You are on page 1of 12


Curriculum Assessment of a Bachelorette Nursing Program

Angela N Johnson

Ferris State University



Curriculum assessment is an important aspect in developing a robust nursing program. This is an

evaluation of Ferris State Universities nursing program curriculum. There are several different

components in the curriculum revision process. Those components include a needs assessment

analysis evaluating both internal and external factors. Once both internal and external factors are

identified desired outcomes are acknowledged. Ways for curriculum advancement related to

Ferris State’s nursing program are discussed including increase job placement rate and including

topics related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender content. Recommendations for

curriculum improvement including specific ways to implement action items related to job

placement and content are suggested.


Curriculum Assessment of a Bachelorette Nursing Program

The process of curriculum assessment can be a very involved process including several

members of the team, frequent meetings, and a complete overhaul of course content. When

revising a curriculum it is important to map out the structure of the redesign along with define

the steps within the process. Not only does a needs assessment need to be performed including

both internal and external factors but an assessment of key components along with an analysis of

key issues within the curriculum. Finally the team needs to formulate recommendations for the

curriculum design. The purpose of this paper is to outline the process of curriculum design and to

explain the steps in efficiently assessing and changing the nursing school curriculum within

Ferris State University’s bachelorette nursing program.

Curriculum Identification

The curriculum being analyzed is the Ferris State University pre-licensure Bachelor of

Science in Nursing (BSN) program. This program is a six semester program that prepares

nursing students to test in National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN) to become a

Registered Nurse (RN). This program admits 32 students to the program every fall and spring

semester and the program runs consecutively throughout the year including summer semesters

resulting in completion within two years (Ferris State University, n.d.). This program requires

students to complete four semesters of pre-nursing program prerequisites including subjects in

biology, math, and English (Ferris State University, n.d.). Ferris State University had an overall

graduate satisfaction rate of 93 percent in 2014 and job placement rate of 100 percent in 2013.

The first time NCLEX pass rate was 85 percent in 2014 compared to the Michigan overall pass

rate of 84 percent and national average of 83 percent (Ferris State University, n.d.). Ferris State

University is fully accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing


(ACEN) (Ferris State University, n.d.). Overall the Ferris State Nursing program is a very robust

nursing education option.

External Factors Needs Assessment Analysis

According to Keating (2015) there are several external factors needing assessment while

completing an analysis of a nursing program’s curriculum. Some of these factors include a

description of the community, demographics of the population, characteristics of the academic

setting, need for the program, and regulations and accreditation requirements. In order to obtain

the specific information needed for these categories a nursing program will have to seek this

information several different ways. In order to analyze the description of community and the

demographics of the population the nursing program should partner with the admissions

department to analyze a breakdown of past nursing students. The nursing program can also

partner with the city of Big Rapids to obtain community information including information

related to industries in the area and the community services available. To gain a better

understanding of the characteristics of the academic settings the nursing school should examine

other institutes in the area along with institutions not in the area but of similar size. To evaluate

the need for the program the nursing program should meet with surrounding hospitals and other

nursing employers to find the numbers and types of nurses needed to meet the needs of the

employers. The program should also evaluate the number open nursing position in the area in

order to demonstrate the need for the program. In order to evaluate the regulation and

accreditation requirements the school of nursing will have to become familiar with the state

board of nursing regulations for education programs along with the standards presented by the


According to Keating (2015) once each section in analyzed the desired outcomes will

need to identified. One desired outcome for the description of community would be the school is

located in a safe environment. One of the desired outcomes related to the demographics of the

population would be the population reflects a wide range of multicultural and ethical

characteristics. A desired outcome of the characteristics of the academic setting would be the

school is not in direct competition with other nursing programs in the area. A desired outcome of

regulations and accreditation requirements would be the nursing program meets the accreditation

standards outlined by the pertinent accreditation bodies and is able to obtain accreditation.

