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  1. 1. Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 1 Sample A - Rationale Essay Mentee/Student: Name Mentor: Name Type of Degree: Bachelor of Science Area of Study: Nursing Date of Submission: 12/20/09
  2. 2. Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 2 Goals in Pursuing the BS in Nursing I have enrolled at Empire State College to complete my life-long desire and goal of earning a Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in nursing. From the time I was a young fifth- grade student volunteering at a home for the elderly, I knew nursing was the field I wanted to pursue. Family circumstances did not allow me to pursue a higher education. In fact, my parents could not even afford to pay for my Associate Degree, so I independently worked my way through nursing school, and graduation day was indeed a proud and glorious celebration. I wish to return to school, not only to achieve my live long dream of obtaining a bachelor’s degree in nursing, but also to remain current and reach my full potential, both as a person and a nurse. I have worked over 30 years in the nursing field, 23 of which were clinical nursing. I have achieved great personal and professional satisfaction. In these 30 years, nursing, as well as the culture, has changed dramatically. With three children successfully raised and educated, I have entered the government arena as a civil servant and a member of a New York State health care surveyor team. As I move forward with my life and career, it is evident that a baccalaureate degree is a necessary component for nurse professionals. I feel that my proposed degree program will assist me in my career goals of becoming a successful nurse manager / leader who remains current with today’s world. I want to attain the confidence that comes in reaching one’s full potential. Professional Expectations My concept of nursing in younger years was to help people through their illnesses in a skilled, professional, and respectful manner. Now, as a mature nurse in an ever-changing health care industry, this concept has evolved into understanding that nursing is also about being a confident leader and promoting wellness and balance of mind, body and spirit. In pursuing a higher degree of education, my main goal is to gain the knowledge, confidence, and communication skills necessary to be an effective nurse leader in today’s world. It is important for a nurse to remain current and be open to medical and cultural trends in order to effectively lead and also to assist people to heal and achieve optimal health. I cannot think of a better way of pursuing my goals than through the courses offered at Empire State College’s RN-BSN program. It’s emphasis on leadership, critical thinking skills, scientific inquiry, and the advancement of the nursing
  3. 3. Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 3 profession in today’s world are very appealing and motivating. I realize these are areas I need to strengthen in order to be effective, which is why Empire State was the program I chose. Completion of the degree program will instill confidence to be a nurse leader and also to continue on as a life-long learner, perhaps even pursuing of a Masters of Nursing degree, since I would truly enjoy being a nurse educator someday. In researching colleges to pursue my degree, it was evident to me that Empire State College’s RN-BSN program is a program that meets current qualifications for the nurse of today and the nurse of the future. I was particularly impressed with the Director of Nursing’s statement in the brochure which outlined the goals of the program. As I read Dr. Carpenter’s statement, a certain type of professionalism was evident that I had not felt when reading other college’s statements. The last sentence was particularly impressive: “….keeping in mind the true art of nursing, which is caring.” This statement drew me in even more, realizing that Empire State’s program would fulfill my personal and professional goals and desires, since I have always practiced in a holistic manner with human concern for the health and welfare of others. In addition to researching on the internet, I discussed my impending decision with a friend who recently earned her doctorate in nursing. My friend informed me of the present recommendation of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing that baccalaureate education is the minimum level recommended for entry into professional nursing practice in today’s ever-changing health care environment. My research also provided insight into the fact that today’s nurse must possess awareness and appreciation of the cultural diversity that is and will forever be part of our world, and that nursing programs need to reflect and teach courses that address respect for client differences, values and preferences. The nurse of today and tomorrow must be a life-long learner, well-prepared to work within a health care environment with rapid changes. She must have a deep appreciation for the past history of her profession, while at the same time, empowered to move forward. Many of the changes in health care mean lowered acute care stays in hospitals, with people being cared for within their own communities. Chronic care needs are and will continue to be a staple in the nursing field. I feel the choices in my degree plan help meet the nurse as one who appreciates the past, but moves forward with her profession.
