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Education

Curriculum

The West Penn Hospital School of Nursing program is two years (22 calendar months) in length, including recess periods. The Curriculum Plan is shown below.

Curriculum outcomes identify the competencies expected of the West Penn Hospital School of Nursing graduate.

College Courses

The required college courses are taught at the West Penn Hospital School of Nursing; however, students may elect to take them at another college or university provided that they are approved by the School of Nursing and scheduling coincides with the concurrent nursing course timeframe(s).

Nursing Courses

Registration for nursing courses is required during the first week of each term. For clinical experience, the maximum instructor/student ratio is 1:10.  The ratio may be lower for selected experiences. No monetary compensation is given to students for School clinical experience.

Nursing faculty make optimal use of the STAR (Simulation, Teaching and Academic Research) Center to teach and test clinical skills. Students are also welcome to schedule time to practice skills on their own in the STAR Center, which is located on the first floor of the School of Nursing.

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Curriculum Plan

    Year One
 
      Year Two
 
A
U
G
U
S
T
 
  August Orientation
 
 
A
U
G
U
S
T
 
   
FALL TERM - 10 WEEKS

Foundations for Nursing I
(NSG 101)
Assessment Across the Lifespan
7 cr*

Anatomy and Physiology I
(BIOL 258) 3 cr

Logic I - Critical Thinking
(PHIL 111) 3 cr  

 

FALL TERM - 10 WEEKS

Chronic Health Alterations of the Adult
(NSG 202) 9 cr*
OR
Acute Health Alterations of the Adult
(NSG 201) 9 cr*

Principles of Sociology
(SOC 211) 3 cr
 

Recess
 
 

Recess

WINTER TERM - 10 WEEKS

Foundations for Nursing II
(NSG 102)
Analysis of Health Problems
7 cr*

Anatomy and Physiology II
(BIOL 259) 3 cr

General Psychology
(PSY 211) 3 cr  

  WINTER TERM - 10 WEEKS

Health and the Childbearing Family
(NSG 301) 9 cr*
OR
Health of Aggregates in the Community (NSG 302) 9 cr*

Pharmacological Aspects of Nursing
(NURS 132) 3 cr  

Recess     Recess  
  SPRING TERM - 10 WEEKS

Foundations for Nursing III
(NSG 103)
Common Adult Medical-Surgical Problems 7 cr*

Microbiology 3 cr
(BIOL 260)

Nutrition (CHEM 205) 3 cr  

    SPRING TERM - 10 WEEKS

Health of Aggregates in the Community (NSG 302) 9 cr*
OR
Health and the Childbearing Family (NSG 301) 9 cr*

Ethics (PHIL 212) 3 cr
 

  Recess       Recess 
J
U
L
Y
 
SUMMER TERM - 10 WEEKS

Acute Health Alterations
of the Adult
(NSG 201) 9 cr*
OR
Chronic Health Alterations of the Adult (NSG 202) 9 cr

Writing II (ENG 111) 3 cr
 

 
J
U
L
Y
 
SUMMER TERM - 10 WEEKS

Health Care Management
7 cr*
(NSG 401)
 

         

* Note: The credits assigned to the nursing courses do not reflect college credit. They are used in calculating the students' cumulative grade point average.

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Curriculum Progression

  • All nursing courses must be completed satisfactorily in sequential order (courses numbered 100 before 200, etc.).
  • Courses 101, 102, and 103 must be taken in sequence.
  • Courses 201 and 202 are interrotational.
  • Courses 301 and 302 are interrotational.
  • Course 401 is taken only after completion of all other nursing courses.

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Course Descriptions

 

First Year - Fall Term

Human Anatomy and Physiology I
(BIOL 251) (3 credits)*
Analyzes the normal structure of the human body and how it functions. Focuses on skeletal, muscular, nervous, sensory, and endocrine systems and their interrelationships.

Human Anatomy and Physiology I Lab
(BIOL 261) (1 credit)
Laboratory exercises augment and integrate course material emphasized in BIOL 251 with emphasis on anatomy and select physiology activities. Focuses on skeletal, muscular, nervous, sensory, and endocrine systems.

Logic I - Critical Thinking
(PHIL 111) (3 credits)*
Develops students' skills in analyzing arguments.  Examines forms of faulty reasoning and evaluates criteria for the evaluation of arguments.

