Nursing

at a glance

Major icon MAJOR

Nursing is a unique call to care for the sick and suffering as a participation in the life of Christ. That’s why the nursing program at Ave Maria University builds upon the Christian understanding of the human person as taught in our core curriculum. We teach and reinforce principles of Catholic biomedical ethics, and foster dedication and excellence to the skills necessary for the profession.

Careers: Acute care, home health, hospice, occupational health

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NURSING AT AMU

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is designed as a four-year nursing program. In the first two years, students in the pre-nursing track complete the Core Curriculum and pre-nursing science requirements and then apply to the Nursing Major. Upon successful admission to nursing, students spend the third and fourth years taking almost exclusively nursing courses.

Ave Maria University is approved by the Florida Board of Nursing to offer the BSN degree. Our program adheres to the Charter for Health Care Workers issued by the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers (1995).

As of March 2021, this nursing education program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

light bulbFast Fact: The median annual salary for a registered nurse is $75K

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Skills you will gain with

A nursing DEGREE

  1. Critical thinking. Throughout your coursework, you will gain understanding of and experience with evidence-based practice, communication, collaboration, professional leadership, cultural humility, professional values and information technology. These skills combine to create a solid background as you begin your nursing career, and will assist you as you navigate your personal life.
  2. Catholic understanding of the human person. At Ave Maria University, we take a decidedly faith-based approach to nursing. By embracing Catholic values that respect the dignity of each individual, you will apply what you learn in the nursing program to a career focused on bringing healing and hope to others.
  3. Biomedical ethics. As you partake in a Catholic-focused approach toward nursing, you will grow in respect for ethical medical treatments as you care for the sick and suffering through the love of Christ.
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CAREER PATHS

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A look into the

Nursing DEPARTMENT

The concepts of critical thinking, evidence-based practice, communication, collaboration, professional leadership, cultural humility, professional values, and information technology are introduced in the first nursing course and emphasized throughout the curriculum. Nursing courses focus on enhancing the nursing students’ critical thought process. Evidence-based nursing practice is introduced in the first nursing course and emphasized throughout the curriculum.

Students intending to major in Nursing will proceed through the full sequence of the core curriculum. The Nursing Program shares the ideals and aims of liberal education which permeate the entire university. The core provides an indispensable foundation for the study of the nursing. The Nursing Program values the core especially for providing a broad orientation to the unity of truth, the understanding of the human person as expressed in the Catholic intellectual tradition, and the just ordering of society as developed in Western Civilization. In addition, the collective coursework of the core inculcates the skills and habits necessary for studies within the craft of nursing, such as critical thinking, evidence-based practice, communication, mathematical and scientific analysis, and above all, prudence.

The nursing program at Ave Maria University adheres to the Charter for Health Care Workers issued by the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers (1995). The nursing program should build upon the Christian understanding of the human person as taught in the core curriculum. It should highlight the care of the sick and suffering as a participation in the love of Christ. It should teach and reinforce principles and conclusions of Catholic biomedical ethics. It should promote the true health of the human person. It should foster dedication and excellence in the skills, knowledge, and habits necessary for the nursing profession. The nature of nursing as service to the life of the human person demands such dedication and excellence.

Since the initial graduating class of May 2017, AMU has graduated four annual cohorts in the BSN Program. The BSN Program has exceeded the NCLEX pass rate goals established by the Florida Board of Nursing and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing for each of the initial three cohorts; the results for the fourth cohort (May 2020 graduates) are not yet available.

The first four cohorts have graduated a combined 93% of the students who entered the program – exceeding the AMU goal of 90% graduation in each of the past two years.

The first three cohorts each exceeded the AMU job placement goal of 90% of graduates; the job placement results for the fourth cohort are not yet available.

Limited Access Program

Nursing (B.S.N.) is a degree program that requires a supplemental application due to limited access. A Limited Access Program is one where both program admission and registration in program classes are restricted to a certain number of students meeting pre-determined criteria and maximum capacity is based on available resources. Not all applicants may be accepted. The University offers alternate, related degrees including Biology, Health Science, and Exercise Physiology, which are not Limited Access Programs. Please refer to the Nursing Program website for program pre-requisites and application procedures.

