glossary of terms

Baccalaureate Degree Nursing Program An undergraduate curriculum in professional nursing offered by an institute of higher learning.  The program provides nursing education courses as well as foundational studies and liberal studies courses.  Baccalaureate degree education provides a foundation for graduate study in nursing.

Baccalaureate Degree Nursing Practice Nursing care of clients in multiple settings. Nurses are prepared as generalists who have the skills to effect change to improve health care delivery through leadership, collaboration, and coordination of care with members of the interdisciplinary health team.

Client Individuals, families, groups, and/or communities. Clients are culturally diverse, unique, complex, and dynamic beings who interact with the environment.

Clinical Decision-Making A process by which nurses make clinical judgments and includes such methodologies as nursing process and evidence based practice.

Critical Thinking Purposeful, reflective reasoning, and analysis used to form beliefs and guide decision-making.

Environment Internal and external dimensions which interact to influence the life and development of the client. The internal environment includes physical, psychological, social, developmental, and spiritual components; the external environment includes physical, sociological, cultural, political, ecological, economic, and technological forces.

Evidence-based Clinical Practice This methodology incorporates research, valid evidence, values, and resource allocation.  It contributes to interdisciplinary knowledge, best practice outcomes, and economical health care delivery.

Graduate Degree Nursing Program A two-year program in graduate nursing offered by an institute of higher learning.  The program provides core nursing courses as well as courses in specialist tracks.  Graduate education provides preparation for assumption of advanced practice roles.

Graduate Degree Nursing Practice Advanced practice includes active involvement in shaping health policy and conducting research and evidence-based clinical practice and client outcome research, proficiency in advanced clinical judgment, participation in interdependent practice, development and use of economic and quality indicators, and use of technological advances. Practice settings vary and provide local, national, and international perspectives. Advanced preparation for leadership roles in education/administration will continue to be necessary in the changing health care delivery system.

Health A state of being that occurs in varying degrees of wellness and illness ranging from optimal health to death. Determinants of health include the internal and external environments, availability of personal, social, and cultural resources, and lifestyle.

Health Care Delivery System Mechanism for providing client-centered, comprehensive, interdisciplinary, integrated, and accessible health care designed to meet the needs of clients. The system is influenced by social, fiscal, ethical, legal, technological, and political components.

Health Risk Any physical, behavioral, psychosocial, spiritual, intellectual, developmental,  or environmental factor that increases the vulnerability of a client to illness or accident.

Interdisciplinary Health Team This is an approach to health care delivery that involves nurses and clients with the practitioners of other health and related/supportive disciplines in the collaborative assessing, planning, implementing, and evaluating of comprehensive health care.

Illness A state in which the client’s health needs are not satisfied or met; the client experiences decreased adequacy and decreased feelings of well-being and/or immediate distress.

Life-long Learning A continuing process of behavioral and cognitive changes through the integration of knowledge and experience. Learning is achieved through formal and informal activities.

Life Span Lifespan encompasses human growth and development from conception to death. Age periods are used to organize the curriculum based on identifiable patterns related to developmental eras. Each period is influenced by preconception events, genetics, biological maturation, individual learning, social interaction, and religious beliefs.

Needs Physical, psychosocial, spiritual, intellectual, developmental, and environmental requirements necessary for the client’s survival and self-actualization.

Nursing A caring profession whose major focus is the facilitation of optimal health in clients. The nurse uses critical thinking processes when making clinical judgments to respond to clients.

Nursing Process The operational methodology for defining the health and nursing care needs of clients. The methodology includes five distinct phases that are interactive and interdependent.

Nursing Roles Competencies and skills performed by nurses in response to current and anticipated health needs of the client.

Optimal Health The highest potential degree of physical, psychosocial, and spiritual well-being that is within the client’s capacity.

Settings Geographical and/or situational environments where nurses practice. Settings may be traditional in which policies, procedures, and protocols for providing health care may be established or nontraditional where policies, procedures, and protocols are implied.

Therapeutic Communication Skills The application of a dynamic process between two or more persons, in which there is an exchange of information, thoughts, and feelings. The skills involved are accurate perception, interpretation and expression, in a style sensitive to the purpose and context of the interaction. This interaction may occur in various formats including: verbal, nonverbal, tactile, artistic creations, test base, or information technology.

Therapeutic Nursing Interventions Holistic nursing actions that are implemented in an accurate, safe manner according to national standards and practice guidelines.