Visionary Nursing Curriculum: Meets Challenges of Health Care
3 December 1996
f you still think of a nurse only as a person in a crisp white uniform handing you pain medication in the hospital, you are eons behind the times.
Health care is changing rapidly and, so, too, must the training of new nurses, says Barbara Beyna, assistant professor of nursing at The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
"We have developed our curriculum at Catholic University based on a 'community-oriented' model where the consumers are active participants in planning their own health care," says Beyna, who chairs the undergraduate curriculum committee. The curriculum now includes more clinical experiences in community settings such as clinics, subacute care centers, and schools.
For decades ranked as one of the top 10 nursing schools in the United States by several different surveys, Catholic University's School of Nursing again has taken a leadership role in training a new generation of nurses. The new curriculum, begun in the fall, is based on recommendations made by Healthy People 2000 (sponsored by the Pew Commission) and Primary Health Care, as defined by the World Health Organization.
The roles of educator, manager, advocate, and leader as well as caregiver are strongly emphasized in the new curriculum. One new required course is an "Introduction to Anthropology," to prepare nurses to deal with increasingly diverse patient populations. Courses that develop ethical behavior, critical thinking and managerial skills also have been strengthened to keep the graduates competitive in the changing health care market.
"Overall, the emphasis is on health promotion, health protection, illness prevention, and health restoration," Beyna says.
For more information or to schedule interviews, call Beyna at 202-319-6468, Stephanie Holaday (co-chair of the undergraduate curriculum committee) at 202-319-6546, or Annamarie DeCarlo, director of media relations, 202-319- 5600.
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