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Education

Curriculum

The Faculty of Citizens School of Nursing asserts that the planning, direction, implementation, evaluation, review, and revision of the program is the responsibility of the faculty in order that the purpose, philosophy, and objectives of the School of Nursing might be achieved.

The Citizens School of Nursing curriculum is organized into 2 academic years, which are subdivided into 8 terms (4 in the first year and 4 in the second year), each 10 weeks in length. The total program consists of 720 theory hours and 1485 clinical hours for a total of 2205 hours of nursing theory and practice and 33 college credits in specific subjects earned at Penn State University and Westmoreland County Community College.

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Curriculum Objectives

The objectives of the Citizens School of Nursing curriculum are that the student:

  • Integrates scientific knowledge, evidence-based nursing practice, and creative problem-solving strategies to meet the healthcare needs of individuals, families, and communities. Evidence-based practice
  • Critiques own professional accountability through responsible, self-directed behavior consistent with the School of Nursing policies and ethical and legal standards of nursing. Professional attitude/teamwork
  • Incorporates the process of critical thinking in the application of the nursing process to facilitate the person’s movement toward a state of system stability. Safety, Patient-centered care
  • Interprets principles of therapeutic communication in a caring environment to assist individuals, families, and communities to achieve system stability. Patient-centered care
  • Participates as a member of the interdisciplinary team incorporating the understanding of current political, social, and economic trends, cost effectiveness, and quality issues that impact healthcare systems. Informatics, Quality improvement, Teamwork, Collaboration

Curriculum Overview

The Faculty of Citizens School of Nursing asserts that the planning, direction, implementation, evaluation, review, and revision of the program are the responsibility of the faculty in order that the purpose, philosophy, and objectives of the School of Nursing might be achieved.

The curriculum is organized around the major concepts from Neuman’s theory. These concepts include the open system perspective, system variables and stressors and their impact on system stability. The three levels of prevention and the recognition of the patient as individual, family, and community are integrated throughout the program.

Additional central concepts form the basis of the program objectives and the clinical nursing course objectives across the curriculum. These central concepts include the development and application of a scientific theory base, critical thinking, the nursing process, professional accountability and responsibility, therapeutic and professional communication, and interdisciplinary team skills. Pharmacology and diet therapy are integrated throughout the program.

College courses provide 33 credits in the natural sciences, humanities, and nursing and have been placed in a specified sequence to support the nursing theory. Six of those credits are upper division nursing courses taught by Penn State University (PSU) faculty. Students may complete some or all of the college courses, with the exception of the PSU nursing courses, before entering the nursing program. 

First Year

The first academic year consists of four 10-week terms.  The first term, Fundamentals of Nursing, is a clinical nursing course that focuses on basic nursing and assessment skills. Anatomy and Nutrition are the college support courses. The second 10-week term, Introduction to Medical-Surgical Nursing, provides the introduction to medical-surgical nursing. In this term, medication administration starts. The third 10-week term is Medical-Surgical Nursing. Physiology and Growth and Development are the support courses. The fourth 10-week term begins the four rotating specialty-focused nursing courses. Students are enrolled in one of the four rotating courses, which focus on a) maternal-child health, b) psychiatric and emergency nursing, c) advanced medical-surgical nursing, and d) critical care. The college support courses are English and Sociology.

Second Year

The second year consists of four terms. The three remaining rotating courses are completed in terms 5, 6, and 7. During terms 6 and 7, "Caboose to Engine" is taught.  The final and 8th term is 10 weeks long and focuses on leadership and management skills for the beginning practitioner.

Support courses in the second year, first semester are Microbiology and Introduction to Psychology. In the second semester, the support courses are Introduction to Computing and Nursing Informatics and Transition and the Professional Nurse.


College Course Descriptions

After acceptance to the School of Nursing, each person is strongly encouraged to complete any of the following courses before entering the nursing classes.  The courses must be taken at an accredited college or university.

  • English Composition - 3 credits

Courses designed to teach concise and effective expository writing. The various forms of writing include themes of personal experience, analysis and critical review, critical book reviews and documented research papers.

  • Introductory Psychology - 3 credits

Presentation of topics and concepts fundamental to an understanding of human behavior and experience. The course should introduce the student to modern psychological theory as well as the processes of learning, development, and personality structure.

  • Introduction to Sociology - 3 credits

A course that studies the historical development of sociology. The course should include an examination of social relations, forms of social organization and social institution, social integration and social disorganization.

  • Anatomy - 4 credits
  • Physiology - 4 credits

Courses that study structure and function of the skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, respiratory, circulatory, excretory, reproductive, and digestive systems of man. These courses must have a laboratory component.

Courses titled Anatomy and Physiology I and II may be taken, as long as both courses are taken and a total of 8 credits are earned. Anatomy and Physiology I may be substituted for Anatomy.  Anatomy and Physiology II may be substituted for Physiology.

  • Microbiology - 4 credits

An examination of the morphology and physiology of microorganisms with emphasis on their relationship to the physical environment. This course must have a laboratory component.

  • Nutrition - 3 credits

A course that covers the basic elements of nutrition and their relationship to health and that presents the essentials of adequate diet and the nutritional needs of various members of the family.

  • Developmental Psychology - 3 credits

A course that presents the psychological principles of human growth and development from infancy to maturity.


The following two (2) courses can only be taken as a second-level nursing student. They cannot be taken prior to enrollment:

  • Transition and the Professional Nursing Role - 3 credits

Transition to baccalaureate education and professional nursing practice, emphasizing leadership, management, and issues influencing nursing education and practice.

