University of Virginia

Graduate Record 1996-1997

Chapter 11: School of Graduate Nursing

General Information

Nursing has been one of the professional disciplines of the University of Virginia since 1901 when a three-year diploma program was first offered to high school students under the aegis of the University of Virginia Hospital and the Department of Medicine. Today, the School is one of the 10 independent schools of the University with a faculty of 60 and an enrollment of 465 undergraduate and graduate students. The School offers the degrees of Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing, and as a department of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing.

The first baccalaureate degree in nursing, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Education, was offered in 1928 for the first time through the School of Nursing Education in the Department of Education, made possible by an endowment of $50,000 from the Graduate Nurses' Association of Virginia in memory of Sadie Heath Cabaniss, Virginia's outstanding pioneer nurse. The purpose of this degree program was to train registered nurses for teaching, supervisory, or administrative positions. The present baccalaureate program was established in 1950 as a four-year course, with a curriculum consisting of a two year academic concentration followed by the two-year nursing major. In 1953, a Department of Nursing was established to administer the diploma program and the two baccalaureate programs, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Education. Three years later, in 1956, this department became the School of Nursing. The Master's program in nursing, initiated in 1972, currently offers nurse practitioner preparation in primary and acute/critical care as well as clinical specialist preparation in several areas of concentration. The primary care nursing program prepares family nurse practitioners, pediatric nurse practitioners and women's health nurse practitioners. The acute/critical care program prepares nurse practitioners to function in acute care settings. A Post-Master's program (non-degree) which prepares nurse practitioners in primary care and acute/critical care is also available. Clinical nurse specialist preparation is offered in adult health nursing, community/home health nursing, critical care nursing and psychiatric mental health nursing.

The School also offers a MSN/MBA program in collaboration with the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration.

The Ph.D. in Nursing program, begun in 1982, is designed to prepare scholars and researchers committed to expanding the base of nursing knowledge. Major components of the program include nursing, research, cognates, and electives.

The School of Nursing is a member of the Council of Baccalaureate and Higher Degree Programs of the National League for Nursing, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and the Southern Council on Collegiate Education for Nursing of the Southern Regional Education Board. The School of Nursing is accredited by the National League for Nursing and by the Virginia State Board of Nursing. The School was first accredited by the National League for Nursing Education in 1941 and appeared on the first list of accredited nursing schools issued by the League.

In addition to actively participating in the leading national nursing organizations, the School has an active chapter, Beta Kappa, of Sigma Theta Tau, the international honor society of nursing. Both graduate and undergraduate students are eligible for membership.


School of Graduate Nursing
University of Virginia
Health Sciences Center
School of Nursing, McLeod Hall
Charlottesville, VA 22903-3395
804 924-2743
School of Nursing World Wide Web site

Facilities and Resources

McLeod Hall   The School of Nursing occupies McLeod Hall, a modern five-story building with classrooms, laboratories, video taping facilities, seminar rooms, and a computer laboratory. The School of Nursing draws upon the multiple resources of the University's 10 academic divisions and the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center in offering its graduate programs in nursing. The programs are further strengthened by the facilities and personnel of a wide variety of Virginia hospitals, community health centers, health departments and private physicians' offices.

Claude Moore Health Sciences Library   The Claude Moore Health Sciences Library primarily serves the faculty, students, and staff of the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, which includes the Schools of Medicine and Nursing and the hospital. The Library is a modern facility with small group meeting rooms, audiovisual viewing rooms, typing rooms, microcomputers and photocopy machines.

The Library maintains well-developed collections of books, journals, reference materials and audiovisuals in medicine, nursing, and related areas.

The Health Sciences Instructional Resources Center, on the first floor of the Library, maintains a substantial collection of videocassettes and other media. A variety of players, projectors, recorders and monitors and a cluster of microcomputers are available for use in the Center, and a small collection of equipment is available for use outside the Center. The Library also houses an extensive historical collection.

