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Curriculum

Below is the course of study for Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist. We also provide a plan of study for full time students, and two year and three year plans of study for part time students.

Core courses (4 course units):

NURS607
Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology

This course will integrate advanced physiology with pathophysiology and clinical implications across the lifespan for advanced nursing practice. Organ systems function and dysfunction from the level of the cell through integrated organ levels will be presented, and the genetic basis of disease will be discussed. Recent scientific advances will be discussed with application to new approaches to disease and symptom management. The interrelationships between basic physiology, clinical pathophysiology, and genetics are emphasized through lecture and case studies.

NURS608
Advanced Pharmacology and Therapeutics for Nursing Practice

Advanced principles of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics are applied to the nursing care of individuals across the life-stage spectrum. It focuses on the content and knowledge employed by the advanced practice registered nurse in the management of various conditions and disease states. The course builds on the pharmacology knowledge base acquired in the baccalaureate nursing program. The advanced pharmacology and therapeutics of several common diseases or conditions found in the acute care and primary care setting is presented. This is supplemented with pharmacotherapy modules to meet program specific needs.

NURS657
Advanced Physical Assessment and Clinical Decision Making

This is a laboratory/clinical course designed to help prospective nurse practitioners develop advanced clinical assessment skills. Provider-patient interaction, data collection, and hypothesis formulation are emphasized. All participants engage in actual practice with fellow students, and/or models, and consenting patients.

And one of the following two courses:

NURS547
Scientific Inquiry for Evidence-based Practice

This course is designed to advance students’ understanding of the research process, methods of scientific inquiry, and analytical techniques. Students acquire knowledge of systematic approaches used by scientists to design and conduct studies. Course content prepares students to appraise quantitative and qualitative research, and evaluate the scientific merit and clinical significance of research for translation into practice. Evidence-based guidelines are examined and rated for strength of evidence and expert consensus using evidence grading systems and defined criteria. Students engage in variety of creative learning experiences to facilitate appreciative inquiry, clinical reasoning, and evidence-based practice. Quality improvement, comparative effectiveness analyses, information science, and electronic health systems technology demonstrate the capacity for measurement and surveillance of nursing-sensitive and other outcomes used to evaluate quality nursing care and test interventions. Ethical, legal and health policy implications for research are explored. This course serves as the basis for scientific inquiry about human experiences to address important problems that require solutions and to expand the research and the evidence base for professional nursing practice.

NURS637
Introduction to Research Methods and Design

The relationships among nursing theory, research and practice will be examined. An emphasis will be placed on research competencies for advanced practice nurses (APNs), including understanding nursing research methods and strategies in order to evaluate research results for applicability to practice and to design projects for evaluating outcomes of practice. An understanding of statistical techniques will be integrated into the course and build on the required undergraduate statistics course. Published nursing research studies will be evaluated for scientific merit and clinical feasibility, with a focus on evidence-based practice.

Theory courses (6 course units):

NURS650
Systems Thinking in Patient Safety

This blended online/in-classroom graduate level course integrates principles of systems thinking with foundational concepts in patient safety. Utilizing complexity theories, students assess healthcare practices and identify factors that contribute to medical errors and impact patient safety. Using a clinical microsystem framework, learners assess a potential patient safety issue and create preventive systems. Lessons learned from the science of safety are utilized in developing strategies to enhance safe system redesign. Core competencies for all healthcare professionals are emphasized, content is applicable for all healthcare providers including, but not limited to, nurses, pharmacists, physicians, social workers and healthcare administrators, and may be taken as an elective by non-majors.

NURS670
Principles of Adult Gerontology Acute Care I

This didactic course examines the epidemiologic, assessment, diagnostic, management and evaluation of acutely or critically ill adults across the adult-older adult age spectrum. Students explore the dynamic interplay between the pathophysiologic basis of disease and the psychosocial and socio-cultural responses to acute and critical illness and injury as they develop clinical decision-making skills. An evidence-based approach to nursing and medical management including pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic modalities is emphasized. Cardiovascular and pulmonary systems, infectious and prevention issues commonly encountered by adults are covered. Particular focus is placed on specific issues related to the older adult such as frailty, dehydration, loss of functional mobility, falls, and other geriatric syndromes.

NURS671
Principles of Adult Gerontology Acute Care II

In this didactic course, students learn to integrate their advanced pharmacology and pathophysiology background with their understanding of acute illness and injury. The focus is on the evidence-based management of patients with neurologic, gastrointestinal, renal, oncologic, and metabolic health problems. Students develop skills to create a differential diagnosis when an adult/older-adult presents with a constellation of symptoms. Common and atypical presentations of illness and disease are explored. Focus is placed on holistic care including the psychosocial, cultural, and spiritual aspects of patients’ response to their illness or injury. Epidemiology, assessment, diagnosis, management, and advanced clinical decision making based on current clinical research are emphasized.

NURS672
Principles of Adult Gerontology Acute Care III

This didactic course examines issues related to the epidemiology, assessment, diagnosis, management and evaluation of acute, critical and complex chronically ill adults across the adult-older adult age continuum. Students explore the dynamic interplay between the pathophysiologic basis of disease and the psychosocial and socio-cultural responses to illness and injury across the adult age continuum as they develop clinical decision-making skills. An evidence-based approach to nursing and medical management including pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic modalities is emphasized. Content focuses on special adult and older adult patient populations with commonly encountered health problems.

NURS768
Role of the Clinical Nurse Specialist

This clinical course provides students the opportunity to apply CNS theory to practice and enables students to develop strategies to overcome barriers to safe, quality healthcare delivery. Students acquire knowledge and skills characteristic of CNS practice particularly as it relates to clinical judgment, facilitation of learning, advocacy and moral agency, caring practice and response to diversity.

And one of the following two courses:

NURS646
Primary Care: Diagnosis and Management of Adults Across the Lifespan

This course focuses on development of critical thinking skills to address health care problems of adults across the lifespan, with an emphasis on middle-aged and older adults, develop differential problem solving skills and determine appropriate management interventions. The management of common acute and chronic health conditions will include evidence based primary preventions, drug and treatment therapeutics, and referral to other health care providers. Students have the opportunity to build on previously acquired skills and to apply concepts of primary care to manage the health problems of adults across the lifespan.

NURS690
Family Focused Primary Care of the Middle-Aged and Older Adult

This course focuses on primary care problems encountered by middle-aged and older adults and their families. Students have the opportunity to build on previously acquired skills and to apply concepts of primary care to manage the complex health problems of middle-aged and older adults.

Clinical courses (2 course units):

NURS769
Clinical Nurse Specialist Clinical I

This clinical course provides students the opportunity to apply CNS theory to practice and enables students to develop strategies to overcome barriers to safe, quality healthcare delivery. Students acquire knowledge and skills characteristic of CNS practice particularly as it relates to clinical judgment, facilitation of learning, advocacy and moral agency, caring practice and response to diversity.

NURS770
Clinical Nurse Specialist Clinical II

This clinical course focuses on the application of CNS theory to practice. Students focus on furthering the development of the knowledge and skills related to the core competencies of the CNS. Strategies to improve provider and system issues related to the provision of care to the population of interest are developed, implemented and evaluated. Developing leadership in the development of system-wide or healthcare policy is promoted. Advocating for the individual, family, caregiver and population of interest needs within the context of clinical practice and policy making is encouraged.