What is Nursing?
The baccalaureate program in nursing at URI is designed to prepare women and men to become professional registered nurses. Nursing is a creative profession that provides for the promotion of health, prevention of illness, and care of patients. According to the American Nurses Association, what sets nursing apart from other health care professions is the “nursing focus, in theory and practice, on the responses of the individual and the family to actual or potential health problems. In what some describe as a blend of physiology and psychology, nurses build on their understanding of the disease and illness process to promote the restoration and maintenance of health in their clients.”
Our curriculum integrates the humanities and the physical and social sciences with nursing courses. Students begin nursing courses during their freshman year with our first nursing course: NUR 103, Professional Practice in Health and Illness. The clinical courses include experiences in numerous hospitals, community health agencies, nursing homes, schools, rehabilitation and ambulatory services throughout the state.
Upon graduation the student is eligible to take the State Licensing Board Examination (NCLEX-RN) and obtain an entry level position in medical surgical, geriatric, maternity, pediatric, psychiatric-mental health, or community health nursing. The URI curriculum provides students with the opportunity to work with expert nursing faculty and to explore the health needs of diverse populations.Important Topics and Issues
Nurses have a wide range of career choices. It is a people oriented profession that is challenging and ever changing with no two work days exactly the same. Nursing is a creative profession that provides for promotion of health, prevention of illness, and safe and effective care to a variety of clients. Nurses find themselves involved with cutting edge medical technology. Their jobs require them to have strong communication skills and to be able to collaborate with other health care disciplines on a daily basis.
Additional information can be found at:
- URI College of Nursing Homepage
- URI College of Nursing Mission Statement
What are my career options in this field?
Nurses find a wide range of career choices available to them after successful completion of the NCLEX licensing examination. Baccalaureate education prepares students to be general, entry-level nurses who give safe and effective care to a variety of clients in many clinical settings. Specialization is possible based on the nurse’s choice of employment setting and clinical focus. For instance, a nurse interested in caring for older adults might choose to work in a geriatric day care setting, a rehabilitation unit of a hospital, or a wellness center for senior citizens. A nurse who wants to work with trauma patients might be choose to practice as a critical care nurse in an ICU, a psychiatric nurse in a counseling center, or a first responder in rescue operations.Where can I work with a B.S. in Nursing?
BS prepared RNs practice in a variety of settings, including hospitals and health care facilities, airlines and cruise companies, the military, government agencies, schools and adult work sites. Some nurses are self-employed, entrepreneurs who have started their own businesses in care delivery and consulting services.
For detailed information on careers in this field, go to the Careers Tab.
Is this field for me?
Nursing is based on mastery of concepts in science and mathematics. Students must successfully complete courses in chemistry, human anatomy and physiology, microbiology, nutrition, and statistics. Upper division nursing courses build on this foundation with courses in pathophysiology, pharmacy, and diagnostics. All nursing courses apply scientific principles to caring for patients.
At the core of a successful and effective nurse is a person who loves working with people. Nurses must also have:
- a strong sense of self-confidence
- an excellent ability to advocate for others
- both inductive and deductive reasoning skills to resolve problems
- the ability to work as a cooperative member of a team
At the present time, and into the foreseeable future, jobs in nursing are plentiful. Salaries have improved as the demand for nurses has increased. At the end of the day, a successful nurse has made a difference both in the lived experience of another person and in the meaningfulness of their own life. An undergraduate degree in nursing provides the basic theoretical knowledge and clinical experience for successful practice as an RN. The magic of nursing occurs when a student is able to blend this knowledge with passion for an area of practice. Undergraduate nursing education exposes you to a variety of practice opportunities so that you can find your best fit.
How do I prepare for a career in Nursing?
The baccalaureate nursing curriculum at URI builds upon a foundation of the arts, sciences and humanities Students interested in nursing should be successfully complete high-school classes in biology, chemistry, and physiology as well as psychology and mathematics. Good written and oral communication skills are also essential for success in nursing.
The nursing curriculum at URI provides a solid theoretical basis as well as hands on practice in learning labs, and multiple clinical practice settings. The curriculum shifts as the level of complexity progresses. At the freshman level, students are introduced to basic concepts of professional helping: therapeutic communications, cultural influences on health and illness beliefs, and ethical behaviors in professional practice. Sophomores focus on learning basic concepts of health and illness, developing assessment skills, and understanding the health care needs of older adults. They also begin to develop their interaction skills in communicating and teaching. Juniors nursing students study complex issues such as concepts of wellness, the experience of acute and chronic illness, and use basic nursing interventions to care for clients with multiple co-morbidities. During the senior year, students are introduced to the broader complexities of patient care related to organizational and societal influences on health and nursing practice. Many nursing students work while they are in school and during the summers. Having jobs, or volunteer activities, that help develop skills in organization, communication, priority setting, and interaction with other people can strengthen ones academic success. Some nursing students are employed as nurses aides or work for hospitals in a variety of nurse student internship programs.
- For more detailed information about the courses available in this program, go to the Curriculum Tab.
- For more detailed information about experiential learning in this program, go to the Experiential Learning Tab.
Many nursing students choose to declare a minor field of study while pursuing their baccalaureate degree. For a full description of all available minors at URI, read Minor Fields of Study. Minors that particularly appeal to nursing students include but are not limited to: a foreign language, psychology, thanatology, gerontology, leadership, and nutrition.
