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Excellence, Collaboration, Integrity, Respect.

Nursing Program Mission, Philosophy, Organizing Framework & Program Learner Outcomes


Nursing Program Mission, Philosophy, Organizing Framework & Program Learner Outcomes


Nursing Program Mission Statement

The mission of the Carl Sandburg College of Nursing is to provide opportunities of success and a learner centered environment while preparing graduates for licensure as a Registered Professional Nurse or Licensed Practical Nurse to contribute to meeting the health care needs of the communities we serve. We are committed to providing high educational standards based on healthcare’s shifting paradigms, quality and safety, and utilizing best practices in nursing. Our goal is to prepare students to function effectively as nurses in today’s complex healthcare environment, and to prepare graduates for academic advancement.

Nursing Program Vision

Transforming lives by continuously striving to provide excellent educational nursing programs to meet the individual needs of the student and the health care needs of the community. 


Nursing Program Philosophy

The mission and philosophy of the College of Nursing is consistent with the mission, vision, and strategic goals of Carl Sandburg College “…to provide all students with opportunities for Success”.  Nursing is a discipline of knowledge and a field of professional practice grounded in caring. Nursing education is a process through which the opportunity is provided for students to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes essential to nursing practice through core competencies. The goal of the nursing educational process is to enable the student to be a self-directed learner, to develop critical thinking skills and to maximize their potential as competent and compassionate health care providers.


Nursing practice is grounded in the biological, psychological, sociological sciences and humanities. It is devoted to promoting, maintaining, and restoring the health of individuals, families and selected groups as well as supporting a peaceful, dignified death. Health exists on a dynamic continuum from wellness to illness. Nurses are members of the health care team and as such, care for diverse individuals and families across the lifespan in a variety of inpatient and community-based settings by providing holistic and culturally sensitive, individualized, patient-centered care.


Nurses recognize that interdisciplinary collaboration among health care professionals is critical to delivering safe, quality client care. Ongoing quality improvement activities are performed in concert with other members of the health care team. Application of evidence based practice, skills in informatics, and client care technology is essential to the delivery of quality care while ensuring safety.


Professional values guide interactions with individuals, families, and the health care team. Nurses demonstrate professional conduct by exhibiting accountability for their actions, practicing within their scope of practice, and assuming legal responsibility for the care they provide. Nurses uphold their commitment to the public by adhering to an established code of ethics, which provides a context for making judgments and offers guidelines for maintaining professionalism.


The major roles of the nurse include provider of nursing care, coordinator of client care, and member of the nursing profession. As provider of care, nurses promote wellness, identify current and emerging client problems, and function as advocates for individuals, families and selected groups. In addition, nurses manage client care using clinical judgment, incorporating the nursing process and caring as essential tools. As coordinators of care, nurses communicate, collaborate, and provide leadership within the interdisciplinary health care team to promote and maintain client health and ensure continuity of care. They provide client education to achieve positive clinical outcomes.


As members of the profession, nurses are accountable for maintaining professionally established standards of nursing practice, adhering to practice regulations specified by each respective state, as well as adhering to established legal and ethical directives. Lifelong learning is a means of assuring that practice is continually based on current knowledge. In addition, continued formal education provides an opportunity for personal advancement within the profession.


Organizing Framework

The faculty researched current practice standards, education accreditation standards and national initiatives to define a core set of nursing competencies to serve as the framework for the nursing programs.  The theoretical framework and philosophy of the Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) Program and the Practical Nursing (PN) Program at Carl Sandburg College is based on the National League for Nursing Competencies Model (NLN 2010) as well as Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN 2007) competencies and American Nurses Association (ANA) Standards of Practice. Components from each of these professional nursing organizations guided the development of our framework. The College of Nursing developed a model which consists of the following components:


Core Values: The College of Nursing upholds the NLN seven core valuescaring, diversity, ethics, excellence, holism, integrity, and patient-centeredness.  NLN seven core values, implicit in nursing’s historic paradigm, are foundational for all nursing practice.
Health exists on a dynamic continuum from wellness to illness. Health is subjective in nature and is defined by individuals with input from family, significant others, and/or health care team members. Health reflects the ability of the individual to meet universal needs and adapt to changes in the internal and external environments to maintain relative stability.


