Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.


Chair, 2014-15: Diana O. Neal, pediatric and perinatal nursing

Faculty, 2014-15: Nicole B. Beckmann, pediatric and adult nursing; Susan L. Huehn, perinatal and mental health nursing; Mary Beth Kuehn, public health nursing and leadership; Sandra A. Morisette, adult nursing

Other MINC Faculty, 2014-15: Heidi M. Meyer, adult nursing and leadership; Lynnea H. Myers, pediatric, public health, and adult nursing; Jessica L. Stadick, adult nursing; Barbara L. Zust, perinatal and mental health nursing

Nursing, the largest of the health professions, is founded on a commitment of service to others and focuses on the health and well being of society. Nursing practice involves four areas: promoting health and wellness, preventing illness, restoring health, and care of the dying.

The Minnesota Intercollegiate Nursing Consortium (MINC), the nursing program at St. Olaf working in cooperation with that of Gustavus Adolphus College, offers students the opportunity to enjoy a St. Olaf education, earn a bachelor of arts degree with a major in nursing, enroll in nursing courses with students outside the major and from another college, enjoy courses taught by professors from two colleges, and have clinical learning experiences in a wide variety of local and Twin Cities medical and health care centers, long-term care facilities, community agencies, home health, and other facilities. The MINC will end with the Class of 2015 and an independent St. Olaf Nursing Program will begin with the Class of 2016.  The St. Olaf Nursing Program will continue to offer students the opportunity to enjoy a St. Olaf education, earn a bachelor of arts degree with a major in nursing, enroll in nursing courses with students outside the major, and have clinical learning experiences in a wide variety of local and Twin Cities medical and health care centers, long-term care facilities, community agencies, home health, and other facilities. By combining the values of the individual and a liberal arts background with the acquisition of professional knowledge and nursing skills, the nursing programs integrate development of the whole person, a commitment to life-long learning, and service to others with a holistic approach to the practice of professional nursing.

The MINC, which is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and has been approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing, spans four academic years. In the fall of 2015, the St. Olaf Nursing Program will have an onsite review to establish accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and has been granted continuing approval by the Minnesota Board of Nursing.

Upon graduation, students are eligible to apply for initial licensure by examination for registered nurses offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and, upon licensure, they can apply for certification as a public health nurse in Minnesota.


The programs, through an innovative design that integrates theory with practice and partners educators with professionals in practice, prepare graduates to provide and coordinate nursing care for individuals, families, and communities within standards of professional practice utilizing the Neuman Systems Model. Students learn to think critically, communicate effectively, and implement therapeutic nursing interventions within the sociocultural, spiritual, and developmental context of patient situations.

Graduates are qualified to work in hospitals, public health agencies, and clinics, to give high quality nursing care to patients and families, and to direct the nursing care given by others. They have the background for graduate study in nursing programs, which can prepare them for advanced nursing practice, teaching, administration, and research.


Information regarding the national accreditation status of the program can be obtained from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), One Dupont Circle NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036-1120, (202) 887-6791. Information regarding state approval of the program is available from the Minnesota Board of Nursing, 2829 University Ave., Suite 500, Minneapolis, MN 55414, (612) 317-3000.


Admission and Progression

Students are encouraged to express an interest in the nursing major upon application for admission to St. Olaf College. Enrollment in the program is limited and admission is competitive; therefore, early consultation with the department chair is recommended. Interested students are assigned nursing faculty as academic advisors. Recognizing the cooperative relationship that exists between Gustavus Adolphus College and St. Olaf College as participants in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Nursing Consortium (MINC), no college in MINC will accept, as transfers in nursing, students who have taken the prenursing or nursing curriculum from the other institution in the consortium. In exceptional circumstances (e.g., withdrawal from college for a period of one year), a student may petition to the MINC director for an exception to this policy.

Students must apply for admission to the nursing major during the fall of the sophomore year. Application information is available from the department chair or website. Admission criteria include cumulative grade point average, grades in prerequisite courses, essay, interview, demonstration of mathematics competency and student status. Students will be notified of their conditional acceptance into the major by a letter from the department chair during the spring semester of the sophomore year. Nursing courses begin in the fall of the junior year.

