NURS 520   Foundations of Advanced Nursing Practice

Delivery mode:  Paced/home-study online
Credits: 3 - Applied Studies
Prerequisite: Professor approval


1.0 Introduction | 2.0 Course Goals | 3.0 Course Materials | 4.0 Course Structure | 5.0 Course Outline | 6.0 Assessment Structure

1.0     Introduction

NURS 520 Foundations of Advanced Nursing Practice is the first course in a program of study leading to the Advanced Graduate Diploma: Advanced Nursing Practice or the Master of Nursing degree.

NURS 520 introduces concepts and principles on which advanced nursing practice is founded. These include competencies of advanced nursing practice, principles of primary health care and community development, determinants of health, and evidence-based practice.    

Athabasca University’s Advanced Nursing Practice program incorporates two interrelated components.  The first component is community health development.  NURS 520 introduces students to practice frameworks for community health development that will be applied with communities throughout the program.  The provision of extended health services is the second component of advanced nursing practice.  NURS 520 introduces practice frameworks that students will use in later courses to diagnose and treat common health concerns of individual clients of all ages.

Students identify an individual (family physician or masters-prepared health professional) who will serve as their preceptor in the extended health practicum of later courses.  Students complete a minimum of 20 hours in the extended health services practicum, completing an orientation with their preceptors and demonstrating skills in adult health assessment. As well, students complete a minimum of 20 hours in the community health development practicum, beginning collection of data about a geopolitical community.


2.0     Course Goals

After completing this course, students should be able to:

  1. discuss the characteristics and competencies of advanced nursing practice;
  2. discuss the regulation of advanced nursing practice within their provincial/territorial/state jurisdiction; 
  3. analyse the significance of the following concepts and principles that form the foundation of advanced nursing practice:
    1. primary health care (accessibility, participation, collaboration, health promotion, appropriate technology)
    2. community development (connective processes, collaboration, empowerment, advocacy, healthy public policy)
    3. determinants of health of individuals and populations, with particular attention to vulnerable clients
    4. critical social theory;
    5.   group dynamics and conflict resolution
  4. relate the above concepts and principles to the extended health and community health development components of advanced nursing practice;
  5. discuss the application of practice frameworks in the provision of extended health services to individual clients, including frameworks for health assessment, nursing diagnosis and intervention, clinical decision making, ordering and interpretation of diagnostic tests, and prescription of medications;
  6. discuss the application of practice frameworks in the provision of community health development services, including frameworks for assessment of community needs and strengths, diagnosis of priority community health concerns, and promotion of community health;
  7. apply practice frameworks within extended health services and community health development practicum settings;
  8. identify sources of evidence that can inform advanced nursing practice, including health indicators, research, and clinical guidelines;
  9. consider the significance of environmental scanning of trends to develop a personal futures scenario of advanced nursing practice.


3.0     Course Materials 

NURS 520 is comprised of both Online and Print-based course materials.

Online Materials

  • Introduction: Provides essential information about the course materials, the design of the course, and the procedures you should follow to complete the course successfully.
  • Schedule: Outlines the timing of course activities
  • Units: Contains the seven units that comprise the course
  • Assessment: Outlines the assignments/evaluation procedures of the course.
  • Reference: Listing of required readings, web sites, and citations included in the units
  • ANP Guide: Explains how to complete the practicum requirements of the course.

Print Materials

The textbooks listed below are used in this course.

Bickley, L. (2004). Bates' pocket guide to physical examination and history taking (4th
     ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott.

Canadian Nurses Association. (2002). Advanced nursing practice: A national
     framework. 
Ottawa: CNA.

Chase, S. (2004). Clinical judgment and communication in nurse practitioner practice.
     Philadelphia: F.A. Davis.

Dewar, T. (1997). A guide to evaluating asset-based community development:
     Lessons, challenges, and opportunities.
Chicago: ACTA Publications. 

Fischbach, F. (2004). A manual of laboratory and diagnostic tests (7th
     ed.). Philadelphia:Lippincott. 

Gordon, M. (2002). Manual of nursing diagnosis (10th ed.). St. Louis: Mosby 

Kretzmann, J., & McKnight, J. (1993). Building communities from the inside out: A
     path toward finding and mobilizing a communities assets
. Chicago: ACTA
    Publications. 

Levine, M., Lexchin, J., & Pellizzari, R. (1998). Drugs of choice: A formulary for
     general practice
. Ottawa: Canadian Medical Association.  

Robinson, D., & McKenzie, C. (2000). Procedures for primary care providers.
     Philadelphia: Lippincott. 

Robinson, D. (2002). Clinical decision making for nurse practitioners (2nd ed.).
     Philadelphia: Lippincott. 

