Nursing (NUR)

Academic Catalog 2010–2011

  • Paula Swiggum, Chairperson
  • Heidi Meyer
  • Lori Steffen
  • Barbara Zust

The Minnesota Intercollegiate Nursing Consortium (MINC), the nursing program at Gustavus Adolphus College working in cooperation with that of St. Olaf College, offers students the opportunity to enjoy a Gustavus education, earn a Gustavus degree, enroll in nursing courses with students outside the major and from another college, enjoy courses taught by professors from two colleges, and have clinical learning experiences in a variety of rural and Twin Cities health care and community facilities. The program, which is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing (MBN), spans four academic years. During the first and second years, students complete prerequisites and general education courses. In the junior and senior years, they continue taking liberal arts courses and complete the nursing courses.

By combining the values of the individual and a liberal arts background with the acquisition of professional knowledge and nursing skills, the program integrates development of the whole person, a commitment to lifelong learning, and service to others with a holistic approach to the practice of professional nursing.

The program, through an innovative design that integrates theory with practice and partners educators with professionals in practice, prepares graduates to provide and coordinate nursing care to individuals, families, and communities within standards of professional practice utilizing the Neuman Systems Model. Students learn to think critically, communicate effectively, and implement therapeutic nursing interventions within the socio-cultural, spiritual, and developmental context of patient situations.

Students must apply for admission to the Nursing major during the fall of the sophomore year. Application information is available from the department chairperson or the Administrative Assistant in the department. Admission criteria include cumulative grade point average, grades in prerequisite courses, essay, interview, and student status. Students will be notified of their conditional acceptance into the major by a letter from the department chair before the spring semester of the sophomore year. Nursing courses begin in the fall of the junior year.

Students are awarded the Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Nursing by Gustavus Adolphus College upon successful completion of all requirements of the program. Students are eligible to apply for initial licensure by examination for registered nurses offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and, upon licensure, can apply for certification as a public health nurse in Minnesota.

Admission and Progression

Students are encouraged to express an interest in the Nursing major upon application for admission to Gustavus Adolphus College. Enrollment in the program is limited and admission is competitive; therefore, early consultation with the department chair, preferably in the first year, is recommended. Students are advised by their FTS or Curriculum II advisers until they declare a major following their sophomore year.

Recognizing the cooperative relationship that exists between Gustavus Adolphus College and St. Olaf College as participants in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Nursing Consortium (MINC), neither college will accept transfer students who have taken the pre-nursing or nursing curriculum from the other institution in the Consortium. In exceptional circumstances (i.e., withdrawal from college for a period of one year), a student may petition to the MINC director for an exception to this policy.

Conditional acceptance into the Nursing major will become final if students meet the following criteria at the end of the sophomore year: a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.85; successful completion of all nursing prerequisite courses with a minimum GPA of 2.70. Prerequisites must be taken for a letter grade. Only one prerequisite course may be below C– and this course (or an alternate course approved by the Nursing Department chair) may be repeated once. A minimum grade of C– must be achieved in the repeated or substituted course. If a grade of C– is not achieved in the repeated or substituted course, the student may not continue in the major. If two or more prerequisite courses are below C–, the student may not continue in the major.

Students not accepted may choose to be placed on a waiting list and will be notified of their rank on that list. If openings occur, admission will be offered to waiting-list students by rank. Students on the waiting list may also reapply for admission to the nursing program the following year. They will be considered in the next pool of applicants but will not be guaranteed admission because they apply a second time.

In the event that a student is denied admission to the program by the Department of Nursing and is subsequently unsuccessful in appealing the decision within the department, the student may appeal to an Academic Dean, who will ask for a written statement from both the student and the department prior to rendering a decision. The Dean’s decision will be final.

In addition to the college health requirements, nursing students must also provide documentation of immunization to Hepatitis B, measles, mumps, varicella, and rubella, and a negative Mantoux or Tine (TB) test or negative chest X-ray after June 1 of both the junior and senior years in the major.

Continuous certification in CPR (basic life support for health providers) must be maintained throughout the major according to American Heart Association guidelines. Prior to beginning nursing courses, students must complete a CPR course that meets these guidelines and provides certification for the two-year period they are enrolled in the major.

In order to be qualified to provide direct patient services, students must undergo an annual criminal background study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (MDHS). If a student is disqualified by the MDHS, he/she will be unable to provide direct patient care, which is a requirement of the Nursing major. If a student is disqualified, therefore, he/she will be dismissed from the Nursing Program.

