Mission and Philosophy

The department of Nursing's mission is to assist in meeting a regionally recognized need for nurses by preparing a professional nurse capable of synthesizing theoretical and empirical knowledge incorporating concepts from the physical and behavioral sciences, humanities, and discipline of nursing in developing and implementing nursing practice. Faculty are committed to mentoring students and to advancing the profession of Nursing through a variety of scholarly activities and service to both the campus and community.

The faculty of the department of Nursing accepts the philosophy and goals of The University of Tennessee at Martin supporting the concept of quality undergraduate education for traditional and nontraditional students and the related mission to serve the area with a strong program of public service and continuing education. Research, scholarship, and creative endeavors are encouraged as a means of faculty development and renewal. The faculty utilizes the educational facility to make available to the student a base of knowledge essential for the practice of nursing.

The faculty of the department of Nursing at The University of Tennessee at Martin believe:


Person is a dynamic wholistic individual, family, or group who continually interacts with the intrapersonal, interpersonal, and extrapersonal stressors of the environment.  With intrinsic values and cognitive abilities, person has the right to use decision-making capacity to determine self-direction.


Environment refers to "that viable arena which has relevance to the life space of an organism."  (Neuman, 1982, p. 9; 1989; 1995)  Environment consists of internal and external forces (stressors), which encompass person at any point in time.  Stressors may be intrapersonal, interpersonal, and extrapersonal.  As positive or negative factors, stressors affect the energy balance within person.


Health is a dynamic state of energy identified as a relative point on a wellness/illness continuum, which represents person's normal and flexible lines of defense.  When stressors penetrate the lines of defense, lines of resistance respond in an effort to restore wellness.  A person's health is determined by the continuing interrelationships of physiological, psychological, sociocultural, developmental, and spiritual variables.  (Neuman, 1982; 1989; 1995)


Nursing focuses on assisting "individuals, families, and groups to attain and maintain a maximum level of total wellness by purposeful intervention. . .aimed at reduction of [negative] stress factors [and enhance positive stress factors] and adverse conditions which either affect or could affect optimal functioning in any given client situation."  (Neuman, 1980, p. 119; 1989; 1995).  Working with the nursing process, the nurse interacts and intervenes differently with individuals, families, and groups depending upon whether the level of prevention is primary (risk factors), secondary (symptoms, intervention, and treatment), or tertiary (adaptive).  Nursing is a dynamic scientific discipline with a broad knowledge base that incorporates critical thinking, logical analysis, and effective communication (National Commission on Nursing Implementation Project, 1987; Neuman, 1982; 1995).  Nursing consists of self-directed individuals capable of evaluating the influence of their personal values, biases, and needs.


Communication is the verbal and non-verbal exchange of information between the nurse, the client/client system, and others of the health care team.  Therapeutic communication is used to initiate, maintain, and terminate meaningful relationships that ensure effective nursing practice.  Communication between the client/client system and members of the health care team promotes collaborative interventions to retain, attain, or maintain optimal levels of health for the client/client system and provides a means for permanent documentation of the process and outcome of client/client system care.


Nursing Process includes an evaluation of the client/client system's response to actual or potential health problems resulting from stressors and mutual determination of actions that will guide the client/client system toward retaining, attaining or maintaining client/client system stability.  The three categories of the nursing process identified by Neuman are expanded to include the five steps.  Data related to the variables and stressors affecting the client/client systems are collected during Assessment and grouped in Analysis for use in the formulation of Nursing Diagnoses.  These steps comprise Neuman's Nursing Diagnosis category.  Planning identifies goals with outcome criteria, which are negotiated by the client/client system and the nurse.  This step parallels the Neuman category of Formulation of Nursing Goals.  Implementation consists of initiating nursing actions in the appropriate mode(s) of prevention and addresses Neuman's final category, Nursing Outcomes.  Evaluation of the effectiveness of implementation and goal achievement returns to the beginning of the Neuman cycle.


Roles of Nursing encompass variables affecting the response to stressors by the client/client system (Neuman, 1989;1995).  Practitioners and client advocates are directly involved in the independent and collaborative delivery of nursing care to clients.  Educators provide health care information to clients or students.  Administrators direct the effective delivery of nursing care or education, and consultants serve as resources in health care for individuals, families, and groups.  Researchers explore the clinical problems of nursing care, the process of care, and the nursing profession.  Change agents effect alterations in nursing care and the health care system.  The roles are further defined by the settings in which they are implemented and the educational level of the nurse.


Research is the persistent and organized inquiry designed for knowledge validation and generation (Burns & Grove, 1987).  Students begin research with understanding, critique, and utilization of the findings of existing studies and progress through use of the research process in development of research proposals, implementation of research plans, and analysis and interpretation of resulting data.  Research in nursing includes quantitative use of the scientific process, qualitative analysis of clinical problems of nursing care, the process of care, and people and issues in the nursing profession.


Education is the acquisition of knowledge through learning to assist in the advancement of the individual, family, and group.  Learning is an independent and interdependent process, which facilitates change and endeavors to bring forth potential and underdeveloped capabilities.  Teaching enhances learning by providing options for individual learning needs.


Nursing Education is systematic, progressive preparation in the scientific discipline of nursing and related areas for synthesis, integration, and decision-making in health care.  Nursing education encompasses "theory, methods, processes and ways of knowing and understanding, analysis and study of human events and issues. . ."  (National Commission on Nursing Implementation Project, 1987, p. 3)


Continuing Education is a commitment to life-long learning and systematic inquiry that promotes practitioner competence and contributes to nursing knowledge.  Continuing education "provides a bridge between academia and the clinical world of nursing."  (Baker, 1982, p. 260)