  4. 4. Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 4 A hallmark of the baccalaureate-prepared nurse is leadership. The nurse must have the knowledge, skills, and subsequent confidence to adequately delegate tasks and to supervise and lead in an effective and professional manner. She must be able to perform well in group tasks, an important part of the interdisciplinary aspect of health care in today’s world. She must be aware of advocacy issues, ethical and legal issues, and able to handle them in a professional manner for the welfare of the patient, as well as society. Technology has changed the way that health care functions, as it has the rest of the world. The nursing professional must have indepth knowledge of today’s health technology methods, in the area of electronic records, and the various technical tools that are available for patient care, such as assessment data, telemedicine, telenursing and telehealth. Nurses must be aware of privacy issues these changes have and will ensue. I am impressed with Empire State’s curriculum because it includes such themes. The current and rapid changes in health care technology and therapies mean lowered acute care stays in hospitals. Sophisticated surgical technologies are much less invasive than years ago and promote quicker healing and less time in the hospital setting. Reduced mortality rates for diseases such as AIDS and cancer is also significant in that these diseases, once considered fatal are now chronic illnesses, which require ongoing nursing assessment and care. The lowered acute care stays as described above mean many more people requiring care in their own communities. Nurses need to be better prepared to work within this area. My ASN degree did not prepare me for work in this important area, and I am very excited that Empire State’s nursing program places great emphasis on Community Health Nursing course. I also look forward to Advanced Clinical Experience, which emphasizes developing “the multidimensional competencies essential to become an effective nurse leader”, which is an important goal of mine. A nurse’s decisions should be evidenced based, that is based on the most current research and theories. I look forward to the Nursing Research course offered in Empire State’s nursing curriculum. A benefit of the baccalaureate trained nurse is the liberal education that one receives.
  5. 5. Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 5 It allows the nurse to be very broad minded, educated, and able to articulate. It exposes one to various perspectives, and thus allows the nurse to become comfortable in questioning, analyzing and influencing, which is an important aspect of a health care professional. Academic Goals My concentration / area of study at Empire State College is Nursing. I am pursuing a BSN degree after having earned my ASN degree at Maria College in 1978. Prior to earning my ASN in Nursing, I had earned an AAS in Medical Office Assisting, so I bring courses and credits from that also. Since my area of study is professional/vocational, the selection of courses is somewhat narrow because nursing is a profession unto itself. I have already learned much about the conceptual frameworks of the profession in the Transition to Baccalaureate Nursing course, which I have taken this semester. I am intrigued to be learning all of this new material about the profession I love and have been active in for over thirty years. When friends and relatives ask me how my course is going I can only think of one response: “it is so enriching.” This is what I look forward to in my degree plan… learning and enriching and opening my mind. In reviewing my course selections within the nursing curriculum itself, it is evident that they will prepare me for my role as a professional nurse in today’s health care arena. I have noticed in the work world that baccalaureate-prepared nurses are very astute in the areas of leadership and critical thinking. My greatest goal at this point in my life and career is to learn skills that enable me to gain confidence in these areas, while at the same time keeping abreast of changes and happenings in today’s health care field. I feel the nursing courses I have chosen will help in fulfilling those goals through courses such as Professional Issues and Leadership in Contemporary Nursing. In keeping current with today’s health care environment, Health Care Delivery Systems and Policy will add much breadth to my program. This area is ever-changing. After reading various news articles, it will be very growth-producing to actually take a course that covers the details in an objective manner. I have begun my degree program with Educational Planning: Transition to Baccalaureate Nursing, which has introduced me to areas of nursing I have not been exposed to. As mentioned above, it has been very growth-producing to learn about different nurse theorists, our health care delivery system, basics of nurse leadership, and concepts of today’s nurse. I will progress to Nursing Research, a necessary component of the baccalaureate program, and one that will be of great value as I progress. Next I plan on taking
