Associate Degree Nursing
Mission & Philosophy

Program Mission

The Associate Degree Nursing faculty at Austin Community College is committed to implementing ACC's mission statement through:

  • facilitating excellence in nursing education by preparing graduates for licensure in a rapidly changing profession in a technological age.
  • providing a foundation for career and education mobility by fostering the development of knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed in nursing.
  • providing access to a quality education for a culturally diverse population.
  • meeting community needs through alternative avenues for entry into Associate Degree Nursing.
  • establishing a learning environment that values personal and professional accountability and responsibility.
  • fostering student success through a variety of educational and financial resources.
  • promoting the faculty expertise necessary to assist the student in learning and achievement of quality and safety competencies.
  • integrating the use of evidence-based practice and quality improvement to achieve best practice standards.

Program Philosophy

The Austin Community College Associate Degree Nursing Program adheres to philosophical framework of Austin Community College subscribing to the college values of communication, access, responsiveness, excellence and stewardship. The program exists to meet the community need for responsible, competent, and caring registered nurses. We, the faculty, are committed to contributing to the profession of nursing through providing a sound educational program based on the following philosophy.

Nursing and Nursing Practice

We believe nursing is a dynamic caring profession that provides an essential service to society. That service is health promotion, health maintenance, and/or health restoration for individuals and their families within the context of the community. The nurse provides services with respect for human dignity and the uniqueness of the client unrestricted by considerations of social and economic status, personal attributes, or the nature of the health problem. Nursing utilizes a unique body of knowledge based upon theory, practice and research incorporating facts and concepts from biological, social, physical and behavioral sciences. From this body of knowledge, nurses provide nursing care through the four primary roles:

  • Member of the Profession - exhibits behaviors that reflect commitment to the growth and development of the role and function of nursing consistent with state and national regulations and with ethical and professional standards; aspires to improve the discipline of nursing and its contribution to society; and values self-assessment and the need for lifelong learning.
  • Provider of Patient-Centered Care - accepts responsibility for the quality of nursing care and provides safe, compassionate nursing care using a systematic process (also known as the nursing process), of assessment, analysis, planning, intervention, and evaluation, through the utilization of evidenced based practice, that focuses on the needs and preferences of the individual and his/her family while incorporating professional values and ethical principles into nursing practice.
  • Patient Safety Advocate - promotes safety in the individual and family environment by: following scope and standards of nursing practice; practicing within the parameters of individual knowledge, skills, and attitudes; identifying and reporting actual and potential unsafe practices while complying with National Patient Safety Goals for reducing hazards to individuals in the healthcare setting
  • Member of the Health Care Team - provides patient-centered care by collaborating, coordinating, and/ or facilitating comprehensive care with an interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary health care team to determine and implement best practices for the individual and their families, including the provision of culturally sensitive care.

These identified roles provide the context for nursing and nursing practice. Nursing practice involves the use of the nursing process. The nursing process is systematic. The caregiver analyzes assessment data to identify problems, formulates goals/outcomes, and develops plans of care for individuals and their families, implements and evaluates the plan of care, while collaborating with those individuals, their families, and the interdisciplinary health care team.

Nursing is interpersonal and is characterized by the implementation of the nursing process, management of a rapidly changing environment, need for clinical competency, effective use of communication and documentation, use of nursing informatics to promote quality improvement, acceptance of personal accountability and responsibility, and a commitment to the value of caring.

Individual

We believe the individual is a unique being and has inherent dignity, worth and the capacity for growth. Each individual has a blend of physiological, psychosocial, spiritual needs that influence the perception of self, others, and the world. All individuals have human needs and possess the right to make choices that affect health. Respect for differing viewpoints, opinions, beliefs and cultures are encouraged as students interact with individuals and their families, faculty, peers, and members of the health care team and community.

Learning

We believe learning is an active process characterized by a change in behavior, insights, and perceptions whereby students acquire and apply knowledge. The faculty guides learners by providing experiences that assist in meeting the outcomes of the nursing program. The student is responsible for acquiring the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to meet the outcomes of the nursing program. The nursing faculty acts as facilitators and role models recognizing and supporting each student's unique qualities, varying backgrounds, skills, and learning styles.

