Mission & Philosophy
The Professional Nursing faculty at Austin Community College is committed to implementing ACC’s mission statement by:
- Facilitating excellence in nursing education by preparing graduates for licensure and/or leadership in a rapidly changing profession in a technological age.
- Providing a foundation and opportunities for career and education advancement by fostering the development of knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes needed in nursing.
- Providing access to a quality education for a culturally diverse student population, utilizing traditional and Distance Education formats.
- Meeting community needs by offering multiple pathways to professional nursing development.
- Establishing a learning environment that values personal and professional accountability and responsibility.
- Fostering student success through a variety of educational and financial resources.
- Promoting the faculty expertise necessary to assist the student in learning and achievement of leadership, quality and safety competencies.
- Integrating the use of evidence-based practice and quality improvement to achieve best practice standards.
The Austin Community College Professional Nursing Programs adhere to the philosophical framework of Austin Community College subscribing to the College Mission, Vision and Values. The programs exist to develop nurses and nurse leaders in the community as responsible, competent, and caring professionals. We, the faculty, are committed to contributing to the profession of nursing by providing sound and evidence-based educational programs based on the following framework and philosophy.
Nursing and Nursing Practice
We believe nursing is a dynamic caring profession that provides an essential service to the society. That service is health promotion, health maintenance, and/or health restoration for individuals and their families within the context of the community. The nurse provides services with respect for human dignity and the uniqueness of the client unrestricted by considerations of social and economic status, personal attributes, or the nature of the health problem.
Nursing utilizes a unique body of knowledge based upon theory, practice and research, incorporating facts and concepts from biological, social, physical and behavioral sciences. From this body of knowledge, nurses provide nursing care through four primary roles of Member of the Profession, Provider of Patient-Centered Care, Patient Safety Advocate, and Member of the Health Care Team delineated by the Differentiated Essential Competencies (DECs) of Graduates of Texas Nursing Programs, established by the Texas Board of Nursing (BON) in 2010 (BON, 2011).
The Associate Degree Nursing Program incorporates the Texas Board of Nursing Diploma and Associate Degree Nursing Education DECs in the curriculum.
The RN-to-BSN program incorporates the Texas Board of Nursing Baccalaureate Degree Nursing Education DECs in the curriculum.
For more information regarding DECS, please refer to the TBON Differentiated Essential Competencies.
- Member of the Profession – Exhibits behaviors that reflect commitment to the growth and development of the role and function of nursing consistent with state and national regulations and with ethical and professional standards; aspires to improve the discipline of nursing and its contribution to society; and values self-assessment and the need for lifelong learning. Aspires through advanced leadership training to improve the nursing profession and the healthcare system.
- Provider of Patient-Centered Care – Accepts responsibility for the quality of nursing care and provides safe, compassionate nursing care using a systematic process (also known as the nursing process) of assessment, analysis, planning, intervention, and evaluation, through the utilization of evidenced based practice, that focuses on the needs and preferences of the individual and his/her family while incorporating professional values and ethical principles into nursing practice.
- Patient Safety Advocate – Promotes safety in the individual and family environment by: following scope and standards of nursing practice; practicing within the parameters of individual knowledge, skills, and attitudes; identifying and reporting actual and potential unsafe practices while complying with National Patient Safety Goals for reducing hazards to individuals in the healthcare setting.
- Member of the Health Care Team – Coordinates and manages patient-centered care by collaborating, coordinating, and/ or facilitating comprehensive care with an interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary health care team to determine and implement best practices for the individual and their families, including the provision of culturally sensitive care.
These identified roles provide the context for nursing and nursing practice. Nursing practice involves the use of the nursing process. The nursing process is systematic. The caregiver analyzes assessment data to identify problems, formulates goals/outcomes, and develops plans of care for individuals and their families, implements and evaluates the plan of care, while collaborating with those individuals, their families, and the interdisciplinary health care team.
Nursing is interpersonal and is characterized by the implementation of the nursing process, management of a rapidly changing environment, need for clinical competency, effective use of communication and documentation, use of nursing informatics to promote quality improvement, acceptance of personal accountability and responsibility, and a commitment to the value of caring.
We believe the individual is a unique being and has inherent dignity, worth and the capacity for growth. Each individual has a blend of physiological, psychosocial, spiritual needs that influence the perception of self, others, and the world. All individuals have human needs and possess the right to make choices that affect health. Respect for differing viewpoints, opinions, beliefs and cultures are encouraged as students interact with individuals and their families, faculty, peers, and members of the health care team and community.
We believe learning is an active process characterized by a change in behavior, insights, and perceptions whereby students acquire and apply knowledge. The faculty guides learners by providing experiences that assist in meeting the outcomes of the Professional Nursing programs. The student is responsible for acquiring the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to meet the outcomes of the nursing program. The nursing faculty act as facilitators and role models recognizing and supporting each student’s unique qualities, varying backgrounds, skills, and learning styles.
