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University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (College of Nursing)

The College of Nursing provides the comprehensive education, both theoretical and practical, that is needed in this challenging and rewarding profession.

The College of Nursing offers programs at both the bachelor's and master's degree levels.

College of Nursing faculty members positively affect the health of persons, families and communities by educating nurses to provide quality nursing care to diverse populations.


The mission of the UMass Dartmouth College of Nursing is to provide visionary leadership that advances the practice of nursing in a dynamic environment. The College is committed to generating collaborative and consultative relationships with professional colleagues and consumers to enhance the health of individuals, families, and communities. The College actualizes this mission by providing excellent nursing education, meaningful service, and scholarship that advances nursing knowledge to the Commonwealth and beyond.


Both the southeastern Massachusetts region and the profession of nursing were developing in the 1960s. The need for a baccalaureate program in nursing came to the attention of local legislators, and in 1966, a bill was introduced in the state legislature to establish such a program at UMass Dartmouth's predecessor school, Southeastern Massachusetts Technological Institute. The Advisory Committee to the Board of Higher Education endorsed the program in 1967. The College of Nursing was established in 1969, with Sister Madeleine Clemence Vaillot as the first dean of the College. Two departments were established: the Department of Adult and Child Nursing and the Department of Community Nursing.

The College of Nursing received initial accreditation of the undergraduate program from the National League for Nursing in 1973. It has been continuously accredited since that time. In May, 1977, Sr. Vaillot retired and Dr. Joyce Passos was appointed as the second dean of the College. During Dr. Passos' tenure the college grew, expanded the basic program to allow for a flexible path for Registered Nurse students, broadened the mission beyond teaching to include scholarship and service, and expanded the community-based focus of care. During her tenure a graduate program in nursing was established, currently offering three options: Adult Nurse Practitioner (ANP), Advanced Practitioner (Adult Health), and Community Nursing. The graduate program was approved in 1987 and received initial accreditation from the National League for Nursing in 1993.

In 1986, the Theta Kappa Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau was established at the College of Nursing. This chapter has won key awards for its outstanding work related to chapter goals.

In 1993, Dr. Elisabeth Pennington was appointed as the third Dean of the College of Nursing. Under her direction, the faculty were encouraged to embrace change, knowing that quick response to a changing world was necessary. The College's Mission and Goal statement was revised and the Philosophy refined.

During this time the faculty established two nurse practitioner programs: gerontology and adult health. The gerontology program had limited appeal, graduated only one class of students, and was eventually canceled.

Dr. James Fain was appointed Dean of the College in spring 2005, succeeding Dr. Pennington, who retired in 2004. He was most recently Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Nursing at UMass Medical and brings to the position experience as a nurse, a nursing educator and an administrator.

School name:University of Massachusetts DartmouthCollege of Nursing
Address:285 Old Westport Road
Zip & city:MA 02747-2300 Massachusetts
Phone:(508) 999-8251

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College of Nursing Nursing School Location

