Nursing is founded on a commitment of service to others and focuses on the health and well being of society. Nursing practice involves four areas: promoting health and wellness, preventing illness, restoring health, and care of the dying.
The nursing program at St. Olaf College offers students the opportunity to enjoy a St. Olaf education, earn a bachelor of arts degree with a major in nursing, enroll in nursing courses with students outside the major, and have clinical learning experiences in a wide variety of local and Twin Cities medical and health care centers, long-term care facilities, community agencies, home health, and other facilities. By combining the values of the individual and a liberal arts background with the acquisition of professional knowledge and nursing skills, the nursing program integrates development of the whole person, a commitment to life-long learning, and service to others with a holistic approach to the practice of professional nursing.
Upon graduation, students are eligible to apply for initial licensure by examination for registered nurses offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and, upon licensure, they can apply for certification as a public health nurse in Minnesota.
Overview of the Major
The nursing program, through an innovative design that integrates theory with practice and partners educators with professionals in practice, prepares graduates to provide and coordinate nursing care for individuals, families, and communities within standards of professional practice. Students learn to think critically, communicate effectively, and implement holistic nursing care within the developmental, physical, psychological, socio-cultural, and spiritual context of patient situations.
Graduates are qualified to work in hospitals, public health agencies, transitional and long-term care facilities, homes, hospice, healthcare organizations, and clinics to provide high-quality nursing care to individuals, families, communities, and populations and to direct the nursing care given by others. They have the background for graduate study in nursing programs, which can prepare them for advanced nursing practice, teaching, administration, and research.
Accreditation and Approval
The baccalaureate degree program in nursing at St. Olaf College is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791.
The Minnesota Board of Nursing has approved the St. Olaf professional nursing program for the purpose of meeting the education requirements for licensure as a registered nurse. Approval is the authority granted by the board for a controlling body to offer a program designed to prepare students to meet the education requirements for licensure as a practical, professional, or advanced practice registered nurse.
Information regarding state approval of the program is available from the:
Minnesota Board of Nursing
2829 University Ave SE Suite 200
Minneapolis, MN 55414
See Academic Honors
The Department of Nursing seeks to recognize senior students who distinguish themselves through an independent project that goes beyond the requirements of the major. Candidates are evaluated for the extent to which they: synthesize and integrate knowledge from the basic sciences and the liberal arts in nursing care; apply cognitive, interpersonal, and psychomotor skills to the nursing care of patients through the nursing process; demonstrate accountability for the quality of their own nursing interventions and independence in decision making; exhibit leadership skills in relation with patients, peers, nursing, and other health team members and in functions relating to professional nursing; participate in extra-curricular activities; and develop a creative project with relevance to nursing.
Students with a grade point average of 3.5 or above in the nursing courses completed at the point of application are eligible to be candidates for departmental distinction. Guidelines for distinction are available from the Nursing Department office.
Nursing students at St. Olaf can participate in the study/service or semester abroad programs listed in the International and Off-Campus Studies section of the catalog. However, participants in off-campus programs will need to plan carefully and additional time may be necessary to complete all requirements for the nursing major. The nursing advisor or the department chair will assist in planning for these experiences.
Undergraduates may choose to earn a double major at St. Olaf, in nursing and another discipline. Additional time may be necessary for this choice, as well as advising by faculty representing both disciplines. Students who have already earned a St. Olaf degree are eligible to earn a second major in nursing. Students should consult with the department chair to determine prerequisite courses needed prior to beginning the nursing courses. Special tuition charges are possible.
Admission and Progression
Students are encouraged to express an interest in the nursing major upon application for admission to St. Olaf College. Enrollment in the program is limited and admission is competitive; therefore, early consultation with the department chair is recommended. Interested students are assigned nursing faculty as academic advisors.
Information for Students Applying for Direct Admission to the Nursing Program
Students intending to major in nursing at the time of application to the College may be considered for direct admission to the nursing program as a first-year student. Direct admission as a first-year student is limited, competitive, and conditional. Students seeking direct admission to the nursing program must complete an additional application to the program at the same time they submit an application to the College. The nursing application includes two additional essays and an interview. More information regarding the Direct Admission process can be found here.
Information for Students Not Applying or Not Selected for Direct Admission to the Nursing Program
Students who did not apply or were not selected for first-year direct admission may apply for admission to the nursing major during the fall of the sophomore year. Application information is available here.
Students needing accommodations for the essay or interview and who have a documented disability for which accommodations have been provided by the Academic Support Center (ASC) need to contact Mary Beth Kuehn, Department Chair and Assistant Professor of Nursing. Accommodations will only be provided after a letter from the ASC is submitted to the Department of Nursing chair and with sufficient lead time to arrange accommodations prior to the scheduled essay or interview.
