Conceptual Terms

Undergraduate Student Handbook

Caring: Caring is the process whereby the nurse meets the need for care by alleviating the person's vulnerability and promotes health and recovery through first-hand knowledge of the family and the community. It is a service to the whole person which provides protection, enhancement and preservation of human dignity. Caring is achieved through conscious judgment and manifests itself in concrete acts. Necessary conditions for caring include:

1. Awareness and knowledge about one's need for care

2. An intention to act, and actions based on knowledge.

3. A positive change as a result of caring, judged solely on the basis of welfare to other.

Person: The person is defined as the recipient of nursing care. Person may be an individual, family, group, or community. Person is perceived holistically: a physiological, psychological, sociocultural, and developmental being, in interaction with the environment. A person has the right and ability to make choices, is responsible and accountable for decision-making, and has potential for high-level wellness.

Health: Health is a dynamic state on the wellness-illness continuum, ranging from high-level wellness, to states of illness/premature death.

Wellness-illness continuum: Illness-wellness is a continuum upon which the dynamic state of health is located.


High-Level Wellness: An integrated method of functioning which is oriented toward maximizing the person's potential (physiologically, psychologically, socioculturally, and developmentally) within the environment where he is functioning.

Premature Death: Cessation of life prior to that which is expected of the person in relation to developmental, physiological, psychological, and sociocultural expectations.

Prevention: Prevention is the process of identifying problems or potential problems and intervening in order to promote wellness. The goal of prevention includes:

1. Primary Prevention: - to prevent the initiation of illness through the reduction of risk factors, and the promotion of wellness.

2. Secondary Prevention: - to arrest the development of illness through early detection of illness and the promotion of wellness.

3. Tertiary Prevention: - to minimize the consequences of illness and disability through the promotion of wellness.

Health Promotion: An interpersonal process and an intrapersonal product. As an interpersonal process, health promotion is motivating clients, through the provision of education, to adopt positive, empowering beliefs, attitudes and behaviors which will assist the client in attaining their highest level of wellness. As an intrapersonal product health promotion is the incorporation by the client of empowering beliefs, attitudes and behaviors which result in the actualization of increasing levels of wellness.

The faculty believe that the person exists within an environment which influences the state of health. The environment is a composition of those elements external to the person, including all aspects of that person’s healthcare system.  It is a component that, together with the person, comprises an integrated healthcare delivery system. The environment and the person share a mutual simultaneous energy exchange which determines the person's state of health.

Nursing Process:
The nursing process is a scientific and deliberate method of providing care. The nursing process includes assessment, nursing diagnosis, goal setting, implementation, and evaluation which focuses on the unique human response of a person or group of people to an actual or potential alteration in health

The first step of the nursing process, during which data are gathered for the purpose of identifying actual and/or potential health problems

Nursing Diagnosis: Nursing Diagnosis is the analysis of data on order to:

1. identify actual or potential problems/nursing diagnoses

2. identify the cause, or etiology, of the problem

3. identify usual life styles and coping patterns

4. determine which problems can be treated independently by a nurse, and which problems require that the nurse seek direction or orders from another health care professional, usually a physician.

Setting Goals: Formulating a plan of action that will reduce or eliminate the identified problems promoting wellness. The plan of action will include:

1. setting priorities - (i.e. What problems are the most important, and therefore must be accomplished first?)

2. establishing goals - (i.e. Exactly what must be accomplished and by when?)

3. prescribing evidence-based nursing interventions - You must decide what nursing actions/patient activities will help to achieve the goals that you and the patient have set.

Implementation: Putting the plan into action. It involves the following activities:

1. continuing to collect information to determine whether new problems are occurring and how the person is responding to your actions

2. performing the evidence-based nursing activities of education, motivation, advocacy, and assistance

3. documenting nursing care.

Evaluation: Comparison of person's response to the nursing care intervention and the predetermined goals. The comparison determines whether nursing care will continue, be modified, or terminated.


Education: Facilitating the learning of a new thought, skill, attitude or behavior through the utilization of a broad repertoire of teaching strategies.

Assistance: Performing activities for the person when he is unwilling or unable to assess his own health status, problem solve or care for himself.

Advocacy: Intervening with others on the behalf of the person.

Motivation: Providing the person with the requisite knowledge skills and support, to make desired changes in his own behavior or deciding to make change(s) related to personal behavior.

Accountability: Being answerable to someone for something one has done.  Moral accountability is being answerable to someone for how moral requirements of nursing practice have been carried out.  Legal accountability is being answerable to someone for how legal requirements of nursing practice have been carried out.

Communication: A process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs and behaviors.

Decision Making/Critical Thinking: Is the ability to combine attitudes, knowledge, and skills in the perception and solution of professional problems.

Nursing Leadership: From a visionary perspective, utilizing effective communication, collaboration, intraprofessional team building, affirmation of values, motivation, mediation, mentoring, empowerment, and risk-taking to affect innovative change

Nurse of the Future (NOF) Competencies:

Patient-Centered Care:  The Nurse of the Future will provide holistic care that recognizes individual’s preferences, values and needs and respects the patient or designee as a full partner in providing compassionate, coordinated, age and culturally appropriate, safe and effective care.

Professionalism:  The Nurse of the Future will demonstrate accountability for the delivery of standard based nursing care that is consistent with moral, altruistic, legal, ethical, regulatory, and humanistic principles.

Leadership:  The Nurse of the Future will influence the behavior of individuals or groups of individuals within their environment in a way that will facilitate the establishment and acquisition/achievement of shared goals.

Systems-Based Practice:  The Nurse of the Future will demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and health system care and the ability to effectively call on microsystem resources to provide care that is of optimal quality and value (Adapted from ACGME).

Informatics and Technology:  The Nurse of the Future will use information and technology to communicate, manage knowledge, mitigate error and support decision-making.

Communication:  The Nurse of the Future will interact effectively with patients, families, and colleagues, fostering mutual respect and shared decision-making, to enhance patient satisfaction and health outcomes.

Teamwork and Collaboration:  The Nurse of the Future will function effectively within nursing and interdisciplinary teams, fostering open communication, mutual respect, shared decision-making, team learning and development.  (Adapted from QSEN).

Safety:  The Nurse of the Future will minimize risk of harm to patients and providers through both system effectiveness and individual performance.  (QSEN).

Quality Improvement:  The Nurse of the Future uses data to monitor the outcomes of care processes, and use improvement methods to design and test changes to continuously improve the quality and safety of health care systems (QSEN).

Evidence-Based Practice:  The Nurse of the Future will identify, evaluate and use the best current evidence coupled with clinical expertise and consideration of patients’ preferences, experience and values to make practice decisions.  (Adapted from QSEN

Reviewed 5/10

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