Consistent with the Waynesburg University Mission Statement, the Department of Nursing strives to inspire and challenge every nursing student to a life of leadership and purpose. The knowledge a student derives from general education and professional education provides the basis for personal and professional development. The mission/philosophy of the Waynesburg University Department of Nursing evolves from the faculty's belief about people, society, health, nursing and nursing education, and the belief that caring is central to nursing.
The selection of caring as the nursing program’s central theme and conceptual base derives from the sense that a full understanding of, appreciation for and a commitment to caring for people and their health across the life span is integral to the profession of nursing. Caring is a culturally developed, universal expression of interest and concern for self (self-care) and others (care-giving). Caring is essential for a healthy society and is necessary for the attainment of health and the care-giving goals of wellness, health promotion, illness and disease management, palliative and end-of-life care, clinical prevention, and population health. Care is required all along the health continuum and to support peaceful death. It is intrinsic to the establishment of therapeutic relationships between the nurse and the patient. Caring serves as the program’s core for ethical and scientific study, scholarship for evidence-based practice and education within the professional nursing program.
The Department of Nursing embraces the diversity of people as individuals, families, groups, communities and populations. Psychobiological, socio-cultural and spiritual patterns of people evolve across the life span. Society, the environment in which people exist, includes the totality of social relationships among human beings, encompasses human diversity, and includes philosophical, historical, socio-cultural, legal, ethical, political, professional, technological, economic and health policy factors. Health, education, religion, politics, economics and governments within individual societies are reflective of the greater global community.
Health is individually defined and includes psychobiological, socio-cultural and spiritual health patterns. Functional health patterns are indicative of the maintenance of stability and well-being. Alterations within these patterns may be perceived as illness. Across the life span, the health continuum is characterized by interacting patterns of wellness and illness. It is believed that people are responsible and accountable for the decisions they make independently, interdependently or dependently about their health. In today’s healthcare delivery system, the accomplishment of care-giving goals may take place in a variety of settings.
Nursing is a discipline based on the humanities and sciences and emerges as an academic and practice-oriented profession committed to caring. As a scientific discipline, nursing seeks to apply evidence to improve healthcare outcomes. As an ethical discipline, nursing seeks to identify frameworks in which to examine personal and professional values involving philosophical, moral and Christian concepts. As a practice-oriented profession, nursing promotes the care-giving goals of wellness, health promotion, illness and disease management, palliative and end-of-life care, clinical prevention, and population health. In addition, nursing fosters the care-giving behaviors of critical thinking, communication, therapeutic nursing interventions and information management. These care-giving behaviors are the primary mechanisms by which nurses help people achieve positive health outcomes.
Clinical reasoning and clinical judgment provide the basis for care-giving decisions that promote patient safety and quality. Reflecting, critical thinking, systematic inquiry and analytical skills, clinical reasoning and clinical judgment direct nursing interventions for patient-centered care focusing on improving patient care outcomes. Functional health patterns provide the database for the assessment and diagnosis of actual or potential patient health problems. Integral to clinical reasoning and clinical judgment is the identification of ethical and scientific rationales for care-giving. The goals of care-giving for the nurse are to achieve positive health outcomes related to wellness, health promotion, illness and disease management, palliative and end-of-life care, and clinical prevention and population health.
As members of the nursing profession, leadership roles include provider, collaborator, designer, manager and coordinator of care. As providers and collaborators of care, professional nurses implement evidence-based practice in partnership with diverse patients. As designers, managers and coordinators of care, professional nurses lead interprofessional teams in the delivery of care in a changing healthcare environment. Skills essential to these roles include communication, collaboration, negotiation, delegation, coordination, evaluation and the ability to apply theoretical and evidence-based practice models. Members of the nursing profession also are involved in healthcare policies, including financial and regulatory policies. Professional nurses advocate for healthcare consumers and the profession of nursing.
The basis upon which professional nursing builds is a general education at the baccalaureate level. Education is a life-long process, and educational systems are established by society to promote learning and to meet its changing needs. General education complements professional nursing education. Professional nursing is best understood by viewing it in relationship to the arts, sciences and humanities.
Nursing education at the baccalaureate level prepares graduates for entry level professional positions in a variety of healthcare settings. Nursing education at the master’s level builds on knowledge acquired at the baccalaureate level. This education prepares the professional nurse to promote safe, high-quality nursing care through higher level practice and leadership in both direct and indirect care roles including administration, education and informatics. A Doctor of Nursing Practice degree prepares graduates for the highest level of nursing leadership and practice within organizations and systems, and for emphasizing scholarship through implementation science.
Teaching and learning are essential parts of the educational process. Learning is a continuous and goal-oriented process influenced by previous knowledge and experience, learner uniqueness and ability. Learning is enhanced when it is sequential, integrated and structured toward progressive learning goals that are increasingly complex. Students are expected to be responsible, accountable and active participants in their own learning.
Faculty members, when teaching, have the responsibility to foster a caring environment that promotes active learning, intellectual curiosity and critical thinking. In addition, they provide for varied learning experiences, make provisions for the learner’s uniqueness, monitor students’ achievement of learning objectives, provide positive reinforcement and encourage life-long learning. It is the faculty members’ belief that students and faculty work together in achieving learning objectives.
As members of a profession, nurses demonstrate commitment to professional practice standards, to continued personal and professional growth, to professional organizations through membership and active participation, to service and to nursing education. The professional nurse role emphasizes responsibility and accountability to self, to the patient and to the profession.