Information for All Students Applying to the Nursing Program
The nursing major begins in the spring semester of the sophomore year. Conditional acceptance into the nursing major will become final if students meet the following criteria at the end of the sophomore year:
- Minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.85.
- Prerequisites must be taken for a letter grade, cumulative grade point average 2.70.
- Only one prerequisite course may be below C- and this course (or an alternate course approved by the Nursing Department chair) may be repeated once.
- A minimum grade of C- must be achieved in the repeated or substituted course.
- If a grade of C- is not achieved in the repeated or substituted course, the student may not continue in the major.
- If two or more prerequisite courses are below C-, the student may not continue in the major.
- Four prerequisite courses must be completed by the end of the fall semester of the sophomore year.
Students not accepted may choose to be placed on a waiting list and will be notified of their rank on that list. If openings occur, admission will be offered to waiting list students by rank, highest rank first. Students not accepted may appeal the admission decision to the Dean of the College. The Academic Dean will ask for a written statement from both the student and the department prior to rendering a decision. The Dean's decision will be final.
Students on the waiting list may reapply for admission to the nursing program the following year. They will be considered in the next pool of applicants but will not be guaranteed admission because they apply a second time.
In addition to the college health requirements, nursing students must also provide documentation of: physical examination, immunization to Hepatitis B, measles, mumps, varicella, rubella, influenza, and negative two-step Tuberculosis Skin Test (TST)/Mantoux or negative Blood Assay for Mycobacterium (BAMT)/TB serum test or negative chest x-ray (only with a positive TST) after June 1 of both the junior and senior years in the major.
Continuous certification in CPR must be maintained throughout the major. Students should complete a CPR course prior to beginning nursing courses that provides certification for the final two-year period they are enrolled in the major (typically junior and senior years). Students should select either the Basic Life Support for Health Providers course offered by the American Heart Association or the CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers and Healthcare Providers course offered by the American Red Cross.
In order to be qualified to provide direct patient services, students must undergo an annual criminal background study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (MDHS). If a student is disqualified by the MDHS, he or she will be unable to provide direct patient care and he or she will be dismissed from the nursing program.
Students beginning the nursing program must also be a certified nursing assistant (CNA). Students will need to provide documentation of Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Nursing Assistant registration after successful completion of a Certified Nursing Assistant/Nursing Assistant Registered program prior to beginning NURS 211. Students must meet all college requirements for graduation, as well as complete eight prerequisite courses.
|Prerequisite Courses (to be completed before beginning nursing courses numbered 3XX)|
|BIO 143||Human Anatomy and Physiology: Cells and Tissues||1.00|
|BIO 243||Human Anatomy and Physiology: Organs and Organ Systems||1.00|
|NURS 110||Nutrition and Wellness||1.00|
|PSYCH 125||Principles of Psychology||1.00|
|PSYCH 241||Developmental Psychology||1.00|
|Select one of the following:||1.00|
|Biological Science: Issues in Biology|
or BIO 231
|Select one of the following:||1.00|
or CHEM 125
|Structural Chemistry and Equilibrium|
|Select one of the following:||1.00|
|Introduction to Sociology|
|Introduction to Cultural Anthropology|
|Families, Marriage, & Relationships|
|Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective|
|Race and Class in American Culture|
|Requirements for Graduation|
|NURS 211||Holistic Health Assessment and Health Promotion||1.00|
|NURS 212||Foundations of Professional Nursing||1.00|
|NURS 312||Family Health||1.00|
|NURS 313||Gerontological Nursing||1.00|
|NURS 314||Lifespan Medical-Surgical Nursing I||1.00|
|NURS 315||Medical-Surgical Nursing II||1.00|
|NURS 316||Public Health Nursing||1.00|
|NURS 317||Behavioral Health||1.00|
|NURS 318||Nursing Leadership (1.50)||1.50|
|NURS 319||Complex Patient Care||1.00|
|NURS 399||Senior Nursing Seminar (0.50)||0.50|
|One course in ethics (students should consult with their advisor to determine what courses meet this requirement for nursing from general education EIN courses)||1.00|
|NURS 390 Research Methods in Nursing is an elective course that is highly recommended by the Nursing Department for all nursing majors.||1.00|
Nursing courses that count toward the major are upper-level (sophomore, junior, and senior years). Courses progress from non-acute to acute nursing, from simple to complex situations, and include care of the individual, the family, and the community. Each nursing course that counts toward the major provides the student with 39 class periods, or the equivalent, of instruction. One class period equals 55 minutes at St. Olaf. Three hours of classroom laboratory or clinical laboratory is the equivalent of one class period. Clinical experiences are provided in each semester of the nursing major in a variety of rural and urban settings. Clinical experiences may occur on any shift or day of the week as negotiated by agencies and the program. Students must provide their own transportation to clinical experiences. Nursing faculty design and evaluate all classroom and laboratory experiences. A fee is assessed each semester for program expenses.
