Definitions of Major Concepts



Client is defined as being the individual, family, groups, or community in need of nursing services. From a holistic perspective each client is influenced by biological, psychological, social, cultural, spiritual and developmental dimensions. Clients are unique and continuously involved in adapting to life changes that are interdependent with environment and health. Individuals have the right to choose from multiple options that are available in daily life experiences and should accept responsibility for their choices.



The environment is comprised of internal and external forces which affect clients. Environmental forces influencing everyday life include, but are not limited to bio_psycho_social, cultural, spiritual, and developmental dimensions, political and economic structures, physical surroundings, and human relations.



Health is a dynamic process that is self_defined by personal, family, cultural, and societal beliefs.

A transition is a process which results in modification(s) in the life on an individual, a family, a group/organization, or a community. Transitions are triggered by a change event or a series of change events. All transitions involve periods of disequilibrium for the individual, family, group/organization, or community. Clients experiencing transitions which have the potential to affect health can most benefit from nursing interventions designed to attain mutually defined outcomes.

 Nursing Therapeutics


Nursing therapeutics are activities concerned with assessing, diagnosing, planning, implementing and evaluating care that promotes, maintains and restores the health of the client; or provides comfort at end-of-life. The goal of nursing therapeutics is to foster client choices and independence that lead to health and well-being. Nursing strives to educate and work with clients to achieve mutually defined goals.



Learning is a continuous, lifelong process that incorporates cognitive, psychomotor and affective domains. The process of learning must incorporate different learning styles and rates for each individual and take into account the person’s motivation, life experience, culture, and developmental level.

Major Organizing Concepts

 Clinical Competency

Clinical Competency:

Competency is inherent to the practice of nursing. Competency is defined as the ability to plan and carry out knowledgeable, efficient, and safe nursing care and assumes an awareness of one's own limitations. The achievement of competency is evidenced by the student's ability to provide nursing care in increasingly complex settings and situations. Students are required to master the core competencies which include: 1) achieving an entry level professional knowledge base, 2) practicing safe, effective, and efficient nursing care, and 3) demonstrating nursing skills.

The students learn the skills and knowledge needed to demonstrate clinical competency. Students learn to synthesize information from the knowledge and skills learned and analyze data to individualize nursing care in well defined practice settings for clients of all ages with multiple health care needs and problems. Students develop proficiency in their skills in the laboratory and clinical settings.

 2. Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking:

Critical thinking is reflective judgment and reasonable thought that focuses on deciding what to believe or what to do. It is a composite of attitudes, knowledge, and skills. Students are required to use knowledge from nursing, biological and social sciences, and humanities as a basis for nursing practice. Nurse educators expect the student to learn and apply critical thinking skills. Students need to be able to arrive at decisions to facilitate health that are specific to the unique circumstances of each client. Nursing process is the critical thinking framework used for systematic, client-centered, outcome-oriented methods of nursing practice.

Students learn to obtain information from current, accepted nursing references and other disciplines. They synthesize knowledge and skills to formulate and implement decisions related to complex nursing practice situations in well defined sittings.

 3. Caring


Caring is an essential component of nursing that involves the therapeutic use of self within the context of nursing practice. Caring requires personal, social, moral, and spiritual engagement of the nurse. Caring is intentional in nature and is of benefit to the client.

Students apply and integrate caring behaviors into nursing practice. Students learn to differentiate between caring as an emotional response and a knowledgeable, deliberative intervention. They use this knowledge with cognitive and psychomotor activities to produce purposeful outcomes that protect, enhance, and preserve human dignity.

 4. Diversity/Culture


Society is composed of widely diverse groups of people. The groups include, but are not limited to, people with different racial, ethnic, socio-economic backgrounds, sexual orientation, gender, age, and geographical areas.

Culture refers to the acquired knowledge individuals use to interpret life's experiences and to generate social behavior. Nursing professionals need to seek to know and understand the values, beliefs, and daily living patterns of a variety of cultures. Because of the relationship between diversity, culture and health care, it is important to identify factors that influence how individuals, families, groups, and communities experience and ascribe meanings to health and illness.

Nursing faculty are challenged to help students recognize personal values and biases to broaden students' perspectives of diversity and to help students develop cultural sensitivity.

Students learn basic culture concepts and begin to identify cultural differences in knowledge and belief, daily living, and health practices. They recognize that diversity impacts a client’s experiences with health care. Students integrate knowledge of diversity/culture into nursing practice. They also recognize the interactions between one's own culture and the culture of the client.

 5. Communication


Communication is the means of sending and receiving messages through symbols, words, signs, and gestures. Therapeutic communication is deliberate, client-focused communication designed to assist the client in problem solving and goal achievement. Students are assisted in exploring, analyzing, and evaluating communication processes with clients. They learn the skills needed to interact with clients in a therapeutic manner, and to adapt the communication techniques as appropriate to clients diverse backgrounds, education, development, and health status.

Effective interpersonal communication involves the ability to interact with nurse colleagues and other members of the healthcare team in a positive, respectful manner. Students learn the processes which foster open communication, conflict resolution, and proper delegation. They also learn the importance of (and techniques for) clear, accurate, and timely written and verbal communication.

 6. Learning/Teaching


The learning_teaching process is ongoing, dynamic, and interpersonal. The nurse facilitates health promotion, maintenance, and restoration of clients' health through education. The purpose of teaching is to help clients develop self-care abilities to improve their quality of life or achieve a dignified death.

Faculty serve as motivators, facilitators, and role models. Learning_teaching is most effective when the student is an active participant in the process. Thus, the student implements choices and selects opportunities to develop personal learning_teaching objectives and experiences. The student has the opportunity to develop the ability to think critically, act responsibly, be creative, and communicate effectively.

Students identify components of the learning_teaching process and incorporate the learning_teaching role into the nursing role.

 7. Accountability


Nurses are held responsible and accountable for nursing practice based upon the profession's code of ethics, standards of practice, and legal regulations. Nurses are responsible for developing and maintaining current nursing knowledge and skills through formal and continuing education.

Faculty foster the development of professional responsibility and accountability through students’ self_regulatory mechanisms such as student self_appraisal, standards of academic integrity, honesty, and the maintenance of confidentiality. Students identify, explore, and analyze the ethical, legal and political factors which impact upon the role of professional nursing in the health_care delivery system. Students are expected to demonstrate responsibility and accountability appropriate to their levels of education, experience, and practice.

 8. Management/Leadership


Management and leadership are essential elements of nursing practice. Nurses function as vital members of the health care team and are responsible for the management of client care.

Management in nursing occurs at all levels of practice and involves coordination of care, fiscal responsibility, resource utilization, and participation as a member of the organization.. Registered nurses must also have the knowledge and skills to make decisions regarding prioritization, delegation, conflict management, and evaluation. Faculty facilitate the acquisition of the cognitive, technical, interpersonal, and ethical/legal skills that graduates need to become effective managers of care.

Leadership is the ability to influence and guide the decisions and subsequent actions of others. Developing leadership skills involves self-reflection, understanding human processes, envisioning possibilities, goal setting, and communication. Students are introduced to the importance of nursing involvement in professional organizations, political processes, and organizational decision making.