Program Learning Outcomes

The School of Nursing faculty supports the goals and mission of the College of Health and Human Development and the University, which include teaching, scholarship, and service to the university and community. The philosophy of the School expresses beliefs about human beings, health, the environment, and nursing.

Program Outcomes (Goals)

  1. To provide quality nursing programs which are accessible to a diverse student population.
  2. To prepare graduates who can provide culturally sensitive and competent care within a framework of scientific and professional accountability and function independently in a variety of settings.
  3. To prepare graduates with the necessary foundation for further education and specialization within their chosen career path and who demonstrate commitment to lifelong learning for personal and professional growth.
  4. To establish and maintain innovative educational partnerships to promote health and meet societal imperatives.
  5. To be recognized as a center of excellence in nursing education.

Nursing Philosophy

Human beings are multi-dimensional, dynamic, open systems in continual interaction with the environment. They are complex wholes who seek balance through their unique abilities. They exhibit age, cultural, spiritual, ethnic, gender, and sexual orientation diversity. Accountable for their actions, human beings have the potential for self-direction and rational decision making as they maintain, preserve, and promote health throughout the lifespan.

Health is a dynamic process—a way of life—that involves complex responses between internal and external factors. It is the integration of the multiple dimensions of life, which when working in harmony create wholeness and lead to a sense of well-being and satisfaction. Health is influenced by individual genetic endowments, levels of development, lifestyles, and sociocultural and physical environments, and is manifested as a pattern. Health can also refer to the needs of a larger community or society.

The environment is composed of internal and external components. The internal environment includes physical, psychological, social, cultural, and spiritual realities within human beings. The external environment includes social organizations and systems, such as economics, politics, and policy development, as well as the physical environment. Environment is also the aggregate of societal expectations, reflected in the intracultural and intercultural interaction of human beings within families, groups, and communities.

Nursing is a unique, practice-oriented discipline that meets a societal goal. The science of nursing is concerned with critical thinking, problem solving, and the application of knowledge. The art of nursing involves interacting, caring, and valuing. The goals of nursing contribute to health enhancement via health promotion, risk reduction, and disease prevention. The ultimate goal of nursing is to optimize health by interpreting and influencing responses to health and illness. Attainment of optimal health requires collaboration between nurse and client as well as with professionals from other disciplines. Professional nursing involves provision of compassionate patient-centered care—using the nursing process, employing evidence-based practice, applying quality improvement, working in inter and intradisciplinary teams, and using informatics.

The nursing process is a dynamic and on-going means of addressing clinical problems. A collaborative endeavor, it depends on nurse and client observations, perceptions, and consensual validations of physiological, psychosocial, emotional, and spiritual needs. This process requires nurse, client, family, and members of collaborating health care teams to work together. The nursing process involves:

    • Assessing factors that influence the position of the client, group, community, or population on a health-illness continuum;
    • Determining actual or potential health problem(s);
    • Establishing mutually acceptable goals;
    • Intervening by promoting adaptation through modification of influencing factors or increasing the coping response;
    • Evaluating the position on the health-illness continuum to reaffirm or modify nursing interventions.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLO s ) in the Nursing Program

The expected SLOs of the Nursing programs are derived from the SCHOOL OF NURSING mission, goals, philosophy, and practice model; program goals; and, professional nursing standards and guidelines.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) SLOs

Engage in ethical reasoning and actions to promote advocacy, collaboration, social justice, and leadership as healthcare professionals.

Professional Nursing:
Demonstrate accountability for self and nursing practice including continuous engagement in life-long learning.

Evidence Based Practice:
Improve patient health outcomes by accessing, analyzing, and interpreting information (theoretical, research, and/or other) at the individual/family and community level. 

Critical Thinking:
Use a systematic approach to analyze real or potential problems for the purpose of developing, testing, and evaluating innovative solutions within a variety of healthcare settings.

Use communication theories/techniques and demonstrate communication/collaboration with colleagues, transdisciplinary groups, including the use of informatics, to promote relationships with individuals/families and communities.

Manager of Care:
Plan and/or provide patient-centered, empathic, and coordinated care that contributes to safe and high quality outcomes.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) SLOs

Background for Practice from Sciences and Humanities:
Ability to integrate scientific findings from nursing, biopsychosocial fields, genetics, public health, quality improvement, and organizational sciences for continual improvement of nursing care across diverse settings.

Organizational and Systems Leadership:
Ability to apply leadership, organizational, and critical decision-making skills emphasizing ethics, effective working relationships, and a systems-perspective to promote high quality and safe patient care.

Quality Improvement and Safety:
Fluency in methods, tools, performance measures, and standards related to quality, as well as ability to apply quality principles within an organization.

Translating and Integrating Scholarship into Practice:
Ability to apply research findings within practice, resolve practice problems, work as a change agent, and disseminate research results.

Informatics and Healthcare Technologies:
Ability to use patient-care technologies to deliver/enhance care and use communication technologies to integrate and coordinate care.

Health Policy and Advocacy:
Ability to intervene at the system level through policy development and to employ advocacy strategies to influence health and health care.

