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Objectives, Organizing Framework and Requirements for BSN Degree 

Baccalaureate Program Objectives

Baccalaureate Program Objectives Leveled by Year

The faculty has defined behaviors that each student must achieve before progressing to the next level. The objectives are leveled by year: level 1 references the first year; level 2 references the second year, and so on.  Students are encouraged to refer to these objectives at the mid-point of the semester and again at the end of the semester in order to be an active participant in the learning and self-evaluation processes. 

End of Program. Synthesize knowledge from the humanities and the natural and social sciences as the basis for continuing personal, intellectual, social, and professional development

Level 3.  Apply knowledge from the humanities and the natural and social sciences in the development of the role of nurse inpatient care situations in acute care settings.

Level 2. Articulate the relevance of knowledge from the humanities and the natural and social sciences to the evolving role of the nurse.

Level 1. Demonstrate knowledge of the interrelationship of the humanities, and the natural and social sciences as a basis for the development of nursing practice and as a source of personal development.

End of Program.  As a generalist, use theoretical and scientific bases for nursing to deliver nursing care to clients as individuals, families, communities, and organizations in a variety of settings at any level of wellness, illness, and risk.

Level 3. Apply theoretical and scientific bases for nursing practice related to individuals and families with potential or actual health-related problems in acute care settings.

Level 2. Demonstrate the use of theoretical and scientific bases for nursing practice related to risk assessment and health promotion activities to individuals within selected communities and health care agencies.

Level 1. Identify theoretical and scientific bases for nursing practice.

End of Program. Apply research findings to evaluate and improve nursing care and the health care system.

Level 3. Appraise the relevance, quality, and applicability of research in decision making related to patient care.

Level 2. Discuss the research implications for various nursing practice environments.

Level 1. Recognize the relationship of research to nursing practice.

End of Program. Assume responsibility for providing nursing care in a collaborative relationship with individuals and groups in a variety of settings.

Level 3. Participate in providing nursing care in a collaborative relationship with individuals and families in complex health care settings.

Level 2. Participate in providing nursing care in a collaborative relationship with individuals selected communities and health care agencies.

Level 1. Observe the process of how nurses collaborate with individuals.

End of program.  Participate in collaborative relationships with colleagues through referral, consultation, planning, and evaluation.

Level 3. Initiate a collaborative relationship with colleagues to facilitate consultation, referrals, planning, and evaluation in a complex health care setting.

Level 2. Participate in a collaborative relationship with colleagues by consultation, planning, and evaluating selected communities and health care agencies.

Level 1. Identify various interdisciplinary roles in health care.

End of Program.  Demonstrate leadership and management skills through the direction and support of clients and colleagues as individuals, families, communities, and organizations.

Level 3. Integrate an understanding of leadership and management skills through the direction and support of colleagues, individuals, and families in acute care settings.

Level 2. Provide peer support and management of individual clients in selected communities and health care agencies.

Level 1. Define leadership and management skills using professional organizations as a model.

End of Program.  Participate as an agent of change in scientific, social, and political action for the advancement of research, healthcare, and policy at any level from local to international.

Level 3. Initiate change for the advancement of research and healthcare in an acute care setting.

Level 2. Participate as an agent of change to effect modification in health promotion behavior and level of wellness in selected local communities and health care agencies.

Level 1. Recognize the need for change related to health care reform and policymaking at the national level.

End of Program. Communicate coherently, comprehensively and systematically in written and oral forms as they pertain to nursing care, collaboration, research, and policy.

Level 3. Analyze written and oral communication patterns and make recommendations for modification if necessary as they pertain to nursing care, collaboration, and research.

Level 2. Demonstrate therapeutic and professional oral communication with individuals,  groups, and peers in selected local communities and health care agencies.

Level 1. Demonstrate effective written communication skills.

End of Program. Perform clinical skills appropriate to generalist nursing practice, with competence and judgment within specific settings.

Level 3. Demonstrate advanced nursing skills with competence and judgment in acute care settings.

Level 2. Demonstrate an expected level of judgment in basic nursing skills in selected communities and health care agencies.