College of Nursing Courses

HUMAN NUTRITION The principles of human nutrition. Main classifications of nutrients will be covered with emphasis on their role in health maintenance. Factors which affect the nutritional status of individuals, including stage in the life cycle, will also be introduced along with current nutritional problems in the U.S. This course is open to all students regardless of major. May fulfill elective credits for non-nursing majors. NUR 204 two credits Nursing as a Health Profession: Theoretical and Conceptual Basis of Practice The role of professional nursing in the health care delivery system. The historical, socioeconomic and political context of nursing will be discussed together with the theoretical basis and content of nursing practice. WOMENS’ HEALTH ISSUES Women’s health needs throughout the life stages. The course explores the significance of women’s reproductive capacity, in a physiological, psychological, and social context and provides a framework for discussion of related issues. The course presents basic health information to assist students in promoting positive personal health. SURVEY OF COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE HEALTH CARE An exploration of alternative and complementary therapies used to prevent illness, maintain wellness, or alter disease progression. The philosophy, science, and art of the prevailing model of Western health care as well as complementary models of health care from other cultures are discussed. Roles of various health practitioners are explored. This course is open to all students regardless of major. HOLISTIC HEALTH PROMOTION An exploration of the role of genetic endowment, environment, and lifestyle behaviors in achieving optimal health for individuals. A life-span developmental approach is utilized in considering health practices intended to enhance health status and well-being for all age groups. Students will examine their own health status and develop a personal health promotion program. HEALTH ASSESSMENT THROUGH THE LIFE SPAN Introduces the student to parameters of health for individuals representing various ages and stages across the life span. Communication skills are stressed in developing the nurse/client relationship. Emphasis is on the systematic assessment of healthy individuals as a first step in the nursing process. NURSING CARE OF PERSONS WITH ALTERATIONS IN OPTIMAL LEVEL OF FNCTIONING This theory/clinical laboratory course focuses on application of the nursing process in support of the individual adult client with selected alterations affecting optimal level of function (nursing diagnoses). Emphasis is on the acquisition of basic skills for use in appropriate intervention with selected nursing diagnoses. EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING Conditions and hours to be arranged. Graded CR/NC. For specific procedures and regulations, see selection of catalogue on Other Learning Experiences. (Formerly listed as Contract Learning.) SELECTED MECHANISMS OF DISEASE AND RELATED PHARMACOLOGY Disease processes in humans. Content selected for study is chosen specifically to enhance the RN student’s understanding of basic pathophysiologic concepts and is essential to understand the rationale for clinical judgment and therapeutic intervention in disease conditions. The ability of human beings to adapt to stressors is discussed throughout the course. Concepts of pharmacology and drug therapy are integrated to allow students to utilize this information in clinical practice. SELECTED MECHANISMS OF DISEASE AND RELATED PHARMACOLOGY I, II Introduction to disease processes humans. Humans’ responses and adaptation to injury and disease are discussed throughout. The content selected for study provides the rationale for clinical decision making and therapeutic interventions in disease conditions. Concepts of pharmacology are integrated throughout these courses. PROFESSIONAL NURSING Professional role development for RN students, addressing nursing issues through critical analysis of the historical influences, philosophical perspectives, and socioeconomic factors which impact professional role development. Emphasis will be on theoretical knowledge influencing client outcomes in various settings. Effective, creative communication skills leading to role transformation behaviors will be encouraged through the use of group process activities. FUNDAMENTALS OF NURSING RESEARCH Introduces the student to research as it relates to nursing practice and consequent improvement in health care. Content includes research design, methods of data collection and exploration of analytical procedures for interpretation of data. Emphasis is placed upon the use of clinical nursing research findings. NURSING CARE OF HOSPITALIZED ADULTS The application of the nursing process consistent with ANA Standards of Clinical Nursing Practice in support of adult clients experiencing multiple alterations in optimal level of functioning (OLF). Focus is placed on nursing interventions appropriate to clients with acute needs and multiple nurs-ing diagnoses. Critical thinking, communication, and therapeutic nursing intervention skill development are emphasized. EXTENDED ASSESSMENT SKILLS FOR NURSES Provides registered nurses with instruction and practice in physical examination skills, obtaining a health history, and recognizing abnormal findings. This course or its equivalent is prerequisite to the graduate program. CONCEPTS OF FAMILY CARE This course introduces the student to application of nursing process to the family. Students will draw from a variety of theories and conceptual frameworks to guide the gathering and interpretation of assessment data. Emphasis is placed on assessment and nursing interventions to support or strengthen optimal level of functioning (OLF) for families across the life cycle. NURSING CARE OF BEGINNING FAMILIES This theory/clinical lab course focuses on the nursing care required by the childbearing and childrearing family as they adapt to developmental and situational stressors. The student applies the nursing process to the care of parents, children and families in collaboration with other members of the health team. Clinical experience occurs in a variety of community and institutional settings. NURSING CARE OF CHILDREN This theory/clinical lab course focuses on the nursing care of children from infancy through adolescence and their families within a developmental framework, identifying ways to support the child’s adaptation to developmental or situational stress. Emphasis is on the responses of children and their families to health maintenance measures, illness, injury and hospitalization.

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