergraduate students must submit proof of adult immunization for each of the above to be cleared.
    • Graduate Students:
      • Graduate Students must have a positive titer for each of the above to be cleared
      • If you have a negative or equivocal titer, you must receive the appropriate immunization or booster
      • Re-draw the titer one month after your final immunization and submit the positive result
      • If negative or equivocal, submit the result, along with a note from your Healthcare Provider stating you are a non-responder
      • Submit all tests and records from your healthcare provider; no special forms needed
      • This is a one-time submission
  2. Varicella (Commonly known as “Chicken Pox”)
    • Undergraduate Students:
      • Undergraduate students must submit proof of adult immunization for the above to be cleared.
    • Graduate Students:
      • Graduate students must have a positive titer to be cleared; history of disease is not accepted
      • If you have a negative or equivocal titer, you must receive the appropriate immunization or booster
      • Re-draw the titer one month after your final immunization and submit the positive result
      • If negative or equivocal, submit the result, along with a note from your Healthcare Provider stating you are a non-responder
      • Submit all tests and records from your healthcare provider; no special forms needed
      • This is a one-time submission
  3. Hepatitis B
    • Undergraduate Students:
      • Undergraduate students must submit proof of adult immunization prior to starting classes and a positive titer is required by the end of the second semester.

       

    • Graduate Students:

      • A positive titer is required for admission
      • If negative, a booster immunization is required
      • Re-draw the titer one month after your final immunization and submit the positive result
      • If the titer is again negative, submit the result, along with a note from your healthcare provider stating you received the series and booster and are a non-responder
      • Submit all tests and records from your healthcare provider; no special forms needed
      • This is a one-time submission
  4. Tuberculosis Testing
    • A negative, 2-step PPD test, Quantiferon Gold, or T-spot is required upon entry into the nursing program
    • The 2-step refers to two TB skin tests performed and read within a 21 day time-frame and must be current, and must remain current for the duration of the term
    • Thereafter, a 1-step renewal is required each year
    • The 1-step MUST be drawn within 12 months of the last test, or it will not be accepted
    • If you fall outside of the 12 month renewal period, you must have another 2-step test
    • Submit all tests and records from your healthcare provider; no special forms needed
    • This must be renewed annually

      TB Skin Test: Positive Result
    • If you have ever tested positive for TB, you must submit the following instead of the above:
    • A record of the date of your positive result, along with the amount listed in mm (one-time submission)
    • A clear chest x-ray from the year you started Level 1 of the nursing program (one-time submission)
    • A clear TB Monitoring Form (submitted annually)
    • You may only submit the above if you have tested positive for TB!
  5. TDAP – Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis
    • Immunization within the past 10 years is required
    • The TDAP must remain current throughout your enrollment in the nursing program
    • If your TDAP has an expiration that falls during a semester, you must renew prior to the start of the term
    • Submit all tests and records from your healthcare provider; no special forms needed
    • You may need to submit more than once, depending on your expiration date
  6. CPR certification 
    Note: American Heart Association (AHA) AHA BLS (Basic Life Support) for Healthcare Provider Card is required
    • We do not accept any other CPR certification, as per clinical facility requirements
    • BLS cards are good for 2 years, but must remain current for the duration of the semester
    • If your card has an expiration that falls during a semester, you must renew prior to the start of the term.
    • Submit a copy of the front and back of your card
    • You will need to submit more than once, depending on your expiration date
    • Military issued CPR cards that use the AHA for healthcare workers curriculum will be accepted and require a special override from Clinical Affairs. See contact us information below if this applies to you
  7. Health Insurance
    • Proof of current health insurance is required; submit a copy of your card (front and back) that includes your name
    • If you are covered under another person's policy, you must submit a copy of that card, along with a letter from the insurance company stating you are covered under the policy
    • If your health insurance changes, contact Castle Branch so you can upload your new proof of insurance
  8. Influenza Vaccination
    • All students are required to submit proof of an annual Influenza Vaccination
    • The influenza vaccine is not available until late August/early September
    • Students who apply after flu season should submit the previous season’s proof of vaccination to satisfy this requirement
  9. Physical Examination
    • Download the Physical Examination Form found in your Castle Branch profile
    • The form must be completed, stamped, and cleared by your healthcare provider
    • This is a one-time submission
  10. HIPAA Instruction Statement and Waiver of Liability
    Provide certification of both HIPAA and OSHA training

