Nursing (B.S.N.)

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) degree is designed as a four-year nursing program. In the first two years, students in the pre-nursing track would mainly focus on completing the core curriculum and pre-nursing science requirements. Then, upon successful admission to the nursing major proper, students would spend years three and four taking almost exclusively nursing courses.    

Ave Maria University has approved the development of a nursing program with the expectation of initiating nursing courses and clinical placements in the 2015-16 or 2016-17 academic year.  The University will be seeking approvals from our regional accreditation association, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, SACSCOC, and from the Florida Board of Nursing.  Until those approvals are obtained, the University will not offer any specific nursing courses with an NURS prefix.  Current AMU freshmen and transfer students entering as sophomores in fall 2014 may be able to complete a nursing degree provided that they have taken the necessary distribution of courses and provided that AMU is successful in obtaining the necessary approvals in a timely manner. 

Program Mission Statement

The aim and purpose of the Nursing Program at Ave Maria University is to help students discern and prepare for their vocation as professionally-educated nurses, within the context of the Catholic liberal-arts curriculum at Ave Maria University.  The Nursing Program is formed by a pervasively Catholic ethos, consistent with the ideals and norms of the apostolic constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae and the guidelines in the Charter for Health Care Workers.  The Nursing Program aims to prepare its students to provide clinical nursing care and nursing education of the highest professional standards, and to advance nursing knowledge and skill through scientific inquiry and other scholarly activity.  The Nursing Program seeks to impart in its students a deep compassion for the sick and the suffering, of all ages and in all human conditions, from conception to natural death. 


Curriculum Rationale and Courses

The curriculum has been developed in a manner that addresses professional and content area competencies, that assessment methodologies are in place for BSN candidates, and that pedagogical principles are embedded in the appropriate courses. The BSN program is a total of 136 credits consisting of 68 credits for the Core Curriculum, 11 credits for prerequisite courses and 57 credits for Nursing courses. 

The BSN curriculum is based on Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2008). Graduates of Ave Maria University’s BSN program will be equipped with the knowledge and leadership skills requisite to advance the profession and assist patients, families, and communities in the management of care. These concepts unify the curriculum and are the focus of each clinical course. Each course addresses the roles of the nurse, specifically the nurse as a member of the profession, provider of care and leader/manager of care.  The curriculum incorporates professional standards such as the American Nurses Association (ANA) Code of Ethics, the Institute of Medicine Recommendations, the Joint Commission on Accreditation Standards, and Quality and Safety Education in Nursing (QSEN), to the extent that these are in conformity with Catholic biomedical principles and applications.      

The concepts of critical thinking, evidence-based practice, communication, collaboration, professional leadership, cultural humility, professional values, and information technology are introduced in the first nursing course and emphasized throughout the curriculum. Nursing courses focus on enhancing the nursing students’ critical thought process. Evidence-based nursing practice is introduced in the first nursing course and emphasized throughout the curriculum. 

Students intending to major in Nursing will proceed through the full sequence of the core curriculum.  The Nursing Program shares the ideals and aims of liberal education which permeate the entire university.  The core provides an indispensable foundation for the study of the nursing.  The Nursing Program values the core especially for providing a broad orientation to the unity of truth, the understanding of the human person as expressed in the Catholic intellectual tradition, and the just ordering of society as developed in Western Civilization.  In addition, the collective coursework of the core inculcates the skills and habits necessary for studies within the craft of nursing, such as critical thinking, evidence-based practice, communication, mathematical and scientific analysis, and above all, prudence. 



Required Pre-Requisite Courses

BIOL 304 Anatomy & Phys. I
BIOL 309 Anatomy & Phys. II

BIOL 401 Microbiology

Introductory Chemistry (CHEM 211, CHEM 212, or other courses to be developed)
STAT 230 Statistics
NUTR 120 Nutrition
PSYC 301 Human Development & Learning


Required Courses

NURS 210 Introduction to Nursing

NURS 220 Role Preparation

NURS 310 Fundamental of Nursing (w/lab)

NURS 315 Health Assessment

NURS 330 Pathophysiology
NURS 340 Applied Pharmacology

NURS 350 Psychiatric-Mental Health (clinical)

NURS 390 Catholic Medical Ethics

NURS 410 Older Adult and Community Health Nursing (clinical)
NURS 415 Adult Health & Illness (clinical)

NURS 420 Nursing Care of Women (clinical)
NURS 430 Nursing Care of Children (clinical)
NURS 440 Critically Ill Adult (clinical)
NURS 450 Leadership & Management in Clinical Environments
NURS 460 Research for Evidence-Based Nursing Practice    



Nursing and Catholic Mission:

The nursing program at Ave Maria University adheres to the Charter for Health Care Workers issued by the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers (1995).  The following excerpts express the mission of nursing within, first, the ecclesial mission of the care of the human person and, second, the requisite moral principles and applications: 

1.  The work of health care persons is a very valuable service to life. It expresses a profoundly human and Christian commitment, undertaken and carried out not only as a technical activity but also as one of dedication to and love of neighbor. It is "a form of Christian witness."[1] "Their profession calls for them to be guardians and servants of human life" (Evangelium Vitae 89). Life is a primary and fundamental good of the human person. Caring for life, then, expresses, first and foremost, a truly human activity in defense of physical life.

