The faculty of the Tanner Health System School of Nursing believes and supports the mission, purpose, and goals of the University of West Georgia. While offering both undergraduate and graduate academic programs, the Tanner Health System School of Nursing frames its philosophy within the theoretical structure of caring as the essence of nursing. The faculty are committed to creating a culture of quality caring that fosters caring collaborative relationships between teachers and learners; patients, families and nurses, as well as other members of the healthcare team. Within a culture of quality caring, all persons are viewed as inherently worthy and deserve respect, justice, and equality regardless of gender, race, culture, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status. In pursuit of these beliefs, the faculty declare the following statements of our beliefs and assumptions:
Persons, including individuals, families, groups, communities, and populations, are unique and dynamic as thinking, caring, feeling contributors to society with the power to make choices and assume responsibility for their choices. Persons are holistic, representing an integration of mind, body, and spirit. They have spiritual-social-cultural-ethical beliefs and values that influence the perception of self, others, and the world.
People construct meaning and develop knowledge through being in the world and interacting with the world. Environment includes persons, cultures, the health-care system and other aspects of the constructed and natural world. A concern for the environment is essential due to the social, political and economic influences on health and the health-care system.
Health is a dynamic and contextual state of being in which there is a balance of relationships, choices, and human potentials. The person's perception of health is unique and self-determined within psychological, biophysical, socio-cultural, developmental and spiritual dimensions.
Nursing is a distinct discipline focused on promoting optimal health through the formation of caring relationships across the lifespan while recognizing and respecting the uniqueness of recipients of care. Quality caring provides the foundation for nurses to deliver safe and person-centered care in a rapidly changing health care environment (Duffy, 2009).
Teaching-learning is a dynamic, reciprocal, lifelong process that nurtures and facilitates growth in all participants. Learning occurs through meaningful relationships characterized by connectedness, openness, and creativity. Teachers and learners share the responsibility for creating and maintaining an environment that nurtures these relationships (Duffy, 2009).
The undergraduate program prepares graduates for professional nursing practice, future leadership roles, and advanced education. Education at the graduate level is designed to foster utilization of theoretical and empirical knowledge in advanced nursing practice.
Quality Caring Framework
The philosophy of the Tanner Health System School of Nursing (THS SON) is based on the belief that caring collaborative relationships are the center of creating a culture of quality caring in nursing education and practice. Caring collaborative relationships occur among teachers and learners, clients and nurses, and inter-professional healthcare team members. Within the structure of a conceptually based curriculum (Giddens, 2008), the process of living a caring science curriculum leads to achievement of program outcome goals centered on educating practitioners who can provide safe and person-centered care in a rapidly changing health care environment (Duffy, 2009).
The philosophy of the THS SON is based on an integration of Duffy’s (2009) Quality Caring Model and Hills and Watson’s (2011) Caring Science Curriculum Model. Both of these models place caring collaborative relationships at the center of the process of nursing education and practice and provide the framework for implementation of a curriculum based on caring.
The Quality Caring model explicates the relationship-centered and multi-dimensional aspects associated with providing quality health care (Duffy, 2009). Within this model, “relationships are at the heart of the health care process” (Duffy, p. 33) in order to promote positive outcomes for persons who are recipients of healthcare, for providers, and within the health care system. Adapted for the curriculum in the THS SON (see Appendix A), Duffy’s model provides a framework for caring as the center of a Process in which students are taught concepts relevant to nursing practice (Structure) resulting in achievement of the Program Goals (Outcomes). The construct of structure includes the key concepts within the curriculum related to Person, Nurse, Systems, and Profession. The construct process of care describes caring collaborative relationships, the primary focus of the model. Relationship centered professional encounters occur between/among clients and nurses; between/among nurses and other members of the health care team; and in education, between/among teachers and learners. Caring relationships promote the intermediate outcome of feeling cared for. The construct of program goals demonstrates the achievement of positive outcomes for the BSN educational program, the person (student), and the nursing profession and healthcare system.
The Caring Science curriculum model, integrated into the THS SON curriculum frameworks, (Hills & Watson, 2012) places caring collaborative relationships at the center of a curriculum designed to create a culture of caring within a nursing education program. The focus of the caring science curriculum model is on the development of caring relationships with students and the use of emancipatory pedagogy (student centered learning). According to Hills and Watson, nurse educators must “nurture this culture of caring if students are to graduate as competent caring nurses” (p. 129). In education, the caring relationships between teachers and learners fosters a sense of caring professionalism and acquisition of the crucial knowledge, skills and attitudes for nursing practice in the health care system. This is congruent with Duffy’s (2009) emphasis on the significance of relationships to quality nursing practice.
Duffy, J. (2010). Quality in caring in nursing: Applying theory to clinical practice, education, and leadership. New York: Springer Publishing Company.
Hills, M. & Watson, J. (2011). Creating a caring science curriculum: An emancipatory pedagogy for nursing. New York: NY, Springer.
University of West Georgia Tanner Health System School of Nursing. (2010). 2009-2010 faculty handbook. Carrollton, Ga: Author.
(Approved, 4/23/2012, SONF)