Level 1. Identify components of professional nursing practice.

BSN Undergraduate Curriculum Organizing Framework and Vision

BSN Undergraduate Curriculum Organizing Framework and Vision

CLASS OF 2015 AND BEYOND
(Accelerated BSN Class of December 2014 and beyond)

Our Mission

Penn Nursing is committed to teach the art and science of nursing, as well as creating opportunities for service, practice, leadership, and research. This is achieved through talented faculty, internationally recognized scholarship, respect for the diversity of our own community (of faculty, staff, and students), and a commitment to individualizing the pedagogical and material resources necessary for success.

Our Vision

Penn baccalaureate nursing graduates are broadly educated and socially engaged. They demonstrate the capacity for clinical expertise, leadership at the bedside and around the globe, and for translating the science of the profession into practice.

Our graduates have matured in the intellectual and social environment of both the university and the School of Nursing. This environment is built upon the values of civic engagement, critical inquiry, interdisciplinary knowledge, and the integration of research and practice. It has prepared our graduates to create and realize their own vision and ambition for themselves and their profession.

Our Values

  • Respect for the diversity of individuals and their ideas
  • Dedication to the rigorous clinical inquiry as the basis of clinical judgment
  • Commitment to collaboration with individuals, families, communities, and colleagues
  • Responsible and engaged advocacy
  • Recognition of the intersections of history, social context, culture, and economics in shaping a global society that seeks equity and access for all
  • Respect for nursing science and its substantive contribution to health care
  • Organizing Framework - One University, One School, One Curriculum

Penn’s baccalaureate curriculum brings structure to the school’s mission, vision, and values by centering on the primacy of nursing practice situated in caring relationships that facilitate health and healing. The baccalaureate curriculum builds on this conceptualization of nursing as it moves students toward increasingly contextualized understandings of individuals, families, communities, and populations living with health and illness. It also moves students into increasingly complex situations and care environments as they experience the dynamic nature of nursing’s embeddedness in health care systems, social structures, and society.

The baccalaureate curriculum concentrates on four intersecting core themes that characterize the complex and contextual nature of nursing practice: engagement, inquiry, judgment, and voice.

The competencies derived from this framework are not intended to be achieved in a sequential manner. Rather, this framework explicates competencies that are fluid, that adapt to various learning experiences when presented in the curriculum, and which are as essential to the formation of a professional identity of a graduate nurse. The application of these themes is demonstrated in the following examples:

Engagement: The student understands the relationships among:

  • Caring relationships with individuals, families, and patient populations
  • Collegial intra-disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary collaborative relationships
  • Observer and participant in policies and politics
  • Situational advocacy and civic commitment to social and political change

Inquiry: The student understands the relationships among:

  • Knowledge use, knowledge acquisition, and knowledge development
  • Scientific ways of knowing patients and families and multi-dimensional and contextual ways of knowing
  • Knowing about humanistic understandings and implementing them in practice and research
  • Evidence-based practices and the social and political processes of practice with less clear scientific rationales
  • Use of technological information systems and manipulating them to acquire meaningful data
  • Knowledge use and ongoing clinical knowledge development
  • Measures of quality in clinical care environments

Judgment: The student understands the relationships among:

  • Acquisition of knowledge and skill and the integration of both within relational practices with individuals, families, communities, populations, and healthcare systems
  • Individualized knowledge of individuals and families and collective knowledge about communities, populations, and systems
  • Core nursing knowledge and integrated knowledge
  • Situated judgment and clinical know-how

Voice: The student understands the relationships among:

  • Observer and advocate and moral agent
  • Facilitation of patient and family learning and advocacy affecting social and political practices
  • Informal methods of dialogue, discourse, and debate and those necessary for formal writing and publication and for joining a community of scholars
  • Vision for self and a vision for the profession

Requirements for BSN (Students entering Fall 2022 and beyond)

Non Nursing Major Requirements                                                          5 c.u.

Writing Requirement (see section on Writing Requirement)                 1 c.u.