The resources in the Health Sciences Library are augmented by materials in the Alderman and Clemons Libraries, in the Science/Technology Information Center, in departmental libraries, e.g., biology, psychology, physics, chemistry, engineering, and law as well as in libraries of the departments and clinics in the School of Medicine.

Computer Services   In addition to the computer resources available to all University students, the School of Nursing provides computer resources for students and faculty in McLeod Hall. A computer laboratory on the third floor of the building includes terminals connecting to the University mainframe computers as well as personal computers for data and word processing.

University of Virginia Health Sciences Center   The University Hospital together with the Kluge Children's Rehabilitation Center and Blue Ridge Hospital Division comprise a tertiary care teaching facility with over 673 beds. Approximately 27,000 patients, from a wide geographic area, are cared for each year on the inpatient units.

The hospital provides a stimulating, challenging learning environment for graduate students. As a regional medical center, the hospital serves a diverse group of patients whose health care needs are often complex. In addition to general medicine, all major subspecialty services are available, including cardiology, endocrinology, hematology/ oncology, nephrology, neurology, pulmonary, and rhematology. Surgery departments include thoracic-cardiovascular surgery, plastic surgery, neurosurgery, urology, orthopedics, gynecology, otolaryngology, ophthalmology, as well as general surgery. In addition to medical and surgical units, there are a number of critical care areas: a medical intensive care unit, a surgical intensive care unit, a burn center, and a coronary care unit.

As with adult services, all major pediatric subspecialties are available to children and adolescent patients. A pediatric intensive care unit and a neonatal intensive care unit with an air-ground Emergency Transport System serve critically ill children and neonates from central and western Virginia and surrounding areas.

Over 335,000 patients are seen annually in the clinics at the Health Sciences Center. The Outpatient Department houses medical and pediatric specialty clinics. The Primary Care Center includes over 126 examining and consultant rooms, a patient education center, playrooms for the children of adult clients, and short-term beds for temporary observation. Medicine, Family Practice, Dermatology, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the Oncology Service see patients in this facility.

An additional 58,000 patients are seen annually in the Emergency Room. Patients range from the non-acute to the severely injured or critically ill. Radio and telemetry communication with all local rescue squads helps to provide pre-hospital care and stabilization of patients.

The psychiatric facilities of the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center include inpatient, outpatient, emergency, and consultation-liaison services. Clinics for children, adolescents, families, and adults offer a range of diagnostic treatment, consultative, and educational services, including individual, family and group therapy on an outpatient basis.

The Kluge Children's Rehabilitation Center has both an intermediate care inpatient unit and multiple outpatient clinics for children and adolescents with a variety of orthopedic and chronic conditions. The Center provides medical treatment, physiotherapy, education, occupational therapy, training in the activities of daily living, training in speech and hearing and vocational guidance. Family services are provided through psychological and genetic counseling and medical social work.

The hospital is registered by the American Medical Association as meeting hospital standards, is on the approved list of the American College of Surgeons, and is approved by the Council on Medical Education and Hospitals of the American Medical Association as acceptable for the training of interns as well as for various residencies and fellowships. In addition, the hospital is fully accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals.

Cooperating Clinical Institutions and Agencies

The School of Nursing cooperates with other institutions and agencies to provide research and clinical learning opportunities for students. The School of Nursing utilizes health departments, community hospitals, outpatient facilities, industries, schools, geriatric care facilities, mental health care facilities and tertiary and ambulatory clinical services for patients of all ages. Students have the opportunity to function in advanced practice roles under preceptor guidance.

Advising and Counseling

Cooperation and personal attention mark the relations between faculty members and students. Each graduate student is assigned an academic faculty advisor upon admission to the School and students are encouraged to avail themselves of this resource. The School of Nursing Office of Student Affairs provides assistance and serves as a source of information for other support resources. The Department of Student Health and the University Counseling Center are available to assist the student through individual and group counseling sessions.

Additional Expenses

In addition to tuition, fees, and expenses as outlined in Chapter 2, graduate students in nursing should anticipate the following additional expenses:

Field Trips   Students will be responsible for expenses incurred while on field trips.