Admission

To be considered for acceptance into the four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, the following is required:

  • Prior admission to Ave Maria University
  • Application for admission due to the Department of Nursing by December 1 annually
  • A minimum overall GPA of 3.0 and completion of 48 credits (this is the minimum GPA, not a guarantee of admission – all applications will be reviewed and considered)
  • Students may only re-take pre-requisite courses once if they did not earn a satisfactory grade on their first attempt
  • All students, including transfers, must complete AMU freshman and sophomore Core Curriculum courses and nursing prerequisite courses prior to entrance to the Nursing Program
  • Grade of C or greater for science courses (science courses must be completed before entrance to the program)
  • Submit an essay (300-500 words) which includes an introduction of the applicant, why the applicant wishes to pursue a career in Nursing, any healthcare experiences, and any community service work, passions, and accomplishments
  • An admission examination TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills)
  • Completion of Nursing Application
  • Completion of Health and Regulatory Requirements
  • Transfer students attempting to transfer in NURS courses must pass the final exam for every AMU nursing course equivalent in order to earn credit for those courses

Completion of Nursing Application

Electronic applications are strongly preferred and should be sent to nursing@avemaria.edu

Applications are submitted during and reviewed at the end of the Fall Term prior to entry to the Nursing Program, typically the fall of the sophomore year of studies. The application is due December 1st in the term of application.

Upon acceptance and prior to beginning classes, students shall possess reasonably good health, and physical abilities shall be such that the student is able to render safe nursing care. An annual physical examination and an annual PPD, review of symptoms, and/or chest x-ray are required.

All requirements need to be completed prior to the first day of class as a nursing student. Health and regulatory requirements are listed below.

Health Certification and Immunization Record

The Annual Physical and Immunization Record form must be completed by a Licensed Physician, Physician Assistant, or Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner and returned to the Ave Maria University Nursing Program. The records must be returned to the Nursing Program no later than July 1st of each year. All immunizations must be complete. Immunization requirements are as follows:

MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) – Proof of two immunizations or positive titers

Diphtheria/Tetanus – Booster with Tdap or Td within the last ten years are required

Varicella (Chickenpox) – Proof of two immunizations or positive titer (**History of disease DOES NOT meet requirement)

Hepatitis B Vaccination – Proof of three injections or positive titer

Consent/Refusal of Hepatitis B Vaccination

Although it is not a requirement, we encourage all nursing students to take the series of injections to immunize against Hepatitis B. Whether or not a student chooses to take the injections, the student must complete the Consent/Refusal of Hepatitis B Vaccination form.

TB (Tuberculin) Screening

Students must submit evidence of a current tuberculin test (PPD):

Students with a negative PPD must have a second PPD in 3 weeks to confirm non-reactive status. Two PPD tests are required only for your initial TB screening, unless otherwise requested by the health care provider. After the initial TB screening, a PPD test must be completed once yearly.

Students with a positive PPD must show documentation of a chest x-ray as well as documentation of any required follow up. After the first year, students must have a licensed health care provider complete a TB Symptom Check List annually. An additional chest x-ray will only be required if it is recommended by a licensed health care provider, a student exhibits symptoms of active TB disease, and/or if a student with previously negative PPDs tests positive.

Annual Flu Vaccination

Students must show documentation of annual flu vaccinations which are required by clinical agencies and clinical sites. If the flu vaccine is refused, students must strictly adhere to the personal protective equipment guidelines as required by each agency.

Health Insurance Requirement

All nursing students must provide proof of health insurance with coverage effective in the state of Florida and complete an insurance waiver prior to the first day of class. Nursing students must have adequate health insurance. The insurance waiver forms must be submitted to the Nursing Program. Waivers must be completed annually. Students are responsible for obtaining and maintaining their health insurance.

CPR Certification

Nursing students are required to provide evidence of a current American Heart Association Basic Life Support (BLS/CPR) certification prior to the first day of class. Certification must be maintained while a student is enrolled in the Nursing Program.

Liability Insurance Fee

Each year the general and professional liability insurance fee will be charged to all nursing students.