Vollman, A., Anderson, E., & McFarlane, J. (2004). Canadian community as partner.
    
Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Wynne, A., Woo, T., & Millard, M. (2002). Pharmacotherapeutics for nurse
      practitioner prescribers
. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis.


4.0     Course Structure  

The course includes Internet access to health-related Web sites around the world, participation in electronic mail, and computer conferencing with students from across the country. Students are expected to connect to an Internet Service Provider at their own expense.

5.0     Course Outline  

NURS 520 consists of the following 7 units:

Unit 1 - Introduction to Advanced Nursing Practice: Theory and Practicum
Time Frame: Weeks 1 and 2

The first unit “sets the stage” for the remainder of the course. Students study the characteristics and competencies of advanced nursing practice and investigate their province/territory’s approach to regulating advanced nursing practice. Then students study the two components of Athabasca University’s Advanced Nursing Practice program: extended health services and community health development. Students familiarize themselves with the foundations of advanced nursing practice that will be studied later in the course. Finally, students begin preparations for their extended health services and community health development practicum experiences by reviewing the Practicum Guide.

Unit 2 - Frameworks for Advanced Nursing Practice: Extended Health Services
Time Frame: Weeks 3 to 5

This unit introduces practice frameworks and skills that are used in the provision of extended health services to individuals of all life stages: health assessment, clinical decision making, diagnostic testing, prescribing of drugs, and extended health services clinical skills. In later courses, these are related to common health concerns studied in the courses and applied with clients in the extended health services practicum. 

Unit 3 - Frameworks for Advanced Nursing Practice: Community Health Development
Time Frame: Weeks 6 to 7

Unit 3 introduces practice frameworks that will be applied with communities in assessing community health and identifying areas for community health development.

Unit 4 - Principles for Advanced Nursing Practice: Primary Health Care and Community Development
Time Frame: Weeks 8 and 9

Unit 4 introduces principles that are the foundation of advanced nursing practice. These are principles of primary health care and community development. In later courses each of these principles is studied in depth to examine how they influence both the extended health services and community health development components of advanced nursing practice.

Unit 5 - Determinants of Health of Populations and Individuals 
Time Frame: Weeks 10 and 11

This unit discusses the determinants of health, the many factors that influence health within both health and non-health sectors of society. The determinants of health are presented from a population health approach with a particular focus on the health of vulnerable populations. Much work in advanced nursing practice, particularly in the community health development component, is completed with groups and so this unit examines principles of working with groups. Conflict in an inherent part of group work and the unit concludes with a discussion of conflict resolution.

Unit 6 - Evidence-Based Advanced Nursing Practice
Time Frame: Weeks 12 and 13

Advanced nursing practice is based on evidence, which includes research-based evidence and clinical expertise. This unit introduces students to the meaning of evidence-based practice and identifies various sources of evidence that can be used to inform practice. The implications of this for the student's role are included. 

Unit 7 - The Future of Advanced Nursing Practice
Time Frame: Week 14

The last unit of the course helps students develop ideas about possible futures of advanced nursing practice, including both components of extended health services and community health development.


6.0     Assessment Structure  

To receive credit for NURS 520, students must achieve a minimum mark of 60% on each element of the assessment structure (conference participation and written assignments) and achieve a course composite grade of at least 60 per cent. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

  • Conference Participation - 20%

  • Assignment 1 - 35%

  • Assignment 2 - 45%

Total 100%

In addition, students must achieve satisfactory performance in their practicum experiences.

Conference Participation (20%)  

Feedback regarding conference participation will be ongoing. Quality of input (not quantity) is the goal. Feedback will focus on the student's ability to provide organized and original contributions that reflect analysis and synthesis of the material presented.    

Participation Criteria 

Participation will be measured against the following criteria:

  1. Complete on-line contributions during the unit conference timeframe.

  2. Respond to online discussions at least twice each week.

  3. Contribute original thoughts or ideas to online discussions.  

  4. Cite relevant resources to validate points made.

  5. Demonstrate openness to divergent points of view.

  6. Be respectful of the perceptions of others.  

  7. Integrate material from previous units to formulate ideas and generate dialogue. 

  8. Present responses that follow the rules of grammar and spelling in the online contributions.   

Assignment 1: Self Assessment of Advanced Nursing Practice Competencies (35%)

Assignment 1 is intended to help students become aware of how they presently incorporate the competencies of advanced nursing practice into their nursing practice.

Assignment 2: Application of Principles in Extended Health Services (45%)

In Assignment 2, students relate principles of primary health care and community development to practice frameworks/models used in advanced nursing practice.



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Page last edited: July 14, 2004 ©Copyright 2003 Athabasca University
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