BN: Mission, Philosophy and Conceptual Framework

Mission Statement

The mission of the BN (Collaborative) Nursing Program is to prepare competent entry-level nurses to practice in a variety of settings in a changing health care environment. The program fosters life-long learning, a spirit of inquiry and the pursuit of excellence. The program reflects the collaborative efforts of the province’s three schools of nursing: The Centre for Nursing Studies, Memorial University of Newfoundland School of Nursing, and Western Regional School of Nursing.


The philosophy is comprised of the following: beliefs about person, society, environment, health, nursing, and nursing education.


A person is an integrated, distinct, and unique whole with biological, psychological, social, cultural, and spiritual dimensions. Each person has inherent value, worth and dignity, and possesses the potential for self-determination and self-reliance within her/his own ability. A person has the right to be fully informed and to make decisions and choices. Persons include clients/individuals, families, groups, communities, and populations.


Society is the composite of persons sharing a variety of values, interests, needs, and goals that change over time. Society unfolds from a heritage of human interaction and transition. It influences and is influenced by nursing practice and health care.


Environment is inclusive of social and physical components, surroundings, and circumstances of the person as well as the political, cultural, and economic structures of the global environment.


Health is a dynamic process of physical, mental, spiritual, and social well-being. It is a resource for everyday living and is influenced by a person's beliefs, values, attitudes, and the determinants of health (Federal, Provincial and Territorial Advisory Committee on Population Health, 1994). Wellness and illness are dimensions of health.


Nursing is an evidence-informed practice profession grounded in the integration of art and science. The art of nursing is reflected in nurses’ behaviours, relationships, and attitudes. The science of nursing is based on the body of knowledge of the discipline of nursing and its synthesis with the natural, social, and behavioural sciences. Nursing focuses on the interrelationship between persons, society, environment, and health in achieving health outcomes.

Caring, a central concept in nursing, is interpreted to include competence, conscience, commitment, confidence, and compassion (Roach, 1992). Caring involves the development of empowering relationships that preserve, protect, and enhance human dignity (Canadian Community Health Nursing Standards of Practice, 2003).

Nursing Education

Nursing education is the preparation of graduates with knowledge, values, attitudes, and skills that are necessary for professional practice and with a foundation for continued learning at advanced levels of education (CASN, 2004).

Conceptual Framework

The conceptual framework of the BN (Collaborative) program consists of curriculum, teaching and learning, and nursing practice.


The curriculum is an organized and sequential plan of educational opportunities. While nursing knowledge is a major emphasis, the arts and sciences enhance the broad knowledge base required. The curriculum builds on and incorporates previously learned concepts and reflects the principles of primary health care (WHO, 1978). It is informed by evidence and grounded in nursing’s values, knowledge, theories and practice. The curriculum also provides the basis for further education.

The curriculum addresses health issues that affect persons across the lifespan and in a variety of practice settings. The initial focus is on the wellness dimension of health, beginning with health promotion and health protection, then progressing to include health maintenance, rehabilitation, restoration, and palliation. The curriculum prepares the student to understand and work within the dynamic relationships among person, health, society, environment, and nursing.

Opportunities are provided to enable students to acquire the competencies (knowledge, values, attitudes and skills) required for entry-level practice. Critical thinking skills including professional reflection, self-evaluation, ethical decision-making, and clinical judgment are facilitated progressively throughout the curriculum. Technological competence is enhanced through use of information technologies and infrastructure.

The curriculum emphasizes the development of partnerships among students, educators, and others, e.g., healthcare professionals, throughout the educational process. Interprofessional learning, consistent with primary health care, is facilitated through the development of professional relationships with other health team members and other sectors of society.

The program prepares students to apply beginning research skills and utilize knowledge informed by evidence. Students are prepared to advance the profession and to provide leadership in a changing system of health care. Students are also taught to identify and respond to emerging nursing and health issues.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching and learning are dynamic lifelong growth processes. They are reciprocal and interactive, characterized by creativity and flexibility, and meet the diverse and changing needs of the students, the nursing profession, and health needs of society.

Students, educators, and others are partners in the educational process. The program uses a participatory/collaborative approach to nursing education that provides direction for the teaching and learning experiences. The humanistic educational climate fosters caring, respect for self and others, autonomy, critical thinking, and a spirit of inquiry.

Throughout the program students are active participants, are responsible for the discovery of knowledge, and are accountable to communicate this with others. Further student responsibilities include availing of learning opportunities, seeking and utilizing feedback throughout their learning process, and integrating competencies required for entry-level practice in nursing. Students internalize the values, ethics, and behaviours endorsed in the ARNNL Standards of Practice, and understand that continued learning is essential for professional nursing practice.

Educators facilitate knowledge discovery and professional socialization by guiding, mentoring, role modeling, and challenging students to be self directed, reflective, and creative. Educators acknowledge diverse student life experiences and support individual learning styles. A variety of strategies and supportive structures are used to foster teaching and learning and professional development of the student. Educators have the responsibility to ensure that evaluation practices and standards are consistent with university policies, and with national and provincial nursing education standards.

Nursing Practice

The goal of nursing practice is to assist persons across the lifespan in a variety of practice settings to achieve their desired health outcomes. Nurses assist persons to recognize and develop their capacity for self-determination and self-reliance. The provision of safe holistic care to persons requires clinical reasoning, critical thinking, technological competence, effective communication skills, and a commitment to lifelong learning.

Nursing practice requires collaborative relationships and partnerships with persons, health team members, and other sectors of the community in the performance of nursing roles. Nurses also collaborate with persons in the mobilization of communities toward healthy development and capacity building. Nursing roles include direct caregiver, educator, counsellor, advocate, facilitator, coordinator of care, researcher, and leader. These roles require the nurse to be aware of the changing social, cultural, economic, technological, environmental, and political contexts of health care in Canada and globally. The presence of role models is essential to the professional socialization of students.

Professional standards and competencies, legal standards, and the CNA code of ethics guide nurses’ practice. Nurses are accountable to society for safe, ethical, competent, and effective nursing care. Nurses advocate for quality work environments and patient safety. Nurses practice independently and interprofessionally, advancing the profession of nursing and influencing changes in health care.