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Program Philosophy

We believe that nursing is a dynamic, challenging profession that requires a synthesis of critical thinking skills, theory, and evidence-based practice to provide care for individuals, families, and communities experiencing a variety of developmental and health-illness transitions. Caring, which is at the heart of the nursing profession, involves the development of a committed, nurturing relationship, characterized by attentiveness to others and respect for their dignity, values, and culture. We believe in understanding differences and fostering a culture of ethical treatment of individuals and social inclusiveness in the greater community. We believe that nursing practice must reflect an understanding of and respect for each individual and for human diversity.

Transitions involve a process of movement and change in fundamental life patterns, which are manifested in all individuals. Transitions cause changes in identities, roles, relationships, abilities, and patterns of behavior. Outcomes of transitional experiences are influenced by environmental factors interacting with the individual's perceptions, resources, and state of well-being. Negotiating successful transitions depends on the development of an effective relationship between the nurse and client. This relationship is a highly reciprocal process that affects both the client and nurse.

Developmental transitions represent maturational processes that progress from birth to death. Health-illness transitions are those biopsychosocial and spiritual changes that influence an individual's interaction with and ability to adapt to the environment. Nursing therapeutics are actions designed to facilitate healthy adaptation and to prevent unhealthy outcomes for clients experiencing these transitions. Professional nursing practice is based on critical thinking, mastery of knowledge and skill, integration of theories and research, and a commitment to lifelong learning. Ongoing professional development is necessary to maintain excellent nursing care, promote the nurse's growth, and continue the advancement of the nursing profession.

Nursing practice takes place within the context of an ever-changing environment, including organizations and communities undergoing transitions. Interdisciplinary collaboration is necessary to develop and implement comprehensive plans of care to improve outcomes among individuals, families, and communities. Nursing requires effective communication skills for interacting with diverse populations and with their colleagues in nursing and other disciplines. Nurses must continually expand their expertise in the use of technology to manage and process information to support their practice.

We believe baccalaureate education in nursing is the basis for professional practice as a nurse generalist, and it should be accessible to individuals with diverse sociocultural, experiential, and academic backgrounds. Baccalaureate nursing education involves the synthesis of knowledge from the discipline of nursing, the humanities, social, behavioral, and natural sciences. Nursing education is a collaborative process between the teacher and learner, with multiple and varied experiences appropriate to the learner's unique characteristics. The degree of active involvement in the learning process greatly influences the educational outcome. Assessment of learner progress toward the achievement of these outcomes is critically important to the teaching-learning process. The culmination of nursing education is the synthesis of critical thinking and communication skills to provide excellent nursing care and to foster ongoing professional development in order to facilitate healthy outcomes among individuals, families, and communities experiencing transitions.

We believe graduate education in nursing prepares a licensed nurse for advanced nursing practice and doctoral study. Advanced practice nurses embrace the roles of expert clinician, educator, administrator, consultant, and researcher. Learning at the graduate level is facilitated by an open collegial relationship between faculty and students that results in the development of a competent advanced practice nurse. The culmination of graduate nursing education is the synthesis of advanced skills in order to provide excellent nursing care and to foster ongoing professional development in order to promote nursing research, ethical decision-making reflecting an appreciation of human diversity in health and illness among individuals, families, and communities experiencing life transitions.

Reference: Schumacher, K.L., & Meleis, A.I. (1994). Transitions: A central concept in nursing. IMAGE: Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 26(2), 119-127.

Revised by the Faculty Organization 12-10-12