Interprofessional Collaboration for Improving Patient and Population Health Outcomes:
Ability to communicate, collaborate, and consult with other health professionals, as a member and leader of interprofessional teams, to manage and coordinate care.

Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Improving Health:
Culturally appropriate concepts in planning, delivery, management, and evaluation of evidence-based clinical prevention and population care for individuals, families, and aggregates/identified populations.

Master’s-Level Nursing Practice:
Ability to engage in both direct and indirect care to influence healthcare outcomes for individuals, populations, or systems, based upon an advanced level of understanding of nursing and relevant sciences as well as the ability to integrate this knowledge into practice.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) SLOs

Develop and/or evaluate effective strategies for managing the ethical dilemmas inherent in advanced nursing practice at individual, family, community, and population levels, health care organizations and information systems, and research.

Professional Practice
Utilize appropriate theories and evidence from nursing and related fields to provide high quality, accountable healthcare to diverse clients including diagnosis and management in advanced practice, to evaluate outcomes, to develop and evaluate new practice approaches, and to evaluate and improve healthcare delivery systems, practice guidelines and health policy.

Interpret Information for Improved Practice
Access, analyze, interpret, and develop information at the individual/family, community/population, and organizational levels to provide high quality health care and health education, initiate change, and improve nursing practice and health care outcomes.

Clinical Scholarship (EBP)
Use a systematic approach to identify, analyze, and diagnose actual or potential problems within a variety of health care settings, and develop, evaluate, manage, and test possible solutions based upon the highest level of evidence available, allowing for innovative solutions; demonstrate competence in knowledge application activities: the translation of research in to practice, the evaluation of practice improvement of the reliability of health care practice and outcomes, and participation in collaborative research.

Communication, Collaboration and Dissemination
Demonstrate effective oral and written communication, including the use of informatics, with clients, colleagues, and diverse groups to foster effective interprofessional collaboration to promote optimal health outcomes in individuals/families/communities/populations and within healthcare organizations, and to disseminate professional practice findings.

Practice Model

The School of Nursing practice model is grounded in the assumption that nurses practice as members of collaborative teams. The model applies to nursing practice throughout the continuum of care, and works to maximize the health of human beings in diverse communities. It also applies to practice where nurses manage care of individuals and their families within complex environments of hospital and other healthcare systems.

SON Conceptual Model

In the center of the SON Conceptual Model is the practice model (see Figure 1). The inner circle depicts the key elements of care, the population base (individual/family, community, systems/organizations), which are interrelated. The model is aimed at enhancing understanding nursing’s focus and the process by which nurses evaluate health indicators to develop or use intervention that can maximize health. Nurses are integral members of intradisciplinary and transdisciplinary teams, providing a broad approach to patient care and community problems. Processes of assessment, diagnosis, outcome identification, planning, interventions, and evaluation-when systematically applied-facilitate use of the nursing process at all levels of practice.

Thus, the three central interwoven circles show the levels of population-based practice. Systems, community, and individual/family are nested within population-based care that is compassionate and evidence-based, which is applied at all points of the nursing process. The ultimate goal of nursing care is healthy people in healthy communities. For individual patients, success is measured by improvement in or maintenance of health; for the community, success is measured by improvement in overall community health and quality of life indicators. Focusing on these goals and evaluating patient and community outcomes completes the nursing process and allows modification of the plan of care as needed.

Figure 1

SON Practice Model

Teaching/ Learning Philosophy

Teaching is a complex, interactive, and outcome-focused operation. Based on a body of evidence, it promotes disequilibrium and contributes to learners’ growth. Well applied evidence-based teaching strategies take into account learning goals, student diversity (including learning styles), and faculty and student resources. Teaching strategies are matched to student learning styles, reflect on-going formative and summative assessment, and are driven by the ideal of continuous improvement. The teacher focuses on learners and provides environments that facilitate student learning where desired learner outcomes (cognitive, affective, and psychomotor) are achieved.

Liberal Learning

Liberal learning that prepares students to live responsible, productive, and creative lives is the foundation of professional nursing education. Nursing education fosters a well-grounded intellectual resilience, a disposition toward lifelong learning, and an acceptance of responsibility for the ethical consequences of ideas and actions (Statement on liberal learning, 1998). Liberal education requires a respect for truth, recognition of the importance of context (e.g., historical, cultural), and examination of connections among formal learning, citizenship, and community service.

Integration of liberal education and nursing education comes from faculty members guiding students to build bridges between key concepts in both. In a practice discipline such as nursing, assisting students to make these connections is the basis or foundation for development of clinical judgment skills required for professional nursing practice (American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN], 2008). Students must achieve competency with critical thinking, communication, ethical decision-making, evidence-based practice, and information literacy. Information literacy enables students to recognize when information is needed and locate, appraise and effectively incorporate salient information.

Ideally, nursing education takes place in an environment that promotes true transdisciplinary experiences where individuals from each discipline show mutual understanding and respect towards and for the other’s discipline and contribution. Such transdisciplinary practice is patient-centered, results oriented and enhances care effectiveness for patients (Greiner & Knebel, 2003).