Graduate education, at the masters or doctoral level, builds on the competencies acquired during the nurse’s baccalaureate education and focuses on advanced nursing roles in practice, education, research, and administration. A nurse interested in teaching nursing students or doing research to improve patient care might choose to get a PhD in nursing, whereas one interested in being a nurse practitioner might choose to get a masters degree or DNP (Doctorate in Nursing Practice). If a nurse wants to have a private counseling practice for psychiatric patients, he or she would earn a master’s degree in that clinical specialty.
- For more information about graduate schools in this program, go to the Graduate Studies Tab.
What will I know and be able to do when I graduate?
The Bachelor of Science in Nursing requires 121 credits for graduation and is comprised of credits in nursing courses, required non-nursing courses in the physical and social sciences, general education credits, and free elective credits. The program plan is four years, and courses must be completed in the appropriate sequence.
The curriculum is based on the belief that nursing is interdependent with all other disciplines concerned with health. Nursing knowledge is viewed as a unique synthesis drawn from the humanities and the natural, biomedical, and social sciences. Students use a systems perspective as a conceptual basis of nursing practice. This conceptual approach to nursing incorporates the whole person and his or her environment with the nursing process. The nursing curriculum provides opportunities for students to function professionally in a variety of health care settings (including hospitals and community and home care), to utilize physical and behavioral assessment skills with patients, and to integrate concepts of growth and development in various life stages into their practice.
The curriculum also explores many of the legal, ethical, and professional issues impacting contemporary nursing practice such as end-of-life care, delegation strategies, and the effective use of technology. Throughout the course of study, students are supported in their development of critical thinking skills to foster a meaningful transition to professional practice.
The baccalaureate nursing curriculum is designed to facilitate an orderly, rational, and progressive course of study. The contents and learning experiences are sequenced from simple to complex, from knowledge and value development to application, synthesis, and evaluation, and from dependent to independent functioning. It includes courses in general education as well as specific nursing knowledge.
The College has developed a set of graduation learning outcomes for each program. They focus on seven major areas of professional development: role and leadership, theoretical knowledge, nursing practice, inter/intrapersonal relationships, professional responsibilities, societal responsibilities, and research.
For more detailed information about the courses available in this field, go to the Curriculum Tab.
Where can I find more information?
There is a wide range of information regarding nursing organizations available online, including specialty areas of practice at the Nursing Alliance; below are some of the major general organizations.
- American Association of Colleges of Nursing
AACN is the national voice for America’s baccalaureate and higher-degree nursing education programs. Its main goal is the establishment of quality standards for nursing students who are working to obtain their bachelor and graduate degrees by helping the nursing profession improve healthcare through its influence, and by promoting public support of nursing education, research, and best practices.
- American Hospital Association
AHA addresses healthcare issues and trends.
- American Nurses’ Association
ANA is the only full-service professional organization representing the nation’s 2.9 million registered nurses. ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the rights of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive & realistic view of nursing, & by lobbying Congress & other regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses & the public.
- Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools
CGFNS International provides products & services that validate international professional credentials & support international regulatory & educational standards for healthcare professionals. CGFNS International protects the public by ensuring that nurses & other health care professionals educated in countries other than the U.S. are eligible & qualified to meet licensure, immigration & other practice requirements in the U.S.
- U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook
DLT provides labor statistics for registered nurses.
- Hospital Association of Rhode Island
HARI focuses its attention on RI healthcare; workforce issues and trends.
- International Council of Nurses
ICN Code for Nurses is the foundation for ethical nursing practice throughout the world. The ICN standards, guidelines, and policies for nursing practice, education, management, research, and socio-economic welfare are globally accepted as the basis for nursing policy.
- Johnson and Johnson Health Care Systems. Inc.
J & J has a wealth of information on nursing as a career with links to educational and scholarship information. It provides ‘Profiles in Nursing’ with statements from practicing nurses from a wide number of specialties talking about opportunities in their specialty fields. There are also profiles of student nurses.
- National Association of Hispanic Nurses
NAHN is committed to the recruitment and retention of Hispanic men and women into nursing and the professional development of Hispanic nurses.
- National Black Nurses Association
NBNA works to recruit & retain Black men & women into nursing & promotes the professional development of Black nurses.
- National Council of State Boards of Nursing
The NCSBN is comprised of the Boards of Nursing in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia & four (4) U.S. territories: American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, & the Virgin Islands. NCSBN’s programs & services include developing the NCLEX licensing exams, performing policy analysis, & promoting uniformity in the regulation of nursing practice.
- National Institute for Nursing Research
The mission of NINR is to promote & improve the health of individuals, families, communities & populations by funding & conducting clinical & basic research studies & research training re: health & illness across the life span.
- National League for Nursing
This organization is dedicated to advancing quality nursing education that prepares the nursing workforce to meet the needs of diverse populations in an ever-changing health care environment.
- National Student Nurses’ Association
NSNA mentors the professional development of future nurses & facilitates their entry entrance into the profession by providing educational resources, leadership opportunities, & career guidance.
- New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program
A 2008 scholarship initiative by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) designed to help alleviate the nation’s nursing shortage. Preference will be given to students from underrepresented groups in nursing and / or those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
- Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow
NHT focuses on careers in nursing.
- Nursing Organizations Alliance
A collection of organizations that are a member of the Nursing Organizations Alliance.
- RI State Nurses Associations
RISNA is the state branch of the American Nurses Association; links to RI nursing education information.
- Sigma Theta Tau International
International Honor Society of Nursing providing leadership and scholarship in practice, education, and research to enhance the health of all people.
- American Association of Colleges of Nursing