The philosophy of the School of Nursing serves as the organizing framework and declares the beliefs and assumptions that support the mission of the BSN program. Beliefs about human beings, environment, health, nursing, teaching and learning, and the capstone concepts of caring, critical thinking, holism, communication, professional roles, teaching/learning, the domains of nursing and the nursing process are defined and described within the philosophy. In addition, Roach’s (1987) characteristics of competence, confidence, commitment, conscience, and collaboration as well as the concept of culturally competent care guide the curriculum and outcomes.
Theoretical knowledge related to caring is introduced in NURS 3122, Professional Concepts. During the first semester of nursing, Caring Groups, an experiential activity designed to provide the students with the opportunity to learn caring, experience caring and practice caring are implemented. The Caring Group experience is continued each semester throughout the nursing program. The caring group curriculum begins with concepts related to caring for self and progresses to caring for each other, for colleagues and for patients. Activities within caring groups emphasize each of the progressive phases of caring. In addition, caring is included as an objective in each nursing course and is emphasized in class and clinical settings. Assessment of learning outcomes related to caring occurs in NURS 4422, Senior Seminar, where students orally present their perception of learning and experiencing caring during the nursing program.
Theoretical concepts related to critical thinking are introduced in NURS 3122, Professional Concepts. Classroom activities are designed to explore these concepts and to provide practice in the critical thinking process. This course is designated as a Writing Across the Curriculum course and the informal/formal writing activities encompass critical thinking/writing concepts.
Critical Thinking skills are further developed through activities in each nursing course. In the clinical courses (NURS 3135 - Professional Nursing Practice, 3235 - Mental Health Nursing Practice, 3245 - Family Health Nursing Practice, 3355 - Junior Practicum, 4335 - Adult Health Nursing Practice, 4345 - Community Health Nursing Practice and 4468 - Senior Practicum, 4470 - Community Health Nursing for RN Students, N4475 - Nursing Leadership and Management for RN Students), the ability to use critical thinking in assessing, diagnosing, planning, implementing and evaluating nursing care is evaluated.
Learning activities in NURS 3172 and each of the nursing skills courses (NURS 3182, 3272, and 4382) require that students utilize scientific concepts and research findings to assess individuals and implement therapeutic nursing interventions.
Research and Evidence-Based Nursing Practice (NURS 3222) focuses on evidence-based clinical practice and the use of critical thinking in evaluating research findings and their application to nursing practice. This course is also designated as a Writing Across the Curriculum course and the informal/formal writing activities encompass critical thinking/writing concepts.
Senior Seminar (NURS 4422) emphasizes the use of critical thinking in analyzing nursing practice issues from a historical, contemporary and futuristic perspective. It is also designated as a Writing Across the Curriculum course and the informal/formal writing activities encompass critical thinking/writing concepts. Assessment of learning outcomes related to critical thinking occurs in NURS 4422, Senior Seminar, where students write a position paper and orally present their perception of learning critical thinking during the nursing program.
Nursing Leadership and Management (NURS 4433) is designed to encourage the use of critical thinking in the decision making process with nursing management situations.
Theoretical concepts related to holism are introduced in NURS 3122, Professional Concepts. The emphasis is on learning to view self and others as holistic beings with diverse cultural perspectives. This includes a view of the importance of self-awareness and self-empowerment. Within the nursing practice courses (NURS 3135 - Professional Nursing Practice, 3235 - Mental Health Nursing Practice, 3245 - Family Health Nursing Practice, 3355 - Junior Practicum, 4335 - Adult Health Nursing Practice, 4345 - Community Health Nursing Practice and 4468 - Senior Practicum, 4470 - Community Health Nursing for RN Students, N4475 - Nursing Leadership and Management for RN Students), students are expected to demonstrate patient care from a holistic perspective. NURS 3172, Health Assessment, includes assessment within a holistic framework. NURS 3272, Nursing Skills II, introduces the student to holistic interventions such as relaxation exercises, therapeutic touch, music, imagery and humor. Activities related to specific interventions with these therapies are included in subsequent courses such as NURS 4335, Adult Health Nursing Practice.
The introduction to the professional roles of nursing begins in NURS 3122, Professional Concepts. The provider of care role is emphasized in each clinical practice and skill-oriented course.
The role of manager of care is introduced in the NURS 4335, Adult Health Nursing Practice, and progresses to more complex management skills in NURS 4433, Leadership and Management and NURS 4475, Nursing Leadership and Management for RN Students. In NURS 4475, the clinical experience focuses entirely on the role of manager of care. In NURS 4433, the classroom content focuses on the role of manager with students completing clinical management activities in NURS 4468, Senior Practicum.