Language Requirement*                                                                              4 c.u.

Distributional Requirements by Sectors                                              6 c.u.

Arts and Letters                                                                                             1 c.u.

Society and Social Structures                                                                      1 c.u.

Histories and Traditions                                                                               1 c.u.

Global and Cultural Studies                                                                         1 c.u.

Reasoning, Systems, and Relationships                                                    1 c.u.

Free Elective                                                                                                   1 c.u.  

Nursing Major                                                                                             28 c.u.           

   

TOTAL:                                                                                                           39 c.u.

*If the language requirement is met or partially met through the placement exam or SAT II, students may continue in the language or take free electives    


Sample Plan of study (Traditional BSN)

Traditional Undergraduates - Class of 2026 and Beyond

The following sample Plan of Study is just one possibility for undergraduate study.  This plan may not be compatible with several academic options you might choose (e.g. study abroad, submatriculation, dual degree, etc.). If you are interested in pursuing any of the special academic options available to you during the course of your undergraduate experience and want to know how this will alter your plan of study, please contact the Office of Academic Affairs at (215) 898-6687 or advisor@nursing.upenn.edu. Please note that all plans of study are subject to curricular change.

Sample Plan of Study - Traditional BSN

Please note:

* Sector requirements can be taken in any order. For more information on sector requirements, please visit this website.

** Free electives and language requirement courses may be taken pass/fail.  For more detailed information on pass/fail policies, refer to the Pass/Fail section of this handbook.

***The Nursing Case Study can be taken during the junior or senior year (following completion of NURS 1640).  Only one course is required from the case study group. The nursing elective can be taken earlier in the plan of study depending upon the course selected.

****Students taking Naval Science (NSCI) or Military Science (MSCI) courses: Students are awarded 1 CU for NSCI 1020: Seapower and Maritime Affairs and 1 CU for  NSCI 2010: Leadership and Management. NSCI 1020 can fulfill the Histories and Traditions sector. NSCI 2010 can be used to fulfill a Free Elective general education requirement. Students are awarded 1 CU for MSCI 1200: Foundations and Leadership and 1 CU for MSCI 2100: Innovative and Tactical Leadership; can be used to fulfill a Free Elective general education requirement.

Students must consult with an academic advisor prior to making revisions to the plan of study to ensure that the necessary curricular requirements are being met and to prevent delays in academic progression.

Sample Plan of Study (ABSN)

Second-degree and BSN-MSN students are those who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field and who are returning to school to pursue nursing. BSN-MSN students are admitted simultaneously into the BSN and MSN programs.  Second-degree and BSN-MSN students must meet identical requirements and adhere to the same policies as other undergraduate students regarding academic standing and progression (see section on academic regulations in this handbook). Policies related to the undergraduate program supersede policies of the graduate program until completion of the BSN degree.

Course work outside the School of Nursing is not permitted, with the exception of approved non-nursing courses for the healthcare ethics and health policy requirements. 

Students who are formally enrolled in the BSN-MSN Program may take no more than three non-clinical course units toward their MSN program prior to completing the BSN degree, with all MSN courses requiring the approval of the student’s BSN advisor and MSN program director. No more than half of the credits counting toward an MSN minor may be taken at the BSN level.  BSN-MSN students may take:

  • NURS 5470: Scientific Inquiry – Evidence-Based Practice
  • Two additional non-clinical nursing graduate courses required by the particular MSN program a student is submatriculating into

Students should follow all MSN Submatriculation policies and procedures found here. 

Following completion of the BSN degree, students must have an overall GPA of 3.0 to continue in a graduate program.

Students who are enrolled in the second-degree or BSN-MSN program begin their program in the summer. A student’s ability to start the program in the fall is contingent upon earning transfer credit for the following courses:

Class of December 2023 and beyond:

NURS 0061             Biologically Based Chemistry

NURS 0062             Cellular Biology

NURS 0063             Microbiology

NURS 0065             Fundamentals of Nutrition

NURS 1310             Human Anatomy and Physiology I

NURS 1320             Human Anatomy and Physiology II

NURS 2300             Introduction to Statistics

Transfer credit is awarded on an individual basis through the School of Nursing. When necessary, designated faculty will review coursework to determine transferability. All plans of study include an 11 c.u. waiver for liberal arts requirements, as students who have already completed one undergraduate degree, are exempt from all sector requirements, the language requirement, the writing requirement, and free electives.

