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Theory Core Nursing Courses, Description, and Sample Syllabus

Abstract

Nurse Practitioners (NPs) possess consummate decision-making, leadership, health promotion, and critical thinking skills. However, it is necessary for such nurses to have completed their bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) programmes. This essay identifies and describes the core courses for the BSN programme. The paper goes further to give a sample syllabus for one of the core courses. The targeted course is Nursing Leadership. The syllabus shows how the core courses should be executed in an attempt to equip the targeted learners with enviable competencies.

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Introduction

Students who have completed the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) should portray the most desirable competencies. Such proficiencies support them whenever delivering quality health services to their clients (Blair & Jansen, 2015). The BSN programme is characterized by various core units and courses. Nursing students should complete the courses before becoming registered practitioners. The process is taken seriously because it dictates the quality of healthcare services available to more people in different communities (Blair & Jansen, 2015). Individuals who complete the courses successfully acquire new competencies that can improve the health outcomes of more patients. The BSN programme therefore forms the basis of this discussion. The essay describes the elected nursing core and theory courses for the hypothetical BSN programme.

Nursing Core and Theory Courses

The BSN programme is carefully-designed in order to equip learners with adequate nursing dexterities. Such skills make it easier for the students to become competent providers of care. The BSN programme will “equip students with a wide range of dynamic health care systems” (Bastable, 2014, p. 38). The courses identified below are student-focused and health-care oriented. The courses are also backed by evidence-based concepts and expertise. This fact explains why each of the following courses is aimed at producing compassionate, inspirational, and research-focused Nurse Practitioners (NPs).

Computer Applications

Healthcare is becoming a complex field that embraces new ideas and technologies. Individuals who want to become successful health practitioners must have the best foundation in different technological applications. This course will guide the students to use various software applications and packages. The learners will familiarize themselves with specific topics such as spreadsheets, website management, and word processing tools. The course will make them advocates of meaningful use in the field of nursing (Giddens, 2013).

Natural Science

This course will focus on the core sciences such as biology, nutrition, chemistry, and ecology. The course will educate the learners about the major nutritional concepts and biological processes. They will be allowed to undertake various experiments using a wide range of chemicals (Curtis et al., 2011). The course will examine the major aspects of human nutrition and how people respond to different medicines. This knowledge will ensure the students understand the fundamental methodologies and aspects of science.

Social Science

Human beings are social creatures that interact with one another for various reasons. This course will ensure the targeted learners understand the social, political, and economic forces that dictate human life. Aspects of culture and religion will be described in the course. This approach will ensure the learners are able to analyze the social forces affecting human life (Giddens, 2013). This knowledge will support the students in their future practices as professional providers of care.

Human Anatomy and Physiology

The purpose of this course is to introduce and describe the major aspects of the human body. The course will describe the skeletal, nervous, and muscular systems of the human body. The course will go further to analyze various physiological processes of the body. Some of the targeted discussions include urinary, digestive, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems (Tappen, 2011). Laboratory exercises will be combined with theoretical studies throughout the course.

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Pathophysiology

This unit will help the learners understand the underlying mechanisms of the human body. The major philological aspects of the body will also be discussed. The concepts targeted in the course include immunity, cardiovascular mechanisms, neuro-endocrine balance, oxygenation, and acid base. Throughout the course, the learners will be required to engage in critical thinking and embrace the power of problem-solving (Giddens, 2013). The approach will ensure the pathogenesis of various health conditions is clearly understood.

Lifespan Development

Nurses should be aware of the major aspects of human development and growth. The course will “present a detailed overview of development from birth to death” (Curtis, Vries, & Sheerin, 2011, p. 307). The course will focus on the major cognitive, social, physical, and psychological attributes of the human body. Such processes will be described at each and every stage of human development.

Nutrition

Providers of medical care cannot deliver valuable results without a strong background in food and nutrition. This course will equip the learners with the major principles of human nutrition. Specific issues to consider include nutrient requirement, Body Mass Index (BMI), and balanced diet (Tappen, 2011). These aspects will be analyzed and contrasted with the process of disease development.