  6. 6. Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 6 Pharmacology, which will update me on the clinical applications of many of today’s medications. Since polypharmacy is a big issue in today’s health care, I look forward to this, learning about various pharmacological issues. Nursing Informatics will bring me to a level of nursing I am very excited about since it is so cutting edge and I have not yet even researched it myself. As I progress through the degree plan, I will pursue Health Care Delivery Systems and Policy, (addressed above), and Professional Issues and Leadership in Contemporary Nursing (addressed above). Advanced Health Assessment will come towards the end of the degree program as I prepare for some of the capstone courses. Since I want to strengthen my communication skills and critical thinking skills, I like the course description sentence that describes Advanced Health Assessment “activities for the course facilitate the development of critical thinking and advanced communication skills, which are vital competencies needed for the professional nurse.” This will bring me to the final courses, Community Health Nursing and Advanced Clinical Experience. I can already feel the preparation I will have had for these last two courses, both of which are essential elements for the nurse of today. I have chosen Healing and Wellness of the Whole Person as my nursing elective since I operate out of a holistic mind-set in my nursing practice. want to learn more about this area, as it is an area I can see myself involved with in the future. The fact that evidence-based criteria are examined in this course is impressive and important to me. This means that much of what is taught is based on studies and research that proves it is true. Degree Program Design In designing my degree program, I was impressed with Empire State College’s emphasis on progression, integration, and breadth. While working with my mentor, it was evident she attempted to incorporate the importance of these themes as she assisted me in designing the program. Progression will take place as I move along the continuum from Transition to Baccalaureate Nursing, where I have already been enriched, to Advanced Clinical Experience and Community Health Nursing, which will come at the end of my program. In between, I will take Research in Nursing next semester, since earning a baccalaureate degree, especially online, entails research and research skills. I will move on to more basic skills such as Pharmacology, which will provide excellent update in this area, and Advanced Health Assessment. Nursing
  7. 7. Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 7 Informatics will familiarize me to a part of nursing that is ever-emerging in today’s world. As I near the end of the degree, I will forge into Professional Issues and Leadership in Contemporary Nursing, dovetailed with Health Care Delivery Systems and Policy. All of the above will prepare me for the final courses, the capstone courses of the program, Community Health Nursing and Advanced Health Assessment. Healing and Wellness of the Whole Person, as my nursing elective, will enrich me in an area I have always embraced, holistic nursing. All of the above mentioned courses will add breadth to my nursing profession in that they cover so much in the various areas of health care and nursing in today’s world. Literally all of these courses are necessary for the nurse of today and the future! The versatility of the courses adds much breadth to the nursing knowledge I will need to pursue my goals. My SUNY general learning requirements will provide breadth, as I pursue areas of study I have not been exposed to. Since I have lead a rather provincial life, being raised in the 50’s and 60’s in a Catholic home, and having been educated in Catholic schools, I am looking forward to courses such as Images of Women. I aspire to enrich my mind learning what women have contributed to society. I have had very little exposure to the arts due to my provincial upbringing however, this area is something I have come to appreciate as I have evolved. I am very much looking forward to this course. Also, since nursing is woman-dominated, this course will fit in well with my degree. The course Spanish for Health Care Professionals continues to help me in my evolvement into a full person as an adult learner. Spanish is the second most spoken language in our country. The history of Math will cover a subject area I have never even thought of. I look forward to learning about the origins of a subject I have always found so difficult. I think it will help me appreciate it more than I ever have. My husband and family totally support my endeavor to return to school. I am fortunate to have a job that allows me flexibility, so I am able to take time off, adjust my work schedule, etc. to study and research as needed. I am a product of the baby boomer generation; that of a life- long learner, always searching, always moving forward, and always growing. Each time I examine Empire State College’s RN-BSN program, and read the course descriptions, I am both excited and grateful because I know they fit right into where I want to grow and go in my life.
  8. 8. Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 8 Sample B - Rationale Essay Mentee/Student: Mentor: Type of Degree: Bachelor of Science Area of Study: Nursing Date of Submission: 7/20/10 Goals in Pursuing the BS in Nursing For me nursing has offered personal fulfillment in expanding my own knowledge base in both clinical and operation of our health care system. I was raised in a simple home in rural Nova Scotia; my mother stayed at home to care for the children while my father worked in the coal mines. I did not have the opportunity to partake in many extra-curricular activities such as playing hockey, due to geographical location and financial limitations From a young age the importance of hard work was stressed; since my father tended to work what seemed most of the time, I had to take on many of the chores such as sawing and splitting wood for heating during the winter. I enrolled at Empire State College to finally complete my goal of earning a Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in nursing. I entered a diploma in nursing program upon graduating from high school; I viewed nursing as a rewarding career choice with a variety of specialties to explore. I now have fifteen years of RN experience in critical care and a number of years ago had aspirations of becoming an advanced practice nurse by obtaining my CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists). This branch of nursing requires masters for entry level practice and in the near future it will require doctorial preparation. However, as with many specialties in nursing you must first acquire a Bachelor of Science.
