Program Philosophy and Belief

The Berry Nursing Program faculty is in agreement and supports the mission and educational principles of Berry College. By emphasizing an educational program committed to high academic standards based on interdenominational Christian principles and values within an academic, caring community. Students develop professional competence and acquire knowledge, skills, and attitudes to assume professional nursing roles. Both the Nursing Program and Berry College are dedicated to meeting the intellectual, moral, and material needs of our students as the foundation for teaching and learning. Additionally, both Berry College and the Nursing Program affirm its support of academic integrity, as reflected in founder Martha Berry’s commitment to educating the head, heart, and hands. We believe that mutual trust and respect among Berry’s students, faculty, and staff are essential to the operation of the college and school. All members of the Berry College community are responsible for working together to establish and uphold an environment conducive to an honorable academic endeavor.

The professional practice of nursing is an art and a science, grounded in knowledge obtained through a liberal-arts education. An educational foundation, which includes the advanced analytical skills of critical thinking and clinical reasoning, communication, problem-solving, and decision-making, is essential for the professional nurse to meet the health care realities of the twenty-first century. Competent nursing practice requires possessing  the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to provide safe and effective care to patients, including individuals, families, groups, communities, and populations. Using critical thinking and clinical reasoning, students collaborate with members of the health care team to deliver safe competent care in a setting that reflects a revised culture of communication. Patient-centered care demands awareness and non-judgmental acceptance of diversity. Sensitivity to these differences allows the nurse to practice with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity and worth of every individual regardless of age, gender, race, culture, sexual orientation, or health care beliefs.  

Nurses will assume the roles of provider of care, manager of care, member of a profession, and member/leader of an interdisciplinary team. Nurses providing direct care are responsible for coordinating and managing nursing care (assuming the role of manager, coordinator of care), collaborating with other health team members (assuming role of interdisciplinary member), and being aware of socio-political-economic factors affecting health care delivery and the health care system (assuming the role of member of a profession). The Nursing Program believes students must acquire knowledge, skills, and attitudes that support basic competencies of safety as defined by Quality Safety Education in Nursing (QSEN) and the roles of the nurse as defined by American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). The QSEN competencies are Patient-centered Care, Interdisciplinary Teamwork and Collaboration/Communication, Safety, Quality Improvement, inclusion of Evidence-based Practices, and Informatics. Fundamental to nursing is the belief that patient-centered care is characterized by compassion, respect for patient preferences, values and needs, and recognition of the patient as the source of control and full partner in health care decision-making to enhance patient satisfaction and safe health outcomes. 

Patient-centered nursing care demands a cultural change in communication that includes a no-blame approach. This no-blame approach is essential to providing safe care and identifying, implementing, and evaluating goals and outcomes. The individual’s right to autonomous decision-making is an integral part of patient-centered care. Nurses must be committed to providing patient-centered care that considers and examines a variety of political, social, economic, cultural, religious/spiritual, technological, and historical issues influencing health care. Principles and values of compassion, respect for others, altruism, social justice, freewill, veracity, and protection from harm complement patient-centered care.

Safe quality care that minimizes harm and mitigates error is dependent on a cultural of collegiality, open communication, mutual respect, skills of collaboration, negotiation, and conflict resolution. Nurses must demonstrate clinical expertise by integrating the analytical skills of critical thinking, clinical reasoning, problem-solving, decision making, and evidence-based practice while incorporating patient preferences to deliver optimal, safe health care and improve outcomes. A key to improving health care quality, both locally and global, is for the professional nurse to become increasingly comfortable and proficient in the use of technology, informatics, economics, and genetic information.  

Curriculum development is a faculty responsibility. Faculty must design, implement, and evaluate a curriculum and learning environment that assist the students in acquiring the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to assume the role of the professional registered nurse. The faculty believes that nursing is best taught in a caring academic environment that is learner-centered just as health care is patient-centered. The faculty believes that students are full partners in teaching and learning and that the faculty’s role is to facilitate learning, encourage student control, and value their needs. The faculty embraces their responsibility in the utilization of evidence-based practice by exploring and utilizing evidence-based teaching learning strategies to enhance learning, meet established educational outcomes, and maximize quality education. The faculty agrees that nursing education demands equal attention in face to face classroom activities, virtual and simulated activities, and clinical learning opportunities. The faculty has a responsibility to understand and utilize technology and informatics to enhance teaching and learning, monitor quality, and manage data. 

The faculty recognizes that considerable effort must be expended for the curriculum to remain current as they identify the essential content imperative to professional nursing practice. To ensure students acquire knowledge, skills, and attitudes of professional nursing, faculty must consult and incorporate best practices, nationally published standards of essential skills, national areas of health care priority, and the reality of a health care delivery system that is, at best, constantly changing, and at times chaotic, uncertain, and ambiguous. 

The faculty accepts the responsibility of working with local, national, and global health care providers when selecting and evaluating clinical learning experiences. Clinical experience will be in a variety of agencies: public, private, faith-based, and community settings serving diverse populations and age groups. The faculty believes that institutions/agencies selected for clinical learning must support advancing safe, quality patient care. The faculty is responsible for evaluating the effectiveness of the planned curriculum by collecting, analyzing data, and evaluating the educational outcomes of the program. 

The faculty values working with core faculty members of Berry College who are dedicated to assisting students in obtaining a balanced educational program in the sciences, arts, and humanities. In addition, they share the responsibility of creating and entering into a learning environment that embraces the aim of Berry as service to humanity, which is best expressed in Berry’s motto, “Not to be ministered unto, but to minister.”