School of Nursing Conceptual Framework
The person component focuses on the receiver of care. A person is a holistic being central to nursing, with a unique culture, values and beliefs. Having certain rights and responsibilities, a person is capable of self-actualization and self-determination. Whether alone or in families, groups or communities, a person interacts with his or her environment.
Professional nursing practice is a discipline involving human caring that is concerned with improving quality of life and promoting, maintaining and restoring health in partnership with persons, families, groups and communities. The evolving art and science of nursing consists of a unique body of knowledge based on theory, research and practice in nursing and other disciplines.
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (World Health Organization [WHO], 1948). Health promotion and disease prevention at the individual and population level are necessary to improve population health. In partnership with the nurse, health is defined by individuals, families, groups, communities and populations across the lifespan and across the continuum of healthcare environments.
The environment aspect focuses on the surroundings that affect the patient. Environment constitutes the internal and external influences that affect or are affected by the person. These influences include, but are not limited to, biological, psychological, and spiritual factors, population density, socioeconomic status, cultural diversity, social values and beliefs, and scientific and technological development.
Nurses, in partnership with persons, families, groups and communities, engage in the dynamic process of health promotion. While the metaparadigm concepts of person, nursing, health and environment form the foundation of the school’s framework, the following curriculum threads shape the curriculum.
Human caring in nursing is a set of interpersonal acts that extend beyond concern, emotion and benevolent desire. Caring in this context involves values, intent, commitment, knowledge, actions and outcomes.
Communication, within the context of nursing, is a dynamic and interpersonal process that requires at least one messenger and one receiver. The process, which includes interprofessional collaboration, can be either verbal (oral or written) or nonverbal and is influenced by a person’s culture, setting, values, beliefs and perceptions. Undergraduate and graduate students engage in increasingly complex levels of communication skills.
Ethical principles, which include altruism, autonomy, integrity, freedom, veracity, privacy, beneficence, fidelity, human dignity and social justice, are used to clarify and resolve identified moral problems and ethical dilemmas. The beliefs and values outlined in the Code of Ethics for Nurses (American Nurses Association [ANA], 2015) provide guidelines for ethical nursing practice.
Critical thinking is an active process of analysis exploring relevant phenomena and making judgments to intervene in a therapeutic manner. This reflexive, transferable process involves the ongoing integration and application of a complex set of abilities. The critical thinking process is made public through various modes of communication.
Empowerment is an interpersonal process of providing resources, tools and environment for people to achieve their optimal potential and well-being. Nursing’s role is to support people to actively participate in their healthcare decision-making to improve healthcare outcomes.
Cultural appropriateness is the skilled delivery of care based on the appreciation for and knowledge of the diversity in backgrounds of persons. The nurse, who is culturally competent, takes into account the person’s view of the world which is transmitted from generation to generation. The person’s world view, which is manifested in beliefs, practices, likes, dislikes, customs, norms and rituals, is incorporated within appropriate therapeutic nursing interventions. In addition, ethnic sensitivity takes into account the person’s group affiliation or membership.
Healthcare technologies are utilized and managed by nurses in various settings. Technology may enhance nursing practice in direct and indirect patient care, health-related communication, nursing informatics and clinical information management. Nurses must therefore maintain the knowledge and skills necessary to provide care that is technologically current while maintaining a caring, interactive approach.
Leadership in nursing is an awareness of complex systems, and the impact of power, politics, policy and regulatory guidelines on these systems. Leadership skills emphasize ethical and critical decision-making, initiating and maintaining effective working relationships, using mutually respectful communication and collaboration, care coordination, delegation and conflict resolution. The nurse uses leadership skills to promote high quality patient care and patient safety within organizational and community arenas (American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN], 2008).
Health policy is the compilation of decisions made within the government, and sometimes private entities, regarding health and healthcare. Policies influence health in areas such as access to care, patient care delivery and financing. It is therefore incumbent upon the nursing profession to consider the impact of health policy on professional nursing practice and to participate in policy development as warranted (Estes, Chapman, Dodd, Hollister, & Harrington, 2020).
Professional Roles and Responsibilities
Professional roles and responsibilities include delivering safe care and designing, managing and coordinating care as a member of the interprofessional team. The professional nurse evaluates one’s own practice as well as contributes to the support and advancement of the profession. The professional nurse focuses on continuous self-evaluation and lifelong learning. The nurse who upholds professional roles and responsibilities advocates for quality healthcare and functions as a leader in the community and profession (AACN, 2008).
Research is the systematic inquiry that uses disciplined methods to answer questions or solve problems(Polit & Beck, 2014). Evidence-based practice involves using best evidence in making patient care decisions (Polit & Beck, 2014) and is based on clinical expertise, patient preferences and values and external evidence (Melnyk & Fineout-Overholt, 2014). External evidence is generated through rigorous investigations to produce new data. The nurse translates evidence, into professional nursing practice. At the undergraduate level, external research evidence is critiqued, analyzed and applied to the provision of care of persons, families, groups and communities.
References for Conceptual Framework
American Nurses Association (2015). Code of ethics for nurses with interpretive statements. Silver Spring, MD: ANA NursesBooks.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2008). The essentials of baccalaureate education for professional nursing practice. Washington, DC: AACN.
Estes, C. L., Chapman, S. A., Dodd, C., & Hollister, B. (2020). Health policy: Crisis and reform in the US health care delivery system (6th ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett.
Melnyk, B. M., & Fineout-Overholt, E. (2014). Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing & Healthcare: A Guide to Best Practice (3rd ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins.
Polit, D. F., & Beck, C. T. (2006). Essentials of nursing research: Methods, appraisal, and utilization (6th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins.
World Health Organization (WHO). (1948). The preamble of the constitution of the World Health Organization. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/about/who-we-are/constitution.
Last updated: 2/21/2023