School of Nursing

 

Foundations for Nursing I
(NSG 101) Assessment Across the Lifespan (8:8:160)**
This course is the first in a series of three courses that form a foundation for the practice of professional nursing. The focus of this course is on the acquisition of knowledge and skills needed to assess the basic healthcare needs of the individual client. Interviewing, communication skills, and physical examination skills are the primary tools used in the collection of data. Health patterns are the basis for assessment of clients in various age groups and developmental levels in a variety of practice settings. Critical thinking skills are utilized in the data collection process. Concepts related to the nurse's role in disease prevention and health promotion are introduced to achieve the goal of promoting healthy lifestyles of individuals. Holism is introduced and includes the concepts of health, human needs theory (Maslow), culture, spirituality, diversity, and developmental theories (Erikson, Piaget, Freud). The concept of accountability is introduced in relation to both personal and professional responsibilities. A basic introduction to various types of healthcare systems as they relate to the three levels of prevention is provided. Clinical experience emphasizes the practice of assessment skills and basic nursing skills in both practice and clinical simulation settings.


 

First Year - Winter Term

Human Anatomy and Physiology II
(BIOL 252) (3 credits)*
Continuation of Anatomy and Physiology I (BIOL 251).  Includes the circulatory, respiratory, digestive,  and urinary systems and their interrelationships.

Human Anatomy and Physiology II Lab
(BIOL 262) (1 credit)
Laboratory execises augment and integrate course material emphasized in BIOL 252 and continuation of BIOL 261. Focuses on circulatory, respiratory, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems.

General Psychology
(PSY 211) (3 credits)*
Introduces the general subject matter of psychology as a science and its major findings.  Emphasizes genetics, development, learning and motivation, emotions, sensation and perception, personality and abnormal adjustment, and other social behavior.

Foundations for Nursing II
(NSG 102) Analysis of Health Problems (8:8:160)**
As the second of three foundational courses in nursing, this course focuses on the application of the nursing process and critical thinking skills to solve problems and make decisions related to individual client healthcare needs. A holistic approach is used to design a therapeutic plan of care for the client. Emphasis is on the professional nurse's role in assisting clients to manage common health problems such as fluid and electrolyte imbalance, problems with oxygenation, and altered nutritional states. Lifespan considerations are included as skills are taught. Standards of care for professional nursing practice and a model for ethical decision making are introduced. The roles of interdisciplinary team members are examined.  Principles of communication are expanded to include recognizing interactions among members of the healthcare team. Communication that reflects empathy and caring is promoted through the analysis of nurse-client interactions. A health promotion model is used to analyze the extent to which an individual client engages in healthcare activities. The teaching-learning process is introduced as an intervention to enhance health promotion with the client. Clinical activities emphasize the development of technical nursing skills as well as application of the nursing process to problems of an individual client in both practice and clinical simulation.


 

First Year - Spring Term

Microbiology
(BIOL 260) (3 credits)*
Examines microorganisms, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, and protozoa, emphasizing those associated with human health and disease. Considers immunity and resistance to infectious diseases and to their epidemiological and public health aspects. Laboratory emphasizes pathogenic bacteria and the bacteriological and microscopic techniques. Two lectures and three laboratory hours weekly.
SON Spring Term

 

Nutrition
(CHEM 205) (3 credits)*
Introduces the basic principles of human nutrition. Explores the structure of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals and their role in metabolism.  Analyzes nutritional needs of various age groups, nutrition and disease, and recent research in nutritional problems.

 

Foundations for Nursing III
(NSG 103) Common Adult Medical-Surgical Problems (8:8:160)**
The focus of the third nursing course is on common medical-surgical problems encountered by adult clients. Pathophysiology of health problems is introduced in this course. A holistic approach serves as the framework to focus on identification of the client's health potential. Care mapping is introduced to promote critical thinking and assist students in recognizing the interrelatedness of client problems.  Clinical judgment is used by the student to care for the client requiring treatment for alterations in health. Levels of prevention are discussed with each specific health problem. The student is expected to utilize communication skills to facilitate health promotion activities such as client education. Time management principles are introduced as a means of organizing health care. The clinical component includes experiences in acute care settings providing an opportunity for the student to assess, diagnose, plan, implement, and evaluate care. A perioperative experience is included. Simulations are utilized to enhance student critical thinking, assessment, communication, and teaching skills.


 

First Year - Summer Term

Writing II
(ENG 111) (3 credits)*
Emphasizes development of critical thinking through analytical and argumentative writing and introduces students to research writing.