  9. 9. Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 9 The decision to return to school was not an easy one; I have a wife and two children. Courses require a considerable time commitment and once my children were of school age I thought this would be the most opportune time to start. I was out of the academic field for thirteen years; to say that I had anxiety about returning would be an understatement. Although, having worked at University Hospital in Syracuse, New York for the past ten years it has become apparent that in order to be the most well rounded professional who can be a force for change, education is one of the keys to accomplishing advancements in the delivery of care. As I near the end of my degree at Empire State College it has become clearer to me that increasing one’s level of education will help add insight into the numerous facets of health care and increase the ability to communicate at a higher level with other health care professionals. Expectations of the Nursing Professional In the past I held a narrow view of what it means to be a nursing professional. When I first started nursing I simply believed that nurses were at the bedside preforming assessments, life sustaining monitoring, and treatments. All of the other operations and regulations were performed by non-nursing administrators, who may have past nursing backgrounds but no longer practiced nursing. In reality however, as with all professionals a great deal of thought and development is required for growth and sustainability of the profession. Nursing has entered a tremendous growth and development phase thanks to the contribution and leadership of countless professionals. My desire is to use my experience, insight, and now my education to help contribute to the growth and direction of nursing in the future. Empire State College’s RN-BSN program has proved to be both challenging and rewarding, with the guidance of the dedicated faculty I am approaching the realization of the first part of my professional goals. The nursing profession currently does not require a degree for entry level practice but I am confident that with current trends this will be corrected in a matter of time. The importance of increasing the base level of nursing education is evident when you look at what is at risk on a daily basis. There is no other business or public service sector which depends on the highest standards and expectations than in health care. When looking at the health care sector no other profession has the sheer numbers and also has the most intimate relationship with individuals receiving care than nurses. Patient outcomes and quality of life often hinge on the judgment and
  10. 10. Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 10 actions of nursing professionals. It is for this reason that it is critical that direct care nurses along with nurse administrators use current evidence to create standards of practice for the care of the public and to keep health care providers safe. During my time at Empire State College I have gained a much deeper insight into what these standards mean to me and to my profession. Standards will vary across nursing specialties but there is a general outlook on what is expected of nurses. Competence; which includes knowledge, ethics, and accountability for one’s actions are key components to nursing expectations which the public and our own profession come to anticipate. Health care is changing quickly and we must adapt to meet the changing needs of our patient population while being active participants in the health system. In addition to holding ourselves to a high level of standard, the nursing profession needs to keep in alignment with other health care professionals. For example, physicians, pharmacist, physical therapists, and occupational therapists are all Doctoral prepared. If we as a profession want to maintain a high level of professional discussion we must adopt higher educational standards for ourselves. I wish to become a driving force for the level and direction of nursing. I believe thanks to my studies and preparation for my Bachelor’s at Empire State College, I am now a more engaged nurse. It is my desire and my plan to immediately begin my masters once my undergraduate degree is completed. Academic Expectations for a B.S. from SUNY- Empire State College Empire State has more than met my academic expectations. When first starting on the path to obtaining my undergraduate degree I felt this was just something that needed to be completed in order to open doors to additional career opportunities and to gain acceptance to advanced professional certifications. However, with each semester completed I gained a better appreciation for how the academic program was structured; each course not only taught me valuable information but also has prepared me for beginning a graduate level program. Over the past two years at Empire State I have noticed a change in myself; with a greater depth of thinking which I believe others can see as well.