As outlined in the academic regulations section of this handbook, all students must complete at least 19.5-course units at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing to be eligible for the BSN degree.

Sample Plan of Study

The sample plan of study is just one possibility for second-degree students, and individual plans depend on what prerequisites students have fulfilled prior to matriculating at Penn. This plan may not be compatible with several academic options you might choose (e.g. study abroad, submatriculation, minors, etc). If you are interested in pursuing any of the special academic options available to you during the course of your undergraduate experience and want to know how this will alter your plan of study, please contact your faculty advisor and/or the Office of Academic Affairs at advisor@nursing.upenn.edu or 215-898-6687. Please note that all plans of study are subject to curricular change.

Prerequisite and Co-requisite Requirements

COURSE #

TITLE

PREREQUISITE

CO-REQUISITE

TERM

Non-clinical Courses

NURS 0061

Biologically-Based Chemistry

 

 

Fall

NURS 0062

Cell Biology

 

 

Fall

NURS 0063

Microbiology

 

 

Fall

NURS 1010

The Nature of Nursing Practice

 

 

Fall

NURS 1030

Psychological and Social Diversity in Health and Wellness

NURS 1010, 1020

 

Fall

NURS 1630

Integrated Anatomy, Physiology, and Physical Assessment I

NURS 0061, 0062

 

Spring

NURS 1640

Integrated Anatomy, Physiology, and Physical Assessment II

NURS 0061, 0062, 1630

 

Fall

NURS 1650

Integrated Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, and Therapeutics

NURS 0061, 0062, 0063, 1630, 1640

 

Spring

NURS 2300

Introduction to Statistics

 

 

Fall

NURS 3300

Theoretical Foundations of Health Care Ethics

 

 

Fall, Spring

NURS 3340

Public Policy

 

 

Fall, Spring

NURS 3540

Case Study: Social Health

NURS 1630, 1640

 

Spring

NURS 3550

Case Study: Self-Care of Chronic Illness

NURS 1630, 1640

 

Fall

NURS 3560

Case Study: Culture of Birth

NURS 1630, 1640

 

Fall

NURS 3570

Case Study: Design Thinking

NURS 1630, 1640

 

Fall, Spring

NURS 3580

Case Study: Nurses and the Child Welfare System

NURS 1630, 1640

 

Fall

NURS 3590

Case Study: Quality Care Challenges in an Evolving Health Care Market

NURS 1630, 1640

 

Spring

NURS 3600

Case Study: Nursing Practice with HIV+ Patients

NURS 1630, 1640

 

Fall, Spring

NURS 3610

Case Study: Breast Feeding & Human Lactation

NURS 1630, 1640

 

Fall, Spring

NURS 3640

Case Study: Cancer

NURS 1630, 1640

 

Spring

NURS 3650

Case Study: Case Analysis in Clinical Nutrition

NURS 1630, 1640

 

Fall, Spring

NURS 3670

Case Study: Principles of Palliative Care

NURS 1630, 1640

 

Fall

NURS 3680

Case Study: Home Health Care

NURS 1630, 1640

 

Fall

NURS 3890

Research/Inquiry Based Service Residency

NURS 5470

 

Fall, Spring

NURS 5470

Scientific Inquiry for Evidence-based Practice

NURS 2300

 

Fall, Spring

Clinical Courses

NURS 1020

Situating the Practice of Nursing

NURS 1010

 