Foundational Concepts of Nursing

The purpose of this course is to prepare the learners and equip them with adequate concepts that can support their future career goals. The course will begin by examining various theories of nursing. The unit will go further to outline the major ethical, legal, and moral issues affecting nursing (Bastable, 2014). Various nursing processes will be tackled in the course. The learners will be informed about the importance of professional development and growth in nursing. The course will go further to outline the social, political, economic, and historical forces influencing the nature of nursing practice (Schnall et al., 2012). The emphasis will be on different changes that have been encountered in the field of nursing within the past two decades. The lessons will address the importance of practice-specific concepts such as health informatics and evidence-based care (Curtis et al., 2011). The learners will be encouraged to take the role of modern informatics seriously. Students will be informed about helpful approaches such as documentation, provision of patient-centered care, and effective communication. Critical thinking will also be supported as a powerful concept towards delivering adequate patient care.

Health Promotion and Assessment

The purpose of this course is “to ensure the learners can utilize different concepts to deliver holistic health support and assessment across the lifespan” (Brown, 2012, p. 49). The lessons will focus on new competencies such as diagnostic reasoning, health promotion, critical inquiry, and positive judgment. These attributes have been observed to improve the quality of services availed to different patients. Learners will be guided to track and access electronic medical files and records (Blair & Jansen, 2015). Such attributes will eventually empower and encourage the learners to become competent healthcare providers.

Pharmacology in Nursing

This course will introduce specific principles such as drug action and patient monitoring (Curtis et al., 2011). Specific drugs and their pharmacological implications on the human body will be addressed. The purpose of the unit is to ensure the learners acquire the best skills, concepts, knowledge, and attitude for the safe prescription of different medicines (Billings & Halstead, 2012). The tutors should put much emphasize on drug administration methods, documentation, and dosage calculations. Learners will be assessed in order to ensure they develop the best drug administration and prescription skills.

Evidence-Based Nursing Practice

The role of this course is to introduce the concept of continuous learning to the students. The course will outline the best methods that can be used to select and consult different scientific publications. The learners will acquire new competencies and theoretical frameworks supported by modern research (Blair & Jansen, 2015). The knowledge will make it easier for the students to become competent pioneers of quality medical support.

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Community Health

This study will examine the major disease prevention mechanisms for specific conditions. Clinical prevention and healthcare services will also be described in details. The issue of underserved populations will be discussed throughout the course. Nurses should work tirelessly to deliver exemplary primary care to persons will diverse needs. New trends and changes in healthcare will be analyzed in the course. Political implications, financial factors, and regulatory mechanisms affecting nursing practice will be described (Billings & Halstead, 2012). The ultimate goal will be to expand the clinical skills and experiences of the learners. The newly-acquired concepts will empower the students to offer adequate care in a wide range of community settings.

Nursing Leadership

This class will be aimed at describing the major approaches towards advocating for quality patient care. The first step towards improving the quality of services available to more clients is promoting effective leaders styles (Billings & Halstead, 2012). Health Leaders (HLs) should possess specific competencies and talents that enable them to empower their followers. They should embrace the power of evidence-based practice whenever guiding their employees. The course will outline the best approaches towards the application of effective management and leadership competencies. The course is intended to equip learners with exceptional ideas that have the potential to influence the nature of healthcare delivery.

Role Transition

Nurses should be encouraged to undertake challenging roles. Such roles can empower and equip them with better competencies. Role Transition is a meaningful course that can present new opportunities for learners to demonstrate enviable skills in the management of patient care. The unit will address “critical issues such as healthcare safety, quality of care, and commitment” (Schnall et al., 2012, p. 133). These notions should be used “to support patients across the lifespan especially in acute care health settings” (Tappen, 2011, p. 56). The learners will be guided to understand how they can collaborate with their preceptors. By so doing, the students will be able to develop attainable personal goals and objectives.

Sample Syllabus

A course outline is relevant because it identifies the major issues that must be presented to the learners. The syllabus also guides the students throughout the learning process. The use of syllabuses is relevant towards ensuring that the targeted objectives are met at the end of the course. This fact explains why each of the above courses will be characterized by a detailed syllabus (Reinhard & Hassmiller, 2014). The learners will be provided with course outlines at the beginning of the courses. The discussion below gives a detailed sample summary of one of the above courses. The selected course for the discussion is Nursing Leadership.