  11. 11. Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 11 While at Empire State College I am pursuing the completion of my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I obtained my Diploma in Nursing from the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1995. After successfully completing my boards in both Canada and the United States I began working in critical care in Jackson, Mississippi. While working and gaining experience I sought out continuing education for myself. I had achieved many goals; I have taken numerous critical care classes, was an ACLS instructor, and obtained my CCRN (critical care certification). The one major goal I had not achieved was obtaining an advanced degree in the field of nursing. Returning to academics and working toward this life goal gives me an overwhelming sense of gratification; I am excited to be nearing the completion of my degree. Empire State College offered me a way to learn which enabled me to form my own ideas and theories. Through my course work I could feel myself growing, developing new ways to work through problems, articulate ideas, give and receive criticism. The faculty supported and guided my learning by helping view issues from various perspectives; they also encouraged the development and use of various tools for both patient assessment and problem analysis. As I have progressed throughout this program I have seen improved critical thinking ability, which I apply to my current practice. For example when faced with a problem in the past I would rely on my own common sense and the guidance from others. Now I routinely encounter issues and have the knowledge to utilize the tools available to professionals in healthcare; Cinahl and Medline are just two of the data bases available to research best practice and current evidence on a wide variety of issues. Studying at Empire State has given me the confidence and competence to delve into topics that in the past I would have relied on others to guide me. Degree Plan for B.S. in Nursing (Grid and Narrative) When first undertaking the task of making my degree plan I was faced with the task of choosing courses which aligned with my future plans on attending graduate school and becoming board certified and a CRNA (Nurse Anesthetist). Thanks to the help and guidance of my mentor Doctor Kaufmann, who throughout this process acted as a sounding board and helped me navigate through the numerous course selections available to choose from. My mentor helped me decide on the courses which would be most in line with future goals.
  12. 12. Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 12 I was coming into this program with a significant amount of practical experience and training. The program started with Educational Planning: Transition to Baccalaureate Nursing, course which helped me become comfortable with academic format, research, and exploring what it means to obtain and practice professionally at various levels of education. Also in my first semester I had taken a College Writing class and Advanced Health Assessment. After my first semester I had a strong foundation from which to begin the journey toward my degree. With each passing semester I continued to build upon both clinical and health systems concepts. It was necessary to take Health Care Systems & Policy and Nursing Research; in order to become a more active and engaged professional it is critical to understand the infrastructure we practice in and research is essential to the advancement of patient care. The Professional Issues in Nursing helped me further understand concepts and develop ideas into current challenges which face nursing; past, present and future. One of the more intimidating courses for me was Statistics but I wanted to become more proficient in understanding how research studies were performed and what the true implications of results mean. Many of my courses expanded my general knowledge base. Spanish for Health Care Professionals gave me tools to help better communicate with patients who come to the Emergency Department; the ability to help provide reassurance and basic information makes a great difference in the lives of individuals who are under enormous stress already. Other courses such as History of American Medicine, Topics in World History, and American Literature; though not essential to my profession they did give me valuable information in history and literature. More importantly these courses exercised my ability to research various topics and to write related research papers. Nursing Informatics taken in spring 2010 ties into our modern practice and explores the various changes that have occurred and the direction technology in health care systems is going in the future. Courses like Pharmacology and Advanced Nursing Physiology have pushed me to develop my clinical understanding, while learning that keeping current with research is critical to using evidence based practice. Improved patient outcomes are not an accident; it requires constant vigilance to remain current. While one of my last courses Community Health Nursing challenged and broadened my understanding of the care and social structure in place to support our population.
  13. 13. Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 13 Finally the last two courses I am taking this fall are Advanced Clinical Experience and Case Management. The first of which will give me an opportunity to work with a higher level hospital administrator. This will help me delve more deeply into the structure and function of a health care facility. Also my Case Management class will allow me to research the role these nurses play in patient care throughout the duration from the diagnosis to recovery. Patients need a support system in order to be discharged safely and to minimize hospital length of stay. Nursing Student’s Course and Term Planning Grid (Filled in from DP Planner) FALL Credits SPRING Credits SUMMER Credits Educational Planning 4 American Literature 4 Pharmacology 4 Health Assessment 4 Health Care Systems 4 College Writing 4 Nursing Physiology 4 Year 1: 2008 Professional Issues in Spanish Health Care Community Health Nursing 4 Professionals 4 Nursing 4 History of American Nursing Research 4 Medicine 2 General Chemistry 4 Year 2: 2009 Statistics 4 Topics in World History 2 Nursing Informatics 4
  14. 14. Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 14 Advanced Clinical Experience 4 Case Management 3 Year 3: 2010 The decision to return to school was not an easy one and was made in conjunction with my wife. I began looking for a program that would be flexible to both my family and work schedules. When finally finding Empire State College I was grateful to obtain a quality education while attending a SUNY school. Attending this program gave me an opportunity to advance my education and professional practice I may not have undertaken otherwise.