Students participate in learning through course activities that integrate previously learned concepts with newly acquired content. Self-motivation and responsibility are essential elements in the learning process. Students develop clinical reasoning and utilize nursing informatics to readily access and evaluate information. The students then contextually and effectively apply information to the nursing process to promote quality care and improvement in the patient care setting.

Nursing Education

We believe the purpose of nursing education is to prepare graduates with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for licensure in a rapidly changing profession in a technological age. Education is a stimulus for lifelong learning. The faculty designs and implements a current and relevant curriculum guided by community needs, professional organizations, accrediting bodies, and national and state governing bodies and evaluated by the Systematic Plan of Evaluation (SPE).

The instructional processes reflect interdisciplinary collaboration, research, and best practice standards while allowing for innovation, flexibility, and technological advances.

ADN Graduate

We believe the ADN Graduate is prepared with the skills necessary for entry into nursing practice. The ADN graduate acts in a caring, professional manner within the legal and ethical frameworks of nursing and standards of professional practice in a variety of practice settings.

Beginning practice settings for the ADN graduate should provide direct access to more experienced practitioners with greater levels of clinical expertise. Settings for beginning practice of the ADN graduate should have clearly identified policies, procedures, protocols and lines of communication to support the new graduate. Within this environment, the new graduate has the opportunity and resources for the continuation of personal and professional growth.

Nursing Program Educational Outcomes

The philosophy is reflected in the program educational outcomes.

Patient Safety Advocate

  1. Adheres to the safety requirements and standards of the practice setting and complies with mandatory reporting requirements as set forth by the Texas Nursing Practice Act, Texas Board of Nursing Rules and other governing and accrediting agencies.
  2. Adheres to the safety requirements and standards of the practice setting and complies with mandatory reporting requirements as set forth by the Texas Nursing Practice Act, Texas Board of Nursing Rules and other governing and accrediting agencies.
  3. Formulates goals and outcomes, using evidence-based data, to reduce risks to the individual.
  4. Seeks guidance, as needed, when implementing nursing procedures or practices.

Provider of Patient-Centered Care

  1. Integrates clinical reasoning skills and the nursing process, guided by evidence-based practice, as a framework for providing care for multiple individuals, and their families, with complex health care needs involving multiple body systems in intermediate and critical care settings.
  2. Develops, implements and evaluates teaching plans for individuals and their families to address disease prevention, health promotion, maintenance and restoration.
  3. Coordinates human, information, and material resources in providing care for individuals and their families.

Member of the Health Care Team

  1. Serves as health care advocate in monitoring and promoting quality and access to health care for adult individuals, with complex health care needs involving multiple body systems, and their families in collaboration with the health care team.
  2. Integrates resources, into own nursing practice, and refers individuals with complex health care needs involving multiple body systems, and their families, to resources that facilitate continuity of care; health promotion, maintenance and restoration.
  3. Coordinates, collaborates and initiates communication with individuals, their families and the interdisciplinary health care team, in a timely manner, to plan deliver and evaluate safe and effective patient-centered care.
  4. Communicates and manages information using available technology and informatics to support decision making to improve care, and promote quality improvement, for individuals with complex medical surgical health care needs involving multiple body systems and their families.
  5. Delegates to other members of the health care team to promote safe, effective and timely care for individuals with complex health care needs involving multiple body systems, and their families.

Member of the Profession

  1. Functions within the nurse's legal scope of practice, and in accordance with the policies and procedures of the practice setting, while caring for individuals with complex health care needs involving multiple body systems and, their families.
  2. Assumes accountability and responsibility for the quality of nursing care provided to adult individuals with complex health care needs involving multiple body systems, and their families.
  3. Participates in and implements activities and behaviors that promote the development and practice of professional nursing.
  4. Demonstrates responsibility for continued competence in nursing practice and develops insight through self-reflection, self-analysis and self-care.
Conceptual Framework

The conceptual framework derived from the philosophy of the Nursing Program forms a basis for the organization and structure of the nursing program thereby serving as a guide for the selection of nursing content and learning experiences.

