History, Mission, & Philosophy

History

The College of Nursing of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences was established as an independent professional school of the University in March, 1953, in response to the interest and support of professional and community groups throughout the state. Establishment of the school was designed to help meet the pressing demands for larger numbers of skilled nurses and to make available to people of Arkansas the best possible educational preparation for the profession of nursing.

The first program established within the College in 1953 was the baccalaureate program. Its purpose is implemented through a unified curriculum combining general education and professional instruction within a university setting. Further details are provided on other pages of this web site describing the program leading to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

The graduate program leading to the degree of Master of Nursing Science was initiated in the fall semester, 1971. This program builds upon baccalaureate education and provides a program for advanced preparation in nursing. Further information is provided on other pages of this web site.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program  was granted approval in October 2012 by the Arkansas Board of Higher Education and in May 2012 by the University Of Arkansas Board Of Trustees. The inaugural class began fall semester 2013 with the first cohort graduating May, 2015. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program blends clinical, organizational, economic and leadership skills to prepare nurses at the highest level of practice to lead health care innovation and influence policy. Graduates of the DNP program are prepared to lead interprofessional teams to identify, implement, and evaluate innovative health care models to improve quality outcomes for individuals, families, and populations. Further information is provided on other pages of this web site.

The Doctorate of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) was implemented in 1997, with the first class graduating in May, 2000. Graduates of the doctoral program are prepared to advance the art and science of nursing through research and scholarship. They are expected to assume leadership positions in academic and health care settings and to influence nursing practice, health care delivery, and the social awareness of nursing’s contributions to the health care arena. Further information is provided on other pages of this web site.

Mission Statement

The UAMS College of Nursing is committed to scholarly excellence in (1) under-graduate and graduate nursing education, (2) research, and (3) service to the University, profession and society.

Education

The UAMS College of Nursing provides exemplary and comprehensive educational programs, based on scholarship in education and practice. The College of Nursing offers educational programs to prepare professional nurses as generalists and for advanced practice, teaching, research, and administrative roles, thereby enhancing health care for the people of Arkansas. As a leader in the preparation of nurses for advanced health care, the College of Nursing collaborates with Area Health Education Centers (AHECs), other colleges of nursing, and the health care community to provide degree and continuing education programs. The College enhances access to education in this rural, agrarian state by offering degree programs and courses for nurses through distance education.

Research

The UAMS College of Nursing advances the body of nursing knowledge through scholarship in research. This community of scholars contributes to nursing science through research activities that are theory testing, theory generating, and of an applied or basic research nature. Scholarship includes the dissemination of research findings and the translation of research into practice.

Service

The service mission of the UAMS College of Nursing provides service through scholarly participation of faculty and students in academic, professional, and community organizations. Faculty practice as skilled clinicians, consultants, and professional experts in health care organizations and in the community. Faculty serve as role models for students and other nurses at the local, state, national, and international levels.

Approved by Faculty Assembly January 2013

Philosophy

The UAMS College of Nursing advances the University’s philosophy and mission through scholarship in teaching, research, and service. The College of Nursing provides excellent theory-based educational programs for students entering the nursing profession and nurses seeking advanced education. Because nursing is a research-based discipline, faculty participate in generating, disseminating, and using theory and research findings for education and practice. Faculty believe that service includes participation in academic, professional, and community organizations, and practice of the discipline.

The nursing curriculum is based on the nursing meta-paradigm of PERSON, ENVIRONMENT, HEALTH, and NURSING. Additionally, the curriculum is based on the following core concepts: health promotion, human diversity, illness and disease management, communication, critical thinking, professional values/ethics, and role development.

The concept of person includes individuals, families, groups, and communities. Persons are of intrinsic value and dignity and worthy of respect because of their shared and unique physical, emotional, intellectual, social, cultural, and spiritual characteristics. Each person possesses the inherent right for self-expression and for participation in life to the fullest extent possible based on his/her unique experience and perspective. People are self-determining, each person functioning interdependently with other individuals, families, groups, and communities, joined together because of shared values and needs.

Environment is the interaction of internal and external factors that influence the health of person(s).

Health, as perceived by the person, is the integration of physical, emotional, intellectual, social, cultural, and spiritual well-being that enables the performance deemed necessary and desirable to maintain existence in the environment. Health is affected throughout the life cycle by the interaction of genetic and environmental factors that include choices about health practices, and by the ability of persons to meet their health care needs and to access health care.

Nursing is an art and a science through which nurses provide caring assistance to persons within society. Nurses seek to promote, restore, and maintain health, and when death is imminent, to provide support that will allow the person to die with dignity. Nurses use a systematic process of critical thinking to collect and analyze data, and diagnose, plan, therapeutically intervene, and evaluate outcomes. Using professional values, ethics, and therapeutic communication, nurses implement this process in a variety of roles and settings in collaboration with consumers and other health professionals.

Nursing education prepares graduates to practice within the established professional guidelines and standards and to engage in continuous role development and revision of knowledge. The teaching/learning process fosters intellectual and personal growth; stimulates inquiry, critical thinking, and synthesis of knowledge; and helps the individual value and pursue life-long learning.

Baccalaureate nursing education builds upon a liberal arts and science foundation and provides the basis for the practice of professional nursing as a generalist. Baccalaureate education prepares students to think critically and to make clinical judgments that promote, restore, and maintain health. The nurse generalist is prepared for a beginning level professional practice that is grounded in current evidence-based practice. This practice is carried out in a variety of settings. Baccalaureate education provides the foundation for master’s study.

Graduate education includes master’s and doctoral study. Master’s nursing education builds upon the baccalaureate nursing foundation and prepares nurses for specialization in advanced practice roles in a variety of settings. Master’s education prepares advanced practice nurses to synthesize knowledge regarding health care systems and theoretical, scientific, and clinical knowledge from nursing and other disciplines; and to translate and integrate current evidence into practice. Master’s education provides the foundation for doctoral study.

Doctoral education at the Ph.D. level prepares nurse scientists to examine health questions pertaining to the theoretical foundation, education, economics, and policy implications associated with nursing education, patient/population care and other health issues. PhD-prepared nurse scientists are able to conduct research independently, lead research teams, guide others in their research efforts, publish scholarly papers based on new knowledge and work collaboratively with faculty from other disciplines. The Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) prepares advanced practice registered nurses as scholars in translating evidence-based research into clinical practice. DNP prepared nurses use a blend of clinical organization, economic and leadership skills to impact patient outcomes and manage complex health environments.

Approved by Faculty Assembly January 2013