Internal Factors Needs Assessment Analysis

Equally important to external factors needs assessment are internal needs assessment

factors. In Keating (2015) several factors are discussed. Some of the important factors are the

mission, purpose, and philosophy, resources within the institution and nursing program, and

potential faculty and student characteristics. When questioning the data collection of the mission,

purpose, and philosophy of the institution it is important to align the institution’s internal frame

align with the nursing program’s mission, purpose, and philosophy. The nursing program

framework should be an extension of the university’s framework. When evaluating the resources

available within the institution and the nursing program it is important to assess the availability

of classrooms, computer labs, and other facilities needed to conduct a nursing program. When

evaluating the potential faculty and student characteristics it is important to obtain information

related enrolment targets and to evaluate the potential availability of students seeking a nursing


It is imperative to align these assessments with the desired outcomes of the program. In

relation to the mission, purpose, and philosophy the desired outcome would be the nursing

schools internal framework are closely aligned with university’s framework. The desired

outcome for potential resources available with the institution and nursing program would the

nursing program has adequate facilities to support the nursing program including adequate

technological resources and laboratory equipment. Finally a desired outcome related to faculty

and student characteristics would the institution has the resources needed to recruit students and

faculty for the nursing program.

Assessment of Key Components of the Curriculum

There are several key components that make up a nursing program curriculum. When

evaluating a nursing program the logical place to start would be with the mission, vision, and

philosophy. According to Keating (2015) some institutions may substitute a mission statement

for a vision statement or they may have both. Some of the frequent mistakes institutions make in

creating mission and vision statements is they describe their current state rather than their future

state. It is important to envision the future and base your vision or mission statement on the

desired future state of program in order to encourage creativity with the nursing program

(Keating, 2105).

Equally important is the philosophy of the nursing program. This should be a direct

extension of the mission or vision statement. It should encompass nursing faculty’s beliefs,

values and attitudes about the nursing profession (Keating, 2105). In order to revise or develop a

nursing program philosophy it is important to examine other institution’s philosophies along with

the institution’s philosophy in order to identify common important aspects.

Another important component in curriculum is the health care system. According Keating

(2015) nursing students should be exposed to concepts in nursing leadership, policies, and

regulations. All of these components will play an important part in the nursing student’s career

and exposure to these elements will help them to become more familiar with them when they

encounter them in the work force. Keating also suggests the important of exposing nursing

students to advanced degrees and role in leadership in nursing as the overall advancement of the

nursing profession will need nursing on the forefront of potential political issues in the future.

Another important topic in nursing curriculum is prevention and population health. This

is mainly guided by the health promotion initiative called Healthy People 2020 which outlines

objectives to overall improve the health of all Americans by 2020 (Keating, 2105). It is

important for nursing students to gain an understanding of this initiative as it will be evident in

their everyday practice. This topic should be address throughout the entire course work within

the nursing program.

According to Keating (2015) interprofessional communication and collaboration along

with professionalism and core values are vital to a nursing program curriculum. This helps the

nursing student prepare for patient centered care and collaboration in the work place. One of the

major components of nursing care is collaboration between disciples or families. It is paramount

for nursing students begin to master these skills in order to be successful in the workplace.

The nursing profession is the primary advocate for populations exposed to health care

inequality and that is why nursing curriculum needs to encompass aspects of social justice and

advocacy. Although according to Keating (2015) explain this can be one of the most difficult

components of nursing program to integrate. Many of this content can present in some form of a

public health course.

Evidence based practice is evident throughout the entire profession of nursing. It guides

our policies and procedures and is the driving force for the way we do things. This fact alone is

the reason scholarship and research are so important to a nursing school curriculum. According

to Keating (2015) these topics should be present early on in the nursing program curriculum and

then built upon throughout the curriculum.

Patient safety and information technology are two other concepts identified as being

important to nursing curriculum and they are very closely related. Advancement in information

technology increase patient safety. They also offer efficiencies within the health care field and

are supported by the ACEN standards. Not only does information technology influence patient

safety but it is embedded in all aspects on the nursing profession. There has been a push from the

government to increase the safety of health care but up until recently healthcare was at times a

dangerous place for patients. From the effects to hospital acquired infections and the prevalence

of pressure ulcers. Many organizations treat patient safety as their number one priority and thus

the importance of integrating it into the nursing curriculum.

Analysis of Issues in the Curriculum

Overall Ferris State University’s nursing program is robust and excellent. It is evident in

the online resources including their vision, mission, and philosophy time has been devoted to

developing a program that excels in substance and influenced by the ACEN and local hiring

organizations. As someone who has been a product of their nursing program for several years it

has adequately prepared me to be an outstanding nurse. Two areas of identified growth or

curriculum improvement are the exposure to diversity, specifically the patient population of the

lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) and also in the past survey results conducted by

the school job placement after Graduation in 2014 of only 60% (Ferris State University, n.d.).