  • Introduction to Computing and Nursing Informatics - 3 credits

An introduction to computers and nursing informatics focusing on applications to the nursing profession.


Nursing Course Descriptions

Each nursing course must be successfully completed prior to advancement to the next course. 

Nursing 201, 202, 203, and 204 are rotating courses and may be taken out of sequence.

No student may enter Nursing 301 without prior completion of all of the preceding nursing courses.

 

  • Nursing 101 - Fundamentals of Nursing - Term I (10 weeks)

This clinical course provides the beginning student with introductory concepts and basic procedural skills.  This course focuses on basic nursing assessment and intervention skills.  Concepts of nursing theories, nursing process, communication techniques, and community health are taught.  Nursing skills are introduced in a simulated learning laboratory and reinforced on various medical-surgical units.

  • Nursing 102 - Introduction to Medical-Surgical Nursing - Term II (10 weeks)

This course focuses on medication administration, care of the perioperative client, ethical/legal aspects of nursing care, pain management, and evidence-based practice and theory.  Nursing skills are introduced in a learning lab and reinforced on various medical-surgical units.  The students have opportunities for clinical experience on medical-surgical units and in the perioperative surgical setting. Community experiences are introduced.

  • Nursing 103 - Medical-Surgical Nursing - Term III (10 weeks)

Medical-Surgical Nursing provides the student with opportunities to apply the nursing process in the care of individuals and families experiencing alterations in system stability related to the acute and chronic stressors associated with diabetes, basic cardiopulmonary disorders, renal disease, and musculoskeletal and gastrointestinal disorders.  Diagnostic studies, pharmacology, and nutrition concepts are integrated throughout the course.  In addition to general medical-surgical units, students have experiences on orthopaedic and telemetry units.  Community experiences are selected to expose the student to the role of the nurse in the various levels of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention.  This course provides the opportunity for the student to experience evidence-based practice via the integration of nursing research.

  • Nursing 201 - Maternal-Child Health - Term IV (10 weeks)

This course is taught to one fourth of the class at a time in terms 4, 5, 6, and 7.  The course provides the student with an introduction to the developing family and the acute and chronic stressors that impact system stability.  Theory and concurrent clinical experience relate to pregnancy, labor and delivery, post-partum care, care of the neonate, and selected pediatric illness according to developmental stage.  Students are provided with the opportunity to apply the nursing process in a  variety of settings with this population in order to gain an understanding of the role of the nurse in the three levels of prevention.  Primary clinical experiences are provided in a maternity nursing unit, in a pediatric unit, in a day care center for chronically ill children, and in various community agencies. (Prerequisites:  Nursing 101, 102, and 103)

  • Nursing 202 - Advanced Medical-Surgical Nursing - Term V (10 weeks)

This course is taught to one fourth of the class at a time in terms 4, 5, 6, and 7.  The focus of this advanced medical-surgical course is the application of the nursing process in the care of adults and families with complex health impairment.  Primary content emphasis is on advanced endocrine, fluid and electrolye, immune, oncology, and renal disorders.  Diagnostic studies, pharmacology, nutritional concepts, and evidence-based practice are integrated throughout the course.  Concourrent clinical experience is provided in the medical-surgical and telemetry units of the hospital as well as hospice and  dialysis units, home care, and the HIV clinic.  (Prerequisites:  Nursing 101, 102, and 103)

  • Nursing 203 - Adults in Crisis - Term VI (10 weeks)

This course is taught to one fourth of the class at a time in terms 4, 5, 6, and 7. The course focuses on the application of the nursing process in the care of adults with acute and chronic stressors that are serious threats to system stability. Major mental illnesses; drug and alcohol abuse/addiction; disorders of liver, pancreas, and neurological system; trauma; and burns are featured content. Primary clinical experiences are provided in an adult and geriatric mental health unit and the emergency department. (Prerequisites:  Nursing 101, 102, and 103)

  • Nursing 204 - Complex Stressors in the Adult Population - Term VII (10 weeks)

This course is taught to one fourth of the class at a time in terms 4, 5, 6, and 7.  This course focuses on the application of the nursing process in the care of adults with complex health impairment and critical illness. Primary content emphasis is on advanced cardiac and respiratory health alterations. Concurrent clinical experience is provided in the critical care and telemetry units of the hospital. Clinical experiences are planned in the Heart Failure Clinic, Pulmonary Function Lab, Cardiac Catheterization Lab, and cardiac surgery to expose the student to the role of the nurse in the three levels of prevention with the population. (Prerequisites:  Nursing 101, 102, and 103)

  • Caboose to Engine - 15 weeks

This course is taught to the entire class for 14 weeks during terms 6 and 7.  Nursing content is presented to each student to help with his/her NCLEX study plan.  Included in the content are items to improve the student's testing abilities, critical thinking skills, and study habits and a selected content review.  The course is a pass/fail course.  Points are given for the tests, assignements, and class attendances.

  • Nursing 301 - Leadership and Management of Patient Care - Term VIII (10 weeks)

This course is taught to all students as the culminating course in the nursing program. Theoretical focus includes concepts of leadership, management, delegation, health team collaboration, and planning of care for groups of patients. Primary clinical experience will be provided in the medical-surgical units of the hospital. A clinical preceptorship allows the student the opportunity to work closely with a registered nurse preceptor in the student's area of interest.  NCLEX preparatory classes are also included. (Prerequisites:  Nursing 101, 102, and 103 and Nursing 201, 202, 203, and 204)


Concurrent Completion of College and Nursing Courses -

Master Rotation Plan

Citizens School of Nursing, New Kensington, Pa., has a Master Rotation Plan for concurrent completion of college and nursing courses.

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