Requirements for Graduation

Students must meet all College requirements for graduation, as well as complete eight prerequisite courses, one supporting course in ethics, and 11 upper division nursing courses. The required courses are NUR-302, NUR-304, NUR-306, NUR-308, NUR-336 (2 course value), NUR-338, NUR-386, NUR-388, NUR-392, NUR-397.

Prerequisite Courses

Eight courses to be completed before upper division nursing courses are:

  • BIO-101Principles of Biology.
  • BIO-118Microbes and Human Health.
  • CHE-107General Chemistry.
  • HES-233Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology.
  • NUR-239Nutrition and Wellness.
  • PSY-100General Psychology.
  • PSY-234Developmental Psychology.

Choose one:

  • S/A-111Cultural Anthropology.
  • S/A-112Principles of Sociology.
  • S/A-231Kinship, Marriage, and Human Sexuality.
  • S/A-237American Minorities.

Supporting Courses

A course in ethics must be completed before graduation. Students should consult with their adviser to determine what courses meet this requirement.

International Education

Nursing students at Gustavus can participate in Interim study-away programs. Participants in international education may need to plan additional time to complete all requirements for the Nursing major.

Concurrent Majors

Students may choose to earn a double major at Gustavus in Nursing and another discipline, but additional time may be necessary for this choice.

Students who have already earned a Gustavus degree are eligible to earn a second major in Nursing. Students should consult with the department chair to determine prerequisite courses needed prior to beginning the nursing courses and such students will need to follow the admission to the major process.


Graduates are qualified to work in hospitals, public health agencies, and clinics, to give high quality nursing care to patients, families, and communities, and to supervise the nursing care given by others. They have a solid foundation for graduate study in master’s and doctoral nursing programs which can prepare them for advanced nursing practice, education, administration, and research.

Accreditation and Approval

Information regarding the national accreditation status of the program can be obtained from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), One DuPont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036-1120, 202-887-6791. Information on state approval of the program is available from the Minnesota Board of Nursing, 2829 University Avenue SE, Suite 500, Minneapolis, MN 55414, 612-617-2270.


Nursing courses are upper division (junior and senior years). Eleven courses taught by Nursing faculty of the two colleges in the Nursing Consortium progress from nonacute to acute nursing, from simple to complex situations, and include the individual, the family, and the community as clients. Electives are offered during the January Interim.

Each nursing course provides the student with 39 class periods, or the equivalent, of instruction. One class period equals fifty minutes at Gustavus. Three and a half hours of classroom laboratory or clinical laboratory is the equivalent of one class period.

Clinical experiences are provided in each semester of the Nursing major in a variety of rural and metropolitan settings. Students must provide their own transportation to clinical experiences. Nursing faculty design and evaluate all classroom and laboratory experiences; in some courses registered nurses working as adjunct instructors assist faculty to guide student learning in the classroom and clinical laboratories. A fee is assessed annually for program expenses.

210Parenting(1 course) This course examines contemporary parenting and is intended as an introduction for students’ preparation for or examination of parenthood. Topics include the stages of pregnancy including fetal growth and development, preparation for labor and birth, parent-infant attachment, and stages of childhood development. Discussion of historic and current parenting roles, parenting skills, parenting styles, gender issues, cultural variations in parenting, discipline, effective communication, and a variety of contemporary challenges relating to the parenting role will be included. SOSCI, Offered occasionally.

239Nutrition and Wellness(1 course) This course explores the sources, chemical composition, and metabolic behavior of nutrients. Nutritional requirements for a balanced diet are examined as well as the consequences of nutrient excesses and deficiencies. Students will use nutritional assessment tools and guidelines to make sound food choices, learn how to read food labels, and consider factors affecting food consumption. Students will also examine the effects of the typical American diet as it relates to chronic illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Spring semester.

300Research for Wellbeing(.5 course) This course is designed to give students who are interested in human wellbeing/health care the knowledge and opportunity to design, implement, analyze, and disseminate the findings of a research study. Students will learn about and become engaged in the research process beginning with a review of the literature in order to refine a research question. After writing a research prospectus, students will obtain approval from the Institutional Review Board prior to data collection. Following data collection and analysis, students will submit an abstract to the National Conference for Undergraduate Research to present their findings. Students can register for an additional .5 course to prepare and submit a manuscript for publication of their research. Fall semester.

