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Western Connecticut State University (Nursing Department)




Western Connecticut State University's Nursing Department began in the mid-1960's. The first graduating class was in 1970. The Nursing Department is dedicated to providing both a high quality university education and a memorable campus experience at an affordable cost. The Nursing Department is accredited by the Collegiate Commission on Nursing Education (CCNE). The Nursing Department offers a B.S., M.S. w/ major in Nursing and R.N. to B.S. degree completion.

HISTORY

The Nursing Department at WCSU was opened in 1965 by Professor Eleanor King, who assumed directorship. She came to WCSU form Yale University School of Nursing.

The first undergraduate nursing class was admitted in1966. Two faculty members, Agnes Brown and Anna Ostopchuk, were hired to teach the first nursing classes. In 1968 Helen Mizer and Elizabeth Olsen were hired to teach Maternal-Child nursing and Medical-Surgical nursing, respectively. Then additional faculty were hired to teach the senior year nursing students.

The first class of eight students graduated in 1970. Classes increased in size until there were eventually 80 students in a class. Today, the Nursing Department annually graduates between 40-50 students, and the current alumni number is somewhere around 1300.

In the 1970’s, the Nursing Department applied for and received national accreditation from the National League for Nursing for a 6-year period. The department has maintained national accreditation since 1970. It was during this time that the first men were admitted to the undergraduate program in nursing.

Professor King left in the early 1970s and several faculty filled in as acting directors including Penny Camp and Lynne Welch. In 1974 Dr. Ruth Kohl, from the University of Maryland, was hired as the new, permanent director. Dr. Kohl, who was a native of Connecticut, had been the director of the Danbury Hospital School of Nursing before she left to earn her doctorate at the University of Connecticut, and therefore was well known in the Danbury community. Dr. Kohl was instrumental in the development of a degree completion program for registered nurses who wanted to continue their studies for a BS. The program allowed credit through examinations in several subjects areas in which a student had previous knowledge. This program has been highly successful as many registered nurses have enrolled and graduated from the program.

In 1984, Dr. Kohl retired and was replaced by Andrea O’Connor, who had been a Professor of Nursing at Teachers College, Columbia University. Under Dr. O’Connor’s leadership, the nursing department offered a Master’s Degree in Nursing with a clinical nurse specialist track, an education track, and an administration track. A number of nursing alumni from the undergraduate program enrolled the new program.

The Nursing Department received its charter form the International Honor Society of Nursing: Sigma Theta Tau, in 1988. Mary Ann Riley and Helen Mizer co-founded the Kappa Alpha Chapter, which continues to grow and be a contributing chapter in international nursing by promoting excellence in practice, scholarship, and leadership
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The administrative structure of the department was reorganized in 1993 to be in compliance with the University’s structure of governance. The positions of Program Director and Chairperson were consolidated. Currently the Nursing Department has a full-time Chairperson and 3 program coordinators, respectively, for the MS, BS, and the RN-BS programs.

Barbara Piscopo was elected Chairperson of the Nursing Department under the reorganization. Under her leadership, the masters program was extended to include a Nurse Practioner track and the entire MS program was revised to the current 36 credits. As changes occurred in the health care system, it was necessary to make changes in the nursing curriculum both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In 1998, the current BS program was implemented. Also at this time, the RN-BS track also underwent revisions. In the fall of 2000, the Department of Nursing extended the RN-BS program to include course offerings at the new Western at Waterbury campus.

In 2001 a 30th Anniversary Alumni Reunion was held in Alumni Hall. Approximately 50 graduates returned and shared their experiences since graduating from WCSU.

From 2001 -2003, Stephanie Golub served as the elected Chair of the Nursing Department. Upon Dr. Golub’s retirement in May 2003, Drs. Barbara Piscopo and Laurel Halloran assumed the roles as department chairs for the 2003-2004 academic year, with Dr. Piscopo assuming department chair, beginning the 2004-2005 academic year.

