Nursing (NUR)Academic Catalog: 2019–2020

  • Heidi Meyer, Chairperson
  • Meagan Crary (Visiting, 2019-2020)
  • Laura Anne Ingalsbe (Visiting, 2019-2020)
  • Rose Jost (Visiting, Fall 2019)
  • Lynnea Myers (On leave, Fall 2019)
  • Jessica Stadick
  • Barbara Zust

Clinical Faculty:

  • Dean Arnott
  • Rebecca Baker
  • Theresa Bilse-Kraft
  • Hannah Birkholz
  • Kara Gebhard
  • Huy Nguyen
  • Alina Vogel

Lab, Simulation, and Clinical 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 Utqiagvik, Alaska to the heart of Minneapolis/St. Paul provide a diverse range of experiences. In addition to developing critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills, students learn to communicate learn to 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 spring. Students are eligible to apply to the major if they are on track to complete all nine pre-requisite nursing courses by the end of spring semester. This typically occurs during the spring of sophomore year. The application process requires students to submit an essay, complete an interview, and complete a short series of medication calculation problems. Students who have completed the application process will be considered for acceptance to the program at the conclusion of spring semester, after all spring semester grades have been submitted. In addition to submission of the application components (essay, interview, medication calculation), eligible students must have all of the following: a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.85; all Nursing prerequisite courses taken for a letter grade; successful completion of all Nursing prerequisite courses with a minimum GPA of 2.85; a grade of C or higher in all Nursing prerequisite courses; and be in good standing with the College. For every applicant, each of the requirements for application are scored by the Nursing department. Students whose application scores are within the top 30 scores will be notified of conditional acceptance to the Nursing program. Nursing courses begin in the fall of the junior year. If a student’s status changes to no longer being in good standing with the College after admission to the Nursing program, agreement to and compliance with a behavioral contract approved by the Nursing department is required to remain in the program. Information is available from the department Administrative Assistant.

Eligible students whose application scores are below the top 30 will be offered a spot on the Nursing program waitlist. Waitlisted students will be informed of their rank on the waitlist. If openings occur, positions in the program will be offered to waitlisted students in their ranked order, so long as they continue to meet all the eligibility requirements for the program. Waitlisted students may reapply to the Nursing program in the spring of their junior year. No preference will be given to reapplying students. Students who do not meet the eligibility requirements for the department will be denied admission.

Waitlisted students and students denied admission to the Nursing program may appeal their decision to the Nursing department. This appeal must be filed with the department chair within 2 weeks of notification of waitlist status or disqualification and should consist of a written statement from the student articulating the grounds for the appeal. The department chair will respond to the appeal in writing within two weeks of its receipt. If the department appeal is denied, the student may appeal to the Dean who oversees the department of Nursing. This appeal must be filed within one week of the student receiving notification of the denial of the departmental appeal. The Dean’s decision will be final.

In addition to the College health requirements, junior and senior nursing students must provide documentation of immunizations: complete series of hepatitis B, measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), varicella, pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria (Tdap), 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. Students must also provide proof of medical insurance with coverage maintained through the major. A completed record of physical examination must be completed annually. This information is required to comply with clinical agreements with agencies that provide learning experiences required by the Nursing program.

Continuous certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) must be maintained through the major. Prior to beginning nursing courses, students must 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 and fraud study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (MDHS). If a student is disqualified by the DHS, they will be dismissed from the Nursing Program.

Requirements for Graduation:

Students must meet all College requirements for graduation, as well as complete nine prerequisite courses. The two 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 Human Anatomy and Physiology I
  • HES-235 Human Anatomy and Physiology 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 nursing.)
  • A course in ethics must be completed before graduation. Students should review the Nursing department website and 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:

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Information on state approval of the program is available from the Minnesota Board of Nursing.


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 and Spring 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.