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Nursing Program Overview

Nursing Department Philosophy

The philosophy of the Nursing Department evolves from the vision, mission, values, and purpose of Aiken Technical College and the nursing faculty beliefs regarding patients, health, environment, nursing, nursing education, and the role of the nurse.

Mission

The mission of the Aiken Technical College Nursing Department is to prepare safe, competent, entry-level nurses.

Patient

The nursing faculty of Aiken Technical College believes the individual is a complex system with physiological, psychological, socio-cultural, developmental, and spiritual variables interacting to adapt and function as a whole. The interactions between the individual and the environment require adaptation in order to maintain health. Fluctuating levels of health and wellness occur throughout the lifespan. An individual becomes a patient when he/she seeks or is referred for assistance to promote, maintain, support, and/or improve health. A patient has dignity, worth, and basic needs that must be met. We support the belief that individuals have the right to make informed decisions about their health and to choose to receive or not to receive health care.

Health

Health can vary on a continuum from optimum health to ill health and death. Optimum health is defined as the presence of structural and functional integrity reflecting a patient’s physiological, psychological, socio-cultural, developmental, and spiritual variables. Health is dependent upon the patient’s ability, willingness, and resources to meet and engage the environment in a manner that optimizes health. The actual and perceived health potential depends upon the patient’s value system, religion, cultural influences, educational experiences, and genetics. As these variables change, so may the health status of the patient.

Environment

Environment is the interaction of the physiological, psychological, socio-cultural, developmental, and spiritual variables that exists within and surrounding an individual. This interaction can affect the normal lines of defense and resistance and the health of the individual, family, or community. Individuals and families form communities within a diverse population and setting. A community is a group of people who share a commonality, which may include culture. Culture encompasses groups of people who may share ethnic heritage, language, and/or a set of values.

Nursing

Nursing is a caring, collaborative, and independent/interdependent profession. Nursing requires critical thinking, a broad theoretical base of knowledge, an evidence-based approach to problem solving, and adherence to the ethical and legal standards of the profession. Utilizing the professional competencies as a framework, nursing promotes, maintains, supports and/or improves the health of individuals throughout the lifespan. The faculty believes that caring behaviors, therapeutic communication, and teaching/learning are inherent to the practice of nursing. Respect for that which is diverse in human nature creates the essence of a caring relationship, and provides the basis for successful communication.

Nursing Education

The nursing faculty believes that education is a collaborative process that seeks to maximize the potential of the student in an environment of mutual respect, responsibility and support. Student learning is enriched by diversity in knowledge, beliefs, and perspectives and is nurtured in an environment of scientific and intellectual freedom.

The student is valued as a person who is knowledgeable and worthy of faculty time and effort. The educator enhances learning by creating an environment conducive to the exploration of ideas, serving as a role model for the behaviors and values to be learned, and providing a variety of learning experiences. The educator and learner share responsibility for evaluating learning outcomes and for strengthening the teaching/learning process.

The nursing faculty encourages nursing students to pursue learning after graduation from the nursing program. Students are taught to access and utilize research, the importance of joining professional organizations, attending seminars, presenting posters and papers, and furthering their education toward a baccalaureate degree in nursing.

Role of the Associate Degree Nurse

The nursing faculty believes that the role of the associate degree nurse is to provide direct nursing care to a diverse patient population in a variety of healthcare settings. The associate degree nurse demonstrates the knowledge, skills, and attitudes inherent in the three roles basic to associate degree practice: provider of care, manager of care, and member within the discipline of nursing.

As a provider of care, the associate degree graduate utilizes the nursing process as a basis for practice which is characterized by critical thinking, clinical competence, accountability, advocacy and respect for patients and their families.

As a manager of care, the practice of the associate degree graduate is characterized by leadership, communication, organization, delegation, accountability, and collaboration with other members of the healthcare team in providing care for an individual or group of patients.

As a member within the discipline of nursing, the associate degree graduate has a commitment to the nursing profession, professional growth, continuous learning, and self-development. Each nurse functions within the legal and ethical framework of professional practice and is accountable for individual and delegated actions.

Role of the Licensed Practical Nurse

The nursing faculty believes that the role of the licensed practical nurse is to provide direct nursing care to a diverse patient population in a variety of healthcare settings. The practical nurse assists with the assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation of patient care. The practical nurse performs and organizes assigned patient care duties according to his/her scope of practice under the supervision of a registered nurse.

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Aiken Technical College’s Nursing Department is accredited by the South Carolina Board of Nursing, Phone 803-896-4550, www.llr.state.sc.us. The Associate in Applied Science with a Major in Nursing Program is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Education in Nursing (3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, GA 30326, Phone 404-975-5000, Fax 404-975-5020, www.acenursing.org).