Philosophy and Conceptual Framework

Nursing: Professional nursing is both an art and a science. As a service discipline and ministry, nursing is built on the foundation of the unity of faith and knowledge and the charisms of the Franciscan belief that all people deserve compassionate health care. Nurses work in many roles to provide health care to people. Autonomous and collaborative in nature, the nurse may practice as a nurse generalist and in advanced practice. Nurses work to promote and restore health, prevent illness, and support persons through illness, disability, or a peaceful death.

Health: Health is a holistic, dynamic growth toward fulfilling an individual’s potential and considering the individual’s needs, abilities, and disabilities. It is purposeful and adaptive, responding to internal and external stimuli in order to responsibly maintain balance, stability, and comfort. Health is a quality of the individual and can only be expressed by the individual experiencing it. This self-perception lies on a continuum.

Learning: Learning is a lifelong process of change through which people build on prior knowledge to develop new knowledge, skills, and attitudes through study and experience. The learning process occurs over time and assists the learner to think critically. Faculty set a climate for encouraging the student to be responsible and accountable for his or her own learning and recognize that individuals learn in various ways and have unique learning needs. Vicarious learning is fostered through open exchange and linking of ideas from one academic circle to another, collaborative multidisciplinary practices, role modeling, and mentoring.

Environment: Environment is ever changing and external to the person. It includes other people, all circumstances, influences, and conditions that surround us. This includes family, community, society, socio-cultural, political, and economic factors as well as the health care system. There is a dynamic, reciprocal interaction between a person and the environment. The environment can either promote or interfere with a person’s health and well-being. The manner in which a person interacts with and adapts to the environment affects one’s health.

Person: Every human person is a unique individual made in the image and likeness of God. The person consists of body, mind, and spirit existing within complex systems that include the family, community, and society. Residing in the person is a deep human need for balanced integration throughout one’s lifetime, a dynamic process through which the individual seeks to maximize his or her potential. The well-integrated individual, in turn, embraces his or her personal responsibility for balanced and meaningful interaction with the environment, thus fostering both individual and collective wellness.

The Department of Nursing graduate program is built on the undergraduate nursing program and is organized around the concepts of:

Critical thinking: an approach to nursing practice which reflects analytical methods, including observation, reflection, experience, reasoning, inquiry, and Christian maturity.

Therapeutic nursing interventions: is the ability to provide theory-based psychomotor and psychosocial nursing actions according to professional standards that are designed to optimize the health of individuals, families, and groups.

Communication: the goal-driven, culturally appropriate process using various methods to exchange information in nursing and health related situations.

The program provides graduates with a strong foundational background of theory, research, and experiential learning in which to practice in a variety of health care systems and educational settings. Through lectures, discussions, seminars, clinical experiences, and independent study, students acquire a strong foundational background of critical thinking, therapeutic nursing interventions, and communication skills.  

The Department of Nursing graduate program curriculum objectives are consistent with the American Association of College of Nursing (2011), Essentials of Masters Education for Advanced Practice Nursing.  The Department of Nursing Graduate Program Curriculum objectives for FNP are consistent with the National Organization of Nurse  Practitioner Faculties Domains (NONPF, 2012).