Course: Nursing Leadership

Suggested Readings (Books and Journal Articles)

Marquis, L., & Huston, J. (2012). Leadership roles and management functions in nursing: theory and application. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer.

Blair, K., & Jansen, M. (2015). Advanced practice nursing: core concepts for professional role development. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.

Middleton, J. (2014). Leadership skills for nurses. Nursing Times Leadership Supplement, 1(1), 1-34.

Parsons, M., & Cornett, P. (2011). Sustaining the pivotal organizational outcome: magnet recognition. Journal of Nursing Management, 19(1), 277-286.

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Course Description

Nursing Leadership embraces critical thinking and systems framework to coordinate various roles in healthcare delivery (Middleton, 2014). The current theories of change, leadership, and health management are analyzed in details. Learners are equipped with new competencies that can guide them to develop creative approaches to healthcare delivery. The use of empirical concepts and theoretical notions of leadership is emphasized. Learners are guided to acquire adequate leadership competencies that can make a difference in every healthcare setting.

Learning Objectives

After successful completion of the course, the learners should be in a position to:

  • Synthesize various leadership, change, communication, and management concepts.
  • Analyze the unique roles of Nurse Leaders (NLs) in relation to healthcare delivery, budgeting, and problem-solving.
  • Utilize management theory in examining organizational weaknesses and improving effectiveness of healthcare delivery (Parsons & Cornett, 2011).
  • Employ aspects such as healthcare policy and continuous quality improvement (CQI) adequately.

Clinical Objectives

The targeted students should acquire new clinical competencies after successful completion of the course. That being the case, the learners should be able to:

  • Demonstrate the aptitude to manage and support organizational healthcare delivery systems (Blair & Jansen, 2015).
  • Make positive clinical judgments and be accountable for patient health outcomes.
  • Use leadership theories whenever empowering their followers and workmates to improve the quality of care.
  • Incorporate adequate communication and problem-solving techniques.
  • Be able to negotiate, solve problems, address conflicts, and develop healthy working environments (Middleton, 2014).
  • Apply research findings in leadership to coordinate patient healthcare delivery.
  • Be accountable for professional and personal behaviors at the workplace.

Instructions, Activities, and Assessments

The course will be characterized by lectures and independent studies. The learners will be educated about the major leadership theories and models that have the potential to transform the effectiveness of health practice. Resources such as books, handouts, and articles will be availed to the learners. The learners will be expected to be actively involved in various classroom exercises. They will engage in informal discussions in order to identify different leadership tactics in healthcare (Marquis & Huston, 2012). New teams will be developed to support the needs of English as First Language (EFL) and English and Second Language (ESL) learners. The learners will be guided to utilize every critical thinking skill.

The course will embrace the power of different teaching methods. These will include group works, computer-aided instructions, seminars, class discussions, PowerPoint presentations, independent studies, and clinical conferences (Kleinpell et al., 2014). The tutor will be required to guide the learners throughout the study period. This approach will ensure the students develop the most desirable skills and competencies. The facilitator will provide the required guidance, support, and consultation. The students will be responsible for their unique learning expectations and needs. They will also be encouraged to get clarifications and guidelines from the teacher. These strategies will ensure the targeted objectives and goals are already met at the end of the course.

Content

Lesson/Date Content Study Approach and Resources
Lesson One Orientation
Critical Thinking
Decision-Making and Delegation
Class discussions
Group work
PowerPoint presentation
Suggested articles and books
Lesson Two Leadership and Management Theory Class discussions
Group work
PowerPoint presentations
Suggested articles and books
Lesson Three Teamwork
Workplace Culture
Organizational Culture
Lecture
Class discussions
Group work
Suggested books
Lesson Four Models of Client Care
Patient Advocacy and Leadership
Class discussions
Group work
PowerPoint presentations
Suggested articles and books
Class assignment
Lesson Five Values and Ethics
Rural Nursing and Care
Nursing Leadership
Class meeting
Class discussions
Lecture notes
Suggested class readings
Lesson Six Change
Leadership and Change
Evidence-Based Practice
Class meeting
Class discussions
Lecture notes
Suggested class readings
Lesson Seven Inter-professional leadership
Roles and Communication
Conflict Resolution
Class discussions
Group work
PowerPoint presentation
Suggested articles and books
Class assignment
Lesson Eight Healthcare Policy
Healthcare Technology
Class discussions
Group work
PowerPoint presentation
Suggested articles and books
Class assignment
Group assignment
Lesson Nine Fiscal Planning Class discussions
Group work
PowerPoint presentation
Suggested articles and books
Class assignment
Group assignment
Lesson Ten Staff Development Handouts
PowerPoint presentation
Suggested articles and books
Class assignment
Group assignment
Lesson Eleven Final Exam Completion of assignments and the final exam