In April 2004, the Nursing Department received full national accreditation from the Commission Council of Nursing Education (CCNE).

In August 2005, the Nursing Department established WestConn’s Nursing Alumni Society along with assistance from WestConn’s Alumni Association

In Fall 2005, WestConn’s Nursing Program began the joint offering of an MS Nurse Educator’s Program with Southern Connecticut State University to assist in alleviating the faculty nursing shortages at the Connecticut Community Colleges. Also in Fall 2005 the Nursing Department acquired two more nursing labs in Higgins Hall.

In April 2006, Dr. Karen Daley and the Senior Nursing students with assistance from Nursing Alumnus Christopher Paige traveled to a US military hospital in Germany to witness firsthand, the nursing care of US military victims injured in the Iraq War. WestConn represented the first nursing group from an institution of higher education to travel to Germany.

MISSION

The Department of Nursing strives to provide a nursing education that is aimed at preparing beginning and advanced practice nurses to meet the ever-changing health care needs of Connecticut and the surrounding region. This is achieved through:
* A dynamic curriculum that is responsive to students and community needs;
* Clinical competence, scholarship and research;
* Service to the university, the public and the profession;
* Accommodation of diverse values and interests;
* A commitment to a caring culture.

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES

1. Synthesize knowledge from the arts, sciences, and humanities with nursing theory as the basis for making nursing practice decisions.
2. Exercise critical thinking in using the nursing process to assess, diagnose, plan, implement, and evaluate the care provided to individuals, families and communities.
3. Apply the nursing process to design, implement, and evaluate therapeutic nursing interventions to provide preventive, curative, supportive, and restorative care for individuals, families, and communities in both structured and unstructured settings, using a variety of techniques.
4. Use a variety of communication techniques, including written documentation, in the process of assessment, counseling, and therapeutic interventions with individual clients, families, groups and communities.
5. Develop and implement a variety of teaching-learning strategies in the provision of health teaching for individuals, families, and groups in a variety of settings.
6. Use the process of scientific inquiry and research findings to improve nursing care delivery.
7. Manage information, human resources, and material resources to achieve optimum client outcomes in a cost-effective manner.
8. Use leadership, management, and collaborative skills as a member of a multidisciplinary team within the health care delivery system to develop, implement, and evaluate health care provided to clients.
9. Exercise independent judgement and ethical decision-making, and act as an advocate for consumers of health care services.
10. Demonstrate accountability in learning and in nursing actions, based on accepted standards of nursing care and in accordance of professional nursing practice.



School name:Western Connecticut State UniversityNursing Department
Address:181 White Street, Midtown Campus, White Hall 107
Zip & city:CT 06810 Connecticut
Phone:(203) 837-8634
Web:http://www.wcsu.edu/nursing/
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Nursing Department Courses


INTRODUCTION TO PHYSICAL ASSESSMENT
Introduces concepts and techniques of physical assessment in the context of the nursing process. Includes assessment of children, adults, and the elderly, and analysis and correlation of findings. Laboratory experiences provide students with opportunities to develop examination skills in preparation for clinical courses.

FUNDAMENTALS OF NURSING
Consideration of the nursing profession as a theory-based practice discipline. Introduces foundational concepts and skills used in the care of individuals, families, and communities within the context of the needs-adaptation framework.

TRANSITION TO PROFESSIONAL NURSING PRACTICE
Exploration of the role of the professional nurse and transition of the registered nurse graduate’s transition to that role. Foundational concepts related to nursing practice, wellness, and illness are explored within a framework of role transformation.

PHYSICAL ASSESSMENT ACROSS THE LIFE SPAN
Introduces concepts and techniques of physical assessment in the context of the nursing process. Laboratory experiences provide students with the opportunities to develop examination skills in preparation for clinical courses. Prerequisite: open only to R.N. students.