Spring

NURS 2150

Nursing of Women and Infants

NURS 0065, 1630, 1640

NURS 1650

Spring, Summer

NURS 2250

Pediatric Nursing

NURS 1630, 1640, 1650, 2150

NURS 2350

Spring, Summer

NURS 2350

Psychiatric Nursing

NURS 1630, 1640, 1650, 2150

NURS 2250

Spring, Summer

NURS 2450

Nursing of Young and Middle Aged Adults

NURS 1630, 1640, 1650, 2150

NURS 2550

Fall, Spring

NURS 2550

Nursing of Older Adults

NURS 1630, 1640, 1650, 2150

NURS 2450

Fall, Spring

NURS 3820

Community Health

NURS 2150, 2250, 2350, 2450, 2550

 

Fall

NURS 3900

Leadership in Complex Systems

NURS 2150, 2250, 2350, 2450, 2550, 3800

 

Fall, Spring

Approved Health Policy Courses

COURSE #

TITLE

OFFERED

Nursing Courses

 

 

     

NURS 3340

Public Policy and the Nation’s Health

Fall, Spring

NURS 4000

Advances in Health Systems Research and Analysis

Varies

NURS 5400

Current Issues in Health and Social Policy

Fall, Spring, Summer

     

Non-Nursing Courses

 

 

HCMG 1010*

Health Care Systems For Nursing & Health Services Management Minor Students Fall, Spring
   *Only for Nursing and Healthcare Management Dual Degree students (not minors) and traditional BSN undergraduates who entered the School of Nursing in 2018 and prior. BSN students entering the School of Nursing after 2018 and Accelerated BSN students are not permitted to take this course for the Health Policy requirement.

Ethics Course

COURSE #

TITLE

OFFERED

NURS 3300

Healthcare Ethics

Fall, Spring

PHIL 1342

Biomedical Ethics

Fall, Spring, Summer

NURS 5250

Ethical Aspects of Health & Technology

Spring

BIOE 4010/6010

Introduction to Bioethics

Fall

BIOE 4020

Foundations of Bioethics

Spring

Nursing Elective

All nursing courses are accepted for the nursing elective requirement. Courses that begin with NURS are considered nursing courses. To be considered for a nursing elective, the course may not already fulfill another requirement for your BSN degree. To discuss which elective may be best for your individual plan of study, students should email advisor@nursing.upenn.edu.

English Writing Requirement

Students can fulfill the writing requirement in the School of Nursing by choosing one of the following:

  • A Critical Writing Seminar in a variety of disciplines such as History, English, Anthropology, Folklore, etc. (numbered WRIT 0120–0990)
  • WRIT 0200 – Craft of Prose
  • WRIT 0110 – Writing Seminar in Global English

A comprehensive list of writing courses can be found here.

Sector Requirements

Undergraduate students in the School of Nursing must take the following sector requirements to earn their degree:

  • Arts and Letters (1 c.u.)
  • Society and Social Structures (1 c.u.)
  • Histories and Traditions (1 c.u.)
  • Global and Cultural Studies (1 c.u.)
  • Reasoning, Systems, and Relationships (1 c.u.)

In addition, students are also required to take one free elective (1 c.u.).

Sector requirements and free electives may be taken in any order and at any time during the undergraduate experience. A course may only go towards one sector requirement. More information on Sector Courses can be found here

Language Requirements

Students must demonstrate level IV proficiency to complete the language requirement. Due to scheduling of clinical courses in the third and fourth years, students are advised to complete the language requirement by the end of their fourth semester.

To fulfill the language requirement, or place into courses beyond the first level, students may take and submit one of the following:

All other incoming students will have the opportunity to take a University of Pennsylvania departmental placement exam during New Student Orientation. Results of the placement exam will indicate the course level to be taken, or whether the student has placed out of all four levels and is exempt from the language requirement. No credit is awarded for completion of the exam; it is used only for the purpose of evaluating language competency for course placement. 

Incoming first-year students who fulfill all four levels of the language requirement through successful completion of one of the above-mentioned tests must take either four additional language courses or four free electives necessary to reach the 40.5 course units (class of 2025 and prior) or 39 course units (class of 2026 and beyond). Exception: If AP credit is awarded, the student may only need three additional language courses or free electives.