Core Values

Definitions (NLN 2010, 8-11)


Promoting health, healing and hope in response to the human condition.


Recognizing differences among persons, ideas, values, and ethnicities, while affirming the uniqueness of each.


Integrates knowledge with human caring and compassion, while respecting the dignity, self-determination, and worth of all persons.


Creating and implementing transformative strategies with daring ingenuity.


Nurses consider every aspect of the human condition when planning, implementing, and managing care for patients.


Respecting the dignity and moral wholeness of every person without conditions or limitations.


An orientation to care that incorporates and reflects the uniqueness of an individual patient‘s background, personal preferences, culture, values, traditions, and family.


The core values are incorporated throughout the curriculum and guide student behaviors. The competencies describe behaviors which demonstrate that the ADN and PN graduate has acquired the knowledge, skills, and attitudes inherent in professional nursing practice.


Core Competencies: The College of Nursing merged the NLN integrating concepts and QSEN competencies and developed core competencies that are woven throughout each program and focus on the integration of the core values into the level of nursing in which students are currently studying.  NLN’s six integrating concepts, context and environment; knowledge and science; personal and professional development; quality and safety; relationship-centered care; and teamwork. QSEN’s six competencies, patient centered care; teamwork and collaboration; evidence based practice; quality improvement; safety; and informatics. We merged NLN’s six integrating concepts with QSEN’s six competencies and developed the following eight core competencies:


  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Quality Improvement
  • Informatics
  • Evidence Based Practice
  • Safety
  • Teamwork and Collaboration
  • Leadership
  • Professionalism


Core Competencies


Patient-Centered Care

The provision of caring and compassionate, culturally sensitive care that is based on a patient’s physiological, psychological, sociological, spiritual, and cultural needs, preferences, and values to promote achievement of optimal patient outcomes.

Quality Improvement

The use of data to monitor outcomes of care processes with the goal of developing and implementing a plan to improve health care services and better meet the needs of patients.


The use of information technology as a communication and information gathering tool that supports clinical decision making and evidence based nursing practice.

Evidence Based Practice

The use of best current evidence, expert opinion, and clinical expertise, upon which clinical judgment and patient care is based for the delivery of safe, quality health care.


The minimization of risk factors that could cause harm or delay patient recovery while promoting quality care and maintaining a secure environment for patients, self, and others.

Teamwork and Collaboration

The delivery of patient-centered care in partnership with interdisciplinary members of the health care team, to achieve continuity of care and optimal patient outcomes.


The process by which nurses use a set of skills that directs and influences others in the provision of individualized, safe, quality patient care.


The accountable and responsible behavior of the nurse that incorporates legal and ethical principles and regulatory guidelines that comply with standards of nursing practice.


QSEN competencies for pre-licensure are integrated alongside the NLN framework to drive the curriculum to engage the student learner in quality and safety measures as a part of their learning experience. The overall goal for the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) project is to meet the challenge of preparing future nurses who will have the knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSAs) necessary to continuously improve the quality and safety of the healthcare systems within which they work. Specific to each core competency are three essential dimensions of nursing education and formation, termed “apprenticeships”, which include:

  • Knowledge – the learning of didactic (theory) and scientific methods.
  • Skills – the mastery of skillful practice by the integration of clinical reasoning in the performance of technical skills.
  • Attitude – the formation of professional identity and attitude, demonstrated by acting in accordance with a set of recognized values and responsibilities.


These three apprenticeships provide the detailed knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSAs) which student nurses must become familiar with that will then enable them to integrate the identity and actions of the professional nurse.