Acute Health Alterations of the Adult
(NSG 201) (8:16:240)**
The focus of this course is on clinical judgment with the adult client faced with acute complex medical-surgical and psychiatric health alterations. A holistic approach to client care is emphasized as crisis theory is applied in clinical situations. All levels of prevention are included with primary and secondary prevention activities receiving emphasis. Communication principles focus on assisting the client to cope with acute crisis situations. Legal/ethical issues are explored as they relate to managing acute medical-surgical and psychiatric crises. Prioritization skills are further developed as the impact of crisis situations is examined. Clinical experiences reflect the acute complex needs of clients in critical care and psychiatric-mental health units. An Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) course is provided in the final week of the term.

OR

Chronic Health Alterations of the Adult
(NSG 202) (8:16:240)**
This course introduces concepts and principles of rehabilitation.  Tertiary prevention measures are stressed throughout the course. The client's lifestyle and potential for rehabilitation are analyzed using principles of holistic care. Nursing care decisions relate to promoting health in adult clients who have chronic complex medical-surgical health alterations. The implications of the client's level of adherence are examined as they relate to health maintenance. Communication within the nurse-client relationship focuses on assisting the client to cope with lifestyle changes resulting from chronic illness. The concept of the interdisciplinary team approach to health care is explored. Legal/ethical issues related to chronic medical-surgical situations and quality-of-life issues are presented. Tertiary prevention measures are stressed throughout the course. Principles of case management are introduced. The clinical component includes providing care for clients with chronic complex health concerns. Students have clinical experiences in medical, surgical, and oncology settings, an Alzheimer unit, and a rehabilitation center.

* Course description is quoted from the Clarion University of Pennsylvania Undergraduate Catalogue. Courses are taught by Clarion University faculty at the West Penn Hospital School of Nursing.

** Numbers in parentheses represent: theory hours/week: clinical laboratory hours/week: total course hours.

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Second Year - Fall Term

Principles of Sociology
(SOC 211)(3 credits)*
Introduces the nature and characteristics of human societies, the structure and processes of social life, the impact of social forces on personal and group behavior, and the interdependence of society and the individual.

Chronic Health Alterations of the Adult
(NSG 202) (8:16:240)**
This course introduces concepts and principles of rehabilitation.  Tertiary prevention measures are stressed throughout the course.

SON Class

  The client's lifestyleand potential for rehabilitation are analyzed using principles of holistic care.  Nursing care decisions relate to promoting health in adult clients who have chronic complex medical-surgical health alterations. The implications of the client's level of adherence are examined as they relate to health maintenance. Communication within the nurse-client relationship focuses on assisting the client to cope with lifestyle changes resulting from chronic illness. The concept of the interdisciplinary team approach to health care is explored. Legal/ethical issues related to chronic medical-surgical situations and quality-of-life issues are presented. Tertiary prevention measures are stressed throughout the course. Principles of case management are introduced. The clinical component includes providing care for clients with chronic complex health concerns. Students have clinical experiences in medical, surgical, and oncology settings, an Alzheimer unit, and a rehabilitation center.

OR

Acute Health Alterations of the Adult
(NSG 201) (8:16:240)**
The focus of this course is on clinical judgment with the adult client faced with acute complex medical-surgical and psychiatric health alterations. A holistic approach to client care is emphasized as crisis theory is applied in clinical situations. All levels of prevention are included with primary and secondary prevention activities receiving emphasis. Communication principles focus on assisting the client to cope with acute crisis situations. Legal/ethical issues are explored as they relate to managing acute medical-surgical and psychiatric crises. Prioritization skills are further developed as the impact of crisis situations is examined. Clinical experiences reflect the acute complex needs of clients in critical care and psychiatric-mental health units. An Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) course is provided in the final week of the term.


 

Second Year - Winter Term

 

Pharmacological Aspects of Nursing
(NURS 132) (3 credits)*
Presents principles of pharmacology with practical application to the care of clients. Emphasizes major drug classifications, actions/interactions, side effects, and related nursing interventions. Introduces learning strategies to develop student abilities in making critical assessments and decisions about pharmacological interventions.

 

Health and the Childbearing Family
(NSG 301) (8:16:240)**
The focus of this course is on health and the developing family. A major emphasis in the course is the analysis of the reciprocal relationship between the family and the developing individual.  The roles of family

SON - Winter Term

members are analyzed in relation to structure and function of various types of families. Clinical judgment relates to implementing the nursing process for the childbearing family and includes all phases of perinatal care and care of the developing child from infancy to adolescence. Principles of holistic care are applied to analyze the impact of the family on the developing individual. Change theory is used to describe the effects of change on the individuals and family as it develops. Health education receives major emphasis as a tool in promoting health of the family at all levels of prevention. Communication skills are developed as the student interacts with the individual and family members in various stages of development. The role of the nurse in responding to legal/ethical issues related to the childbearing family is explored. The labor and delivery unit, family centered care (mother-baby) unit, neonatal intensive care unit, antepartal unit, clinics, and pediatric units serve as the clinical sites for providing student exposure to health care needs of developing families.  Clinical simulation and case studies are used to enhance the student's understanding of obstetric and pediatric principles.