Incoming first-year students who fulfill only part of the language requirement must take the remaining language courses and free elective(s). For example, students who place into the level III Spanish course must take two Spanish courses (levels III and IV) and two free electives to replace levels I and II. Students who request a language course at a lower level than their placement test indicated, will not get credit for that course. Students who place out of part of one language and who do not wish to continue study in that language may begin a new language but must take all four levels/semesters.

Language courses or free electives may be taken on a pass/fail basis. 

Transfer Credit

Transfer students may be awarded transfer credit for language courses taken at their previous institution, however, a placement exam must be taken to officially determine placement or exemption from the language requirement. Students who wish to take a language course at another institution should contact the appropriate language department before enrolling in the course in order to determine the department’s transfer credit requirement.

Choosing a Language

The list of languages offered at Penn changes slightly from year to year. Many of the less commonly taught languages such as Vietnamese, Yoruba, Swahili, Cantonese, and Persian are offered through the College of Liberal and Professional Studies and the Penn Language Center.

You can continue with the same language you studied in high school, or you can explore other languages. The College of Arts and Sciences offers a variety of language programs. If you are planning to continue with the language you studied in high school, your chances of doing well are enhanced by beginning early. Even if you have never studied a language, it is in your best interest to fulfill the language requirement early in your academic career. You are advised to take all the courses you need to fulfill the requirement in consecutive semesters.

Spanish for Medical Professions

Students interested in Spanish have the option to take Spanish for Medical Professions. This course includes an emphasis on medical vocabulary and introduces students to the fundamentals of practical Spanish usage in medical situations. Listed below are the equivalent course numbers:

Elementary Spanish 0100 = Spanish for the Medical Professions, Elementary I (SPAN 0105)

Elementary Spanish 0200 = Spanish for the Medical Professions, Elementary II (SPAN 0205)

Intermediate Spanish 0300 = Spanish for the Medical Professions, Intermediate I (SPAN 0305)

Intermediate Spanish 0400 = Spanish for the Medical Professions, Intermediate II (SPAN 0405)

Exemption from the Language Requirement

Students who have a documented disability that precludes learning a second language should contact the Office of Student Disabilities Services (215-573-9235). Staff from this office will review the necessary documentation and make recommendations to the Assistant Dean of Admissions and Academic Affairs who will formulate exemptions on a case-by-case basis. If the exemption is granted, the student may need to fulfill four alternate course units to provide a balance between a theoretical understanding of foreign languages and cultures.

Second-Degree Students: An undergraduate degree exempts the second-degree student from the language requirement.

Bilingual Students: Can be exempt from the language requirement through successful completion of an oral and written test given by the Penn Language Center or appropriate language department. 

Language Placement

  • The determination of competency will vary from department to department and even from language group to language group in a department. It is the student’s responsibility to learn how the requirement is satisfied in the language selected.
  • In order to receive credit for a language course at the elementary or intermediate level, all students who have previously studied the language must have a placement score. The only students exempt from having a placement score are those who have never studied the language before.
  • French and Spanish offer online placement exams:
  • Other departments offer written placement exams at the beginning of each semester. Exams for Arabic, Chinese, Italian, Hebrew, Russian, Latin and German are written and can be taken upon arrival on campus. The schedule and location of these exams will appear on the New Student Orientation Website during the preceding summer. Students wishing to be evaluated in a modern language other than those taught by the language departments should consult the Penn Language Center: http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/plc/
  • Credit will not be given for a language course taken at a lower level than a student’s placement score indicates.
  • Students who feel their placement scores do not accurately reflect their language level, or students who have other questions about their language study should make an appointment to speak with the coordinator of their particular language program.

Language Certificate Program

Students in the School of Nursing are offered several choices to guide their study of a language other than English. In addition to completion of the School’s Foreign Language Requirement, students may choose a major or minor in a language and literature department or program, or they may choose to pursue a language certificate. The language certificate is intended to provide an additional incentive for students who may want to continue language study beyond the requirement, but who may not be able to include in their academic program a major or minor in a language. Students who would like to obtain a language certificate should apply to the department in which that language is offered.