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Curriculum

Credit Hour Requirements for all students

The School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the Graduate School of Nursing each fulfill the federal definition of a credit hour. Each school determines the appropriate number of credit hours for each course, consistent with the federal definition. Students must be enrolled for a minimum of nine credit hours each semester to be considered a fulltime student.

Programs Offered

The Graduate Entry Pathway (GEP) is designed as an alternate pathway into Advanced Practice Nursing for applicants who have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing, who are not registered nurses, and who seek a graduate degree in nursing as a professional registered nurse, nurse practitioner or nurse researcher. 

The Master’s Program is designed to prepare graduates who will lead evidence-based initiatives across multiple settings and populations. The program is currently (2020-2021) on hold pending revamping of the master’s program.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program is designed to prepare graduates in advanced practice nursing specialties for careers in clinical practice with diverse populations, organizational and systems leadership in health care systems, and clinical nursing education in professional nursing programs.  Three pathways to the DNP program include GEP to DNP (admit students with a bachelor’s degree in another field to first become registered nurses then complete the DNP program), BS to PhD (admit students who are registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree to complete the DNP program), and Post-Master’s to DNP (admit students who hold a Master’s degree in nursing and are certified as NPs, CNSs, CRNAs, or CNMs or hold a Master’s degree in nursing or a health related field for nurse administrators to complete the DNP program).  Tracks within the DNP program include Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental-Health NP.

The PhD in Nursing Program focuses on the development and transformation of scholars who will lead the discipline of nursing. Four pathways to the PhD in Nursing include GEP to PhD (admit students with a bachelor’s degree in another field to first become registered nurses then complete the PhD program), BS to PhD (admit students who are registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree to complete the PhD program), MS to PhD (admit students who are registered nurses with a master’s degree and non-nurses with a master’s degree in a health-related field to complete the PhD program), and DNP to PhD (admit students with a DNP degree to complete the PhD program).

Program Design

The mission, goals, and expected program outcomes of the Graduate School of Nursing (GSN) and UMMS are congruent.  The GSNs strategic plan is congruent with UMMS Impact 2025.  Five priorities identified by the GSN include:

  1. To transform graduate nursing education.
  2. To advance and influence nursing knowledge development through scholarship and innovation: research, education, practice/service/community.
  3. To develop sustainable academic partnerships with service and community member that will drive nursing scholarship and improve patient outcomes.
  4. To promote a culture of human dignity that reflects equality, equity, inclusivity and diversity.
  5. To enhance operational excellence and financial stewardship of all GSN programs.

Courses

Courses offered at the Graduate School of Nursing re listed below by program.

Graduate Entry Pathway Program

N508: Pharmacology for Nurses I

N509: Pharmacology for Nurses II

N511: Biomedical Science I

N512: Biomedical Science II

N513: Health Assessment and Skills I

N514: Health Assessment and Skills II

N516A/B: Nursing I: Care of Persons with Acute and Chronic Conditions/Clinical

N517A/B: Nursing II Care of Persons with Acute and Chronic Conditions/Clinical

N518A/B: Nursing III: Care of the Childbearing and Child Rearing Family/Clinical

N519A/B: Nursing IV: Clinical Capstone/Leadership and Management

N523: Concepts in Professional Nursing I

N524: Concepts in Professional Nursing II: care Continuum & Community Health

N525: Concepts in Professional Nursing III

 

Master's Program

N603A: Societal Forces Influencing Graduate Nursing Education, Practice, Research

N603B.1 and N603B.2: Interprofessional & Population Health Community-Service Learning Seminar and Practicum

N603C: Interprofessional Population Health Clerkship: Caring for Populations within their Communities

N604: Translating and Integrating Scholarship into Practice

N654: Nursing Advocacy & Leadership to Optimize Health

N655: Promoting Optimal Health Outcomes Through Improvement Science

N656: Advanced Health Assessment & Pharmacology for the AGRN

N704: Principles of Epidemiology

N719: Genetics, Genomics, and Pharmacogenomics

 

Advanced Practice Core Courses

N613: Advanced Pathophysiology

N614: Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics

N615: Advanced Health Assessment

Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Courses

N730A/B: Advanced Nursing Science: Adult-Gero Primary Care NP Theory I/Practicum I

N730C: Advanced Nursing Science: Adult-Gero Primary Care NP Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Seminar

N731A/B: Advanced Nursing Science: Adult-Gero Primary Care NP Theory II/Practicum II

N731C: Advanced Nursing Science: Adult-Gero Primary Care NP/Practicum III

 

Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Courses

N/NG640A/B: Advanced Nursing Science: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Theory I/Practicum

N/NG641A/B: Advanced Nursing Science: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Theory II/Practicum

 

Family Nurse Practitioner Courses

N659: Advanced Nursing Science: Maternal & Child Care for the FNP

N760A: Advanced Nursing Science: FNP Theory I

N760B: Advanced Nursing Science: FNP Practicum I

N760C : Advanced Nursing Science: FNP Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Seminar

N761A: Advanced Nursing Science: FNP Theory II

N761B: Advanced Nursing Science: FNP Practicum II

Psychiatric Mental-Health NP Courses

N670: Psychiatric Mental-Health Nursing I: Assessment & Diagnosis Across the Lifespan

N670B: Psychiatric Mental-health Nursing Practicum I

N671: Psychotherapeutic Interventions I: Individual Therapy

N672A: Psychiatric Mental-Health Nursing II: Care of Adults, older Adults, and Consultation

N672B: Psychiatric Mental-Health Nursing Practicum II

N673: Clinical Psychopharmacology

N674A: Psychiatric Mental-Health Nursing III: Care of Children, Adolescents, and Families

N674B: Psychiatric Mental-health Nursing III Practicum III

N675: Psychotherapeutic Interventions II: Individual, Group, Couples, and Family Therapy

Nurse Educator Courses

N625B: Advanced Nursing Science: Academic Teaching Practicum for Nurse Educators

N701: Teaching Strategies and Evaluation Methods for the Academic Health Educator

N820: Essentials for Academic Health Educators

 

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Courses

N705: Trends Influencing the Doctor of Nursing Practice

N706: Health Policy for Health Care Professionals

N707: Biomedical Informatics

N708: Organizational Systems and Health Care Financing

N709A: DNP Project Proposal I

N709B: DNP Project Proposal II

N709C: DNP Project Proposal III

N710: Clinical Scholarship & Analytic Methods

N715: Analytical Foundations of Practice Inquiry

N723: Quality and Patient Safety in Health Care Organizations

N769: Leadership for the Nurse Executive

N772: DNP Project Implementation

N773: DNP Project Evaluation

N776: Leadership for Advanced Nursing

N777: DNP Practicum

N795: Independent/Directed Study

 

PhD Courses

N800: History and Philosophy of Nursing Science

N801: Qualitative Research Methods

N802: Advanced Quantitative Research Methods

N803: Theory

N804: Survey methods and Measurement in Health Research

N808: Critical Health Policy issues

N810: Doctoral Practicum

N813: Research Review and Grant Writing

N815: Statistical Analysis of Date

N819: Advanced Qualitative Research Methods and Analysis

N890: Advanced Statistics

N895: Independent/Directed Study

N896: Seminar I: Leadership

N897: Dissertation Seminar II

N898: Dissertation Seminar III

N899: Dissertation Credits

Foundations of Medicine 1 (FOM1)

Foundations of Medicine 1 (FOM1) courses introduce students to the concepts that lay the foundation for their medical school learning and professional practice. Courses are co-led by teams of scientists and clinicians in order to support concept integration and balance of learning the science and art of medicine. Topics build from the microscopic with basics of genes, cell structure and function through gross organ systems and imaging, to core concepts of pharmacology to address pathophysiologic, oncologic and infectious processes. Threaded throughout are principles of patient communication, physical exam, problem-solving and the impact of social determinants of health on wellness.   Students work with their Learning Communities mentor to begin to identify a Capstone project. All grading in this year is credit/no credit and courses are reviewed annually.   

For more information on specific FOM1 courses, click here (FOM1)

Foundations of Medicine 2 (FOM2)

Foundations of Medicine 2 (FOM2) courses build on the foundations laid in FOM1 and expand student knowledge and experience to detailed understanding of pathophysiologic states through a spiral curriculum.  This model allows a return to organ systems with a focus on scientific underpinnings of the clinical manifestations of illness, including assessment and treatment modalities. Courses are co-led by teams of scientists and clinicians, as in FOM1, and are closely aligned with their FOM1 counterparts. The year culminates in a course called ‘Patients’ designed as a final integration of FOM 1 and 2 content supported by clinical problem solving in order to prepare students for success in the clinical clerkships and on Step 1 of the boards. After completing Step 1 students return for the two-week Transition to Core Clinical Experiences crafted as hands-on large and small group problem-solving, simulation and consultation sessions to launch core clerkship learning. Threaded throughout are principles of patient communication, physical exam, problem-solving and the impact of social determinants of health on wellness. Students transition work on their Capstone project from their Learning Communities mentor to a specific project advisor. All grading in this year is credit/no credit and courses are reviewed annually.   

For detailed descriptions of the FOM2 courses, click here (FOM2).

Core Clinical Experience (CCE)

Core Clinical Experiences (CCE) is the primary clerkship year and is organized into three coordinated thematic sections to help students build knowledge across disciplines. These sections are: Care of Adults (Medicine and Neurology), Care of Families (Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Family Medicine), Perioperative and Maternal Care (Surgery and Obstetrics-Gynecology). Students are provided with four one-week electives called Flexible Clinical Experiences that allow career exploration and skills development in all areas of medical practice, research, leadership and service.  An Interstitial Course brings students together on campus from their placement sites throughout the year for hands-on learning on topics that cross all fields such as Patient Safety and Quality Improvement, Health Equity, Domestic Violence and Disaster management. CCE also integrates translational curriculum that revisits principles taught in FOM1 and FOM2.  Clerkships are graded in a tiered fashion. Students continue their Capstone work with their project advisor throughout the year.

Advanced Studies

Advanced Studies (AS) education provides students with the opportunity to have higher levels of supervised learning and practice through required sub-internships and to explore professional growth in-depth through individualized schedules crafted from robust elective offerings. Learning is hands-on and experiential. Required courses include Emergency Clinical Problem-Solver and Advanced Biomedical and Translational Sciences. Clinical experiences are graded in a tiered fashion. Students complete and present their Capstone Project in a public forum.

Electives offered by the School of Medicine are catalogued here.

Student Goals

The Goals of the Graduate School of Nursing (GSN) are to:

  • Prepare advanced practice nurses, leaders, educators, and scientists to shape nursing & promote health through the integration of education, research, practice, policy & service.
  • Create a dynamic research environment to conduct multi-method research where findings are translated into practice.
  • Respond to the health needs of the community and Commonwealth and beyond through innovative education, practice, public service, and research.

Degree and Graduation Requirements

Students admitted into the Graduate School of Nursing will complete graduation requirements within a specified number of years (not counting time away for an approved leave of absence) depending on their specific educational program.

Requirements for graduation

  • GEP students are required to complete 1000 RN hours prior to graduation.
  • Successful completion of all required coursework. 
  • Successful completion of the required clinical hours. 
  • Demonstration of the ability to perform the skills in the GSN Technical Standards with or without reasonable accommodations consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Completion of Certification for Graduation with the GSN Office of Student Affairs and any additional administrative requirements such as payment of all fines including library and parking, returning all books, payment of any outstanding bills, course evaluations, etc. 

Grading and Assessments

Minimum passing grades in the Graduate School of Nursing along with cumulative semester GPAs for program progression are shown below.

Course level

Minimum passing grade for individual courses

Cumulative semester GPA for program progression

500 Didactic

78

3.0

600 Didactic

83

3.0

700 Didactic

83

3.0

800 Didactic

78

3.0

Clinical courses, OSCE, practicum, practicum

Pass

N/A

 

Student Promotion

Student Promotion, or academic progression, is defined in the Graduate School of Nursing (GSN) as a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and progression through the program as defined in particular programs of study.  If a student is required to repeat a specific course, the initial grade will be replaced by the grade earned the second time the course is taken. Transfer credits, incompletes, and withdrawals do not factor into the GPA but are included when evaluating progress towards degree completion. Satisfactory Academic Progress will be monitored by the Program Coordinator or Program Director minimally twice a year.

Academic Opportunities

Optional Enrichment Electives (OEE) are elective courses offered in addition to the regular, required and elective/selective curriculum, which the student elects to take. OEE are offered through the School of Medicine with GSN students participating in some courses. Participation in these courses appears on the transcript by name of course.

An example of an OEE that GSN students participate in is Correctional Health. The Correctional Health optional enrichment elective provides students a greater understanding of the basic principles of correctional health and unique health concerns for incarcerated populations, in both adult and youth correctional settings. The course aims to decrease stigma surrounding the correctional population and increase future providers' comfort working with this population.

International Opportunities

Graduate School of Nursing faculty and students participate in international practice and research where they gain experience that they can apply to their work and patients.  Each year the GSN along with the School of Medicine and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences plan an inter-professional educational experience during spring recess where nursing and medical students visit La Romana, the Dominican Republic capital, providing care and aid to more than 1000 patients.

Learning Objectives

Student Outcomes associated with the Master’s Program. Graduates will be able to:

  1. Synthesize and integrate knowledge and evidence from the biological, psychological, social, nursing, genetics, public health, health promotion, disease prevention, quality improvement, and organizational sciences for the continual improvement of health and health outcomes in populations across diverse settings particularly those who are vulnerable and/or medically underserved.
  2. Lead and participate in interprofessional collaborative practice, critical thinking and ethical decision-making within health care systems, based on scientific evidence and standards of practice that focus on quality and patient safety initiatives to improve patient and population health outcomes.
  3. Interpret research findings, critically evaluate scientific evidence and employ informatics and health care technologies to resolve problems leading to best practices to improve patient and population health outcomes.
  4. Collaborate to advocate for patients, populations, communities and develop policies to improve health outcomes.
  5. Influence health care outcomes for individuals, populations and systems by integrating nursing, organizational and relevant scientific literature at the advanced level to ensure quality of direct and indirect patient, population, and community care through individual and interprofessional team practice

Student Outcomes associated with Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program.  Graduates will be able to: 

  1. Assess, intervene, and evaluate the responses of patients to health/illness states by applying the population competencies of advanced practice (NP Tracks)
  2. Critically appraise and communicate the best evidence for nursing practice to promote safe, timely, effective, efficient, ethical, equitable patient/family centered care.
  3. Design and plan care delivery approaches grounded in the ethical principles of the nursing discipline to support and improve patient care and healthcare systems through organizational and systems leadership.
  4. Lead and participate in interprofessional teams to collaborate and create healthcare solutions to improve population health outcomes.
  5. Synthesize biopsychosocial data to create, provide and evaluate patient centered interventions to optimize health (individual, family, and group).
  6. Interpret scientific data to create new strategies to address determinants of health that supports population health initiatives.

Student Outcomes associated with Post-Graduate Certificate (PGC) APRN Program.  Graduates will be able to:

  1. Synthesize and integrate knowledge from the biological, psychological, social, and nursing sciences into practice
  2. Assess, intervene, and evaluate the responses of patients to health/illness states by applying the competencies of advanced practice
  3. Apply the standards of practice and evidence-based literature to make cost-effective clinical judgments in the context of quality patient outcomes
  4. Contribute to the scholarly advancement of the nursing profession through education, research, and clinical practice
  5. Manage health/illness care as a member of an interdisciplinary team implementing preventive and population-based health care in institutions and communities
  6. Provide clinical leadership within the context of the social, economic, political, legal, cultural, and ethical forces that affect health care delivery, health policy, and professional nursing practice