The program(s) prepares the graduate according to the NLN Education Competencies Model and its core values of caring, diversity, ethics, excellence, holism, integrity, and patient-centeredness. These values are historically representative of and foundational for all nursing practice at every educational level (National League for Nursing, 2010, pp. 8-9). The curriculum, according to the model, provides the knowledge and skill base to meet the four broad graduate outcomes for all program levels. Thus, upon completion of the program(s), graduates must use their skills and knowledge to enhance human flourishing for their patients, communities, and themselves; show sound nursing judgment; continually develop their professional identity; and approach all issues and problems in a spirit of inquiry (National League for Nursing, 2010, p. 9). Further, the graduate (regardless of educational level) will be grounded in values and ethics, with an understanding that knowledge is continually evolving, and the skill to evaluate that knowledge and apply it in patient situations throughout health care systems (National League for Nursing, 2010, p. 7).

The faculty of the School of Nursing at Dalton State College believes that nursing is a profession dedicated to the promotion of health and healing and that caring, communication, professionalism, competence and safety, and teaching and learning are the means to that end.

Caring is a basic core value of nursing education as well as nursing practice. Nurses provide a caring presence which creates a healing environment for the individual, family, and community throughout the life span. A caring attitude is exemplified by respectful, sensitive, and empathetic interactions between the nurse, the individual, the community, and the interdisciplinary team.

Effective communication is one way of demonstrating caring. To facilitate patient care and achieve positive client outcomes, therapeutic relationships must be established between the individual, the family, the community and the interdisciplinary team. Further, communication is an interactive process which includes verbal (spoken and written words), and nonverbal modes as well as information technology.

Caring and effective communication are fostered through professionalism, which is highly regarded as an integral component of the education process. Professional behaviors are continually stressed and integrated throughout the program(s) to instill standards of professional practice. Students are held accountable for their actions and behaviors in relation to legal, ethical, and regulatory frameworks. Professional growth is encouraged through an emphasis on evidence-based practice, and a push toward continual education.

Because every patient/client has a right to quality care given by a safe practitioner, safety is the essential component of all nursing practice which overrides all others. The practitioner should make clinical and managerial decisions to ensure accurate, safe and quality care. Therefore, student clinical performance is based on an over-riding competency for safety that delineates critical behaviors essential to the safe, effective care of patients/clients. This competency is contained within the student handbook and each course syllabus.

Teaching and learning is the cultivation of knowledge and skills through instruction and study. Students are taught to make appropriate patient/client care decisions based on assessment and planning, credible evidence, critical thinking, and clinical reasoning. This process of teaching/learning is accomplished by presenting the student with increasingly difficult challenges as his or her ability to meet them develops. Course content, thus, moves from simple to complex and incorporates broad to specific concepts.

Education is viewed as a continuous process that provides opportunities for the individual to demonstrate learning as a modification of behavior through appropriate interaction with the environment. The learner is important and unique and is encouraged to actively participate in the learning process through structured activities that motivate the learner to utilize his or her abilities, experiences, and attitudes to become a safe, effective nurse and who will evolve to a new level of professionalism.


Kozier, B.; Erb, G.; Berman, A.; & Snyder, S. (2008). Fundamentals of nursing: concepts, process, and practice. (8th ed.). New Jersey: Pearson.

National League for Nursing (2010). Outcomes and Competencies for Graduates of Practical/Vocational, Diploma, Associate Degree, Baccalaureate, Masters, Practice Doctorate, and Research Doctorate Programs in Nursing. New York: National League for Nursing.

Ohman, K. (2005). Revitalizing for success with active learning approaches. In L. Caputi, Teaching nursing: Volume 3. The art and science (pp. 125- 145). Illinois: College of Dupage Press.