Major concepts selected from the philosophy are emphasized throughout the curriculum. The framework consists of five major concepts: Individual's Needs, Roles of the Associate Degree Nurse (member of the profession, provider of patient-centered care, patient safety advocate, member of the health care team), Nursing Decisions ( use clinical reasoning and evidenced-based practice to determine nursing interventions), Nursing Goals (health promotion, maintenance, and restoration), and Nursing Interventions. The following illustration identifies the structure of the conceptual framework.

The individual who is part of a family and /or community is the center of the organizing framework. The individual has physiological, psychosocial, and spiritual needs. When an individual is unable to meet his or her own needs, nursing assists the individual to meet those needs.

Nurses engage in nursing care through four primary nursing roles:

  • Member of the Profession
  • Provider of Patient-Centered Care
  • Patient Safety Advocate
  • Member of the Health Care Team

These identified roles provide the context for nursing and nursing practice. Nursing practice involves the use of the nursing process. The nursing process is systematic. The caregiver analyzes assessment data to identify problems, formulates goals/outcomes, and develops plans of care for individuals and their families, implements and evaluates the plan of care, while collaborating with those individuals, their families, and the interdisciplinary health care team.

Nursing is interpersonal and is characterized by the implementation of the nursing process, management of a rapidly changing environment, need for clinical competency, effective use of communication and documentation, use of nursing informatics to promote quality improvement, acceptance of personal accountability and responsibility, and a commitment to the value of caring.

The goal of nursing is to assist the individual to meet his/her needs through:

  • Health Promotion
  • Health Maintenance
  • Health Restoration

Nursing decisions use clinical reasoning guided by evidence-based practice and the use of informatics to promote quality improvement to determine and implement nursing interventions.

Nursing interventions are nursing actions based on theoretical knowledge that are performed to promote, maintain, or restore health for individuals and their families.

Nursing Program Goals

The Nursing Program goals are indicators that reflect the extent to which the purposes of the Nursing Program are achieved and by which program effectiveness is documented.

The Nursing Program goals include:

  • Nursing Program completion:
    • 80% of students enrolling in the Nursing Program will complete the program within 2.5 years for Traditional Track graduates and 2 years for Mobility Track graduates from initial date of entry into the Program.
  • Licensure exam pass rate:
    • The Nursing Program's annual NCLEX pass rate will be greater than or equal to 95%.
  • Job placement rate:
    • 90% of graduates who seek employment within 6 to 12 months of graduation will be employed as a Registered Nurse.
  • Graduate satisfaction:
    • 90% of graduates will report that they are satisfied with their educational experience in the Nursing Program.
  • Employer satisfaction:
    • 90% of employers will report that they are satisfied with the graduates educational preparation for entry level Registered Nurse positions.

