The Howard University Division of Nursing, while cognizant of the nature of society and the health care delivery system, has as its purpose the development of students at the bachelor's and master's level who can effectively and efficiently address the diverse and complex health care needs of society. The Division of Nursing was established in 1969 with a program of studies leading to the bachelor's degree in nursing. In 1980, the Master of Science Degree in Nursing was initiated and recently, a Post-Master's Certificate Family Nurse Practitioner Program was added.
The Bachelor of Science program offers a balanced curriculum including courses in the liberal arts, the sciences, the humanities and in nursing. The majority of the nursing courses are concentrated in the junior and senior years and involve classroom and clinical learning experiences in hospitals, long-term care facilities, homeless shelters, patients' homes and other community-based settings. Students in the Bachelor's Degree program develop competencies in the care of adults, children, child-bearing families and the elderly. A theoretical base for nursing practice is laid early in the program and students grow in their ability to apply theory in developing systems of care for patients. Course work and practical application in management/leadership and research enhance the student's ability to think creatively, critically and to solve problems.
An R.N. track within the bachelor's degree program was initiated during the 1988-89 academic year. This track allows the R.N. with an associate degree or diploma to receive credit for prior nursing and science courses through a variety of validation procedures. Registered nurses from local associate degree nursing programs within the past five years may receive a minimum of 60 transfer credits towards the Bachelor of Science Degree. No validation testing is required for articulated students.
n 1991, a 22-month Advanced Placement Program was added to the undergraduate level. This program was designed for students with previously earned degrees in areas other than nursing and/or a significant number of credits in specific course areas, so as to expedite their progression in Nursing. A new undergraduate curriculum began in 1993 to emphasize critical thinking and problem solving, health promotion and prevention, community-based interventions, and the general climate of the evolving health care delivery system.
The Master of Science in Nursing program offers specialty preparation as a family nurse practitioner with opportunities for development as a teacher or administrator. A Post-Master's Certificate program was added in 1994. In the graduate program, the theoretical base of nursing practice is expanded and applied as students develop their varied clinical specialties. Research skills are stressed and there is both a thesis and a non-thesis option.
During the 1996-97 academic year, the Colleges of Pharmacy, Nursing, and Allied Health Sciences were merged to form a new college. Each Division, however, has retained its own distinct program requirements.
The diversity of the Washington, D.C. community provides students with a variety of learning opportunities and challenges. The Division of Nursing has adopted the issues of homelessness and care of the elderly as emphases within both the undergraduate and graduate curricula as well as rallying points for community service by faculty, students and staff.
The Division of Nursing has also expanded in the realm of international nursing. There has been significant involvement in consultation, instruction and curriculum development in some of the developing African countries.