Lake Superior State University
Department of Nursing

Credits:            2 credits (2,0)
Faculty:            Lynn Gimpel-Kabke RN, MSN, CNS
Prerequisites:   All required junior nursing courses or NU 360 for BSN completion students. 

Course Description:
Course analyzes contemporary and future issues involving the professional nurse.  The course further explores role socialization from nursing student to BSN prepared nurse.  Course reviews the legal responsibilities and professional regulation of nursing practice.  Selected social, ethical, political, economic, and legal issues will be examined.

Course Objectives:
1.  Demonstrates competencies of critical thinking and reflective practice when making decisions 
     relate to contemporary professional issues.
2.  Evaluates the effects of  legal,  ethical, and economic issues on health care.
3.  Actively participates in the political process.
4.  Integrates professional, individual, and cultural values when analyzing ethical and moral issues in 
     nursing practice.
5.  Appreciates the importance of continued education and active participation in professional 
     organizations as an integral component of the nursing role.
6.  Analyze the legal ramifications of one's actions and responsibilities in professional practice.
7.  Demonstrate leadership behaviors in marketing oneself and the nursing profession.
8.  Integrates research findings in analyzing contemporary issues and trends influencing the quality 
     of health care.
9.  Synthesizes theoretical/empirical knowledge from nursing, the physical and behavioral sciences, 
     and the humanities in analyzing contemporary nursing issues.
10. Explores transition from student role to professional nurse.

 Textbooks: (latest edition)
     Hamilton, P. M. (       ).  Realities of Contemporary Nursing (    ed.).  Menlo Park, California:

     Bernzweig, E. P. (       ).  The nurse's liability for malpractice (    ed.).  St. Louis: Mosby.
     Michigan Board of Nursing and Michigan Nurses Association (      ).  Legal and professional
     regulation of nursing practice in Michigan.  Okemos: Michigan Nurses Association.

Course Requirements:
1.   Participation in all class activities, discussions, and study group sessions.
2.   Students are expected to complete all assigned reading(s) in textbooks, assigned articles, 
      computer program assignments, and/or other assignments prior to each class.  Students are
      expected to come to class prepared to discuss the scheduled topic and actively participate in 
      all seminar sessions.  
3.   Class attendance and participation is required.  Unexcused absences on test or presentation 
      days will result in a zero on that test or presentation.  For an excused absence, the professor
      must be notified in advance and must approve the absence.
4.   Students are expected to comply with the University statement regarding academic honesty 
      (see LSSU Catalogue and the Department Nursing's Student Handbook).  Any evidence of 
      plagiarism will be investigated.
5.   All assignments are to be typed and double spaced.  Required reference for papers is the 
      Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), 4th edition, 1994.  APA format is 
      required for the Senior Critical Analysis Paper.
6.   Please make a copy of all work and submit both the copy and the original.  The original will be
      graded and returned to the student.  The copy will be retained in the department files. 
7.   Assignments are due on designated dates.  Late papers will receive a zero grade unless other 
      arrangements have been approved by the professor.  All assignments must be turned and
      satisfactory/unsatisfactory assignments must be completed at a satisfactory level to pass the 

1.   The course syllabus represents the best estimate and projection of the course content, scope, 
      and sequence.  In the case of extenuating circumstances, events, and the discretion of the
      professor, the course syllabi is subject to change.

Teaching-Learning Expectations:
1.   Methods of instruction include:  seminar format, small group work, lecture for selected 
      material, discussion, videos, computer programs, debate, guest speakers, and other methods 
      to promote collaboration, critical thinking, and self-direction.
2.   The student is expected to possess the following skills/behaviors on entry:
      a.  Takes initiative to seek out information, conducting own searches and using literature/library
           for information regularly
      b.  Respect other student's views on topic, especially when they conflict with your own 
      c.  Ability to identify similarities, differences and major concepts about an issue.

Grading Criteria:
Exam I                                                             20%
Exam II                                                            20%
Written Senior Critical Analysis Paper               25%
Presentation of Paper (or alternative project)     25%              Participation                                                     10%
Letter to Legislator                                            S/U
Resume                                                             S/U   

Satisfactory attainment of all course objectives is required.  

Written Senior Critical Analysis Paper:
Each student will submit a paper concerning an legal, ethical or political issue confronting professional nursing today.  This paper is NOT a report on a clinical issue.  The student must do a computer literature search in the library to obtain current research and information on the topic.  The student will then meet with the professor to (1) discuss the selected topic; (2) review the literature search; and  (3) review student's outline on chosen topic prior to week six of the semester.  It is the students responsibility to set up this appointment with the professor.  
 The Senior Critical Analysis Paper must contain an in-depth critical analysis of the topic which includes both positive and negative components of the issue (50%).  Include a section discussing your personal opinions and concerns on the topic (20%).  A recommendation for resolution of the issue/problem or action plan must be given (20%).  The text of the paper will be at least 7 pages, but no more than 10 pages using APA format (10%).  This paper is due the 12th week of the semester on Wednesday, 1700.  Do not forget to submit a copy.     

Presentation of Senior Critical Analysis Paper:
Each student will present a summary of his/her senior paper as scheduled by the professor and students.  Presentation of senior papers will be open to the campus.  Invitations will be designed by students and distributed to enhance attendance.  Grading of senior paper presentations will include peer evaluation, worth 10% of the final grade of the presentation.  The length and scheduling of the presentations will be negotiated.   


An alternate project can be suggest by students or faculty.  The project is selected by majority vote.  The project must be related to political or legal issues in nursing, including promoting professional nursing.  The project will be student driven, the professor's role is to advise and facilitate the creative process.  Committees will be formed and workload shared within the group(s).  Students will form the committee structures, design project outcomes, and create the final product.  Grading will consist of 1) self and peer evaluations, and 2) evaluation of the final product by faculty and others.

World News:
The 10-15 minutes of each class will be devoted to world news.  During this time students are expected to present current issues occurring in the news, whether it is local, national, or global.  These issues may or may not be directly related to health care.      

Letter to the Legislator:
Being politically active is an essential part of being a nurse.  This exercise gives the student an opportunity to be politically active.  This assignment will be done in small groups.  The group will select a current issue of concern to them and nursing today.  After researching the topic, the group will draft a letter that will be sent to the appropriate elected official(s).     

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