National Criminal Background Check and Drug Screening

Participation is clinical experiences is a required part of the curriculum and a requirement for graduation. Clinical agencies require drug, criminal, and/or child abuse background checks, and clearance through the HHS/OIG list of excluded individuals and the GSA list of parties excluded from federal programs in order to permit participation in the program’s clinical experiences. Clinical agencies may deny a student’s participation in the clinical experience because of a felony or misdemeanor conviction, failure of a required drug test, or inability to produce an appropriate health clearance, which would result in delayed graduation or in the inability to graduate from the Nursing program. Individuals who have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor may be denied certification or licensure as a health professional.

All nursing applicants are required to complete drug and National criminal background checks prior to the first day of class. This is conducted at the student’s expense. All applicants must affirm and attest to sound physical health, emotional stability, and personal integrity that will enable them to successfully complete the Nursing program, comply with criteria for nursing licensure, and adhere to the American Nurses Association professional codes of conduct and practice.

Applicants must affirm and attest that they are free of addiction to substances of abuse and are willing to adhere to Drug Free Workplace policies and procedures of affiliate clinical agencies, to include submission to randomized drug testing and/or testing for cause and upon Nursing program request.

Students can access the National criminal background check and drug screening application process online. Ave Maria University’s Nursing Program utilizes American Databank as the sole company handling the Nursing Program’s screenings. Through the American Databank website, students can begin the application process and set up a method of payment to American Databank. There will be a fee for the background check and drug screening.

When placing a background check order, the student should click on “I want to receive a copy of my background check and drug screening”. This will enable the student to have the same copy of his/her reports that Ave Maria University’s Nursing program will receive. Once American Databank receives payment, they will send the student the necessary information and forms to begin the drug and background check process.

**Please note that it can take up to three months to receive clearance for the National criminal background check – clearance must be obtained before a student can begin nursing classes**

In addition to the core curriculum, nursing majors take the following courses

  • BIOL 203 Introduction to Microbiology
  • BIOL 304 Anatomy and Physiology I
  • BIOL 309 Anatomy and Physiology II
  • CHEM 105 Chemistry for Health Sciences or CHEM 125 General Chemistry I
  • NURS 200 Clinical Nutrition
  • PSYC 201 Principles and Methods
  • PSYC 301 Human Development
  • Required Courses for the Major
  • NURS 215 Intro to Professional Nursing
  • NURS 310 Fundamentals of Nursing w/Lab
  • NURS 315 Health Assessment w/Lab
  • NURS 330 Pathophysiology for Nursing Practice
  • NURS 335 Applied Pharmacology
  • NURS 350 Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing w/Lab
  • NURS 410 Community Health Nursing w/Lab
  • NURS 415 Adult Health and Illness I w/Lab
  • NURS 420 Nursing Care of Women w/Lab
  • NURS 430 Nursing Care of Children w/Lab
  • NURS 440 Adult Health and Illness II w/Lab
  • NURS 450 Leadership and Management w/Lab
  • NURS 455 Professional Nursing Review
  • NURS 460 Research for Evidence-Based Nursing Practice

The total credit hours for the Nursing Program is 130.

Curriculum Rationale

The curriculum has been developed in a manner that addresses professional and content area competencies, that assessment methodologies are in place for BSN candidates, and that pedagogical principles are embedded in the appropriate courses. The BSN program is a total of 136 credits as described below.

The BSN curriculum is based on Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2008). Graduates of Ave Maria University’s BSN program will be equipped with the knowledge and leadership skills requisite to advance the profession and assist patients, families, and communities in the management of care. These concepts unify the curriculum and are the focus of each clinical course. Each course addresses the roles of the nurse, specifically the nurse as a member of the profession, provider of care and leader/manager of care.  The curriculum incorporates professional standards such as the American Nurses Association (ANA) Code of Ethics, the Institute of Medicine Recommendations, the Joint Commission on Accreditation Standards, and Quality and Safety Education in Nursing (QSEN), to the extent that these are in conformity with Catholic biomedical principles and applications.

