Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 1
Sample A - Rationale Essay
Type of Degree: Bachelor of Science
Area of Study: Nursing
Date of Submission: 12/20/09
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.
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
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.
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
A benefit of the baccalaureate trained nurse is the liberal education that one receives.
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.
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
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
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
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.
Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 8
Sample B - Rationale Essay
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
History of American
Nursing Research 4 Medicine
2 General Chemistry 4
Year 2: 2009
Statistics 4 Topics in World History 2
Nursing Informatics 4
Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 14
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.
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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
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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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
263704 United States
Labor History 4
204084 Community 4 204074 Nursing Research 4 Advanced Nursing 4
Academic Year 2 (2009-2010)
Health Nursing Management
204094 Advanced 4
Academic Year 3 (2010-
Nursing Rationale Essay Samples (Student Name and Mentor Name) 24
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 &
Gadamer, G. (1970). Truth and method. London: Sheer & Ward.
Newman, Margaret (2008). Transforming Presence. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company, pgs. 6,