  15. 15. Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 15 Sample C - Rationale Essay Goals in the BS Nursing I have always thought of nursing as a noble calling. As a child, it had been my dream to become a nurse because it represented service to mankind. Nevertheless, circumstances in my life led me to an educational path in Applied Physics and Engineering instead. After spending more than a decade in the corporate world, I still heard my calling for nursing. Despite my uncertainties as to whether it was too late to enter the field, I made the decision to enter the field after my mother’s death in August of 2003. It is my goal to understand some of the complex processes involved in coping with disease and grief, and also to find pathways to becoming a better human being through service. I believe that we are lifelong learners, destined to find meaning in life. As a novice nurse, I felt compelled to continue my learning journey through a baccalaureate program. Hence, after completion of my Associates’ degree, I planned on pursuing higher education. I chose Empire State College because it provided me with much needed flexibility. So far my expectations have been met, if not exceeded, since I joined the program. The RN-to-BSN program provided the mechanism to transform past experiences and learning towards enriching my life and my practice. It is my goal to share these with my colleagues in creating a better world. Why B.S. in Nursing? There is a huge leap between competent level nursing and the proficient and expert levels. A proficient or expert nurse who has gained substantial knowledge through years of clinical experience has a rich basis on which to interpret new situations. As a novice nurse, my exposure to situations is limited to my clinical setting. Having a rich source of ideas and thoughts
  16. 16. Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 16 through an online learning group can provide a multifaceted view of the world different from my own setting. These experiences, while difficult to put into words or explicit guidelines, can be shared in a community of practitioners in terms of stories shared in discussion groups. This sharing can capture multiple experiences and knowledge that can enrich the context of learning. The Dreyfus model assumes that with experience and mastery the skill is transformed (Brenner, 2001). Based on this model, I am a novice-to-competent nurse, given a year and a half of nursing practice. Hence, my performance tends to be governed by rules and guidelines of the nursing practice. I believe that with experience and mastery of skill, these rules will become part of my unconscious. Through a combination of theoretical learning, experience, and active discussion, I can paint better pictures of a problem or clinical scenario. I believe that a formal enrollment and participation in a baccalaureate program will make this a reality. Expectations of the Nursing Professional I believe that the nursing professional is a complex being – a dynamic, lifelong learner, evolving and connecting to people in ways that develop meaning in their lives. I expect the nursing professional to be evolved, transformational, and able to expand consciousness. She does not have to know everything. Rather, she learns from experience. Experience is the refinement of preconceived notions and theory through encounters with many actual practical situations that add nuances or shades of differences to theory (Gadamer, 1970; Benner & Wrubel, 1982). She learns to connect and associate different forms of knowing into her experience to increase her knowledge base as well as that of the profession. I expect her to be a collaborator, advocate, and leader.