The concepts of critical thinking, evidence-based practice, communication, collaboration, professional leadership, cultural humility, professional values, and information technology are introduced in the first nursing course and emphasized throughout the curriculum. Nursing courses focus on enhancing the nursing students’ critical thought process. Evidence-based nursing practice is introduced in the first nursing course and emphasized throughout the curriculum.

Students intending to major in Nursing will proceed through the full sequence of the core curriculum.  The Nursing Program shares the ideals and aims of liberal education which permeate the entire university.  The core provides an indispensable foundation for the study of the nursing.  The Nursing Program values the core especially for providing a broad orientation to the unity of truth, the understanding of the human person as expressed in the Catholic intellectual tradition, and the just ordering of society as developed in Western Civilization.  In addition, the collective coursework of the core inculcates the skills and habits necessary for studies within the craft of nursing, such as critical thinking, evidence-based practice, communication, mathematical and scientific analysis, and above all, prudence.

Click the button to view our typical 4-year plan.

Tracy Ahern, R.N., M.S.N.

Assistant Professor of Nursing

Education: B.S., Nursing, Viterbo University; M.S., Nursing, University of Wisconsin; D.N.P. (candidate), Nursing, University of Hawaii
Office: Prince 101
Email: tracy.ahern@avemaria.edu
Phone: (230) 280-1559

Jessica Bartalino, R.N, M.S., A.P.R.N.

Adjunct Instructor of Nursing

Education: B.A., Biology, Florida Gulf Coast University; B.S., Nursing, Florida Gulf Coast University; M.S., Nurse Practitioner, Florida Gulf Coast University
Email: jessica.bartalino@avemaria.edu

Lorrien Dames, R.N., M.S., A.P.R.N.

Adjunct Instructor of Nursing

Education: B.S., Nursing, Florida State University; M.B.A., Health Administration, University of Miami; M.S., Advanced Practice Nursing, Barry University
Email: lorrien.dames@avemaria.edu

DiAnn Ecret, R.N., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Nursing

Education: B.S., Nursing, Wilmington University; M.S.N., Nursing Leadership/Education, Wilmington University; Ph.D., Health Care Ethics, Duquesne University
Office: Prince 103
Email: diann.ecret@avemaria.edu
Phone: (239) 304-7958

JULIE FAIELLA WISE, R.N., M.S.N.

ADJUNCT INSTRUCTOR OF NURSING

Education: A.A., Nursing, Central Ohio Technical College; B.S.N, Nursing, Franklin University; M.S.N., Nursing, Ohio State University
Email: julie.wise@avemaria.edu

Patricia Hojnowski-Diaz, R.N., M.S., M.B.A.

Adjunct Instructor of Nursing

Education: Diploma, Registered Nurse, The Children’s Hospital School of Nursing; B.S.N., Nursing, Northeastern University; MBA, Business Administration, Northeastern University; M.S., Nursing Administration, Northeastern University
Email: patty.diaz@avemaria.edu

ERIN MILLER, R.N., M.S.N., A.P.R.N.

Adjunct Instructor of Nursing

Education: B.S.N., Nursing, Belmont University; M.S.N. Nursing, Vanderbilt University
Email: erin.miller@avemaria.edu

Kimberly Shmina, R.N., D.N.P., A.P.R.N.

Chair of the Nursing Department, Assistant Professor of Nursing

Education: B.S.N., Nursing, University of Michigan; M.S.N., Nursing, Michigan State University; D.N.P. Nursing Practice, Wayne State University
Office: Prince 117
Email: kim.shmina@avemaria.edu
Phone: (239) 304-7133

Aileen Staller, R.N., D.N.P., A.P.R.N.

Assistant Professor of Nursing

Education: B.S.N., Nursing, University of Pennsylvania; M.S.N., Nursing, University of Phoenix; D.N.P., Nursing Practice, University of South Florida
Office: Prince 118
Email: aileen.staller@avemaria.edu
Phone: (239) 304-7931

Natalie Tyler, R.N., M.S.N.

Adjunct Instructor of Nursing

Education: A.A., Nursing, Florida Keys Community College; B.S., Biology, North Carolina State University; M.D.N., Nursing, Grand Canyon University; D.N.P. (candidate), Nursing Practice, Grand Canyon University
Email: natalie.tyler@avemaria.edu

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