OR

Health of Aggregates in the Community
(NSG 302) (8:16:240)**
The focus of this course is on health promotion of various aggregates within the community. Decision-making is emphasized in promoting health of specific groups, particularly children, adolescents, young adults, and the elderly in the community. The concept of holism is applied through the study of concepts related to community health, health of specific aggregates, and ultimately the individual. All levels of prevention are discussed with emphasis on primary prevention. Communication skills emphasize group dynamics and group process. The course emphasizes professional accountability and responsibility for community health. The role of the community health nurse in meeting healthcare needs of aggregates is introduced. Management concepts relate to the issues of access and availability of healthcare resources and the economics of health care. The clinical experiences in this course provide the student exposure to multiple and varied community agencies that address the needs of specific aggregates within the community and include home care, schools, and ambulatory care.


 

Second Year - Spring Term

Ethics
(PHIL 212) (3 credits)*
Introduces students to theoretical ethics and the consequences these theories have both personally and for public policy.  Examines controversial moral issues.

Health of Aggregates in the Community
(NSG 302) (8:16:240)**
The focus of this course is on health promotion of various aggregates within the community. Decision-making is emphasized in promoting health of specific groups, particularly children, adolescents, young adults, and the elderly in the community. The concept of holism is applied through the study of concepts related to community health, health of specific aggregates, and ultimately the individual. All levels of prevention are discussed with emphasis on primary prevention. Communication skills emphasize group dynamics and group process. The course emphasizes professional accountability and responsibility for community health. The role of the community health nurse in meeting healthcare needs of aggregates is introduced. Management concepts relate to the issues of access and availability of healthcare resources and the economics of health care. The clinical experiences in this course provide the student exposure to multiple and varied community agencies that address the needs of specific aggregates within the community and include home care, schools, and ambulatory care.

OR

Health and the Childbearing Family
(NSG 301) (8:16:240)**
The focus of this course is on health and the developing family. A major emphasis in the course is the abalysis of the reciprocol relationship between the family and the developing individual. The roles of family members are analyzed in relation to structure and function of various types of families. Clinical judgment relates to implementing the nursing process for the childbearing family and includes all phases of perinatal care and care of the developing child from infancy to adolescence. Principles of holistic care are applied to analyze the impact of the family on the developing individual. Change theory is used to describe the effects of change on the individuals and family as it develops. Health education receives major emphasis as a tool in promoting health of the family at all levels of prevention. Communication skills are developed as the student interacts with the individual and family members in various stages of development. The role of the nurse in responding to legal/ethical issues related to the childbearing family is explored. The labor and delivery unit, family centered care (mother-baby) unit, neonatal intensive care unit,  antepartal unit, clinics, and pediatric units serve as the clinical sites for providing student exposure to health care needs of developing families.  Clinical simulation and case studies are used to enhance the student's understanding of obstetric and pediatric principles.


 

Second Year - Summer Term

Health Care Management
(NSG 401) (3:24:270)**
The focus of this course is on the transition of the student to the role of the graduate nurse in meeting healthcare needs of clients. This course is a synthesis of the major concepts taught in the curriculum. The role of the professional nurse as a care manager is emphasized. Principles of management are presented by comparing and contrasting systems of healthcare delivery. Clinical judgment skills relate to prioritizing, delegating, and organizing care for groups of clients. Communication skills emphasize the collaborative nature of working with healthcare team members. Accountability is expanded to reflect the increase in independence. The politics of healthcare systems and ways a nurse can effect change in organizations is discussed. Evaluation processes for enhancing quality of care are taught. Current societal healthcare issues are explored.  Critical-thinking skills and competency testing will be enhanced through clinical simulation. Clinical activities involve an individual preceptorship in acute and chronic care settings.

* Course description is quoted from the Clarion University of Pennsylvania Undergraduate Catalogue. Courses are taught by Clarion University faculty at the West Penn Hospital School of Nursing.

** Numbers in parentheses represent: theory hours/week: clinical laboratory hours/week: total course hours.

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