302Health Care Issues(1 course) This course focuses on critical issues in contemporary health care. Topics include principles of wellness, health promotion, interpersonal communication, cultural competency, and ethical, legal, political, and economic aspects of the health care system in the United States. Students have the opportunity to explore health care issues, such as interpersonal violence, genomics, bioterrorism, and global health problems. Prerequisite: Admission to the nursing major Corequisite: NUR-304. SOSCI, Fall semester.

304Nursing Concepts(1 course) This course explores the foundational and philosophical concepts of the discipline of nursing. Topics include the history and image of nursing, scope of practice and professional roles, research, and lifelong learning. Students will develop the ability to assess an individual’s state of health from a holistic perspective, using the Neuman System Model as a theoretical framework. Emphasis is on the use of critical thinking and evidenced-based practice. Corequisite: NUR-302. Fall semester.

306Health Assessment(1 course) Classroom and laboratory experiences in nursing and health assessment skills develop the student’s ability to provide nursing care. Opportunities to apply knowledge from the liberal arts and nursing theory to simulated patient care situations are provided. Individual practice sessions in the nursing laboratory are expected. Performance testing determines readiness for the role of caregiver in a variety of clinical settings. Corequisite: NUR-302. Fall semester.

308Adult Health I(1 course) This course focuses on principles of pharmacology and care of the hospitalized adult. Topics include pain management, sleep and rest, and sensory perceptual alterations. Students will apply the nursing process to the care of adults, with emphasis on the elderly. Using a holistic perspective, students will collect and analyze information related to an individual’s health status. Students will begin to develop the professional role of caregiver and patient advocate. Corequisite: NUR-304. Fall semester.

336Adult Health II(2 courses) This course explores health problems in adults requiring medical or surgical care. Students will utilize the roles of caregiver, patient advocate, educator, and collaborator in the care of individuals. Classes integrate patho-physiology, pharmacology, and knowledge of acute and chronic health problems in the adult population. Experiences will be provided in a variety of settings serving adult and elderly populations. Prerequisite: NUR-308. Spring semester.

338Child Health(1 course) This course explores health problems of children requiring medical or surgical care. Students integrate knowledge of developmental, transcultural, and communication theories in the care of children from infancy through adolescence. Trends and issues related to family-centered health care will be explored. Students further develop the roles of educator, collaborator, advocate, and caregiver. A variety of pediatric clinical settings will be utilized. Prerequisite: NUR-308. Spring semester.

386Perinatal Health(1 course) This course explores the childbearing process in healthy and high-risk families. Clinical experiences are provided with families during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and following birth. Clinical settings include hospital birth centers, clinics, and home care agencies. Students develop the role of educator by working with parents to integrate and care for a new member of the family system. Prerequisite: NUR-336. Fall semester.

388Community Health(1 course) This course emphasizes the health of communities and populations. Topics include population-based health issues such as environmental health, epidemiology, and communicable disease. Students will assess and screen individuals and families within communities, address identified needs and educate populations across the lifespan, collaborate with other health care professionals, make referrals, and participate in health promotion clinics. Clinical experiences occur in rural public health agencies and community-based programs. Prerequisite: NUR-336. Fall semester.

291, 391Independent Study(Course value to be determined.) Independent investigation of a selected nursing topic. Open only to junior or senior Nursing majors by special permission of the department.

392Mental Health(1 course) Students will explore issues related to the care of individuals suffering from acute and chronic psychiatric disorders. The course will include topics such as major mental illnesses, substance abuse, depression, and anxiety disorders. Students develop the roles of counselor and collaborator by working with an interdisciplinary team in providing care to patients in psychiatric settings. Clinical experiences emphasize the use of therapeutic communication, psychiatric assessment, and interpersonal relationship skills. Prerequisite: NUR-388. Spring semester.

397Nursing Leadership(1 course) This course explores the theories of leadership, management, and organizations and the process of managing personnel and work. Concepts of change, conflict negotiation, and preparation for professional practice are examined. Professional communication is emphasized through writing and conducting a teaching conference for personnel. The roles of leader, manager, and coordinator are emphasized. Clinical experiences focus on providing nursing care to groups of adults with complex health problems. Prerequisite: NUR-336. WRITD, Spring semester.