  17. 17. Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 17 Nursing is a practice – a socially organized and embedded form of knowledge and ethics – like any practice continually faces challenges of development or decline (Brenner, 2001). Our tradition of caring, nurturance and understanding of love as the highest level of consciousness makes it possible for nursing to be the connecting link in the needed reformulation of the health- care system as one of cooperation, collaboration, and partnership (Newman, 2008). I expect the nursing professional to know her profession, its guiding rules, and the society it serves. She must be an advocate, leader, and change agent. She must be aware of nursing challenges and its continued need to evolve. The nurse is a lifelong learner able to lead a purposeful life. She learns interactively, seeking to engage others towards learning new things. She participates actively in her community of professionals towards the development of the profession. Such involvement can take the form of organizations, unions, and committees. She is dedicated to becoming a member- participant in nursing practice with a helping intent and a commitment to developing caring practices (Brenner, 2001). She leads by example. She epitomizes professionalism in her practice. Academic Expectation for a B.S. from SUNY – Empire State College While the choice to go back to school after more than nine years of being out of school was not easy, I expected my return to be challenging, if not painful. As Newman (2008) claims, “learning is often painful…the creative act occurs at extreme disequilibrium when one is moving on to something unknown.” Among my list of challenges and obstacles were my preconceived thoughts and past experiences. I had to deal with my own fears and anxiety. The only comfort I had was the chance to have a different platform for learning. It is my hope the program’s online
  18. 18. Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 18 platform will give me the flexibility to capture my productive times and structure my own depth of learning. As part of my growth in the field, I knew that I must continue my studies to the baccalaureate degree. I wanted to challenge my mind and learn more through formal education because education which continually hones and expands the mind is a vital mental renewal (Covey, 1989). I chose an online RN-to-BSN program to accommodate my work schedule. Given my computer background and my previous college training, I was confident in pursuing this new medium. Knowing that this is a new program designed to be online from the beginning gave me a novel feeling of becoming a pioneer. It gave me the inspiration to pursue higher education and define what I wanted to get out of this new experience. I expect the baccalaureate degree program to be holistic because nursing is holistic. I envisioned the program to capture the essence of the nursing practice in reality – one that we learn on a day-today basis, not just the idealized versions of the practice. I expect the program to be complex, non-procedural, organic, and transforming. I do not expect to just read and be tested on how well I capture steps or procedures written in a book. As Brenner (2001), claims, “to assume that it is possible to capture all the steps in nursing practice is to assume that nursing is procedural rather than holistic” (p. 42). I intend to grasp situations and solve problems as a whole through development of critical thinking and expansion of consciousness. I expect the program to help me in my growth and transformation from a novice to expert. I knew that the program will give me the opportunity to learn from others in ways I never imagined, capturing and sharing their multifaceted experiences and re-living critical moments in their practice. It is something I cannot learn from books or through self-study. The qualitative distinctions that expert clinicians make on the basis of their experience with many similar and
  19. 19. Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 19 dissimilar clinical situations cannot be transmitted by precise written descriptions (Brenner, 2001, p. 43). Expert nurses always know more than what they can tell. It is in the discussion, dialogues, and shared experiences that “expert knowledge” is unraveled. I expect the program to provide such opportunities. Degree Plan for B.S. in Nursing (Grid and Narrative) Planning my degree plan (DP) proved to be more straightforward. Having taken liberal studies from prior baccalaureate and master’s degrees meant taking only core nursing courses and a history course. While this simplified the planning stage, I still had feelings of uncertainty on how to go about the course. Empire State College understands these challenges and gave me the opportunity to work with a mentor throughout the program. The mentor gave me the stability and guidance I needed every step of the way. In my first year, I attempted to complete most of the core courses available. I had a chance to plan my degree from the beginning through the Educational Planning: Transition to Baccalaureate Nursing. It provided the foundation for the skills necessary for successful completion of the program as well as in-depth understanding of my own learning styles. The Advanced Health Assessment enhanced my previous training and reinforced the holistic assessment in the nursing process. Hence, the first semester not only provided a glimpse of what was to come, but proved instrumental in setting the foundation of what can be achieved in an online program. By the time spring semester started, I looked forward to meeting the challenge of Health Care Delivery Systems and Policy, Professional Issues and Leadership in Contemporary Nursing, as well as United States Labor History. These courses proved to be relevant and timely
