Nursing (NUR)

Academic Catalog: 2017–2018

  • Barbara Zust, Chairperson
  • Andrew Folstad (Visiting, 2017–2018)
  • Rose Jost (Visiting, 2017–2018)
  • Heidi Meyer
  • Lynnea Myers (On leave, 2017–2018)
  • Jessica Stadick

Clinical Faculty:

  • Dean Arnott
  • Theresa Bilse-Kraft
  • Hannah Birkholz
  • Julie Chapman
  • Jane Coleman
  • Trisha Haapoja
  • Komba Kelley
  • Sara Leanio
  • Loronda Schuler
  • Alina Vogel

Lab Coordinator:

  • Jessica Helget

The Department of Nursing at Gustavus Adolphus College offers students the opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills necessary for working with individuals and communities in promoting healing and wellbeing across the lifespan. The nursing curriculum provides a broad understanding of the discipline of nursing as a way of looking at the world. Nursing care of an individual with a health variance considers the family that supports the patient; the home environment in which the patient lives; the community resources available to help the patient; the local, state, and national politics that affect these resources; and the global community from which these resources are taken. As important members of inter-professional health care teams, nurses need to see human needs manifested in diverse beliefs, values, resources, and conditions that impact the effectiveness of highly sophisticated technical skills, devices, and treatments. Throughout the nursing curriculum, students will develop clinical reasoning and critical thinking skills necessary to assess, respond to, and evaluate factors that impact health and wellbeing. Students will have the opportunity to practice inter-professional communication and collaboration skills, actively participate in the creation of knowledge by engaging in research, examine human issues that impact wellbeing, and advocate for quality, safe, and effective care for patients across the lifespan.

The program spans four academic years. During the first and second years, students complete prerequisite courses while working toward fulfilling their general education requirements. In the junior and senior years, they continue taking liberal arts courses and complete the required nursing courses.

The program prepares Gustavus nursing graduates to coordinate and provide nursing care for individuals, families, and communities. Clinical partnerships with urban and rural health care agencies that range from Barrow, Alaska to the heart of Minneapolis/St. Paul provide a diverse range of experiences. Students learn to think critically, communicate effectively, and implement therapeutic nursing interventions with sensitivity toward socio-cultural, spiritual, and developmental needs of the individual, family, and/or community.

The application process occurs each fall and information is available from the department chairperson or the Administrative Assistant in the department. Requirements for application are typically met by fall of sophomore year. Admission criteria include cumulative grade point average, grades in prerequisite courses, interview, and demonstration of problem solving/basic math and written communication skills. Students will be notified of their conditional acceptance into the major by a letter from the department chair during 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.

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 2.85. Prerequisites must be taken for a letter grade. Students must earn a grade of C or better in all pre-requisite courses. Students must be in good standing with the College prior to entering the nursing program and throughout the program once admitted.

Students who are not conditionally accepted and meet the GPA, interview, and essay/math requirements of the application process will be placed on a waiting 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, junior and senior nursing students must also provide documentation of immunization to Hepatitis B, measles, mumps, varicella, and rubella, and a negative two-step Mantoux or negative TB serum test or negative chest X-ray after June 1.

Continuous certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) must be maintained through the major. Prior to beginning nursing courses, students should complete a CPR course that provides certification for the two-year period they are enrolled in the major. Students should select either the Basic Life Support for Healthcare Provider course offered by the American Heart Association or the CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers and Healthcare Providers course offered by the American Red Cross. Each student must be a certified nursing assistant (CNA) prior to beginning the nursing program.

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. Therefore, if a student is disqualified, 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. The three supporting courses may be taken concurrently with the ten upper division nursing courses. Students must earn a grade of C or better in all nursing classes. Students who do not successfully pass a nursing course may repeat only one course in the major only one time based on space availability in the course to be repeated. The required courses are:

Prerequisite Courses:

  • BIO-101 Principles of Biology
  • BIO-218 Fundamentals of Microbiology
  • CHE-107 General Chemistry
  • HES-234, 235 Human Anatomy and Physiology I, II
  • PSY-100 General Psychology
  • PSY-234 Child Development or HES-212 Lifespan Development

Choose one:

  • S/A-111 Cultural Anthropology
  • S/A-112 Principles of Sociology
  • S/A-231 Kinship, Marriage, and Human Sexuality
  • S/A-235 Social Inequality
  • S/A-242 Drugs and Society
  • S/A-244 Sociology of Aging
  • S/A-262 Sociology of Medicine
  • GWS-224 Staying Alive

Supporting Courses:

  • NUR-201 Pre-Health Professions: An Interdisciplinary Look at Health Care (Majors are required to take this course prior to entering the nursing program. Students may take the course concurrently with the first semester nursing courses and approval from course faculty.)
  • NUR-202 Research in the Health Sciences (majors must complete this course by the end of the second semester in nursing.)
  • A course in ethics must be completed before graduation. Students should consult with their advisor to determine what courses meet this requirement.

International Education:

Students interested in nursing at Gustavus are encouraged to participate in international education programs. With careful planning of prerequisite courses, students may be able to engage in a semester abroad in their sophomore year.

Concurrent Majors:

Students may choose to earn a double major at Gustavus in nursing and another discipline. However, this will require careful planning and may involve additional semester(s) at Gustavus.

Students who have already earned a Gustavus degree are eligible to earn a second major in nursing. Students should consult with the department chair and will need to follow the admission to the major process.


Graduates are qualified to take the national licensing exam to become a Registered Nurse and Certified Public Health Nurse. This licensure will qualify graduates to provide quality nursing care in hospitals, clinics, schools, public health agencies, and in other community nursing settings. Graduates 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,


Nursing courses are upper division (junior and senior years). Ten courses (NUR-310, NUR-311, NUR-335, NUR-337, NUR-383, NUR-385, NUR-387, NUR-393, NUR-395 and NUR-398), taught by nursing faculty progress from non-acute to acute nursing, from simple to complex situations, and include the individual, the family, and the community as patients. NUR-201 and NUR-202 are open to all students.

Community engaged learning through 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. Clinical experiences may occur on any shift or day of the week as negotiated by agencies and the program. A fee is assessed annually for program expenses.

201 Pre-Health Professions: An Interdisciplinary Look at Health Issues (1 course) This course focuses on introduction to health professions; holistic, culturally sensitive, patient and family centered care; clinical prevention and population health; complementary and alternative modalities; inter-professional communication and collaboration; health care policy, finance, and resource management; quality and safety in health care; informatics, and professional values. There is an experiential, community engagement assignment for this course. This course is open to all students. Fall and Spring semester.

202 Research and Ethics in the Health Sciences (1 course) Rhis course focuses on identifying, critiquing, and creating research in the health sciences. Students will apply the steps of the research process in the health sciences. Students will also explore legal and ethical issues related to the health sciences. Application of learning through a group research activity is required. This course is open to all students. WRITI, Fall and Spring semester.

205 Alaska Native/Native American Perspectives on Well-Being (1 course) This course will provide students with an opportunity to explore the history, culture, and modern day challenges of Alaskan Native/Native Americans. Particular attention will be given to the tension between traditional worldview/ practices and western worldview/practices. Leininger’s Transcultural Theory and Culbertson’s Iceberg Theory of Education will be used in gathering narrative accounts on essential values of Alaska Natives/ Native Americans through numerous readings and intentional dialogue with members of Alaska Native/ Native Americans. GLOBL, Fall semester.

253 Introduction to Public Health (1 course) This course provides an introduction to the major concepts of public health. Topics covered include levels of prevention, health theories, health education, community assessments, health screenings, nutrition, health care finance, care of vulnerable populations, disaster planning, environmental health, principles of epidemiology, and infectious diseases. Application of learning will occur in a variety of course activities. Credit cannot be earned for this course and NUR-383, Public Health. Fall semester.

310 Medical–Surgical Nursing Across the Life Span I (1 course) This course focuses on the promotion of well-being among an older adult population in the community, residential living, and acute care settings. Emphasis of this course is on the use of the nursing process and the application of content necessary to provide holistic care to the older adult client experiencing physiologic and psychosocial alterations (acute and chronic). Students will begin to develop their professional role as patient advocates, providers of care, and promoters of well-being among older adults in a variety of settings. This course includes clinical and simulation experiences. Prerequisite: NUR-201. Co-requisite: NUR-311. Fall semester.