Conditional acceptance into the nursing major will become final if students meet the following criteria at the end of the sophomore year: a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.85 and successful completion of all nursing prerequisite courses with a GPA of 2.70. Prerequisites must be taken for a letter grade. Only one prerequisite course may be below C-, and this course (or an alternate course approved by the Nursing Department chair) may be repeated once. A minimum grade of C- must be achieved in the repeated or substituted course. If a grade of C- is not achieved in the repeated or substituted course, the student may not continue in the major. If two or more prerequisite courses are below C- the student may not continue in the major.

Students not accepted may choose to be placed on a waiting list and will be notified of their rank on that list. If openings occur, admission will be offered to waiting list students by rank, highest rank first. Students on the waiting list may also reapply for admission to the nursing program the following year. They will be considered in the next pool of applicants but will not be guaranteed admission because they apply a second time.

In the event that a student is denied admission to the program by the department of nursing, and is subsequently unsuccessful in appealing the decision within the department, the student may appeal to the Academic Dean, who will ask for a written statement from both the student and the department prior to rendering a decision. The Dean's decision will be final.

In addition to the college health requirements, nursing students must also provide documentation of: physical examination, immunization to Hepatitis B, measles, mumps, varicella, rubella, influenza, and negative two-step Tuberculosis Skin Test (TST)/Mantoux or negative Blood Assay for Mycobacterium (BAMT)/TB serum test or negative chest x-ray (only with a positive TST) after June 1 of both the junior and senior years in the major.

Continuous certification in CPR must be maintained throughout the major. Students should complete a CPR course prior to beginning nursing courses that provides certification for the two-year period they are enrolled in the major. Students should select either the Basic Life Support for Health Providers course offered by the American Heart Association or the CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers and Healthcare Providers course offered by the American Red Cross.

In order to be qualified to provide direct patient services, students must undergo an annual criminal background study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (MDHS). If a student is disqualified by the MDHS, he or she will be unable to provide direct patient care and he or she will be dismissed from the nursing program.

Effective fall 2014, students beginning the nursing program must be a certified nursing assistant (CNA). Students will need to provide documentation of Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Nursing Assistant registration after successful completion of a Certified Nursing Assistant/Nursing Assistant Registered program prior to beginning the nursing program.

Requirements for Graduation

Students must meet all college requirements for graduation, as well as complete eight prerequisite courses, one supporting course and 11 upper division nursing courses. The required courses for the nursing major are Nursing 302, 304, 306, 308, 336, 338, 386, 388, 392, and 397.

Prerequisite Courses

Eight courses to be completed before beginning upper-division nursing courses are: Biology 143, 231, 243; one of Chemistry 111, 121, or 125; Exercise Science Theory 110 (formerly Nursing 110); Psychology 125 and 241; one of Sociology 121, 128, 260, or 264. A course in ethics must be completed before graduation. Students should consult with their advisor to determine what courses meet this requirement for nursing from general education EIN courses.


The Department of Nursing seeks to recognize senior students who distinguish themselves through an independent project which goes beyond the requirements of the major. Candidates are evaluated for the extent to which they: synthesize and integrate knowledge from the basic sciences and the liberal arts in nursing care; apply cognitive, interpersonal, and psychomotor skills to the nursing care of patients through the nursing process; demonstrate accountability for the quality of their own nursing interventions and independence in decision making; demonstrate leadership skills in relation with patients, peers, nursing, and other health team members and in functions relating to professional nursing; demonstrate participation in extra-curricular activities; and demonstrate the ability to develop a creative project with relevance to nursing.

Students with a grade point average of 3.5 or above in the nursing courses completed at the point of application are eligible to be candidates for departmental distinction. Guidelines for distinction are available from the nursing office.

Study Abroad

Nursing students at St. Olaf can participate in the Study/Service or Semester Abroad programs listed in the International Studies section of the catalog. However, participants in programs abroad will need to plan carefully and additional time may be necessary to complete all requirements for the nursing major. The nursing advisor or the department chair will assist in planning for these experiences.