    Students who do not have the required HIPAA and OSHA training should complete one or both of the following eLearning courses provided in Castle Branch, by using the order numbers below:
    • NV37hipaa - HIPAA eLearning Tracker ($15)
    • NV37osha - OSHA eLearning Tracker ($15)
    • NV37el - HIPAA/OSHA eLearning Tracker ($30)
  11. OSHA / Blood Borne Pathogens (BBP)
    Provide certification of both HIPAA and OSHA training

    Students who do not have the required HIPAA and OSHA training should complete one or both of the following eLearning courses provided in Castle Branch, by using the order numbers below:
    • NV37hipaa - HIPAA eLearning Tracker ($15)
    • NV37osha - OSHA eLearning Tracker ($15)
    • NV37el - HIPAA/OSHA eLearning Tracker ($30)
  12. Confidentiality Statement
    Download this form found in your Castle Branch profile. Complete the form per instructions and upload back to the Castle Branch requirement.
  13. Statement of Continued Health Responsibility
    Download this form found in your Castle Branch profile. Complete the form per instructions and upload back to the Castle Branch requirement.
  14. Communicable Disease Statement and Waiver of Liability
    Download this form found in your Castle Branch profile. Complete the form per instructions and upload back to the Castle Branch requirement.
  15. License (RN, APRN, Additional) or Certification
    If your program of study requires additional licensure, be sure to upload the required documentation in the appropriate field of the Castle Branch profile. If these fields are in your profile but do not apply to you, open the requirement and choose not applicable from the dropdown in order to satisfy the requirement.
▼   FAQs

Where can I obtain a waiver for immunization requirements?

Waivers for immunization requirements are only accepted if you have a documented allergy to the immunization or in the case of current pregnancy. Should you meet the condition outlined for a waiver, submit signed documentation from your healthcare provider to Clinical Affairs. Once Clinical Affairs reviews and approves your documentation, you will be provided with a waiver. Waivers will not be granted for any other reason as the College of Nursing will not be able to place you clinically. Contact information is listed below.

I realize I chose the wrong package code when I created my Castle Branch account. What do I do now?

Please contact Clinical Affairs so we can facilitate a move to the correct tracker on your behalf. Contact information is listed below.

I am a returning student and I have a previous Castle Branch account. Do I need a new one?

Possibly. If you are returning in the same program within 12 months and started after 2014, you should not need a new Castle Branch account. You should be able to contact Castle Branch for re-activation. If you are a returning student entering a new program of study, you will need to purchase the new appropriate package but you should be able to use your previously created log-in. Contact Castle Branch for assistance.

I had chicken pox as a child. Can I submit documentation from my healthcare provider?

No. You must submit a positive titer. See the Varicella requirement for more information.

Do I have to update requirements ever?

Each requirement states if it is a single submission or if continuing submissions are required. Please review each requirement’s detailed information.

I have health insurance through someone else but my name is not on the card. What do I do?

You will submit a copy of the card and a letter from the insurance company that proves you are covered. Please see the health insurance requirement for detailed information.

My CPR course was through Red Cross. May I use that instead?

No. The College of Nursing only accepts American Heart Association BLS for Healthcare Providers.

My Castle Branch profile is not compliant because it asks for documentation of another license or ACLS—neither of which I have. What do I do?

Every requirement in your Castle Branch profile must be addressed. If you do not have additional licensure, etc., open the requirement and choose not applicable. This will satisfy the requirement

Contacts

Please contact Castle Branch directly with questions and concerns about student accounts. Resources include:

To contact Clinical Affairs, email:  CONClinicalAffairs@southalabama.edu

Please email instead of calling Clinical Affairs. Also, understand that questions and requests are answered in the order they are received. Emails are not answered on weekends or when the University is officially closed. If you have an emergency, please contact your clinical faculty.