SCIENTIFIC PRINCIPLES UNDERLYING NURSING PRACTICE
Introduction to the principles underlying pharmacotherapeutics, as well as other diagnostic and patient care modalities.

PRINCIPLES OF COMMUNITY HEALTH
Consideration of the community as a unit of health care. Focuses on the care of population aggregates and at-risk groups.

CLINICAL NURSING PRACTICE I
Use of the nursing process in applying foundational concepts and skills in planning and providing nursing care for individuals. Considers human responses to commonly encountered illnesses, including pathophysiological processes and treatment approaches. Laboratory experiences provide opportunities to apply theory and develop skills in the care of individuals in structured clinical settings.

WOMEN’S HEALTH ISSUES
Provides students with the opportunity to analyze society’s impact on women’s health. Students will become familiar with current practice and controversial issues in relation to psychophysical, socioeconomic, reproductive, and political factors affecting women’s health and health care. The role of women as discriminating, proactive consumers of health care will be stressed.

CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN HEALTH & ILLNESS
This course will provide a study of the cultural implications for health promotion, health care, and health services through study of the concept of culture and its relationship to people’s health care needs. The student will analyze findings in the social sciences, literature, and other media to develop strategies to meet the needs of people of various cultural and ethnic groups.

CLINICAL NURSING PRACTICE II
Use of the nursing process to design, implement, and evaluate therapeutic nursing interventions for individuals undergoing medical and/or surgical treatment for commonly occurring illnesses. Laboratory experiences provide opportunities to apply theory and develop skills in the care of individuals, primarily in surgical settings.

MENTAL HEALTH NURSING
Application of the nursing process with clients who have major disorders of ego development and/or functioning. Psychosocial development issues of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood are explored as a baseline. Behavioral dynamics and the application of therapeutic interpersonal interventions are stressed using a systems framework.

NURSING CARE OF THE CHILDBEARING AND CHILDREARING FAMILY
Continual application of the nursing process in planning and providing nursing care for members of childbearing and childrearing families. Considers the needs of both groups during this developmental stage. College and clinical laboratory experiences provide opportunities to apply theory and develop skills in the care of both groups.

NURSING IN THE COMMUNITY
Focus on the concept of the community as a unit of health care, with application of the nursing process in providing care in the home and other community settings.

PHARMACOTHERAPEUTICS ACROSS THE LIFESPAN
An in-depth analysis of common pharmacotherapeutics and diagnostics used currently in patient care.

CLINICAL NURSING PRACTICE III
Continual application of the nursing process in applying concepts and skills in planning and providing nursing care for individuals experiencing complex illnesses. Considers human responses to complex illnesses; designs and supports the creation of new approaches to nursing interventions to meet the demands of the care situation. Laboratory experiences provide opportunities to apply theory and develop skills in the care of individuals in traditional institutional and selected community settings.

THE HUMAN HEALTH EXPERIENCE
Exploration of the human experience from an integrated perspective, with a focus on human responses to health, illness, and treatment, and corresponding nursing responses to foster healing, promote health, and maximize potential. Attention is given to developmental and cultural influences on human responses. Teaching-learning interventions and alternative/ complementary therapies are selected as examples of nursing approaches to enhancing the adaptive response of clients. Case studies and clinical projects provide a means to apply theory to practice.

PROCESS IN NURSING
Exploration of the principles and concepts underlying the research process as it is used in conducting empirical nursing research studies. Analysis and critique of extant nursing research, with an emphasis on evaluation of research for application in practice.

LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT IN CONTEMPORARY NURSING PRACTICE
Application of the principles of leadership and management within the context of professional nursing practice. Roles of the professional nurse as assertive leader, manager of resources and patient care, and change agent are explored.

NURSING PRACTICUM
Capstone course in the practice of professional nursing, addressing issues related to entry into professional practice and the contextual issues surrounding health care delivery. Clinical experiences allow students to practice the full role of the professional nurse under the guidance of a clinical preceptor and faculty mentor.

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