Second Majors

Undergraduates may choose to earn a double major at St. Olaf, in nursing and another discipline. Additional time may be necessary for this choice, as well as advising by faculty representing both disciplines. Students who have already earned a St. Olaf degree are eligible to earn a second major in nursing. Students should consult with the department chair to determine prerequisite courses needed prior to beginning the nursing courses. Special tuition charges are possible.


Nursing courses that count toward the major are upper-division (junior and senior years). Courses progress from non-acute to acute nursing, from simple to complex situations, and include care of the individual, the family, and the community. Each nursing course that counts toward the major provides the student with 39 class periods, or the equivalent, of instruction. One class period equals 55 minutes at St. Olaf. Three hours of classroom laboratory or clinical laboratory is the equivalent of one class period. Clinical experiences are provided in each semester of the nursing major in a variety of rural and urban settings. Clinical experiences may occur on any shift or day of the week as negotiated by agencies and the program. Students must provide their own transportation to clinical experiences. Nursing faculty design and evaluate all classroom and laboratory experiences; in some courses registered nurses working as adjunct instructors assist faculty to guide student learning in the classroom or clinical laboratories. A fee is assessed each semester for program expenses.

120 Images of Wellness

This course examines how contemporary culture influences present-day wellness perspectives. Values, lifestyle, daily stresses, and corresponding coping mechanisms affecting one's well-being are explored. Students study health behaviors as a function of social influences and, conversely, the impact of unhealthy coping behaviors on the social enterprise. This course also includes an exploration of wellness from the perspective of non-western cultures. Offered annually during Interim, spring semester, or fall semester. Counts towards American studies major and media film studies concentration.

140 Health and Social Inequality: Rural and Urban Perspectives

Health begins where we live, work and play. Students are immersed in public, private, and community-based organizations in Northfield (rural) and Minneapolis-St. Paul (urban) to gain an understanding of the social determinants of health (environmental conditions, resources and supports) and the relationship to individual health outcomes through service learning. A special emphasis is placed on the impact of socioeconomic status, geographic location, and disability on health disparities. Prerequisites: one course in sociology/anthropology, women's and gender studies, social work, family studies, economics, political science, environmental studies, or nursing. Offered during Interim

221 Health and Culture in Oceania

This course explores health and culture in Oceania, examining sources of influence such as the colonial experience, regional and global interdependence, the impact of nuclear testing, and the co-existence of traditional and "modern" values. Students examine these cultures on Oahu Hawai'i, Kosrae, and Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), through ethnographic readings, guest lectures, field trips, and as participant observers at events. Offered occasionally during Interim.

294 Internship

Does not count toward the major. Students may choose a 1.00, .50, or .25-credit option

298 Independent Study

Does not count toward the major.

302 Health Care Issues

This course focuses on critical issues in contemporary health care. Topics include principles of wellness, health promotion, sensory perception, interpersonal communication, cultural competency, and legal, political, and economic aspects of the health care system in the United States. Students have the opportunity to explore health care issues, such as genomics, bio-terrorism, and global health problems. Prerequisites: concurrent registration in NURS 304, NURS 306, and NURS 308. Offered annually in the fall semester. Counts toward biomedical studies concentration (for students through class of 2016).

304 Nursing Concepts

This course explores the foundational and philosophical concepts of the discipline of nursing. Topics include the history and image of nursing, scope of practice and professional roles, ethics, research, and lifelong learning. Students develop the ability to assess an individual's state of health from a holistic perspective, using Neuman's Systems Model as a theoretical framework. Emphasis is on the use of critical thinking and evidence-based practice. Prerequisites: concurrent registration in NURS 302, NURS 306, and NURS 308. Offered annually in the fall semester.