The core competencies and core values are infused throughout the ADN and PN didactic curriculum, skills lab activities and clinical component. Competencies are an integral part of a curriculum. They identify the knowledge, skills and attitudes students must possess to meet the program learner outcomes as well as provide the foundation for student evaluation.


Program Learner Outcomes:  The goals of nursing education for each type of nursing program can be summarized in NLN’s four broad program learner outcomes: human flourishing, nursing judgment, professional identity, and spirit of inquiry. These broad goals encompass each specific area of the program and curriculum. “All essential program-specific core nursing practice competencies and course outcomes are subsumed within these four general goals,” (NLN, 2010, 9).


The NLN seven core values listed above are fundamental to the profession of nursing and provide the foundation for nursing practice. The NLN integrating concepts and the QSEN competencies reflect the fact that nursing students must master varied areas of knowledge and science, be prepared to function in complex environments while maintaining the highest standards of quality and safety, be able to build relationships with others and work comfortably in teams, and to respond to those in need. The four broad program learner outcomes are the culmination of all students’ learning experiences and are built upon the seven core values and eight core competencies so that the nursing program graduate will:

  • promote and enhance human flourishing for patients, families, communities, and themselves;
  • show sound nursing judgment;
  • continually develop their professional identity; and
  • maintain a spirit of inquiry as the graduate nurse moves into practice and beyond.


A fifth program learner outcome, nursing practice was identified by nursing faculty and recognized that the dimension of nursing practice needed to be fully articulated within our program model to benefit nurses and the public. Nursing practice outcomes explicate the levels of practice associated with levels of educational preparation. Therefore, nursing practice will be evaluated by utilizing the knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSAs) that will define the identity and actions of the professional nurse according to professional standards, nursing code of ethics, scope of practice, and the nursing process.


Program Learner Outcomes


Human Flourishing

Expressed as an effort to achieve self-actualization and fulfillment within the context of a larger community of individuals, each with the right to pursue his or her own such efforts.

Nursing Judgment

Encompasses three processes; namely, critical thinking, clinical judgment, and integration of best evidence into practice.

Professional Identity

Involves the internalization of core values and perspectives recognized as integral to the art and science of nursing. These core values become self-evident as the nurse learns, gains experience, and grows in the profession. The nurse embraces these fundamental values in every aspect of practice while working to improve patient outcomes and promote the ideals of the nursing profession.

Spirit of Inquiry

Persistent sense of curiosity that informs both learning and practice. A nurse infused by a spirit of inquiry will raise questions, challenge traditional and existing practices, and seek creative approaches to problems.

Nursing Practice



Nursing practice is grounded in the biological, psychological, sociological sciences and humanities. It is devoted to promoting, maintaining, and restoring the health of individuals, families and selected groups as well as supporting a peaceful, dignified death. Health exists on a dynamic continuum from wellness to illness. The science of nursing is applied through a critical thinking framework known as the nursing process that is composed of assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation.

Acquiring the knowledge, skills and attitudes to fulfill the role of the nurse: demonstrating effective communication skills; effective patient teaching; safe medication administration; proper documentation; provide safe patient care that reflects the physiological, psychosocial, developmental, cultural and spiritual needs of the patient and their families; prioritize care of multiple patients; delegating appropriately; managing time appropriately; being mindful of resource utilization; advocating for clients in ways that promote self-determination; improving quality of care and overall patient satisfaction.


Nursing Knowledge: Nursing is a humanistic art and science. The nursing process is fundamental to nursing practice. It is a critical thinking framework that systemically guides the nurse to assess, diagnose, plan, implement and evaluate care. Nursing assists individuals, families, and select groups to meet changing diverse health care needs. When common health problems occur, nursing assist clients to attain optimum level of health through promotion, maintenance, and restorative interventions. Nursing utilizes evidence based practice which includes findings from research, critical thinking, quality improvement, and practice management initiatives and patient assessment as the basis for clinical decision making. Nursing continuously seeks scientific evidence that supports the care provided.


