Additional information about this program can be found here.
The mission of the School of Nursing (SON) of Western Kentucky University is to produce culturally sensitive nurses for an increasing global society at the associate, baccalaureate and graduate levels and to provide continuing education opportunities for lifelong learning to our constituents.
The SON faculty members believe that education for professional nurses is built upon knowledge from the liberal arts and sciences and occurs within institutions of higher learning. The School of Nursing provides two options for entry into practice, the Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree builds upon the baccalaureate degree and is the foundation for advanced nursing practice and doctoral education.
Nursing is a professional discipline, an art and science, which applies knowledge from the liberal arts and sciences to meet the health care needs of patients. The goal of professional nursing practice is to assist patients in achieving an optimal level of functioning across the lifespan.
Professional nursing practice encompasses the application of the nursing process, critical thinking skills, communication and scientific inquiry in the delivery of nursing care in a variety of settings. Nurses assume multiple roles based on educational preparation. Generalist nurses prepared at the Associate and Baccalaureate levels assume the roles of provider of care, designer/manager/coordinator of care, and member of a profession. Masters prepared nurses assume specialty roles based on educational preparation and experience. Nurses at all levels use inter and intra-professional communication and collaborative skills to deliver evidenced based interventions aimed at health promotion, risk reduction, disease surveillance/prevention/management and patient centered care for patients of all ages and diverse cultures. All professional nurses are accountable for their practice within the guidelines of standards of care and ethical codes set forth by professional organizations.
The patient, the recipient of nursing care and/or services, is conceptualized as an individual, family,group, community or population that is unique with intrinsic worth and dignity. The patient does not exist in isolation but as part of a complex interaction among other persons and the environment. Patients come from diverse backgrounds that require culturally sensitive nursing care. Patients have the right to self-determination. The unique interaction between the nurse and the patient is the essence of professional nursing practice.
Health reflects the patient's optimal level of functioning. Health is a dynamic process influenced by the complex interaction of biological, economic and environmental factors, values and beliefs, societal interactions, and health behaviors. Professional nursing practice enhances the patient's optimal level of functioning.
The environment consists of internal and external parameters that affect patients. The parameters include biological, cultural, economic, political, psychosocial, and spiritual factors. Any change in the environment has the potential to influence the patient's health. Nurses assist patients to modify the environment for improvement of health.
Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) Program
The Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) program prepares the graduate as a generalist to give nursing care in a variety of health care settings and provides the knowledge base for career mobility. ASN Program graduates are eligible to write the NCLEX exam to become a registered nurse.
The organizing framework reflects the philosophy of the SON Program and identifies the basic structural components of the curriculum. The organizational framework of the curriculum is based on the concepts of nursing, patient, health, and environment which is guided by theoretical principles including Maslow Hierarchy of Needs and Erikson's Developmental Stages.
The core values central to nursing practice are caring, diversity, integrity, excellence, ethics, patient-centeredness, and holism (NLN, 2011). The role of the associate degree nursing graduate includes provider of care, manager of care, and member within the discipline of nursing. Integrated concepts inherent in these three roles focus on the nurse as caregiver, teacher, coordinator, communicator, collaborator, and advocate. Professional nurses are accountable for their practice within the ANA's Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, ANA's Code of Ethics for Nurses, licensing laws, professional standards, and established policies and procedures.
Advocacy - Giving patients the information they need to make decisions and then supporting those decisions. It implies that caregivers try to understand and clearly state a patient's point of view (Potter and Perry, 2011, p. 64-65).
Caring - A fundamental part of the nursing profession, characterizes our concern and consideration for the whole person, our commitment to the common good, and our outreach to those who are vulnerable (NLN, 2010, p. 65, 2011).
Diversity - Recognizing differences among "persons, ideas, values and ethnicities," while affirming the uniqueness of each (NLN, 2010, p. 66).
Evidence-Based Nursing - The practice of nursing in which the nurse makes clinical decisions on the basis of the best available current research evidence, his or her own clinical expertise, and the needs and preferences of the patient (Mosby, 2009).
Nursing Judgment - Encompasses three processes: namely, critical thinking1, clinical judgment2, and integration of best evidence into practice. Nurses must employ these processes as they make decisions about clinical care, the development and application of research and the broader dissemination of insights and research findings to the community, and management and resource allocation (NLN, 2010, p. 67; Tanner, 2006).
- Critical thinking-Identifying, evaluating and using evidence to guide decision making by means of logic and reasoning.
- Clinical judgment - a process of observing, interpreting, responding, and reflecting situations within and emerging from the nurse's knowledge and perspective.
Nursing Process - A critical thinking model comprising the integration of singular, concurrent actions of these six components: assessment, diagnosis, identification of outcomes, planning, implementation, and evaluation (ANA, 2010).
Patient Centeredness - An orientation to the care that incorporates and reflects the uniqueness of an individual and supports optimal health outcomes by involving patients in decisions about their care(NLN, 2010, p. 14; Cronenwett et al, 2007).
Teaching - An interactive process that promotes learning. It consists of a conscious, deliberate set of actions that help individuals gain new knowledge, change attitudes, adopt new behaviors, or perform new skills (Potter and Perry, 2011, p. 188; Bastable, 2008; Redman, 2007).
Therapeutic Communication - "Interactive verbal and nonverbal strategies that focus on the needs of the patient and facilitate a goal-directed, patient-oriented communication process" (Keltner, Bostrom, and McGuinness, 2011). "It is nonjudgmental, discourages defensiveness, and promotes trust" (Townsend, 2011).
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- Applies knowledge from the behavioral, biological, physical and social sciences, and the liberal arts to provide a holistic approach to nursing care.
- Functions within the ANA Scope and Standards of Practice, Code of Ethics, licensing laws and established policies and procedures to provide patient-centered care.
- Provides safe, high-quality care utilizing nursing process, critical thinking skills, therapeutic communication and cultural sensitivity within the patient's context.
- Uses caring behaviors and therapeutic evidence-based nursing interventions to assist patients to achieve an optimal level of health or to die with dignity.
- Uses organizational and priority-setting skills to effectively manage multiple nursing demands.
- Identifies appropriate resources when encountering situations beyond knowledge and experience.
- Demonstrates accountability for nursing care given by self and/or delegated to others.
- Collaborates with other health care providers to coordinate care.
- Provides the patient with information to make informed decisions regarding health.
- Models advocacy to support optimal health outcomes.
- Discuss the importance of a spirit of inquiry, lifelong learning, and a commitment to evidence-based nursing practice.
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