University of Dubuque

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Nursing - Curriculum

21st Century Curriculum

A 21st century curriculum to meet the demands of 21st century health care is the hallmark of the program. UD's program will prepare nurses with a baccalaureate degree and focuses on the development of core competencies. Clinical experiences in specialty care are highlighted to meet the demands of employers, while rotations in rural health will provide support to under-served populations in the tri-state area.

The Nursing Program is fully accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Collegiate Commission on Nursing Education (CCNE). The University of Dubuque is fully accredited by the North Central Association - Higher Learning Commission (NCA-HLC).

Nursing Curriculum Plan


Curriculum Focus on Crossing the Quality Chasm Goals and Health Profession Education Competencies

The curriculum is based on the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Crossing the Quality Chasm (2001) report, with its focus on ensuring quality health care, and the IOM's Health Professions Education (2003) report, which defined the five core competencies required for all health professionals practicing in the 21st century health care environment.

UD's nursing curriculum will prepare its graduates to provide:

  • patient-centered care
  • work in inter-disciplinary teams
  • employ evidence-based practice
  • apply quality improvement
  • utilize informatics

The executive summary of the IOM's Crossing the Quality Chasm (2001) report can be downloaded from the following website http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10027&page=1

The Health Professions Education report (2003) can be downloaded from http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10681&page=1


Patient-Centered Care

Students will be prepared to provide patient-centered care by:

  • Providing an integrated curriculum, which presents patient health management in a holistic, patient-centered manner. By integrating pathophysiology with prevention and condition management nursing and health care team knowledge and skills, students learn disease concepts with what the health care team needs to do to improve the patient's health status relative to that disease.
  • Emphasizing that the patient is the key member of the health care team and that nurse facilitation of patient self-management is essential to positive patient outcomes.
  • Identifying that the patient as decision-maker in all health care decisions and the nurse's role in the facilitation of informed decision-making.
  • Providing across-the-continuum patient-care experiences, from inpatient through outpatient to home and community care so that students gain a better understanding of the patient's perspective.

Interdisciplinary Teams

Students will be prepared to work in inter-disciplinary teams by:

  • Identifying the importance of intra- and inter-disciplinary teamwork in ensuring the achievement of positive patient outcomes.
  • Instilling respect and appreciation for the perspective of other intra-disciplinary team members by requiring Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification for admission to the nursing program.
  • Focusing on coordination of care with other health care team members through knowledge of the roles team members play in the care of specific conditions.
  • Emphasizing theories and principles of teamwork in all courses.
  • Practicing teamwork skills through group project experiences integrated throughout the curriculum.

Evidence-Based Practice

Students will be prepared to implement evidence-based practice by:

  • Emphasizing research critique, synthesis, and point-of-care utilization , rather than the development of new research.
  • Incorporating evidence-based practice principles into all discussions of the care of pathophysiologies and conditions discussed.
  • Integrating research regarding implementation of evidence-based innovations into all clinical projects.
  • Requiring that students participate in evidence-based quality improvement projects on assigned clinical units.
  • Developing student analysis of research syntheses (meta-analyses and guidelines), rather than analysis of individual research studies.

Preparation to Apply Quality Improvement

Students will be prepared to apply quality improvement by:

  • Identifying the evidence-based quality targets being used by accrediting and regulatory agencies such as the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the National Council on Quality Assurance, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, and the National Quality Forum.
  • Integrating the practice of quality improvement processes into all courses by requiring evidence-based, quality improvement-focused, team-developed projects within specific clinical courses.
  • Utilizing the evidence-base of innovation and research utilization to inform their quality improvement activities.

Preparation to Utilize Informatics

Students will be prepared to utilize informatics by:

  • Utilizing computerized evidence tools at the point-of-care.
  • Incorporating the use of informatics at the bedside into all nursing skills labs and clinical experiences.
  • Integrating the use of on-line quality data, health care databases, evidence-reviews, and patient self-management materials into all classroom and clinical experiences.