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Mission, Philosophy and Purpose

The W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing accepts and upholds the mission of the University in providing distinctive undergraduate and graduate education for self-directed adults through flexible, high-quality collegiate learning and assessment opportunities. As such, the W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing believes that independent and self-directed study in a mentored, online environment is the hallmark of the academic programs offered to students by the W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing. In this learning environment, the student, as an adult learner, interacts and collaborates with mentors, educators and peers to create and enhance a dialogue within a community of learners. Through this innovative approach to programming, the W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing actively shapes the nursing profession by preparing nurses who are intellectually curious, clinically competent and technologically prepared to assume leadership positions at the forefront of healthcare transformation.

The W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing supports the belief that attainment of the bachelor’s degree is essential to the ongoing process of professional nursing education and development. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, building on the prior education and experience of the student, prepares graduates to practice nursing in a variety of settings and roles and provides a foundation for graduate study and lifelong learning. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree prepares graduates to assume leadership roles in a diverse, technologically challenging and global healthcare environment, and for advanced study and lifelong learning. The graduate nursing certificate programs offer opportunities for advanced specialized study to master’s-prepared nurses seeking additional opportunities in nursing.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree prepares nurse leaders to function at the highest level in healthcare organizations. Competencies in organizational leadership, economics and finance, healthcare policy, population-focused care and technology are emphasized.

Nursing is a dynamic profession that provides an essential service to society. As such, nursing is engaged in multilevel roles and relationships and is accountable to society for its role in improving the health status of the community. Nursing is practiced with respect for human dignity and individual differences. The art and science of nursing requires the ongoing application of specialized knowledge, principles, skills and values. As a distinct body of knowledge, nursing builds upon theories from various disciplines and works collaboratively with other professions to enhance the health status of individuals, families, groups and communities.

The client is viewed as an open and dynamic system with unique psychophysiological, spiritual and sociocultural characteristics. Within this system, the client interacts with the environment and experiences varying states of health. Health is described as a dynamic process fluctuating along a wellness-illness continuum. Nurses assist clients to function and effectively adapt to the environment along that continuum. The environment encompasses numerous factors that affect the development and behavior of  clients. These factors have an impact on the client’s ability to function and maintain optimal health status. Nurses are responsible for the promotion, maintenance and restoration of health.

The mentors of the School are committed to the belief that the W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing must: use a teaching-learning process based on the principles of adult learning; demonstrate effective design and delivery of educational experiences in varied learning environments; provide for collaboration and collegial interaction among mentors and peers; effectively link theory, practice, research and technology; and extend its reach to people of diverse ethnic, racial, economic and gender groups.

Through these beliefs and contributions to the ongoing development of caring, competent, informed, ethical and accountable nurses, the W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing strives to play an influential and positive role in helping to shape the future and the practice of professional nursing.

Purpose and Goals

In keeping with the mission of the University and the commitment to providing high-quality education to address the needs of the greater community, the purpose of the W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing is to provide high-quality nursing education programs that meet the needs of RNs and the healthcare community, and the standards of the nursing profession.

The goals of the W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing are to:

  • Prepare graduates to assume leadership roles in a diverse society and changing healthcare environment
  • Provide nontraditional nursing education programs that meet the needs of adult learners
  • Provide a foundation for advanced study and lifelong learning