Monday, December 29, 2008

Misericordia University: An 84-year Tradition of Hospitality, Justice, Mercy and Service

By Cynthia Mailloux, PhD, R.N.
Associate Professor
Chair Nursing Dept - Misericordia University

Misericordia University - Description of Program

Misericordia’s nursing program is committed to providing an educational experience which produces competent nurses who are critical thinkers and educated consumers of research. This program prepares its graduates for productive careers in nursing and advocates for life-long learning. As an entry-level professional program, the nursing curriculum reflects a commitment to the relationship between liberal arts and professional studies that enables graduates to adapt to constantly evolving societal and professional needs. The Department of Nursing is committed to the provision of affordable, quality professional education that expresses the founding Sisters' values and attitudes of hospitality, justice, mercy, and service. The overall goal is to develop a competent professional who will provide the highest quality of care to individuals, aggregates, and populations.

The goals/outcomes support the mission of the University and the principles of academic excellence, service leadership, and professional preparation which are components of the Trinity of Learning. Evidence based practice is a strong component of this curriculum which requires students to critically think and problem solve. This curriculum will build on the reputation of the nursing program and continue to provide high quality graduates. The proposed changes are consistent with the program’s mission, goals and educational goals of the university.

Philosophy for Misericordia’s Department of Nursing

The nursing department at Misericordia University supports the mission statement and philosophy of the University. The undergraduate nursing program is based on a complementary relationship between liberal arts and professional studies. The approach to education focuses on critical thinking, as well as on the values and attitudes of justice, mercy, service, and hospitality. Humans are viewed as intellectual, spiritual and creative beings that are in constant interaction with their environments. Human beings have the potential for self-direction based on their developmental level and are characterized by the capacity for emotion, reasoning, and perceiving. The holistic view of humans takes into account the physical structure, mind and spirit of the individual, as well as the environment in which each functions. Humans interact on the basis of respect for each other’s worth and dignity.

The environment as experienced by human beings is multidimensional and dynamic. It can be viewed as encompassing biological, physical, psychological, socio-cultural, political and economic forces. Human beings experience the environment as individuals, families, groups and communities who can be described in terms of micro-systems and macro-systems.

Health is a dynamic sense of wellness, which results from a process of making choices over time. A particular sense of wellness is perceived by individuals and is influenced by their self-esteem, inner sense of meaning, and desire to achieve their highest potential.

Nursing is an art, involved in caring, and a science based on its own theory and research. The nursing process guides nursing practice and involves critical thinking as related to the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains of knowing. Ethical and legal issues have a strong impact on the practice of nursing. Professional nursing is a vital, effective health service to the community. The faculty believes that professional nursing is committed to making quality health care available and accessible to all, thus reflecting the commitment to mercy, justice, and service. Professional nursing exerts an influence on, and is influenced by several factors that contribute to the complexity of the health care system. These include: the newly developing patterns of providing services, the roles of other members of the health team, scientific and technological advances, research, and social and economic pressures. Leadership in nursing involves directing and managing client care, as well as collaborating with other health care professionals.

Learning is directed toward the development of values and professional role identification. It is lifelong and involves developmental changes. Learning involves critical thinking, which encompasses analysis and synthesis of knowledge. The faculty believes that learning occurs when the student actively participates in the learning process. Students have the responsibility to achieve their highest potential with the assistance of the faculty who act as facilitators. Teaching, therefore, is a collaborative process in which a student assumes progressive responsibility for personal learning.

Undergraduate education in nursing is built on a strong core of general education requirements and is generic in nature. Included within the undergraduate nursing curriculum are liberal arts and the sciences such as nutrition, anatomy and physiology, and developmental psychology, as well as other pure and behavioral sciences. The undergraduate program prepares nurse generalists who are capable of using nursing research, nursing process, and theories in a variety of settings. Students are prepared for graduate study in nursing.

Graduate education enables professional nurses to realize their creative leadership potential and provides opportunities for collaborative functioning with health professionals and others in effecting change in nursing practice and health care. Specialization occurs on the graduate level which provides for in-depth knowledge and experience in specific clinical and functional areas. Advanced knowledge provides the foundation for effective leadership in nursing. Scientific inquiry is an integral part of graduate education in nursing. Such inquiry provides the basis for acquisition of increased competencies in utilization of research and increased knowledge base in the analysis and synthesis of theories related to the practice of nursing. Graduate education provides the foundation for doctoral study in nursing.

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