Curriculum Definitions

Accountability
Accepts responsibility for own learning, is on time, prepares adequately for each class and clinical, and submits all learning assignments complete and on time. Models professional behavior and promotes a professional image of nursing.
Activities
Learning opportunities and evidence-based practices incorporated into own nursing practice as the basis for providing and promoting quality nursing care.
Advocacy
Promoting quality and access to health care for selected individuals and their families by participating with the health care team to provide continuity of care that is culturally sensitive and by supporting the individual's right to self-determination, choice, and confidentiality.
Caring
Behaviors, thoughts and feelings that reflect a positive regard and concern for individuals, families, and groups which include promoting the client's dignity and self esteem.
Clinical Reasoning
A process of decision making using active, logical and creative thoughts leading to an analysis of information for differentiating fact from opinion, identifying assumptions and concepts, applying knowledge to new situations, to problem-solve and derive relevant conclusions.
Collaborate
Work jointly on an activity, especially to produce or create something.
Community
Any group that comes together because of common values, interests, needs, or locality (such as a group of pregnant teenagers); or is viewed as forming a distinct segment of society (such as residents in an Alzheimer's unit); also may refer to a physical location and the associated environment including the health of the environment and the available/accessible health care resources in that location.
Confer
To meet in order to deliberate together or compare views; consult with.
Continuity of Care
Coordination of services provided to patients before they enter a healthcare setting, during the time they are in the setting, and after they leave the setting.
Culturally Sensitive Care (aka Cultural Competence)
The ability to understand, appreciate and work with individuals from cultures other than your own. It involves awareness and acceptance of cultural differences, self-awareness, knowledge of the patient's culture, and adaptation of skills to meet the patient's needs.
Evidence-Based Practice
Guidelines designing care interventions to ensure patients are receiving eligible care based on scientific evidence and best practices.
Family
The people identified by the individual as being family.
Governance
The process of guiding the actions of the faculty, staff, and students associated with the nursing program in order to meet the outcomes of the program and its members while ensuring quality and consistency.
Health Maintenance
The goal to preserve, protect, and support the health of individuals and families in communities across a spectrum of health problems/life processes.
Health Promotion
The goal of advancement toward an optimal state of wellness through the prevention of illness and advancement of wellness for individuals and families in communities across a spectrum of health problems/life processes.
Health Restoration
The goal to return a client to a previous level of functional health, while maintaining the remaining areas of physical and mental functioning, and preventing further deterioration through acute and rehabilitative care.
Individual
The person who is central to the goals of nursing care by being identified as having actual or potential health problems/life processes that can be assisted by nursing care.
Informatics
A process of applying technological and non-technological advances to improve quality and safety through system redesign, electronic health record and information systems located at the bedside to support clinical decisions. It integrates all competencies by enabling provider's better access to information management and development.
Learning
Behaviors that reflect the integration of knowledge, insight, and skill.
Member of the Health Care Team
Provides patient-centered care by collaborating, coordinating, and/or facilitating comprehensive care with an interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary health care team to determine and implement best practices for the individual and his/her family, including the provision of culturally sensitive care.
Member of the Profession
Exhibits behaviors that reflect commitment to the growth and development of the role and function of nursing consistent with state and national regulations an with ethical and professional standards; aspires to improve the discipline of nursing and its contribution to society; and values self-assessment and the need for lifelong learning.
Needs
The individual's physiological, psychosocial, and spiritual requirements for health promotion, maintenance, or restoration.
Non-Structured Assessment Tool
Instructions, guidelines and/or recommendations to guide the learner in completing comprehensive and focused assessments. These tools do not have formal written guidelines.
Nursing
The diagnosis and treatment of individual, family or community responses to actual or potential health problems/life processes. These responses may be physiological, psychosocial, or spiritual.
Nursing Care
Activities that focus on health promotion, health maintenance and or health restoration to assist individuals and families in community to attain and maintain health.
Nursing Decisions
Use clinical reasoning guided by evidence-based practice to determine and implement nursing interventions.
Nursing Interventions
Nursing actions based on theoretical knowledge that are performed to promote, maintain or restore health for individuals and their families.
Nursing Process
A systematic method, using critical thinking, to identify and treat actual and/or potential health problems/life processes.
Patient Safety Advocate
Promotes safety in the individual and family environment by: following scope and standards of nursing practice; practicing within the parameters of individual knowledge, skills and attitudes; identifying and reporting actual and potential unsafe practices while complying with Nation Patient Safety Goals for reducing hazards to individuals in the health care setting.
Problem Solving
A process of determining an effective solution/decision.
Professionalism
Multifaceted concept involving competency, legal and ethical responsibilities as well as honesty, teamwork, and integrity.
Provider of Patient Centered-Care
Accepts responsibility for the quality of nursing care and provides safe, compassionate nursing care using a systematic process (also known as the nursing process), of assessment, analysis, planning, intervention, and evaluation, through the utilization of evidenced based practice, that focuses on the needs and preferences of the individual and their families while incorporating professional values and ethical principles into nursing practice.
Quality Improvement
Facility specific processes participated in to promote quality nursing care.
Responsibility
Moral, legal, or mental accountability; reliability & trustworthiness.
Safety
A process of adopting vigilant surveillance to identify potential and actual errors from both system and individual perspectives.
Self Determination
Determination of one's own course of action without compulsion
Structured Assessment Tool
Templates, instructions, guidelines and/or recommendations to guide the learner in completing comprehensive and focused assessments. These tools include formal documents with written guidelines.
Teaching
Facilitating the acquisition of knowledge, insight and skills.
Technology
The scientific method and material used to achieve an objective
Timeliness
The quality or habit of arriving or being ready on time

*Nursing program mission, philosophy, educational outcomes, conceptual framework, goals & definitions last reviewed in January 2014