Please note that NURS 390: Research Methods in Nursing is an elective course highly recommended by the Nursing Department for all nursing majors.
NURS 110: Nutrition and Wellness
This course explores the sources, chemical composition, and metabolic behavior of nutrients. Nutritional requirements for a balanced diet are examined as well as the consequences of excesses and deficiencies. Students use nutrition tools and guidelines to make sound food choices, learn how to read food labels, and consider factors affecting food consumption. Class activities increase students' awareness of a healthy diet, help students evaluate nutrition behaviors, and facilitate a nutritionally sound lifestyle. Offered annually. Does not count toward major, but is a prerequisite for the nursing major.
NURS 120: Images of Wellness
This course examines how contemporary culture influences present-day wellness perspectives. Values, lifestyle, daily stresses, and corresponding coping mechanisms affecting one's well-being are explored. Students study health behaviors as a function of social influences and, conversely, the impact of unhealthy coping behaviors on the social enterprise. This course also includes an exploration of wellness from the perspective of non-western cultures. Offered annually. Does not count toward major and is not a prerequisite for nursing major. Counts toward media studies and film studies concentrations.
NURS 211: Holistic Health Assessment and Health Promotion
This course focuses on holistic health assessment, health promotion, and disease prevention across the lifespan. Students obtain health histories, identify risk factors, and develop health assessment skills in physiologic, psychosocial, developmental, and spiritual dimensions. Identification of data from a holistic perspective and analysis of findings through critical thinking are emphasized. Active learning experiences are utilized to apply knowledge and informatics during health assessment. Students attend lectures plus one two-hour laboratory per week. Offered annually in the spring semester.
Prerequisites: open to sophomore nursing majors only; concurrent enrollment in NURS 212.
NURS 212: Foundations of Professional Nursing
This course introduces the philosophical and scientific foundations of professional nursing. Students examine historical foundations of the nursing profession and scientific processes and frameworks underlying nursing theory and practice. Exploration of concepts in the nursing discipline builds knowledge and understanding essential to the provision of holistic patient care across the lifespan. Emphasis is on development of professionalism, use of critical thinking, and evidence-based practice. Offered annually in the fall semester.
Prerequisites: open to sophomore nursing majors only; concurrent enrollment in NURS 211.
NURS 294: Academic Internship
Does not count toward the major. Students may choose a 1.00, 0.50, or 0.25 credit option.
NURS 298: Independent Study
Does not count toward the major.
NURS 310: Pathopharmacology
This course explores pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics, integrating principles of pathophysiology through examining drug classifications in relation to disease processes and symptom management. Evaluation of efficacy, potential complications, and special considerations for medication administration are emphasized. Monitoring of physical signs and symptoms, diagnostic evaluation, and complications of drug therapy are reviewed. Open to non-nursing majors with approval of instructor. Offered annually in the fall semester.
Prerequisites: for nursing majors: open to junior nursing majors only; completion of NURS 211 and NURS 212 (previously NURS 311) with grades of C or above; concurrent enrollment in NURS 313.
NURS 312: Family Health
Students focus on the nursing care of childbearing and childrearing families in the context of family-centered care. Family theory will be utilized as the framework for nursing assessment and care of families in various situations across the lifespan. Clinical experiences are provided with childbearing and childrearing families. Offered annually in the fall semester.
Prerequisites: open to senior nursing majors only; NURS 314 with grades of C or above; concurrent enrollment in NURS 315 and NURS 316.
NURS 313: Gerontological Nursing
Students examine social, psychological, and biological aspects of aging within the context of holistic nursing. Application of knowledge and skills using gerontological principles for prevalent health problems experienced by older adults is emphasized. The course incorporates instruction and feedback for developing oral communication through the practice of interpersonal communication skills. Clinical experiences focus on elder care in a variety of community settings. Offered annually in the fall semester.
Prerequisite: open to junior nursing majors only; NURS 211 and NURS 212 with grades of C or above; concurrent enrollment in NURS 310.
NURS 314: Lifespan Medical-Surgical Nursing I
This course focuses on the etiology, clinical manifestations, and management of holistic nursing care for ill patients of various ages. Major concept areas explore the dynamics of common acute and chronic abnormalities observed in specific populations. Students utilize diverse roles of the nurse integrating knowledge from pharmacology and health assessment to manage the care of a patient in the clinical setting. Offered annually in the spring semester.