Travel to Clinical Facilities   Many of the clinical facilities used in the Master's and Post-Master's programs are a distance from the medical center. Transportation costs to and from these facilities must be borne by the student.

Medical Instruments   A complete set of diagnostic instruments must be procured by students registering for the nurse practitioner courses. The cost of these instruments is assumed by the student.

Hospital Insurance   The Student Health Service does not provide for the expense of hospital care. The University requires that all students carry hospitalization insurance for year-round coverage. A preferred risk group insurance program sponsored by the University is available; for an additional premium the dependents of married students are included. Students or parents may substitute a plan comparable to that offered by the University.

CPR Certification   Students are required to obtain certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation prior to entering clinical courses. Certification must be maintained throughout the program and validation must be presented each year.

Hepatitis B Immunization Requirement   The School of Nursing requires documentation of hepatitis B immunization from all students who practice in a clinical setting. No student is allowed to register for clinical courses without providing such documentation. Information regarding the vaccine can be obtained from your local health care provider, Student Health or the Office of Student Affairs. Students who do not wish to receive the vaccine must sign a disclaimer which states that they understand the potential risks.

MMR, TD, and PPD Requirements   Documentation of current measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) immunization and tetanus booster (TD) is required for all students in clinical courses. Tuberculosis testing (PPD) is required on an annual basis for all students enrolled in clinical courses.

Dissertation Completion   Doctoral students are responsible for all expenses incurred in completion of the dissertation.

Financial Aid

General information regarding financial aid for all students is provided in Chapter 3. In addition, there are some sources of financial aid specifically designated for nursing students. The School of Nursing Office of Student Affairs provides assistance to students needing financial aid.

Fellowships   A number of small grants, including duPont and Virginia State Fellowships, are available to full-time graduate students of outstanding merit in the School of Nursing. To apply for these grants a student must complete both the Nurse Financial Form and the Financial Aid Form(FAF) and be enrolled as a full-time student.

Federal Nurse Traineeships   A limited number of federal nursing traineeships are available for full-time (nine credits/ semester) graduate nursing students. These awards are based on established student need and may include tuition/fees, and/or stipends. To apply for these funds students must complete a Nurse Financial Form and submit an FAF to the College Scholarship Service. The Nurse Financial Form can be obtained from the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, School of Nursing. To obtain the FAF, write the Director, Office of Financial Aid to Students, Miller Hall, UVA.

National Research Service Awards (Predoctoral)   The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services sponsors a national program of individual predoctoral and postdoctoral nurse fellowships. The intent of the awards program is "to prepare biomedical, behavioral, and nurse scientists who will address continuing problems in health-related research of importance to the public." The student's qualifications to do scholarly work, the advisor's credentials, and the merit of the proposed area of research are the major criteria upon which awards are based. Interested doctoral students may obtain application forms by contacting the National Research Service Awards Program, Division of Nursing, BHPr, HRSA, Parklawn Building, Room 5C-26, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857 (301) 443-6333.

Employment   Opportunities for employment are available in the University of Virginia Hospitals. Interested students should contact the Division of Nursing.

A limited number of Graduate Assistantships for doctoral and master's students are available. These assistantships involve working directly with faculty in teaching, research or service activities. Assignments involve 10 to 20 hours per week of work. To apply for Graduate Assistant employment, students should contact the Associate Dean.

There are also a few Graduate Research Assistant positions open to graduate students. Responsibilities associated with these positions vary. To apply for Graduate Research Assistantships, students should contact the Associate Dean.

Out-of-state graduate students who are graduate assistants and are paid at least $4,000 may receive a tuition adjustment fellowship to pay the difference between out-of-state and in-state tuition.

Master of Science in Nursing


The University of Virginia is a community of scholars having as its central purpose the enrichment of the mind by stimulating and sustaining the spirit of free inquiry directed to an understanding of the nature of the universe and human existence. The philosophy of the School of Nursing is consistent with that of the University.