The role of member of profession is initiated in NURS 3122, Professional Concepts. NURS 4422, Senior Seminar, provides the opportunity for synthesis and integration of information related to the role of member of profession. Activities related to member of profession are integrated throughout the curriculum. There is an active chapter of the Georgia Association of Nursing Students (GANS) and the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) at West Georgia with strong faculty support. The faculty is committed to recognizing students for attending state and national meetings and grants clinical time for student participation in professional organizations. The importance of belonging to professional organizations is stressed throughout the nursing program. Faculty who are active in the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the Georgia Nurses Association (GNA) speak to the entering students. The GANS advisors and officers recruit beginning nursing students into the organization. In NURS 4433, Nursing Leadership and Management, speakers from the Georgia Nurses Association attend class to discuss what the professional organization does for nurses.
Domains of Nursing
The domains of nursing practice (Benner) are addressed in NURS 3122, Professional Concepts, and NURS 3135, Professional Nursing Practice, and provide a foundation for use in subsequent nursing practice courses. The domains guide student practice and performance assessment in all the clinical courses. Specific domains are emphasized in various courses. The domains of Helping, Teaching-Coaching, Diagnostic and Patient Monitoring, and the Administration and Monitoring of Therapeutic Interventions and Regimens are emphasized in NURS 2023, Applied Pharmacology, and in all clinical practice and skill-related courses. For example, establishing the helping relationship is emphasized in NURS 3182, Nursing Skills I. Effective Management of Rapidly Changing Situations is emphasized in NURS 4335, Adult Health Nursing Practice, and NURS 4382, Nursing Skills III. The domain, Organizational and Work Role Competencies, is addressed in NURS 4382 - Nursing Skills III, NURS 4433 - Nursing Leadership and Management, and NURS 4475 - Nursing Leadership and Management for RN Students.
Ensuring Quality Health Care is a focus for NURS 4433, Nursing Leadership and Management, and NURS 4475, Nursing Leadership and Management for RN Students. Learning activities include projects related to assessing institutional plans for monitoring quality.
The nursing process is a systematic method that provides a framework for planning and meeting the healthcare needs of patients and is introduced in NURS 3135, Professional Nursing Practice. The five steps include assessment (gathering data about the patient), diagnosis (analysis of data and identification of problems), planning (development of goals, outcomes, and nursing interventions), implementation (implementing the nursing interventions), and evaluation (assessment of outcomes and achievement of goals). All clinical and skills-related courses utilize the nursing process for professional decision-making.
Synthesis of Caring, Critical Thinking, Holism, Professional Roles and Domains of Nursing
The students explore caring, critical thinking and holism from a personal perspective in NURS 4422, Senior Seminar, through self-reflection of personal and professional growth related to these concepts. Understanding of these concepts is demonstrated through an oral presentation.
The curriculum is also organized around other significant concepts that include: health promotion and maintenance, culturally competent nursing care, writing and scholarship, and Communication.
Health Promotion, Maintenance, Protection and Disease Prevention: Healthy People 2010
An emphasis on health promotion, maintenance, protection and disease prevention is based on the criteria developed for Healthy People 2010. The emphasis on health, wellness and prevention of illness is introduced with Healthy People 2010 in NURS 3122 - Professional Concepts, and NURS 3125 - Professional Nursing Practice, and advanced in NURS 4345 - Community Health Nursing Practice and NURS 4470 - Community Health Nursing for RN Students. Each of the priorities related to health and wellness identified in Healthy People 2010 are covered in clinical practice courses throughout the curriculum.
Culturally Sensitive Nursing Care
The importance of culturally sensitive nursing care is introduced in NURS 3122, Professional Concepts, and is integrated into each course. The provision of culturally competent care is a focus of NURS 3245, Community Health Nursing Practice, and NURS 4470, Community Health Nursing for RN Students. The manager’s role in providing culturally competent nursing care is a component of NURS4433, Nursing Leadership and Management, and NURS 4475, Nursing Leadership and Management for RN Students.
Writing and Scholarship
The curriculum has a strong emphasis on scholarship and writing. NURS 3222, Research and Evidence-Based Nursing Practice, focuses on research utilization and prepares students to read, critique, and utilize nursing research in the delivery of care in their clinical nursing courses. Students graduating from the program earn seven hours of Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) credit in nursing (NURS 3122 - Professional Concepts, NURS 3222 - Research and Evidence-Based Nursing Practice, NURS 4422 - Senior Seminar).
All aspects of communication, including oral, written and electronic, are integrated throughout the curriculum. Professional and therapeutic communications are a focus of the practice, manager, and member of a profession courses.
Roach’s (1987) Characteristics
The characteristics of competence, confidence, commitment, conscience, and collaboration are the foundation for program outcomes and are emphasized throughout the curriculum.
The concepts related to teaching and learning are introduced in NURS 3122, Professional Concepts, and NURS 3135, Professional Nursing Practice. Activities related to teaching and learning is emphasized in each course.