  20. 20. Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 20 in the current healthcare climate. At this time issues relevant to nursing include health care debate, legislative action, leadership agenda, and labor relations. I expected these courses to provide answers and illuminate the most significant issues. My learning exceeded more than I planned. As I went through the courses, I became an activist in legislative movements, increased my literacy on health care issues and debate, and became a more effective leader. The courses provided active learning with theory and action through awareness and participation. I never expected the courses to be so engaging and challenging at the same time. Hence, by the time summer came, I was looking forward to Pharmacology to put me back to nursing basics. I wondered how this course will be handled given the nature of the course. Despite my apprehensions, it provided a fresh perspective on learning pharmacology, through case studies and presentations. Hence, by the end of the academic year, I was used to the format and structure of the courses. In the second year, I planned to dedicate more time to the clinical area. Hence, I only enrolled in Community Nursing for the fall semester. Being a pioneer in the clinical area of this course, I was apprehensive of the extent of its clinical requirements. Nevertheless, the course gave me a lot of flexibility and freedom to choose my service learning experience, facilitating the clinical experience. The course enabled me to get more involved with the inner workings of our parent company while acknowledging the role of nurses in their community. Despite my initial expectations of a highly structured clinical with my instructor watching over me, the course turned out to be entirely different. I became the master craftsman of my own clinical experience. I was given deliverables along with a set of expectations. While the course did not turn out to be as I initially expected, it became more than what I hoped for. It gave me a chance to become part of a culture change phenomenon in my community of choice and affect their lives in ways I
  21. 21. Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 21 never thought possible. The community and I became co-authors of our own culture change. Overall, it was a great learning experience. For the spring, I was ready to go to a more familiar area, that of research and informatics. Having a solid background on these areas provided confidence and ease in planning. Although I was curious as to how research and informatics can be taught online, I was surprised to see an innovative format and methodology presented by both courses. The Nursing Research modules attempted to build core skills necessary for critical appraisal of literature, while providing techniques for research. Hence, the product was simultaneous learning of the building blocks necessary to becoming a nursing researcher. Meanwhile, Nursing Informatics modules gave fresh perspectives in understanding our current information literacy as well as forged a way to increase it. While my initial expectations of learning informatics tools were met, I did not imagine I will have so much fun with them. In addition, the course brought interesting issues about knowledge and different ways of knowing. Until this course, I did not have a chance to connect our patterns of knowing to daily living. The course made me realize how connected things are and how informatics can provide nurses with increased creativity and productivity. Meanwhile, while all these courses are happening, my practice has taken me to new heights in terms of advocacy, competency, and leadership. Through the past two years, I gained much recognition for my clinical expertise, leadership in the field, and advocacy as a change agent. I was placed in the most acute area of the hospital and became part of the Rapid Response Team (RRT) along with the hospital’s finest healthcare professionals. I feel as though I have gone from novice to proficient in three years of my career. I believe that I owe a great deal of my success to the Empire State College’s program, which made this expedited transformation possible. The program served as an enabling tool in making my dreams a reality.
  22. 22. Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 22 At the apex of this dream experience that I am having, I was given the opportunity to design my own course this summer. Through a learning contract with my mentor, I was allowed to be creative in building my learning modules for the summer management course. This course, Advanced Nursing Management, became a realization of what is possible. While I used to dream about what it would be like to design my own course and learning module, I never thought it can actually come true. The course challenged my creativity, leadership, and determination to accomplish what I set out to do. It gave me the courage to evaluate and challenge my own company’s processes and decisions, catapulting myself inside the executive boardroom in the process. I found new ways of empowerment that I would not have otherwise known without this course. I imagined it to evolve into the next and final course –Advanced Clinical Experience. This coming fall, I plan to concentrate in the administrative track of the Advanced Clinical Experience. As I laid the groundwork, I feel hopeful that it will give me a solid entrance into nursing management. In the time of restructuring and major organizational changes in the industry, there is no better time than now to get involved. As nurses, I believe we can help transform the healthcare industry. Nursing management is the gateway to a more influential role in this transformation. It is my hope that the course will epitomize all of my past learning experiences. I remain optimistic and thankful that I am part of the Empire State College’s RN- to-BSN program. It has been instrumental in making my dreams come true.
  23. 23. Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 23 FALL CRs SPRING CRs SUMMER CRs 204014 Educational 4 204034 Health Care 4 204044 4 Planning: Transition to Delivery Systems and Pharmacology Baccalaureate Nursing Policy Academic Year 1 (2008-2009) 204024 Advanced Health 4 204054 Professional 4 Assessment Issues and Leadership in Contemporary Nursing 263704 United States Labor History 4 204084 Community 4 204074 Nursing Research 4 Advanced Nursing 4 Academic Year 2 (2009-2010) Health Nursing Management 204064 Nursing Informatics 4 204094 Advanced 4 Academic Year 3 (2010- Clinical Experience 2011)
  24. 24. Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 24 References Benner, P. (2001). From novice to expert. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall, Inc. Benner, P. and Wrubel. J. (1982). Clinical knowledge development: the value of perceptual awareness. Nurse Educator 7, May-June, 11-17. Covey, Stephen (1989). The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. Gadamer, G. (1970). Truth and method. London: Sheer & Ward. Newman, Margaret (2008). Transforming Presence. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company, pgs. 6, 13.

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