Prerequisites: open to junior nursing majors only; NURS 310 and NURS 313 with grades of C or above.
NURS 315: Medical-Surgical Nursing II
Building on the interplay between pathophysiology, pharmacology and the nursing process in NURS 314, this course expands upon the holistic nursing care for ill patients of various ages. Students utilize diverse roles of the nurse to manage the care of children and adults with complex abnormalities in the clinical setting. Offered annually in the fall semester.
Prerequisites: open to senior nursing majors only; NURS 314 with grade of C or above; concurrent enrollment in NURS 312 and NURS 316.
NURS 316: Public Health Nursing
Public health nursing is informed by community needs and environmental factors focusing on health promotion and disease prevention. Through project management, students address the health needs of groups and communities utilizing group communication processes, teamwork, and collaboration. Students focus on utilizing community resources, identifying risk factors, and evaluating the impact on population health as related to current epidemiological trends. Offered annually in the fall semester. Also counts toward management studies concentration.
Prerequisites: open to senior nursing majors only; NURS 314 with grade of C or above; concurrent enrollment in NURS 312 and NURS 315.
NURS 317: Behavioral Health
Students synthesize knowledge and apply evidence-based practice in the care and management of clients experiencing a major psychiatric and/or mental health disorder. Emphasis is placed on the role of the professional nurse in various treatment settings as well as current treatment modalities. The client population includes children, adolescents, and adults along the health-illness continuum. Offered annually in the spring semester.
Prerequisites: open to senior nursing majors only; NURS 312, NURS 315, and NURS 316 with grades of C or above; concurrent enrollment in NURS 318, NURS 319, and NURS 399.
NURS 318: Nursing Leadership (1.50)
This synthesis course focuses on professional role development, nursing leadership and contemporary issues in nursing. Students gain the knowledge and skills in organizational systems leadership, quality improvement and safety that are needed to lead healthcare teams, coordinate patient care, and achieve patient outcomes. Offered annually in the spring semester. Also counts toward management studies concentration.
Prerequisites: open to senior nursing majors only; NURS 312, NURS 315, and NURS 316 with grades of C or above; concurrent enrollment in NURS 317, NURS 319, and NURS 399.
NURS 319: Complex Patient Care
Students synthesize knowledge and apply evidence-based practice in the care and management of patients with multiple complex health conditions. The focus of this course is on caring for patients with limitations in their ability to function due to physical, mental, and psychosocial challenges. Simulation is used to facilitate student learning in critical care environments. Offered annually in the spring semester.
Prerequisites: open to senior nursing majors only; NURS 312, NURS 315, and NURS 316 with grades of C or above; concurrent enrollment in NURS 317, NURS 318, and NURS 399.
NURS 390: Research Methods in Nursing
This course provides tools for understanding how research in nursing is conceptualized, designed, carried out, interpreted, and disseminated. Use of library/internet resources, ethical guidelines, and skills of scientific writing are emphasized. Students work independently and in groups to critique research, conduct literature reviews, and prepare research posters/papers for presentation. Counts toward the nursing major as an elective. Offered periodically.
Prerequisite: open to junior and senior nursing majors only.
NURS 394: Academic Internship
Does not count toward the major. Students may choose a 1.00, 0.50, or 0.25 credit option.
NURS 396: Directed Undergraduate Research
This course provides a comprehensive research opportunity, including an introduction to relevant background material, technical instruction, identification of a meaningful project, and data collection. The topic is determined by the faculty member in charge of the course and may relate to his/her research interests. Offered based on department decision. May be offered as a 1.00 credit course or .50 credit course.
Prerequisite: determined by individual instructor.
NURS 398: Independent Research
Does not count toward the major.
NURS 399: Senior Nursing Seminar (0.50)
Nursing is a complex, evolving profession responding to an ever-changing healthcare environment. Students discuss emerging nursing/healthcare issues and are guided in the development of strategies to prepare for the NCLEX-RN and for successful transition to baccalaureate generalist nursing practice. This course focuses on professional development, including personal philosophies of nursing, professional ethics, and portfolio development. Offered annually in the spring semester.
Prerequisites: open to senior nursing majors only; NURS 312, NURS 315, and NURS 316 with grades of C or above; concurrent enrollment in NURS 317, NURS 318, and NURS 319.
Susan L. Huehn
Associate Professor of Practice in Nursing
behavioral health; maternal-child nursing; relationship-based care; interprofessional relationships; interprofessional simulation
Visiting Assistant Professor of Nursing
Visiting Instructor in Nursing
Mary Beth Kuehn
Associate Professor of Nursing
public health; nursing leadership; health and social inequity
Diana O. Neal
Associate Professor of Nursing
pediatric nursing; neonatal intensive care nursing; complementary therapies