Concluding Remarks

Students who want to become skilled providers of quality health services must complete the above courses. The courses will make sure they possess the required competencies and skills that will support their goals. The competencies will ensure the learners examine the major challenges affecting their respective healthcare organizations. They will also identify the major obstacles and gaps making it impossible for them to deliver evidence-based support to their patients (Goldsteen & Goldsteen, 2013). Successful completion of these BSN courses will make sure the learners understand the social, cultural, economic, and political forces that have reshaped nursing within the past five decades. The learners will understand how to apply various concepts in different settings (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2015). By so doing, the individuals will design superior healthcare delivery models and support the changing needs of their patients.

Many scholars and healthcare professionals believe strongly that RNs must be aware of the diverse needs of different populations (Middleton, 2014). The above courses have the potential to equip more learners with desirable skill sets thereby making them experienced patient advocates. That being the case, each course should be guided by a carefully-designed syllabus. The syllabus will ensure the learners meet the objectives of every course. Such objectives should be guided by the changes experienced in different regions. The ultimate goal should be to provide evidence-based, culturally-competent, and patient-centered care to more people (Giddens, 2013). The above courses elected for inclusion in the BSN programme will deliver exemplary competencies to the learners. They will understand how to address a wide range of health problems, develop better health delivery models, and support the diverse needs of more people.

With this academic background, individuals who complete the targeted BSN programme successfully will become champions for timely and effective patient care (Brown, 2012). The completion of the above fourteen courses is therefore mandatory for learners who want to become RNs. Such a requirement will play a positive role towards ensuring that more underserved populations have access to quality health services.

References

Bastable, S. (2014). Nurse as educator: principles of teaching and learning for nursing practice. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.

Billings, M., & Halstead, A. (2012). Teaching in nursing. St Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders.

Blair, K., & Jansen, M. (2015). Advanced practice nursing: core concepts for professional role development. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.

Brown, J. (2012). Evidence-based nursing: the research practicum connection. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Curtis, E., Vries, J., & Sheerin, F. (2011). Developing leadership in nursing: exploring core factors. British Journal of Nursing, 20(5), 306-308.

Giddens, F. (2013). Concepts for nursing practice. St Louis, MO: Elsevier.

Goldsteen, L., & Goldsteen, K. (2013). Jonas’ introduction to the U.S. healthcare system. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.

Iwasiw, L., & Goldenberg, D. (2015). Curriculum development in nursing education. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.

Kleinpell, R., Scanlon, A., Hibbert, D., Ganz, F., Fraser, D., Wong, F.,…Beauchesne, M. (2014). Addressing issues impacting advanced nursing practice worldwide. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 19(1), 1-14.

Marquis, L., & Huston, J. (2012). Leadership roles and management functions in nursing: theory and application. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer.

Middleton, J. (2014). Leadership skills for nurses. Nursing Times Leadership Supplement, 1(1), 1-34.

Parsons, M., & Cornett, P. (2011). Sustaining the pivotal organizational outcome: magnet recognition. Journal of Nursing Management, 19(1), 277-286.

Reinhard, S., & Hassmiller, S. (2014). The future of nursing: transforming health care. The AARP International Journal, 1(2), 1-12.

Schnall, R., Cook, S., John, R., Larson, E., Stone, P., Sullivan, C.,…Bakken, S. (2012). Patient safety issues in advanced practice nursing students’ care settings. Journal of Nursing Care Quality, 27(2), 132-138.

Tappen, M. (2011). Advanced nursing research: from theory to practice. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

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