The art of nursing is based on a framework of caring and respect for human dignity. The art and science of nursing are inextricably linked, as a compassionate approach to patient centered care and carries a mandate to provide that care competently. Competent care is provided and accomplished through independent and interdependent practice involving a collaborative interdisciplinary health care team approach in meeting the needs of the patient and their families. The discipline of nursing focuses on the nursing actions and processes, which are directed toward the patient and includes the environment in which an individual lives, works, or plays. This distinctive focus is reflected in the metaparadigm of nursing, which identifies patients (human beings, individuals, and consumers), the environment, health (wellness to illness continuum), and nursing.



The Maslow’s Hierarchy of Basic Human Needs, Erikson’s Lifespan Development, the Wellness-Illness Continuum, and the Nursing Process are used to organize the ADN and PN curriculum, combining general education studies with basic nursing education to enable students to accomplish the core competencies and program learner outcomes. The general education outcomes for Carl Sandburg College are listed below and mapped to each of our nursing course’s outcomes.


General Education Outcomes:

  1. Communication: Demonstrate proficiency in speaking, writing, reading and listening.
  2. Critical Thinking: Demonstrate critical thinking skills and problem solving skills.
  3. Cultural Diversity: Demonstrate an awareness of human values and diverse cultures.
  4. Information Technology: Demonstrate understanding and skills to function in a technological society.
  5. Quantitative Skills: Demonstrate use of quantitative analytical skills and processes to interpret, evaluate and solve problems.


Classroom lectures, workshops, seminars, skills laboratory, simulation and clinical experiences are planned with increasing levels of difficulty and complexity to provide the student with those components of patient care necessary to satisfy the program learner outcomes. The curriculum and the Clinical Evaluation Tools (CET) for each course are leveled in increasing difficulty and complexity. The program learner outcomes are leveled for each program, the ADN program has level I (first year of program) and level II (second year of the program). The PN program utilizes the ADN level I program learner outcomes.


The following shows the alignment of National League of Nursing (NLN) program learner outcomes and the College of Nursing’s different programs:


Program Learner Outcomes

Associate Degree Nursing Level I & Practical Nursing

Program Learner Outcomes

Associate Degree Nursing 

Level II Program Learner Outcomes

Human Flourishing

Promote the human dignity, integrity, self-determination, and personal growth of patients, oneself, and members of the health care team.

Advocate for patients and families in ways that promote their self-determination, integrity, and ongoing growth as human beings.

Nursing Judgment

Provide a rationale for judgments used in the provision of safe, quality care and for decisions that promote the health of patients within a family context.

Make judgments in practice, substantiated with evidence, that integrate nursing science in the provision of safe, quality care and that promote the health of patients within a family and community context.

Professional Identity

Assess how one’s personal strengths and values affect one’s identity as a nurse and one’s contributions as a member of the health care team.

Implement one's role as a nurse in ways that reflect integrity, responsibility, ethical practices, and an evolving identity as a nurse committed to evidence-based practice, caring, advocacy, and safe, quality care for diverse patients within a family and community context.

Spirit of Inquiry

Question the basis for nursing actions, considering research, evidence, tradition, patient preferences and needs, to ensure patient safety, competent nursing practice, and contribute to positive patient outcomes.


Examine the evidence that underlies clinical nursing practice to challenge the status quo, question underlying assumptions, and offer new insights to improve the quality of care for patients, families, and communities.

Nursing Practice


Incorporate nursing knowledge to contribute to the data collection, planning, treatments, and evaluation of client care under the supervision of the registered nurse.


Incorporate nursing knowledge to assess, plan, deliver, and evaluate nursing care within the context of the multidisciplinary team in health care settings.




Upon satisfactory completion of the nursing education programs at Carl Sandburg College, the student is awarded an Associate of Applied Science Degree (AAS) in Nursing and is eligible to take the National Council for Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) or is awarded a Certificate of Completion in Practical Nursing and is eligible to take the National Council for Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN).