School of Nursing
A Message from the Dean
On behalf of the faculty and staff; it is my pleasure to welcome you as a member of our School of Nursing community where excellence, innovation and creativity are ideas we put into practice daily. We are committed to preparing nursing leaders for today and tomorrow's health care needs.
Nursing is a profession dedicated to the advancement of health and health care through science and its application. At a time when nursing education and practice is transforming before our eyes - with the Affordable Care Act and Institute of Medicine report on the Future of Nursing providing a context and blueprint for action - we are determined to prepare nurses who will continue to shape health care in this evolving environment. Nurses will provide critical leadership and be among the architects of change, with greater emphasis on prevention and universal access to cost-effective, culturally competent, high quality care.
The Jesuit tradition of academic rigor and personal reflection guide nursing education at Fairfield. With a rich foundation in the Core, students apply their knowledge in ethics, communication, spirituality and culture to their increasing competence in learning to be a nurse. A global understanding of health care with a strong focus on issues of justice and equality prepare our graduates to be innovative leaders.
Our goal is to provide each student with an educational experience that is individualized and empowering. This is accomplished by effectively linking classroom and clinical experiences with expectations for competence, compassion and justice in health care within the context of the highest academic standards. Interdisciplinary collaboration within and outside the university, opportunities to care for patients in over 50 health care agencies, along with the opportunity for international study abroad allow students to build skills in collaboration, advocacy and leadership.
What truly distinguishes us is our unwavering commitment to our students and their careers. As you gain new knowledge and skills, you will experience the dedication our faculty members have to your development. I encourage you to get to know them - they are leaders not only of the School, but of the entire nursing profession. As leading educators and scholars, they contribute research and life-saving knowledge for the benefit of society.
The time you spend with us is sure to provide you with many opportunities. I invite you to take full advantage, establish your career in nursing and prepare for the challenges that await you. Learn, explore, and achieve! It's our goal to support you every step of the way.
Lynn Babington, PhD, RN
Dean, School of Nursing
The School of Nursing 2013-14The School of Nursing
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Dean: Lynn Babington
Assistant Dean for Academic Programs and Undergraduate Program Director: Theresa Tavella Quell
Associate Dean: Meredith Wallace Kazer
Adult Program Director: Carole A. Pomarico
Assistant Professors VA Nursing Academy
Assistant Professors of the Practice
The goal of the undergraduate program is to prepare students for professional nursing practice. One of the unique features of all undergraduate programs at Fairfield is the strong liberal arts core that is integral to the curriculum. Through these courses, nursing students develop the social awareness, historical consciousness, thinking skills, aesthetic sensibility, values orientation, and foundations in art, literature, and science that are hallmarks of undergraduate education. The program of study contributes to the development of a well-rounded person who is able to live effectively and productively in the world of today and tomorrow. Students grow personally and professionally to become committed and compassionate nurses, capable of providing professional care to people in whatever setting they encounter.
The curriculum of the School of Nursing provides students with educational experiences from which they gain a strong base in the humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and natural sciences as well as in nursing theory and practice. Students are fully integrated into the University community and enroll in core courses with students of all majors.
Faculty members in the School of Nursing are exceptionally well qualified by academic and clinical preparation. The small student-to-faculty ratio is an inherent component of the program, particularly as it relates to clinical practice. Each student is assigned to a nursing faculty advisor who works closely with students to monitor progression through the program. Academic counseling, individualized attention, and career planning are integral to the advisement process.
In the program, students participate in nursing practice in a variety of clinical settings. The School has affiliations with more than 50 agencies, including small and large hospitals, community health centers, in-patient and out-patient psychiatric institutions, and schools. Opportunities are available in urban and suburban settings, for students to work with people of different cultures, backgrounds, and needs.
Fairfield nursing students gain public health experience through clinical rotations at the School of Nursing's Health Promotion Center in Bridgeport. The Center is nationally recognized for its community health outreach program, which provides care to the region's poor and underserved population. Students provide services through partnering agencies throughout the community, offering health screenings, education, and referral.
The School of Nursing facility houses multimedia classrooms, faculty offices, conference rooms, and a tiered lecture hall. The Robin Kanarek Learning Resource Center fills the second floor of the building. Recently updated, the Learning Resource Center has state of the art media and technology to provide flexibility in offering classes and clinical simulations. Equipped with demonstration stations and a full line of SimMan® patients, settings simulate obstetrics, neonatal ICU, pediatrics, medical surgical nursing, and home care. Three interconnected rooms provide a fully equipped ICU and operating room. This focus on simulation based learning gives students access to controlled clinical situations that develop students' patient-care, critical-thinking, and decision-making skills in a risk-free environment.
Upon successful completion of the program, students receive a B.S. degree in Nursing and qualify to take the NCLEX examination for licensure as a registered nurse. The School of Nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and approved by the Connecticut Department of Higher Education and the Connecticut State Board of Examiners for Nursing.
The School of Nursing Philosophy
The Philosophy of the School of Nursing flows from the Mission Statement of Fairfield University, and gives definition to the Jesuit ideals of social responsibility, truth, and justice. The faculty views nursing as the art and science of reflective practice in caring for vulnerable populations. Individuals are biological, psychological, social, and spiritual beings who are unique members of families and of larger social systems. Interaction and communication within these systems influence health and well-being. Health is a dynamic process of physical, mental, spiritual, and environmental harmony that enables people to affirm and pursue their own life goals. Optimum health begins with nurturing and promoting one's own emotional and spiritual growth, which then extends to respect and caring for others. Health and well-being are influenced by many variables including quality of life. When recovery from illness is not possible, death itself is viewed as the final opportunity for growth.
Students are viewed as holistic individuals who are seeking to develop multifaceted roles and who are accountable for their learning. Each student brings unique qualities that contribute to the strength and diversity of the program. Along with planned educational experiences, faculty offer support, guidance and mentoring throughout the learning process. Students are encouraged to develop their individual strengths and identify areas of interest as they progress throughout the curriculum. Students emerge as qualified baccalaureate-prepared entry-level practitioners or master's/doctorally prepared advanced-level practitioners, who integrate theory and research into their practices and use a critical approach to problem solving. Because society is rich with diverse religious, ethnic, and cultural groups, nurses are professionals who must be prepared to work with those whose beliefs and values may be different from their own. In order to be sensitive to others, it is first necessary to know and accept one's own values and beliefs. Students and faculty demonstrate mutual respect for the rights of others and appreciation of these differences.
The School of Nursing Mission & Purpose
In keeping with the mission of Fairfield University to develop men and women for others, the School of Nursing builds on a tradition of innovation and a commitment to provide the very best nursing education, scholarship, and professional service locally, nationally, and internationally. The School of Nursing is committed to leadership in nursing. The discovery, transmission, and use of knowledge are at the core of our work. Knowledge of health and illness in individuals, families, groups, and communities, both locally and internationally, provides the context for our charge. The ultimate test of our vision will be the results of contributions of faculty and graduates over time.
Guiding Principles for the Nursing Programs
Ethics and Social Responsibility
Commitment to social responsibility, truth, and justice is inherent in the Jesuit ideal and underscores the need to provide care to vulnerable populations; that is, those populations that experience actual or potential threats to health or well-being. Provision of care to vulnerable populations is a particular concern to nursing. Nurses have a moral and ethical obligation to provide and advocate for optimal health care for all members of society regardless of differences in culture, race, gender, socioeconomic status, religion, or age. Nurses consider the interplay of health and social issues as they care for clients in various stages of health and illness. Students confront the range of ethical dilemmas and value conflicts inherent in care delivery, and develop an understanding and acceptance of self and others.
Human beings are unique individuals who grow in complexity throughout life. Holism is an approach to assessment and management of patient-centered care that considers the biological, psychological, sociocultural, and spiritual needs of patients, and searches for the deeper and more complex roots of ill health beyond the individual. Interactions among and between people and the environments in which they live are considered in planning and providing quality nursing care. The holistic approach supports and relies upon the therapeutic nurse-patient relationship and a focus on wholeness, harmony and healing.
Nurses diagnose human responses to actual and potential health problems, identify individual strengths and nursing care needs, and plan and deliver culturally sensitive care that promotes, maintains, or restores health. Nursing practice integrates scientific problem solving with holistic caring. Reflective practice emphasizes a combination of rational and intuitive processes that allow students to discover the links between theory and practice, help them to develop their skills in creating holistic, individualized, and flexible plans of care, and enhance their acceptance of professional responsibility. It incorporates approaches such as reflection-on-action, reflection-in-action, and reflection-before-action. Reflective practice leads to greater awareness of individual beliefs, biases, and existing knowledge base, development of creative and critical thinking processes, changes in perspectives, attitudes, and behaviors, and enhanced personal and professional identity development. The establishment of a pattern of reflective practice encourages lifelong learning and ultimately advances the discipline of nursing through greater knowledge production and opportunities for leadership.
Characteristics of professional nursing practice include critical thinking, clinical reasoning, decision-making, and accountability. Behaviors integral to professional nursing's role are advocacy, political activism, effective communication, collegiality, commitment to life-long learning, scholarship, and the upholding of standards as defined by the profession. Nurses function as integral members of interprofessional teams and collaborate with other health care providers, patients, family and community members. Their role involves responsibilities for teaching, making referrals, and strategizing to shape health policy at local, state, national, and international levels. The purpose of this collaborative, interprofessional activity is to improve care and address quality and safety issues through education, consultation, and management. Professional nursing practice combines holistic care with evidence-based practice. Nursing research is viewed as the investigation of issues of concern in nursing practice with the aim of answering complex questions and developing knowledge to improve care and potentiate health. Leadership and management skills are essential to shape the future of health care, and help others attain goals and facilitate change. Participation in professional organizations and groups, role modeling, client advocacy, political activism, and fostering a learning environment by mentoring and precepting others is expected.
Baccalaureate Program Outcomes
- Demonstrate effectiveness in planning and providing holistic evidence-based nursing care for diverse individuals and populations.
- Create an environment for the provision of care within clinical microsystems with attention to quality, safety, information systems and health care ethics.
- Use clinical reasoning, critical thinking, and ethical decision-making based on nursing science, related theory, and current evidence, to inform the delivery of care across the lifespan.
- Participate in inter- and intra-professional communication and collaboration in partnership with individuals and populations to deliver evidence-based, patient-centered care.
- Translate knowledge from research, benchmarking, quality improvement and other relevant sources into practice to address health related problems.
- Synthesize knowledge from the humanities and sciences in planning and providing care that is guided by the values of altruism, autonomy, human dignity, integrity, global citizenship, and social justice.
- Demonstrate professional growth, through the cultivation of self-awareness, responsibility, accountability, creativity, leadership and commitment to lifelong learning.
- Advocate for patients, consumers, and the nursing profession through involvement in the political process, and health/patient care policies and practices.
School of Nursing Curriculum
The four components of the School of Nursing undergraduate program are:
The Core curriculum
Nursing students must complete the core curriculum that is required of all Fairfield undergraduates, except that nursing students may meet either the visual and performing arts or the language requirement. Students meet the U.S. diversity requirement through enrollment in the NS 112 Healthcare Delivery Systems. Students meet the World diversity requirement through enrollment in a course focusing on non-western culture or society, exclusive of Europe and the United States (may be met through existing core courses). Statistics is required for all nursing students; the minimum requirement is MA 17 Introduction to Probability and Statistics.
Natural and social sciences
Students take one semester of chemistry and three semesters of biology that include anatomy and physiology, and microbiology. Because the social sciences form an important part of the foundation for nursing practice, students also take developmental psychology and a social science elective.
Classroom instruction in nursing theory begins in the freshman year and continues throughout the undergraduate program. Instruction in nursing skills begins in the sophomore year. Nursing courses include theoretical and clinical components. With each semester, clinical hours increase. To insure that students obtain the breadth and depth of clinical experience needed, the school has associations with many clinical facilities, including private hospitals, veterans' hospitals, clinics, outpatient departments, rehabilitation centers, public health departments, long-term care facilities, home care agencies, community health centers, schools, and its own Health Promotion Center in Bridgeport. Students provide their own transportation to clinical agencies, and all costs associated with clinical placements including travel, parking, background checks, and health and professional requirements, are the responsibility of the student.
Two electives in the curriculum provide students with an opportunity to explore topics of interest including the liberal arts, nursing, and minor options.
University Honors Program
The School of Nursing participates in the University Honors Program, an interdisciplinary course of study (23 credits) open to invited freshmen and sophomores and devoted to intellectual history, interdisciplinary studies, and advanced work in the student's major field. A detailed description of the Program can be found in the Honors Program section on page 163.
Standards for Admission and Progression at Fairfield University School of Nursing
At Fairfield University School of Nursing, students are required to successfully complete clinical practica involving direct patient care. By accepting admission in the School of Nursing, the student understands the program eligibility and progression requirements.
Consistent with its mission and philosophy, Fairfield University School of Nursing does not discriminate on the basis of disability. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the University will assist students in making reasonable accommodations that allow an otherwise qualified student with a disability to meet essential eligibility requirements in order to participate in its programs. Candidates for the nursing program must be able to meet minimum standards for clinical practice, with or without reasonable accommodations. To receive accommodations on the basis of disability, the student must self-identify, provide documentation for the disability, and request accommodation from the Office of Disability Support Services. The decision regarding appropriate accommodations will be based on the specifics of each case. Accommodations must specifically address the functional limitations of the disability. An accommodation will not be made in those situations where the accommodation itself would fundamentally alter the nature of the program, cause hardship to the school, or jeopardize the health or safety of others. For further information, refer to the Fairfield University Office of Academic & Disability Support Services http://www.fairfield.edu/adss_index.html.
The curricula leading to degrees in nursing from Fairfield University requires students to possess essential non-academic skills and functions required to engage in clinical practice. It is within the sole determination of Fairfield University and the School of Nursing to assess and determine whether a student meets these skills and functions. Eligibility requirements for participation and completion in the nursing program shall include, but are not limited to, the following six capabilities:
Critical thinking ability sufficient for clinical judgment; student must be able to examine, interpret, analyze, and synthesize material for problem solving and evaluation of patient situations and own performance.
- Ability to assess, plan, establish priorities, implement and evaluate patient outcomes.
- Ability to calculate appropriate dosages for specific medications.
- Ability to use good judgment in establishing priorities and making appropriate decisions in client care.
Interpersonal & Communication
Relationship & communication abilities appropriate for interacting sensitively with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of social, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds. Ability to accurately and clearly communicate appropriate information regarding patient status and response to care, both orally and in writing.
- Interpersonal skills to communicate effectively with patients/families and members of the healthcare team.
- Ability to gather and record patient data concerning history, health status and response to care.
- Ability to give and follow verbal and written reports and directions to patients, families, and members of the health care team.
Ability to observe, identify, and obtain information in order to assess, plan, provide and evaluate nursing interventions; student must possess adequate sensory abilities or be able to demonstrate appropriate and safe compensation for deficits.
- Visual acuity necessary to observe physical changes in health status, prepare and administer medications, and gather reference material and patient data from written and digital sources.
- Auditory ability to differentiate normal and abnormal heart, lung, & bowel sounds.
- Tactile ability to differentiate temperature and anomalies of the skin, as well as unsafe patient care devices.
- Cognitive ability sufficient to read and understand directions, assignments, and patient documents.
Motor Skills and Mobility
Sufficient mobility, including the gross and fine motors skills needed to provide safe and competent nursing care, both routine and emergency.
- Sufficient motor skills necessary to perform physical care such as ambulating, positioning, and assisting with activities of daily living as needed.
- Fine motor skills needed for basic assessment such as palpation, auscultation, and percussion.
- Mobility sufficient to carry out patient care procedures such as suctioning, positioning, and drawing up medication into a syringe.
Emotional stability for providing care safely to patients and their families within a rapidly changing and often stressful healthcare environment; the ability to monitor and identify one's own and others' emotions, and use the information to guide thinking and actions.
- Integrity needed to make ethical decisions and honor the professional code of nursing.
- Emotional ability to maintain calm in a crisis and emergency situation.
- Ability to develop mature relationships with the health care team and modify behavior in response to constructive feedback.
Physical Health and Abilities
Physical health and stamina sufficient to provide care to diverse patient populations.
- Sufficient energy and ability to manage a typical patient assignment in a variety of settings for a full seven hour clinical day.
- Physical health necessary to care for those who are immuno-compromised, incapacitated, and/or otherwise vulnerable.
Progression in the Nursing Curriculum
Nursing students must follow all University educational policies and general regulations including those regarding academic progress.
The science and psychology courses are sequential and are prerequisites to designated nursing courses. Strong foundational knowledge in the science and psychology courses is critical to success in the nursing program. Thus, students may not progress to the next semester with an incomplete in a prerequisite course. BI 107 Human Anatomy and Physiology I, BI 108 Human Anatomy and Physiology II, BI 151 Microbiology, CH 84 Chemistry, and PY 111 Developmental Psychology must be completed successfully with a minimum grade of C (73) for students to progress to the next semester in the course sequence for the nursing major. The final grade for CH 84, Chemistry is calculated based on grades for both the lab and theory portion.
Students unable to complete these courses successfully are expected to repeat coursework in the next semester or the summer session immediately following or they will be dismissed from the School of Nursing. Students consistently achieving minimum passing grades in prerequisite courses will be placed on Academic Warning. Students who do not obtain a grade of C or better in a prerequisite course (including a repeated course) may repeat the course once. A grade of less than C in three or more prerequisite courses will result in dismissal from the School of Nursing.
Nursing courses are sequential, beginning with foundational courses and progressing to increasing levels of complexity and challenge throughout the program. As students move through the curriculum, new content is integrated and builds upon previously learned material. Thus, all students must earn the minimum grade of C+ (77) in all nursing courses to progress to the next semester and continue in the program.
Further, students may not progress to the next semester with an incomplete in any nursing course. Students who do not obtain a grade of C+ or better in a nursing course may repeat the course once. A grade of less than C+ in two nursing courses (including a repeated course) will result in dismissal from the School of Nursing. The clinical component of all clinical nursing courses is graded on a pass/fail basis. Students must pass the theory and clinical component of a course to pass the entire course, regardless of their grade in the theory component. Students who fail to earn the minimum grade in either component of a clinical course must repeat the entire course.
Health and Professional Requirements
All clinical agencies require documentation of various professional and health information for nursing students. Nursing majors must be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation by Jan. 1 of the sophomore year and remain certified throughout the nursing program. Students must receive their certification through either the Health Care Provider course offered through the American Heart Association or the Professional Rescuer or CPR/AED for Lifeguard Certification course offered through the American Red Cross. All health requirements and OSHA training requirements must be met each year prior to clinical practica.
To attend clinical, students must have a physical examination and non-reactive Mantoux test yearly. Proof of immunization or immunity must be provided for the following: hepatitis, varicella, measles, mumps, rubella, flu, and diphtheria-tetanus. History of disease is not acceptable as proof of immunity; laboratory results of blood titers must be provided.
Student Background Checks and Drug Testing
In accordance with hospital and agency contracts, students will be expected to obtain a background check prior to their first clinical experience. CertifiedBackground.com is the immunization tracking system used by Fairfield University nursing students to house their health information. Students are responsible for uploading information and keeping all required information updated throughout their clinical experience. Some agencies require drug testing. Students unable to comply with agency requirements will be dismissed from the program. All costs associated with agency requirements are the responsibility of the student.
All nursing students participate in a comprehensive nationally standardized assessment program. This total testing program allows close monitoring of student progress and serves as the basis for individualized advisement. A testing fee will be included for all nursing students in appropriate semesters. All students must meet the national average on the final assessment test before transcripts are released.
All nursing students graduate with a bachelor of science degree in nursing. To obtain initial licensure as a Registered Nurse, students apply to the State Board of Nursing in the state in which they plan to practice. In addition, students register to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) at a conveniently located testing center.
All students are expected to pass the licensure exam on the first try. Application procedures vary by state. Information may be obtained on the National Council of State Boards of Nursing website: http://www.ncsbn.org.
Graduation from the nursing major does not ensure eligibility for state licensure. A candidate who has been convicted of a felony or another crime in any state may be required to submit documentation about this conviction to the State Board of Nursing in which licensure is sought. Each State Board of Nursing reserves the right to make a decision on whether to grant licensure to practice as a registered nurse.
Sigma Theta Tau, International Honor Society
The Mu Chi Chapter of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing was established at Fairfield University in 1992. Since then, the Chapter has grown to nearly 1000 members. The Society is committed to fostering nursing leadership, research and creativity. Standards for membership include demonstrated excellence in scholarship and/or exceptional achievement in nursing.