Students participate in learning through course activities that integrate previously learned concepts with newly acquired content. Self-motivation and responsibility are essential elements in the learning process. Students develop clinical reasoning and utilize nursing informatics to readily access and evaluate information. The students then contextually and effectively apply information to the nursing process to promote quality care and improvement in the patient care setting.
We believe the purpose of nursing education is to prepare graduates with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for licensure in a rapidly changing profession in a technological age. Education is a stimulus for lifelong learning. The faculty designs and implements a current and relevant curriculum guided by community needs, professional organizations, accrediting bodies, and any applicable national and state governing bodies and is evaluated by the Systematic Plan of Evaluation (SPE). The instructional processes reflect interdisciplinary collaboration, research, and best practice standards while allowing for innovation, flexibility, and technological advances.
Patient Safety Advocate
- Adhere to the safety requirements and practice setting standards and comply with mandatory reporting requirements as set forth by the Texas Nursing Practice Act, Texas Board of Nursing Rules, and other governing and accrediting agencies.
- Implement and evaluate measures to promote quality and a safe environment for all individuals, and seek guidance when performing tasks appropriate or necessary.
Provider of Patient-Centered Care
- Integrate clinical reasoning skills and the nursing process, guided by evidence-based practice, as a framework for providing care for multiple individuals, and their families, with complex health care needs involving multiple body systems in intermediate and critical care settings, in collaboration with members of the health care team.
- Develop, implement, and evaluate teaching plans for individuals and their families to address disease prevention, health promotion, maintenance, and restoration.
- Access and manage electronic information and material resources in providing care for individuals and their families.
Member of the Health Care Team
- Utilize nursing resources to identify and refer individuals with complex healthcare needs to resources that facilitate continuity of care, health promotion, maintenance, and restoration.
- Communicate and collaborate with individuals, their families and members of the health care team to plan, deliver, and evaluate safe and effective patient-centered care in a timely manner.
- Delegate to other members of the health care team to promote safe, effective, and timely care for individuals with complex health care needs involving multiple body systems and their families.
Member of the Profession
- Function within the nurse’s legal scope of practice, and assume accountability and responsibility for the quality of nursing care provided to adult individuals with complex health care needs involving multiple body systems and their families.
The following Program Student Learning Outcomes are used to organize the curriculum, guide the delivery of instruction, and direct learning activities (Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), 2017). Upon completion of the RN-to-BSN Program, the graduate is prepared to:
- Synthesize knowledge from the discipline of nursing, sciences, and the humanities in acquisition and application of nursing knowledge, competencies, and values for professional nursing practice.
- Optimize interprofessional collaboration in the delivery of patient-centered care.
- Engage in a systematic process of evaluation, translation, and application of reliable scientific evidence to inform (decision making for) safe nursing practice.
- Conduct comprehensive assessment inclusive of physical, behavioral, psychological, spiritual, socioeconomic, and environmental assessments of health and illness parameters in patients, using developmentally and culturally appropriate approaches.
- Utilize technology and information systems to communicate, manage information, and support decision making to improve patient outcomes within the healthcare delivery system.
- Assess communities and populations, synthesizing data and analyzing community needs to develop a comprehensive approach to meeting healthcare needs.
- Utilize individual and population-focused interventions to promote health across the lifespan.
- Engage in political and regulatory processes that influence healthcare systems and quality improvement policies.
- Apply leadership and management skills in the provision of quality nursing care, healthcare team coordination, and the oversight and accountability for care delivery in a variety of settings.
- Demonstrate communication skills to effectively implement patient safety and quality improvement initiatives within the context of the interprofessional team.
- Demonstrate adherence to professional standards within legal, ethical, and regulatory frameworks of nursing practice.
The Professional Nursing Department’s Program Outcomes are indicators that reflect the extent to which the purposes of the programs are achieved and by which the programs’ effectiveness is documented.
ADN Program Outcomes
- Nursing program completion – 80% of students enrolling in a nursing program will complete the program within 2 years for Traditional Track graduates and 1 year for Mobility Track graduates from initial date of entry into the program.
- Licensure exam pass rate – The nursing programs’ annual NCLEX pass rates will be greater than or equal to 95%.
- Job placement rate – 90% of graduates who seek employment within 6 to 12 months of graduation will be employed as a Registered Nurse.
RN-to-BSN Program Outcomes
- 80% of full-time students will complete the program in three (3) semesters. 80% of part-time students will complete the program in five (5) semesters based on course availability from enrolling in first nursing course.
- At least 90% of graduates will indicate employment in their discipline or will be enrolled in a graduate program within one year of graduation.