It is to this that professional or voluntary health care workers devote their activity. These are doctors, nurses, hospital chaplains, men and women religious, administrators, voluntary care givers for those who suffer, those involved in the diagnosis, treatment and recovery of human health. The principal and symbolic expression of "taking care" is their vigilant and caring presence at the sickbed. It is here that medical and nursing activity expresses its lofty human and Christian value. …

3.  … To speak of mission is to speak of vocation:[8] the response to a transcendent call which takes shape in the suffering and appealing countenance of the patient in his care. To care lovingly for a sick person is to fulfill a divine mission, which alone can motivate and sustain the most disinterested, available and faithful commitment, and gives it a priestly value."[9] "When he presents the heart of his redemptive mission, Jesus says: 'I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly' (Jn 10:10).... It is precisely in this 'life' that all the aspects and stages of human life achieve their full significance" (Evangelium Vitae 1). …

5.  … It follows that the therapeutic ministry of health care workers is a sharing in the pastoral[21] and evangelizing[22] work of the Church. Service to life becomes a ministry of salvation, that is, a message that activates the redeeming love of Christ. "Doctors, nurses, other health care workers, voluntary assistants, are called to be the living image of Christ and of his Church in loving the sick and the suffering:"[23] witnesses of "the gospel of life."[24]

Service to life is such only if it is faithful to the moral law, which expresses exigently its value and its tasks. Besides technico-professional competence, the health care worker has ethical responsibilities. "The ethical law, founded on respect for the dignity of the person and on the rights of the sick, should illuminate and govern both the research phase and the application of the findings."[25] In fidelity to the moral law, the health care worker actuates his fidelity to the human person whose worth is guaranteed by the law, and to God, whose wisdom is expressed by the law.

6.  He draws his behavioral directives from that field of normative ethics which nowadays is called bioethics. Here, with vigilant and careful attention, the magisterium of the Church has intervened, with reference to questions and disputes arising from the biomedical advances and from the changing cultural ethos. This bioethical magisterium is for the health care worker, Catholic or otherwise, a source of principles and norms of conduct which enlighten his conscience and direct him—especially in the complexity of modern bio-technical possibilities—in his choices, always respecting life and its dignity.

7. The continuous progress of medicine demands of the health care worker a thorough preparation and ongoing formation so as to ensure, also by personal studies, the required competence and fitting professional expertise.  Side-by-side with this, they should be given a solid "ethico-religious formation,"[26] which "promotes in them an appreciation of human and Christian values and refines their moral conscience." There is need "to develop in them an authentic faith and a true sense of morality, in a sincere search for a religious relationship with God, in whom all ideals of goodness and truth are based."[27]

"All health care workers should be taught morality and bioethics."[28] To achieve this, those responsible for their formation should endeavor to have chairs and courses in bioethics put in place.  (no. 7) … 

9.  The sphere of action of health care workers consists, in general, of what is contained in the terms and concepts of health and medicine especially.  The term and concept of health embraces all that pertains to prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation for greater equilibrium and the physical, psychic and spiritual well-being of the person. The term and concept of medicine, on the other hand, refers to all that concerns health policy, legislation, programming and structures.[30] …

The meeting and the practical synthesis of the demands and duties arising from the concepts of health and medicine are the basis and way for humanizing medicine. This must be present both at the personal-professional level—the doctor-patient relationship—and at the socio-policy level so as to safeguard in institutional and technological structures the human-Christian interests in society and the institutional and technological infrastructures. The first but not without the second, since such humanization as well as being a love-charity task is "an obligation of justice."[32] "[This humanization strengthens] the bases of the 'civilization of life and love,' without which the life of individuals and of society itself loses its most genuinely human quality" (Evangelium Vitae 27).

These excerpts from the Charter for Health Care Workers articulate the vision for nursing that is to inform the program of nursing at Ave Maria University.  The nursing program should build upon the Christian understanding of the human person as taught in the core curriculum.  It should highlight the care of the sick and suffering as a participation in the love of Christ.  It should teach and reinforce principles and conclusions of Catholic biomedical ethics.  It should promote the true health of the human person.  It should foster dedication and excellence in the skills, knowledge, and habits necessary for the nursing profession.  The nature of nursing as service to the life of the human person demands such dedication and excellence.