Communication Expectations

Introduction and Purpose

The College of Nursing (CON) uses electronic means to disseminate information and communicate. This information may be important and/or time sensitive. Thus, timely review and response to email messages is vital to success for all members of the CON. The lack of access to electronic communication, or inability to find email through not checking all folders, is not a valid excuse for failure to respond to a request, perform an assignment, or meet a deadline.

All communication sent using the official WSU email or WSU systems, such as the Canvas learning system, are considered the property of the State of Washington and may be subject to a subpoena during legal action.

Student Expectations

  • Nursing students must maintain a WSU email account, which is created for each student upon admission to WSU. Per EP#4, all email from the College to students will be sent directly to WSU email accounts. The CON recommends using email as much as possible for communication – Canvas messages or posts can show up distorted when delivered to faculty inboxes and an email is often cleaner and easier to add attachments to.
  • Students are responsible for notifying the Center for Student Excellence (“CSE”) immediately if there are any changes to their WSU email address.
  • E-mail communications from students to CON faculty or staff should bear a signature line at the end of the message giving the student’s full name, which program they are in, and return WSU e-mail address. An example is at the end of this document. 
  • Nursing students must be connected to e-mail and check it frequently (at minimum daily Monday through Friday).
  • During University breaks, and semesters students are not enrolled (such as summer), students are required check email at minimum every 3 business days. Important clinical or onboarding information may be sent during those breaks and may require a response from the student.
  • Any inaction due to lack of email access may lead to slowed or halted clinical or course progression.
  • The CON expects that students will reply to emails from faculty and staff within 72 hours, unless staff or faculty have specified otherwise in that communication.
    • For course-related emails, individual instructors may provide additional communication expectations for email or discussion/feedback boards in course syllabi.
  • Emails sent to a student’s email address will be presumed to have been received and read by the student. If there is no reply by the student, the original email is presumed to have been received, read, and understood by the student.
  • Emails are to be kept brief. If it takes more than 3 paragraphs to effectively communicate about the issue or topic, an appointment to discuss the topic is often the best course to take.

Appropriate Etiquette

  • Ensure that this is not a repeat email after an answer has been given, or that appropriate time (minimum 72 hours) has been given prior to gently nudging on your initial email.
  • Open with a salutation (e.g. Hello, Dear, Dr.) and finish with a closing (e.g. Best, Sincerely, Thank you,).
  • Use complete sentences and avoid jargon. This is especially important when sending messages from mobile devices. If sending an email from a mobile device, verify the message will be sent using WSU email account and not personal email account.
  • Proofread. Typos can and will happen, but proofing to make sure that nothing vital was wrong and that there are minimal mistakes helps provide clarity to the reader of your message.
  • Be careful with written communication, as tone can be difficult to parse. Typically…
    • Avoid humor and sarcasm if there is any chance it will not be picked up on.
    • Avoid CAPS if there is any chance it will be taken as conveying anger/frustration.
  • Avoid sending an email in anger, frustration, or sadness. Taking time away from an email draft can help, as email communications cannot be taken back. You can ask a trusted friend, colleague, mentor, Writing Center staff, or the Center for Student Excellence staff to review any emails prior to sending them.
  • Maintain a professional tone; remain neutral when discussing an issue or problem. This helps to engage the reader in finding a solution by avoiding negative emotions. Using “please” and “thank you” often help to engage the reader.
  • Everyone makes mistakes. If an email was sent without a professional tone, email an apology as soon as possible (e.g. I am sorry I sent that prior email poorly-worded. I meant to say…).
  • E-mail communications from students to CON faculty or staff should bear a signature line at the end of the message giving the student’s full name and return WSU e-mail address. An example is below.

Butch T. Cougar
Student Nurse – BSN program


  • Students who fail to comply with these expectations may receive a PIP. Repeated and/or egregious violations may result in paused or halted progression in the program.
  • Any other WSU communication policies continue to apply to students as well, including again EP#4.
Policy TitleCommunication Expectations
Policy Inception Date06/2022
Policy Applicable PartyCollege of Nursing Students
Date of Last Change04/2023
Responsible Party, Level I (to create and review)Center for Student Excellence
Responsible Party, Level II (to approve)UAP & GAP
Responsible Party, Level III (to implement)Center for Student Excellence