The philosophy of the School of Nursing is derived from a humanistic view of the world. We believe that individuals possess dignity and worth, and, therefore have an innate right to respect and honor. We believe that persons are accountable for their own actions, while simultaneously bearing responsibility for contributing to the welfare of society.
The nursing faculty has been guided by these principles in developing their beliefs about persons, environment, health, nursing, nursing education, and teaching and learning.
Person: The faculty believes that a person is a unique, holistic, ever-changing adaptive system. A person has basic human needs manifested throughout the life cycle. To satisfy these needs, the person is constantly interacting with the environment through adaptation. Need satisfaction serves as the motivation for learning. Adaptive behaviors enable the individual to achieve satisfaction of needs, resulting in reproduction, growth and mastery.
Individuals have freedom of choice and are accountable for their choices. As caring individuals, they enter into reciprocal relationships that foster spiritual integrity, mutual trust, a sense of self-worth and a feeling of belonging.
Environment: The faculty believes that the environment is an aggregate of all internal and external conditions affecting the life and development of the individual, the family, the community, society and the world. The physical, biological, social, economic and political aspects of the environment influence the well-being of the individual, family and community, and the environment is, in turn, influenced by them. Furthermore, the faculty believes that the environment is constantly changing; this constant change necessitates the person's continuing adaptation to stimuli produced within the environment.
Our placement in a multicultural, diverse, urban environment necessitates that we understand the complex stresses and needs distinct to this setting. Nursing in an urban environment demands the awareness of such issues as access to care; education of the community; manipulation of environmental hazards and supports; and the morbidity and mortality factors indigenous to this environment. In addition, assessment of the demographic and cultural influences such as the increasing diversification of the population, the changing family structure and the shifts in the age profile of the population and their relation to the well-being of the community are paramount.
In accepting the challenges of our urban environment, the faculty believes that the health needs of the community must be served at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels of care. The health care system in general and professional nursing in particular, must respond to these changing community health needs. Concomitantly, the faculty believes that the urban environment does not exist in a vacuum, but rather interacts with and reflects the ever-changing global environment. Nursing, therefore, must be aware of the social, political and economic issues that have impact upon the individual, the community, society and the world, as well as their consequences.
Health: The faculty believes that health is a state, and a process of being and becoming an integrated whole person. Through a variety of coping mechanisms, the person strives to attain, maintain and promote health. In each stage of the life process, the person's integrity is expressed in the ability to meet goals of survival, growth, reproduction and mastery. The individual's adaptive responses occur within identifiable patterns of behavior. Each pattern is an expression of the person's biopsychosocial integration and can be understood only within the context of the individual's unique interaction with his/her environment.
Health and illness are considered to be one inevitable dimension of the person's total life experience. Illness occurs when mechanisms for coping are ineffective. Health pervades when the person continually adapts effectively. The role of nursing is to facilitate adaptive responses of individuals and groups by manipulating and managing environmental stimuli. In so doing, the nurse promotes a positive adaptive state, which frees the individual to respond to other stimuli. Thus, energy freed from ineffective coping can promote or maintain health and enhance healing.
The faculty deems adequate health care to be a basic right of every person. Access to health care, particularly primary and tertiary health care in an urban setting, is often limited and therefore requires additional effort and focus on the part of nursing. We believe that increased appropriate utilization of nurses as health care providers can contribute to more available, more efficient and less costly health care.
Nursing: The faculty believes that nursing is a caring, humanistic, learned and scientific profession that focuses on the health of the person and, by extension, on that of the groups with which the person interacts. It is a nurturing, protective profession that empowers people to make their own choices.
Since nursing exists in a changing environment, it too, is continually changing; as health care needs evolve, nursing must respond. Thus, we believe that nursing influences, and is influenced by, the changing society, the profession of nursing thereby becoming increasingly diverse.
The goals of nursing are the promotion and maintenance of health and the restoration of health in case of illness. Thus, we believe the function of nursing is to facilitate adaptive responses of the person, the family and the community. Nursing care is seen as appropriate in any setting in which health is a goal.
Nursing is an interpersonal process that requires as its foundation the development of effective verbal and nonverbal communication skills in order to develop and use the intellectual skills and interventions essential to the practice of nursing.
The faculty believes that the intellectual skills necessary for nursing practice are critical and creative thinking, problem solving and decision-making. Furthermore, the faculty believes that professional nursing practice is a composite of acquired attitudes, values, beliefs and competencies. The faculty endorses the essential values of altruism, equality, aesthetics, freedom, human dignity, justice and truth as articulated by the AACN.
Nursing practice includes the role of leader/manager, change agent/facilitator, client advocate, teacher/learner and provider of care. As a practice profession, nursing requires competency in utilization of clinical judgment and the related skills essential for the performance of therapeutic nursing interventions.
Professional nursing practice is based on knowledge synthesized from nursing, psychosocial and biophysical sciences, and the humanities. As a learned, scientific profession, we believe nursing must continue to expand its knowledge base through research and the application of research findings to practice. Therefore, nursing practice will become more clearly defined as nursing research and theory expand.
We further believe that the nurse is responsible and accountable for his/her own practice and accepts responsibility for the provision of nursing care when it is delivered by others. We see the nurse as responsible for her/his own continued personal and professional development and for the development of the profession.
Nursing Education: The faculty believes that learning is an active, lifelong process, which brings about long-term changes in behavior, thoughts, ideas, attitudes and values. These changes are not merely the outcome of maturation or chance.
Active learning engages the intellectual effort of both teacher and student and is necessary for the development of critical thinking. Both teacher and student are seen as active, responsible participants in the educational process.
The teacher, as a facilitator, guide, resource person and role model, assists the student to realize her/his potential by creating an atmosphere conducive to independent thought and action, creativity, pursuit of scholarly achievement, awareness of self and acceptance of others.
The faculty acknowledges that the student as learner is an individual and that learners differ in their ways of learning. Individualization within courses becomes the challenge of the teacher.
The faculty considers baccalaureate education in nursing to be essential preparation for beginning professional nursing practice. Baccalaureate nursing preparation, as a composite of liberal arts and professional education, provides the foundation for graduate study in nursing and expands and modifies the knowledge, clinical skills and values required for beginning professional nursing practice and to be an educated member of society.
The faculty believes that professional nursing education takes place in the upper division, i.e. it builds on general education, supportive courses in the sciences and beginning-level nursing courses. Supportive courses in the natural and social sciences provide knowledge basic to understanding the nature of human beings and society in general.
The faculty believes that nursing courses must reflect the general body of nursing knowledge, but must also be augmented by knowledge derived from current nursing research and theory development. Further, since nursing is a practice profession, the integration of knowledge is facilitated through concurrent application in the clinical laboratory setting. Faculty, in turn, must be expert in their clinical field and must maintain clinical expertise through practice and study of advances in nursing.
The faculty further believes that evaluation is a vital component of education and is the means by which student and teacher can determine whether mutual expectations, goals and outcomes have been achieved. Evaluation must take place at all levels of the educational process and serve as the means for guiding and promoting the progressive attainment of educational goals. Ongoing evaluation of the educational process is necessary in order to ensure that the graduate is able to fulfill the role of the professional nurse in an ever-evolving environment.
We believe that the progress of registered nurse students who are prepared in technical nursing education programs requires recognition of past learning both within the classroom and the experiential setting. Their progression toward a professional degree can best be facilitated through placement in upper-division nursing courses, which reinforce and maximize their strengths and provide an expanded professional knowledge base which fosters leadership and self-responsibility.