- 80% of graduates will report satisfaction with the RN-to-BSN program.
Accountability – Accepts responsibility for own learning, is on time, prepares adequately for each class and clinical, and submits all learning assignments complete and on time. Models professional behavior and promotes a professional image of nursing.
Activities – Learning opportunities and evidence-based practices incorporated into own nursing practice as the basis for providing and promoting quality nursing care.
Advocacy – Promoting quality and access to health care for selected individuals and their families by participating with the health care team to provide continuity of care that is culturally sensitive and by supporting the individual’s right to self-determination, choice, and confidentiality.
Caring – Behaviors, thoughts and feelings that reflect a positive regard and concern for individuals, families, and groups which include promoting the client’s dignity and self-esteem.
Civility – Behavior usually demonstrated through manners, courtesy, politeness, and a general awareness of the rights, wishes, concerns, and feelings of others. Civil behavior in nursing contributes to a positive environment and is related to the health and well-being of the nurses and patients. Aspects of civil behavior includes tolerating, listening, respecting, and treating others with dignity and honor. Incivility is recognized by actions such as berating and insulting others, showing disrespect, and blaming and accusing with the intent to hurt. Incivility in healthcare can lead to unsafe working conditions, stress, poor patient care, burnout, and increased medical costs (My American Nurse, 2012; Clark, 2017; Laschinger et al., 2009.)
Clinical Reasoning – The process by which nurses collect cues, process and analyze the information, come to an understanding of a patient problem or situation, weigh alternative actions, plan and implement interventions, evaluate outcomes, and reflect on and learn from the process (Griffits et al., 2017).
Collaborate – Work jointly on an activity, especially to produce or create something.
Community – Any group that comes together because of common values, interests, needs, or locality (such as a group of pregnant teenagers); or is viewed as forming a distinct segment of society (such as residents in an Alzheimer’s unit); also may refer to a physical location and the associated environment including the health of the environment and the available/accessible health care resources in that location.
Competency – An expected and measurable level of nursing performance that integrates knowledge, skills, abilities, and judgment, based on established scientific knowledge and expectations for nursing practice (ANA, 2015, p. 86).
Confer – To meet in order to deliberate together or compare views; consult with.
Continuity of Care – Coordination of services provided to patients before they enter a healthcare setting, during the time they are in the setting, and after they leave the setting.
Culturally Sensitive Care (aka Cultural Competence) – The ability to understand, appreciate and work with individuals from cultures other than your own. It involves awareness and acceptance of cultural differences, self-awareness, knowledge of the patient’s culture, and adaptation of skills to meet the patient’s needs.
Delegation – A registered nurse authorizing an unlicensed person to provide nursing services while retaining accountability for how the unlicensed person performs the task. It does not include situations in which an unlicensed person is directly assisting a RN by carrying out nursing tasks in the presence of a RN [Texas Board of Nursing §224.4(3)]. [Another pertinent rule is §225.4(6)].
Evidence-Based Practice – A conscientious, problem-solving approach to clinical practice that incorporates the best evidence from well-designed studies, patient values and preferences, and a clinician’s expertise in making decisions that individualize a patient’s care (Stevens, 2013).
Family – The people identified by the individual as being family.
Global Health – the health and well-being of the global population and as such, is linked to public health; content in global health that promote competencies include travel and migration, determinants of health, environmental factors, cultural competency, communication, health care delivery, ethics, human rights, collaboration, and management skills (Clark et al., 2016).
Governance – The process of guiding the actions of the faculty, staff, and students associated with the nursing program in order to meet the outcomes of the program and its members while ensuring quality and consistency.
Health Maintenance – The goal to preserve, protect, and support the health of individuals and families in communities across a spectrum of health problems/life processes.
Health Promotion – The goal of advancement toward an optimal state of wellness through the prevention of illness and advancement of wellness for individuals and families in communities across a spectrum of health problems/life processes.
Health Restoration – The goal to return a client to a previous level of functional health, while maintaining the remaining areas of physical and mental functioning, and preventing further deterioration through acute and rehabilitative care.
Individual – The person who is central to the goals of nursing care by being identified as having actual or potential health problems/life processes that can be assisted by nursing care.
Informatics – A process of applying technological and non-technological advances to improve quality and safety through system redesign, electronic health record and information systems located at the bedside to support clinical decisions. It integrates all competencies by enabling provider’s better access to information management and development.
Just Culture – A culture in which the reporting of errors and near misses in practice is supported without fear of retribution, creating an atmosphere of trust and encouraging and rewarding nurses and health care workers (Barnsteiner & Disch, 2019).
Learning – Behaviors that reflect the integration of knowledge, insight, and skill.
Member of the Health Care Team – Provides patient-centered care by collaborating, coordinating, and/or facilitating comprehensive care with an interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary health care team to determine and implement best practices for the individual and his/her family, including the provision of culturally sensitive care.
