The faculty at Elizabethtown College believe that learning is a continuous, life-long process of self-discovery, knowledge development, evaluation, and growth. A liberal arts education, in concert with an academic and professional education, fosters the development of a graduate who is a change agent, armed with critical thinking and leadership skills to transform the current and future health care landscape.
Historically, nursing education has been driven by the idea that information must be transmitted from an expert (teacher) to novice (the student) whether in a formal classroom setting or in a clinical setting (Benner, 1984). Often, this approach led to learning by intimidation rather than by motivation. Goodwin (2007) posited that true learning occurs when information is assimilated into one’s being. When a learner is comfortable, he or she is more likely to dwell in the learning experience, be more inquisitive, and transformed by the meaning derived from the experience (Goodwin, 2007). In a situation where the novice is transformed into a learner and the nurse authority is transformed into an educator, the relationship can best be described as a learning partnership, an active and conscious awareness and intention on the part of student and teacher (Applebaum, 2000). The role of faculty is to facilitate the learning process and to provide and foster opportunities for life-long learning (Applebaum, 2000).
The faculty believe that when Holistic Comfort Theory by Dr. Katharine Kolcaba is employed and threaded throughout the curriculum that students may acquire the necessary confidence and competence to explore, inquire, and practice nursing for the benefit of society as a whole (Goodwin, 2007). Holistic Comfort Theory transforms both the educator and learner from the traditional roles and are eased into a learning partnership that transcends the old relationship between student and teacher. Relief, ease, and transcendence are the central tenets of holistic comfort and may have a significant impact on physical, psychospiritual, social and environmental contexts (Kolcaba, 2003). These tenets have the potential to not only affect the learning experience of both the educator and learner but provide a meaningful transformational experience (Goodwin, 2007).
The faculty also believes that the metaparadigm concepts comprise the central issues in the nursing discipline and shape the education, research, and practice. The major concepts in the metaparadigm comprehensively define the patient as a whole, the patient’s health and well-being, and the patient’s environment and associated nursing responsibilities (Walker & Avant, 2015).
The person refers to the human being(s), person, group, or community and to all things which make it whole, thus nursing’s holistic approach. Health, the goal of nursing, is the state of overall wellness. The environment includes the physical environment as well as societal and cultural influences. Nursing refers to the act of helping another through the development of a genuine interpersonal relationship combined with medical knowledge distinct to the discipline (Chinn & Kramer, 2015). These beliefs, as well as learning process concepts, provide the foundation for the organizing framework of the nursing undergraduate and graduate curricula.
The faculty further believes that professional nursing education envelops the development of values, social responsibility, and cultural competence in order to meet the health care needs of an increasingly complex global society. In the teaching and learning space, there is an appreciation for the uniqueness of individual differences, commonalities, and that each of us will bring into the classroom their own learning experiences, attitudes, beliefs, and abilities. The teaching experience is grounded by our positionality and we respect each person for their uniqueness, individuality and culture. The faculty believes that a baccalaureate education prepares nurses to deliver ethical, research-based, high-quality care and improved patient care outcomes.