Nursing is both a profession and a discipline that is responsive to the changing health needs of the individual, family and community. Nursing is concerned with responses of individuals and groups to actual as well as potential health problems and with the environments that influence the individuals' health and nursing interventions that promote health. Nursing collaborates with other health care professionals to promote the optimal health care and comfort of individuals and groups through systematic application of the nursing process (ANA, 1980). Through interdisciplinary dialogue and study, nurse scholars expand their understanding of health and illness and the biological, environmental, sociocultural, ethical, legal, financial, philosophic and historic factors influencing nursing care.

The faculty believes that education is based on scientific and humanistic approaches. These approaches foster the student's development of critical thinking and promote an awareness of social and cultural diversity among individuals. The faculty believes that each student is a unique person with special talents, abilities, needs and goals. We recognize that cultural diversity, varying life experiences, and changing socioeconomic factors affect each student differently. To this end, faculty endeavor to provide an environment to assist students in achieving the fullest realization of their potential. Moreover, we believe that the acquisition of professional knowledge and the development of clinical competence occurs through active involvement of the student in the learning process. Students assume primary responsibility for learning, while faculty provide educational opportunities for knowledge acquisition and professional role development. We believe that an atmosphere of shared growth and inquiry offers the maximum potential for the development of both the nursing profession and the individual practitioner of nursing.

We believe that the basic preparation for the practice of professional nursing is the baccalaureate degree in nursing. This academic preparation serves as a foundation for the development of professional knowledge, critical thinking, ethical decision-making, leadership skills, and the independent and collaborative pursuit of high standards of health care. The advanced practice nurse is prepared with strong emphasis on health promotion, disease prevention, primary care, and the management of acutely and chronically ill persons (Southern Council on Collegiate Education for Nursing, 1994).

Implicit in the practice of professional nursing is the acceptance of accountability for professional growth and practice, leadership in the client advocate role, and commitment through research to the refinement of nursing knowledge in its theory and application. Lifelong learning leads to the optimal development of both the individual practitioner and the discipline of nursing.

Characteristics of Graduates

The disciplinary and professional domains of nursing give direction to current and evolving nursing practice. Advanced practice nurses demonstrate in-depth knowledge and skills in nursing and health care systems with diverse populations. Components of their roles are expert clinical practice, assessment of outcomes, research, teaching, collaboration and consultation within health care systems. Nurses prepared through graduate nursing programs with advanced practice knowledge, critical thinking and decision making skills can function in a variety of nursing roles. Examples of such roles include clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, nurse educator/teacher, and nurse manager/administrator. Nurses implementing these advanced practice roles demonstrate specialized knowledge and skills. That is, nurses engaged in advanced clinical practice conduct in-depth assessments and demonstrate expertise in judgement and decision-making for purposes of health promotion/disease prevention, intervention and follow-up in specified populations. Implementation of a particular role may emphasize some role attributes more than others, as well as reflect the advanced practice nurse's area of expertise.

As advanced practice nurses, graduates of the MSN program are expected to:

  1. Integrate theoretical and research based knowledge in an advanced nursing practice specialty.
  2. Provide care and comfort to individuals, families and groups experiencing complex health care needs.
  3. Provide care that reflects sensitivity to differences among culturally and ethnically diverse populations.
  4. Assume a leadership role in establishing and monitoring standards of practice to improve patient care in collaboration with other nursing experts.
  5. Use ethical principles to guide decision-making in nursing practice.
  6. Evaluate clinical practice in relation to professional practice standards and relevant statutes and regulations.
  7. Apply the research process to improve clinical practice and contribute to knowledge development.
  8. Engage in self-directed and purposeful activities in seeking necessary knowledge and skills to enhance career goals.
  9. Examine economic, political, and social forces affecting nursing care delivery in complex health care systems.
  10. Promote multidisciplinary collaboration to insure quality, cost effective care.
  11. Contribute to the development of peers, colleagues and others to improve patient care and foster the growth of professional nursing.
  12. Act as change agents to create environments that promote effective nursing practice and patient outcomes.

These core characteristics are in accordance with professional standards of advanced practice nursing specialties.