306 Health Assessment

Classroom and laboratory experiences in nursing and health assessment skills develop the student's ability to provide nursing care. Opportunities are provided to apply knowledge from the liberal arts and nursing theory to simulated patient care situations. Individual practice sessions in the nursing laboratory are expected. Performance testing determines readiness for the role of caregiver in a variety of clinical settings. Prerequisites: concurrent registration in NURS 302, NURS 304, and NURS 308. Offered annually in the fall semester.

308 Adult Health I

This course focuses on principles of pharmacology and care of the hospitalized adult including communication skills. Topics include pain management, sleep and rest, diabetes, antiinfectives, and perioperative care. Students apply the nursing process to the care of adults, with emphasis on the elderly. Using a holistic perspective, students collect and analyze information related to a individual's health status. Students begin to develop the professional role of caregiver and patient advocate. Clinical experiences are provided in a variety of settings serving adult and elderly populations, as well as in simulation. Prerequisites: concurrent registration in NURS 302, NURS 304, and NURS 306. Offered annually in the fall semester.

336 Adult Health II (2.0)

This course explores health problems in adults requiring medical or surgical care. Students utilize the roles of caregiver, patient advocate, educator, and collaborator in the care of individuals. Classes integrate pathophysiology, pharmacology, and knowledge of acute and chronic health problems in the adult population. Clinical experiences are provided in a variety of settings serving adult and elderly populations, as well as in simulation. Prerequisites: NURS 302, NURS 304, NURS 306, and NURS 308. Offered annually in the spring semester.

338 Child Health

This course explores health problems of children requiring medical or surgical care. Students integrate knowledge of developmental, transcultural, and communication theories in the care of children from infancy through adolescence. Trends and issues related to family-centered health care are explored. Students further develop the roles of educator, collaborator, advocate, and caregiver. A variety of pediatric clinical settings, as well as simulation, are utilized. Prerequisite: NURS 336 or concurrent registration. Offered annually in the spring semester.

386 Perinatal Health

This course explores the childbearing process in healthy and high-risk families. Clinical experiences are provided with families during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and following birth. Clinical settings include hospital birth centers, clinics, simulation, and home care agencies. Students develop the role of educator by working with parents to integrate and care for a new member of the family system. Prerequisite: NURS 336. Offered annually in the fall semester. Counts toward women's and gender studies major and concentration.

388 Community Health

This course emphasizes the health of communities and populations. Topics include population-based health issues such as environmental health, epidemiology and communicable diseases. Students assess and screen individuals and families within communities, address identified needs and educate populations across the lifespan, collaborate with other health care professionals, make referrals, and participate in health promotion clinics. Clinical experiences occur in rural public health agencies, community-based programs, and simulation. Prerequisite: NURS 336. Offered annually in the fall semester.

392 Mental Health

Students explore issues related to the care of individuals suffering from acute and chronic psychiatric disorders. The course includes topics such as major mental illnesses, substance abuse, depression, and anxiety disorders. Students develop the roles of counselor and collaborator by working with an interdisciplinary team in providing care to patients in psychiatric settings. Clinical experiences and simulation emphasize the use of therapeutic communication, psychiatric assessment, and interpersonal relationship skills. Prerequisite: NURS 388. Offered annually in the spring semester.

394 Internship

Does not count toward the major. Students may choose a 1.00-, .50-, or .25-credit option.

396 Directed Undergraduate Research: "Topic Description"

This course provides a comprehensive research opportunity, including an introduction to relevant background material, technical instruction, identification of a meaningful project, and data collection. The topic is determined by the faculty member in charge of the course and may relate to his/her research interests. Does not count toward the major. Prerequisite: Determined by individual instructor. Offered based on department decision. May be offered as a 1.00 credit course or .50 credit course.

397 Nursing Leadership

This course explores the theories of leadership, management, and organizations and the process of managing personnel and work. Concepts of change, conflict negotiation, and preparation for professional practice are examined. Professional communication is emphasized through writing and conducting a teaching conference for personnel. The roles of leader, manager, and coordinator are emphasized. Clinical experiences and simulation focus on providing nursing care to groups of adults with complex health problems. Prerequisite: NURS 336. Offered annually in the spring semester.

398 Independent Research

Does not count toward the major.