The Howard University Division of Nursing, while cognizant of the nature of society and the health care delivery system, has as its purpose the development of students at the bachelor's and master's level who can effectively and efficiently address the diverse and complex health care needs of society. The Division of Nursing was established in 1969 with a program of students leading to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. In 1980 the Master of Science in Nursing degree program was initiated and recently, Post-Master's Certificate Family Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Educator programs were added.
The Bachelor of Science program offers a balanced curriculum including courses in the liberal arts, the sciences, the humanities and nursing. The majority of nursing courses are concentrated in the junior and senior years and involve traditional classroom, online and clinical learning experiences in acute care settings, long-term care facilities and community-based settings, such as home care and community shelters. Students in the bachelor's degree program develop competencies in the care of adults, children, child-bearing families and the elderly.
A theoretical base for nursing practice is laid early in the program and students grow in their ability to apply theory in developing systems of care for patients. Course work and practical application in management, leadership and research enhance the student's ability to think creatively, critically and to solve problems.
A RN to BSN track within the bachelor's degree program was initiated during the 1988-1989 academic year. This track allows the registered nurses with an Associate Degree or Diploma to receive credit for prior nursing and science courses through a variety of validation procedures. Registered Nurses who have graduated from associate degree nursing programs within the past five years may receive a minimum of 60 transfer credits towards the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. No validation testing is required for articulated students.
A new undergraduate curriculum began in 1993 and was revised in 2009 to emphasize critical thinking and problem solving, health promotion and prevention, community-based interventions, and reflects the general climate of the evolving health care delivery system.
The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program offers specialty preparation as a Family Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Educator. The MSN, as a nurse educator track, was re-established in 2011. A post-master's certificate program was added in 1994. In the graduate program, the theoretical base of nursing practice is expanded and applied as students develop their varied clinical specialties. Research skills are stressed and there is both a thesis and a non-thesis option.
The diversity of the Washington, DC community provides students with a variety of learning opportunities and challenges. There are also many opportunities for community service by faculty, students and staff. The Division of Nursing has adopted the issues of homelessness and care of the elderly as emphasis within the undergraduate and graduate curricula.
The Division of Nursing has expanded in the realm of international nursing. There has been significant involvement in consultation, instruction and curriculum development in some of the developing African countries and Caribbean.