Nursing (NUR)

Academic Catalog: 2018–2019

  • Appointment Pending, Chairperson
  • Rose Jost (Visiting, 2018–2019)
  • Heidi Meyer
  • Lynnea Myers (On leave, 2018–2019)
  • Jessica Stadick
  • Barbara Zust

Clinical Faculty:

  • Dean Arnott
  • Theresa Bilse-Kraft
  • Hannah Birkholz
  • Julie Chapman
  • Jane Coleman
  • Sara Leanio
  • 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.

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.

The application process occurs each fall. Students are eligible to apply to the major once they have met the application requirements; this typically occurs in the fall of the sophomore year. Application requirements include cumulative grade point average (GPA), pre-requisite GPA, an applicant interview, a written essay that includes problem solving/basic math skills. Students must complete nine pre-requisite courses prior to entering the major, with at least four or more of these completed by the end of the fall sophomore year. Of the nine pre-requisite courses, the following four prerequisites must be completed by the end of the fall semester at the time of application: BIO – 101: Principles of Biology, CHE-106 General Chemistry, PSY-100 General Psychology, and either HES-234 or 235 Human Anatomy and Pathophysiology I or II. Students will be notified of their conditional acceptance into the major by a letter from the department chair the spring semester of the sophomore year. Nursing courses begin in the fall of the junior year. Information is available from the department Administrative Assistant.

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 and successful completion of all nursing prerequisite courses with a minimum GPA of 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 and accepted, if openings occur prior to the beginning of the fall junior semester. 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 Tuberculosis Test (TST). In lieu of the two-step TST, students may provide documentation of a negative Blood Assay Mycobacterium Tuberculosis test (BAMT), or a negative chest X-ray and annual symptom survey after June 1. The two-step TST is typically only required for students entering the program. In the senior year, a one-step TST or BAMT is required.

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 10 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-106 Introduction to Chemical Principles
  • HES-234, 235 Human Anatomy and Physiology I, II
  • NUR-201 Pre-Health Professions: An Interdisciplinary Look at Health Care PSY-100 General Psychology
  • PSY-234 Child Development or HES-212 Lifespan Development

One Sociology course from:

  • 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-202 Research in the Health Sciences (majors must complete this course by the end of the second semester in )
  • A course in ethics must be completed before 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, 612-317-3000.


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) This 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. This course is not required for the Nursing Major, but may be taken as an elective. The course is open to all students. 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. Nursing majors should not register for this course; it is equivalent to NUR 383, which is required for the Nursing major. 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 Fundamentals of Nursing (1 course) This course introduces the concepts and techniques of health assessment of individuals across the lifespan. Physical, psychosocial, sociocultural, developmental, and spiritual variables are examined through the use of health history and health assessment. Students learn clinical assessment skills, analysis, and decision-making for nursing practice. This course requires evaluation of complex clinical scenarios to enhance clinical reasoning Students will apply theory in experiential laboratory sessions. 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 Principles of Clinical Pharmacology (1 course) This course provides a foundation in pharmacological therapies with an emphasis on the pathophysiology of disease processes. Principles of pharmacology are presented in an integrated manner to provide a basis for study of selected medications that are used to treat or manage diseases. Students will apply theory in experiential simulations that require evaluation of complex clinical scenarios from a nursing perspective. This course is required for all nursing majors, to be taken in either the first or second semester of the program. This course is open to non-nursing majors with Junior or Senior standing. Fall and 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 completed. 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 Maternal Newborn Nursing (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.