311 Clinical Pharmacology and Health Assessment I (1 course) This course focuses on health assessment and principles of pharmacology with particular attention given to the elderly population. The course also introduces students to clinical pharmacology for selected health variances across the lifespan. Students will apply theory in experiential laboratory simulations. Emphasis will be placed on student ability to assess and evaluate patient responses to pharmacological agents in simulated patient care environments. Prerequisite: NUR-201. Co-requisite: NUR-310. Fall semester.

335 Medical–Surgical Nursing Across the Life Span II (1 course) This course focuses on the promotion of well-being among the adult population in acute care settings. The course expands the concepts and application of Medical-Surgical Nursing across the Life Span I. Students will advance their application, analysis and evaluation of content necessary to provide holistic care to the adult experiencing physiologic and psychosocial alterations (acute and chronic). Prerequisites: NUR-310 and NUR-311. Co-requisite: NUR-337. Spring semester.

337 Clinical Pharmacology and Health Assessment II (1 course) This course focuses on principles of pharmacology as related to the physical integrity of diverse patients. Knowledge of clinical pharmacology will be integrated in a holistic approach for health assessment of patients. The course also covers advanced health assessment and requires evaluation of complex clinical scenarios to enhance clinical reasoning. Students will apply theory in experiential laboratory simulations. Additionally, students will conduct holistic health assessments of patients in clinical settings, and assimilate knowledge of pharmacology in their analysis of the patient data. Prerequisites: NUR 310 and NUR-311. Co-requisite: NUR-335. Spring semester.

244, 344 Special Topics (1 course, 1 course) Content will vary from semester to semester. Courses will explore a topic or problem in depth and students will read, discuss, and write. More than one special topic may be taken. Fall and/or Spring semesters.

383 Public Health (1 course) This course focuses on public health and provides students with an opportunity to apply major concepts of public health through community-based learning activities. Topics covered include levels of prevention, health theories, health education, community assessments, nutrition, care of vulnerable populations, disaster planning, environmental health, principles of epidemiology, and infectious diseases. Application of learning is required in a variety of settings. Prerequisites: NUR-335 and NUR-337. Fall semester.

385 Pediatric Nursing (1 course) This course focuses on pediatric health and the role of the pediatric nurse. Topics include child growth and development, providing family-centered care, and discussion of child health issues requiring nursing care in the hospital and community setting. This course includes clinical and simulation experiences. Prerequisites: NUR-335 and NUR-337. Fall semester.

387 Reproductive and Perinatal Health (1 course) This course covers health variances related to physical and/or psychological reproductive issues; antepartum, intrapartum, postpartum and newborn care from the perspective of the family as a complex patient. Perinatal care, newborn, and family will be explored. Students will have an opportunity to teach principles of perinatal care, newborn care and family care in an acute care setting as well as in the community setting. Prerequisites: NUR-335 and NUR-337. Fall semester.

291, 391 Independent 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.

393 Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing (1 course) This course will focus on primary, secondary, and tertiary care of patients across the lifespan with psychopathology and/or psychosocial integrity variances. Students will incorporate a holistic perspective in planning individualized care for patients in an acute behavioral health care unit and in the community. Experiential learning will take place in acute care and community settings. Prerequisites: NUR-383, NUR-385 and NUR-387. Spring semester.

395 Advanced Medical-Surgical Nursing Across the Life Span III (1 course) This course focuses on the promotion of wellbeing among a population of patients in acute care settings. This course expands the concepts and application of Medical-Surgical Nursing across the Life Span I and II. Students will synthesize concepts from previous and current courses to provide holistic care to patients experiencing complex multi-system variances. Students will apply clinical reasoning, critical thinking, and knowledge of inter-professional communication and collaboration in simulated intensive care experiences. Prerequisites: NUR-383, NUR-385 and NUR-387. Co-requisite: NUR-398. Spring semester.

398 Transition to Professional Practice: Art and Science of Nursing (1 course) This course explores leadership theories, concepts and characteristics as students begin the transition from student to professional nurse. The course will include Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN), patient acuity and staffing, providing cost-effective and efficient care through the management of resources, and collaboration/communication with inter-professional teams. Assimilation into professional nursing practice is promoted through professional communication and writing. Clinical experiences focus on professional leadership roles in the nursing profession. Prerequisites: NUR-383, NUR-385 and NUR-387. Co-requisite: NUR-395. WRITD, Spring semester.