The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Nursing promotes excellence in healthcare through quality, innovative education of nurses and other professionals. The School affirms its commitment to clinical practice, scholarship, and advocacy for underserved populations, and the diverse communities it serves.
Preparing culturally effective nurse leaders who promote wellness and enhance health equity
Strategic Map - 2011-2013
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Philosophy of the School of Nursing
The faculty's shared beliefs about nursing, health, humans, the environment and education form the core of the philosophy of the School of Nursing.
Nursing is the science and art of building the capacity of individuals, families and communities for health and well-being throughout the life course. Nursing is grounded in the biological, social and behavioral sciences and focused on the provision of care through evidence-based, population-specific approaches to lessen the burden of disease and mortality associated with social inequalities. Evidence-based Practice (EBP) significantly impacts clinical decision making to promote the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities.
Nurses practice in a variety of settings within the continuum of health and illness from primary health promotion and disease management to providing assistance when healing and recovery are no longer possible. Nurses use a broad range of skills in transforming individuals and communities including assessment, direct care, diagnosis and treatment, communication, critical reflection, teaching, cultural competence, quality improvement, leadership, advocacy and scholarship. Regardless of the setting, capacity building requires that nurses develop a keen awareness of the environments where people live and work as well as how those impact health and well-being.
Practicing in a pluralistic society, which is characterized by increasing social and cultural diversity, requires that nurses respect cultural differences and recognize the right of choice regarding health care issues. Advocacy for social justice and protection of basic human rights, including the right to health, requires a comprehensive approach to health care with a shared responsibility among individuals, families, communities and society.
Health is a multidimensional and complex phenomenon influenced by biological, developmental, cognitive, behavioral, political, economic, environmental and cultural factors. Health is an instrument that may further capacities while poor health may diminish one's potential. Humans biologically incorporate their social and material worlds; thus, health status is determined by the structural inequalities that create variant exposure, susceptibility and resistance of individuals through the life course. Health disparities are population-based differences in the burden of disease and mortality associated with social inequalities. Reduction of health disparities is best achieved by actions and decisions that improve the life conditions of people in communities through broad-based partnerships and collaboration, not only among multidisciplinary professionals, but more importantly with lay communities and institutions. Building healthy communities is accomplished at the individual, organizational and community levels of practice. Advocacy, empowerment and transformative partnerships to promote population health entail development and implementation of social policies and programs that support healthy environments, safe neighborhoods and broad access to quality health services. Quality improvement of programs and services are inherent in effective capacity development. Nurses can participate in different roles through direct care provision, involvement in institutional/organizational and professional association committees, and as community members.
Human beings are biological, psychosocial and cultural beings who have the capacity for growth. They are affected by their social and material environments and possess the ability to change these environments. Human development is shaped by genetic endowment, conditions in utero, experiences at home, in the neighborhood, at work, and in the broader society throughout the life course. Individuals are also shaped by the historical experiences of their socio-cultural group(s) and present life conditions that impact on their worldview and interactions with others. Timing of life transitions and events affects an individual's development and life potential in different ways.
Nurses help build human capacities for self-empowerment and self-advocacy by respecting an individual's unique background and experiences, adapting nursing actions to accommodate differences, negotiating with the established social hierarchy of various groups and advocating on their behalf for public policy. Culturally competent nursing actions are informed by the cultural values and practices of human groups and the social realities affecting their circumstances in the broader society. Health care, nursing and health care institutions may have contrasting values, practices and expectations that impact groups differently. Culturally competent advocacy requires a compassionate understanding of how human diversity is affected by the assumptions and preferences of health professionals, organizations and the dominant society. Cultural competence builds human capacities for negotiating these distinctions as well as self-empowerment and self-advocacy.
The environment consists of the physical, social and cultural contexts of human life. Contemporary society affects and is affected by events in different parts of the world. The physical environment is comprised of geographic location; climatic, temporal and situated resources; and the built environment; all of which affect quality of life, access to services, safety and health of the population. The social environment refers to the structural arrangements in society that stratify groups of people, which may affect their status and position within the social hierarchy as well as their opportunities in life. Cultural environment is the constellation of the values, beliefs, philosophy and morality that evolves from prolonged experience within specific environmental contexts.
There is reciprocity and mutuality between humans and their environment. All components of the environment are intimately linked. Sustainable changes in individual behaviors may not occur without addressing the other aspects of the environment to effect the desired change.
Nursing is a humanistic discipline that requires the foundation in liberal arts, behavioral and social sciences and humanities. Learning and education is an interactive and transformational process. Education is a life-long pursuit and is aimed at developing optimum potential of the learner. Professional nursing education is informed by the concept of health; is individual and communal in scope; and focuses on wellness as a guide for development of the learning experience.
Educating nurses to practice in increasingly complex and diverse settings requires not only theoretical and clinical expertise but also an atmosphere of caring, support, cultural competence and mutual respect. Nursing faculty is responsible for the creation and maintenance of such a learning environment so that free and open interaction between the learner and the educator can occur. The educational process is heavily influenced by the characteristics of the learner, educator, methods of instruction, technological resources and school and clinical environments. Educational practices, rooted in psychology, learning theory and empirical studies fosters the incorporation of integrative and varied learning strategies that support creative and critical thinking. Educational delivery at all levels must incorporate evidence-based clinical knowledge and research with effective communication and leadership skills. Excellence in scholarly activity, service and educational best-practices are the hallmarks of nursing education.