Member of the Profession – Exhibits behaviors that reflect commitment to the growth and development of the role and function of nursing consistent with state and national regulations and with ethical and professional standards; aspires to improve the discipline of nursing and its contribution to society; and values self-assessment and the need for lifelong learning.
Needs – The individual’s physiological, psychosocial, and spiritual requirements for health promotion, maintenance, or restoration.
Non-Structured Assessment Tool – Instructions, guidelines and/or recommendations to guide the learner in completing comprehensive and focused assessments. These tools do not have formal written guidelines.
Nursing – The diagnosis and treatment of individual, family or community responses to actual or potential health problems/life processes. These responses may be physiological, psychosocial, or spiritual.
Nursing Care – Activities that focus on health promotion, health maintenance and or health restoration to assist individuals and families in community to attain and maintain health.
Nursing Decisions – Use clinical reasoning guided by evidence-based practice to determine and implement nursing interventions.
Nursing Interventions – Nursing actions based on theoretical knowledge that are performed to promote, maintain or restore health for individuals and their families.
Nursing Peer Review – The evaluation of nursing services, the qualifications of a nurse, the quality of patient care rendered by a nurse, the merits of a complaint concerning a nurse or nursing care, and a determination or recommendation regarding a complaint (NPA Sec. 303.001).
Nursing Process – A systematic method, using critical thinking, to identify and treat actual and/or potential health problems/life processes.
Patient Safety Advocate – Promotes safety in the individual and family environment by: following scope and standards of nursing practice; practicing within the parameters of individual knowledge, skills and attitudes; identifying and reporting actual and potential unsafe practices while complying with Nation Patient Safety Goals for reducing hazards to individuals in the health care setting.
Problem Solving – A process of determining an effective solution/decision.
Professionalism – Multifaceted concept involving competency, legal and ethical responsibilities as well as honesty, teamwork, and integrity.
Provider of Patient Centered-Care – Accepts responsibility for the quality of nursing care and provides safe, compassionate nursing care using a systematic process (also known as the nursing process), of assessment, analysis, planning, intervention, and evaluation, through the utilization of evidenced based practice, that focuses on the needs and preferences of the individual and their families while incorporating professional values and ethical principles into nursing practice.
Quality Improvement – Facility specific processes participated in to promote quality nursing care.
Responsibility – Moral, legal, or mental accountability; reliability & trustworthiness.
Safety – A process of adopting vigilant surveillance to identify potential and actual errors from both system and individual perspectives.
Self Determination – Determination of one’s own course of action without compulsion.
Service Excellence – Caring in action that is fundamental to the achievement of optimal health outcomes for the patient, nurse, and system. Service excellence is a combination of compassionate caring and competent practice. Nurses may experience challenges in providing service excellence such as the changing demographics and increasing diversity, the growing use of technology, globalization of the world’s economy and society, consumer education, the increasing complexity of patient care, the rising cost of health care, the impact of heath policy and regulation, interdisciplinary practice, the nursing shortage, the need for lifelong learning, and advances in nursing science and research (Aliyu et al., 2014).
Social Determinants of Health – Conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play that affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes. (https://www.cdc.gov/socialdeterminants/index.htm)
Structured Assessment Tool – Templates, instructions, guidelines and/or recommendations to guide the learner in completing comprehensive and focused assessments. These tools include formal documents with written guidelines.
Teaching – Facilitating the acquisition of knowledge, insight and skills.
Technology – The scientific method and material used to achieve an objective.
Timeliness – The quality or habit of arriving or being ready on time.
Vulnerable Patients/Populations – Those at greater risk for poor health status and healthcare access, experience significant disparities in life expectancy, access to and use of healthcare services, morbidity, and mortality. Their health needs are complex, intersecting with social and economic conditions they experience. This population is also likely to have 1 or more physical and/or mental health conditions. (The American Journal of Managed Care, 2006). Retrieved from: https://www.ajmc.com/view/nov06-
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Professional Nursing Updates
RN-to-BSN Application Period for Fall 2024 is open
The RN-to-BSN Program Fall 2024 registration period is open until June 1, 2024. For more information, please visit the RN-to-BSN Application Process page.Read more
TEAS Testing Requirements for Health Sciences Applicants
A TEAS Exam score is required to apply to the following programs: Dental Hygiene, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Radiology, and Vocational Nursing.
If you are not applying to one of the programs above, then you are not required to take the TEAS Exam at this time. Please refer to the Application Process page for your program to see all application requirements.Read more
Pass/Fail Grades and HESI Testing for Associate Degree Nursing Applicants
In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) impact on classes, Austin Community College will offer a Pass/No Pass option for students who enrolled in the Spring 2020 semester.Read more