Community College of Rhode Island

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Philosophy of the Nursing Program

The Nursing Program is an integral part of the Community College of Rhode Island. The faculty regards the College's mission statement as a unifying element of the institution and has developed the Philosophy and Conceptual Framework consistent with the stated Missions.

The Nursing Faculty identifies a conceptual model for building and refining nursing knowledge. This conceptual base gives direction to the curriculum and determines the nature of courses, course outcomes, sequencing of content, and learning experiences of students. The selection of the conceptual model is based on the following beliefs:

Human beings are unique biopsychosocial, cultural, and spiritual individuals who function as a whole in response to internal and external cues, in the physical and social environment. This view represents a recognition that mind, body and spirit continuously interact with one another.

Each individual has personal rights and is deserving of respect with regard to his/her particular customs, beliefs, and needs. The health consumer, who is served by nursing, has a right to actively participate and collaborate with health care providers in his/her plan of care. The nurse is ever mindful of the consumer’s rights to be cared for and cared about, in order to effect a maximum level of wellness.

Caring is a universal phenomenon, the expression of which varies among cultures. It is central to the nursing profession. To provide therapeutic nursing care, the student acquires the knowledge of caring values, beliefs, and practices which support communication, promote adaptation, reduce stress, and meet psychosocial needs of the patient. A distinction is made between "caring about" and "caring for."

Nursing is a service to mankind. Its focus is on the diagnosis and treatment of human responses to actual or potential health problems. This process promotes, maintains, and restores health throughout the life cycle.

The Nursing Faculty believes the practice of Nursing consists of two major components. These components are the nurse-patient relationship and the environment. The environment serves not only as context for the nurse-patient relationship but also the structure of particular units and their culture. The culture of the environment, whether inpatient, outpatient, or home care, is very complex. This complexity creates the need for collaboration between health care disciplines and services. Multidiscipline approaches are required for the planning and management of patients' needs within a cost-effective framework. The nurse-patient relationship is the foundation for a caring practice. The nurse, with the patient, creates a health promoting and healing environment. The nurse, as presence, being there and with the patient in time of need, applies critical thinking skills to bridge the gap between the technological aspects of care, and the human responses to illness and disease. The nurse’s unique position in the delivery of direct patient care makes for the natural position of patient advocacy. Maintaining standards of professional ethics and accountability in the nurse-patient relationship serves as the foundation for morally responsible action. In this context, the practice of nursing, a humane calling, is viewed as a delicate balance of promoting patients’ independence and supporting their dependence.

Health is a dynamic state that includes all aspects of one’s life; physical well being, social interactions, economic conditions, emotional capacity and spiritual being. Health Promotion is the domain of Nursing, which directs individuals and groups toward a reality of lifestyle practices, and a valuing of health that enhances a wellness of mind, body, and spirit, allowing one to partake fully and enjoy totally, all that life has to offer.

Education is a life-long process that affords the learner the opportunity to develop personally, socially, and intellectually. Learning is an active process that involves cognitive, affective and psychomotor activities. The student is a proactive participant in the learning process, and is responsible for applying theory to nursing practice in a dynamic learning environment. Previous life experiences of the adult learner serve as a foundation for new learning experiences. Learning is evidenced by a gradual change in behavior within the framework of prior learning experiences.

Critical thinking is focused reasoning used to solve problems. Critical thinking is self-reflective and involves discernment and judgment. The standards used for making nursing judgments encompass nursing process, functional patterns of behavior, evidence based nursing practice, and the supportive sciences.

The nurse educator provides an environment where critical thinking and problem solving skills,0 are directed toward the mastering of predetermined outcomes. Faculty serves as role models for caring and competent nursing practice. They provide learning experiences utilizing current technologies and theories, guiding students toward the program competencies. This educational process is a shared experience based on caring, respect, communication, and collaboration. Throughout this process, the student is taught to utilize the sciences, nursing arts, and legal and ethical principles. Excellence in nursing requires the ability to reason through complex clinical problems, and apply previous knowledge, competencies, and experience to clinical practice.

The faculty recognizes that career goals may change, therefore, the Nursing Program provides for articulation from Practical Nurse, to Associate Degree, and to Baccalaureate Degree. The scope and application of nursing principles widens with each successive degree.

Associate Degree Nursing is the first level of preparation for professional nursing. The curriculum focuses on developing the critical thinking skills, and the technical competencies that are essential to entry into professional nursing practice. Associate degree nursing graduates are prepared to manage, teach and provide direct care to individuals, families, and groups in various clinical settings. In addition, Associate Degree Graduates are responsible for delegating care provided by the Licensed Practical Nurse as well as Assistive Personnel.

Practical Nursing is a level of nursing practice differing primarily in degree of responsibility. The Practical Nurse assists the Registered Nurse by providing for the emotional, physical and spiritual comfort of patients. This level of practitioner documents any signs and symptoms, which may be indicative of change in the patient’s condition. Nursing care is administered by the Practical Nurse utilizing the guidelines presented in the patient care plan.

Approved: 04/10/03
Revised: 03/06/07

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Last Updated: 2/27/13