According to an article written by Vickie Aagberg (2016), Ferris State University is not

the only school struggling with ways to include LGBT content. According to the survey

conducted only 16 percent of bachelorette educators felt their course content adequately prepared

their nursing students for the caring for this population with 27 percent of nursing programs not

having any content related to this topic (Aagberg, 2016). These findings are mirrored in another

study published in Journal of Professional Nursing. This study found that of the 268 RNs

interviewed most of the nurses identified they had no education related to caring for LGBT

patient population (Carbez et al., 2015).

The other area of growth would be the low job placement rate published on the school’s

website. According to the website this statistic “reflects average percentage of responses at the

time of program surveys” but this statistic is still alarming (Ferris State University, n.d., para. 2).

According to the U.S. Department of Human Services Big Rapids and surrounding areas are

considered health professional shortage areas which would not be consistent with this statistic

(US Department of Health and Human Services, 2014). Although this statics seems alarming it is

in line than the national average. According to the American Association of College of Nursing

(AACN) (2012) the national average for job placement after graduation of a bachelorette

program nurses is only 58-66 percent. With the nursing shortage nationwide it can be hard to

connect the dots related to this low statistic. According to the AACN this statistic is explained by

hiring organization looking for registered nurses with experience thus leaving it more difficult

for new graduate nurses to obtain employment.


The first recommendation for curriculum improvement would be related to course

content related to the LGBT community. This could be easily integrated into each unit of study

or could be achieved in adding a separate section related to this topic. Fortunately there are

several resources available to health care providers in order to gain a better understanding of

health care topics related to this population. One of the more important resources is the National

LGBT Health Education Center (n.d.). This site provides direct resources for health care

providers along with explanation of common myths and offers webinars on related topics. Also

available are text books related to this course content. This topic content would be most

appropriately achieved in the form a group project which would aid in the search of online

resources and allow the student to observe the vast amount of resources available to the patient

and also the health care provider.

The other area of growth recommendation would be related to the low job placement rate.

One common solution to this problem is the implementation of nurse residency, extern, or intern

programs within health care hiring organizations. This area of growth could be improved by

Ferris State University partnering with local health care organizations in order to create nurse

residency programs. This will allow the overall job placement rate to increase and will allow

health care organizations to bridge the gap in the nursing shortage. In an article published in the

Journal of Professional Nursing one study found that nurse residency programs help reduce

disparities new graduate nurses encounter including high levels of stress due to high levels of

acuities of patients and also provide new nurses with mentors (Anderson, Hair, & Todero, 2012).

The process of curriculum design can be complex and require several resources in order

to complete. It is important to examine both internal and external factors when evaluating a

curriculum. Once both factors have been established it is important to identify the desired

outcomes of the program. After evaluating the curriculum of Ferris State University two area of

growth were identified including job placement rate and LGBT content into the nursing program.

Through partnership with local hiring organizations and implementation of LGBT course

assignments within the program both of these areas of growth can be improved.


Aagberg, V. (2016, September). The state of sexuality education in baccalaureate nursing

programs. Nurse Education Today, 44, 14-19.

Anderson, G., Hair, C., & Todero, C. (2012, August). Nurse Residency Programs: An Evidence-

Based Review of Theory, Process, and Outcomes. Journal of Professional Nursing,

28(4), 203-212.

Carbez, R., Pellegrini, M., Mankoviz, A., Eliason, M., Cian, M., & Scott, M. (2015, July-

August). “Never in All My Years…”: Nurses’ Education About LGBT Health. The

Journal of Professional Nursing, 31(4), 323-329.

Ferris State University. (n.d.). Ferris Undergraduate Nursing Program Effectiveness Data.

Retrieved from


Ferris State University. (n.d.). Pre-Nursing Progression Policy. Retrieved from


Ferris State University. (n.d.). Tell Me About Nursing. Retrieved from

Ferris State University. (n.d.). Welcome from the Program Coordinator. Retrieved from

Keating, S. B. (2105). Curriculum Development and Evaluation in Nursing (3rd ed.). New York,

NY: Springer Publishing Company, LLC.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health. (2014). Retrieved from

US Department of Health and Human Services. (2014). Health Professional Shortage Areas.

Retrieved from