Whitson-Hester School of Nursing

Our Mission and Philosophy


The mission of the Whitson-Hester School of Nursing (WHSON) furthers the mission of the University as a provider of a strong academic program in nursing with a special commitment to meeting the health care needs of the diverse population of the Upper Cumberland region of Tennessee. The goal of the nursing program is to prepare graduates with a commitment to lifelong success as nursing leaders in rural and urban areas who are committed to professional nursing standards, open to the changes occurring in a global health care system, and motivated to improve the health status of individuals, groups, and communities.

The WHSON offers an undergraduate course of study leading to a Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing. The program prepares students as generalist professional nurses eligible to take the state licensure exam. Innovative approaches with the delivery of the program also provide the opportunity for diploma and associate degree registered nurses and students with previous non-nursing baccalaureate degrees to complete their Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing. The WHSON continuously seeks to provide not only undergraduate education—but assesses the futuristic needs for graduate education thru joint appointments with other universities and/or interprofessional collaboration. Currently, a master’s degree in nursing is offered through the collaborative system of the Tennessee Board of Regents schools through online delivery.

Curriculum development is an ongoing process. The changes in the curriculum are based on the following: the American Association of Colleges of Nursing “The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice”, professional standards, assessment of student needs, program evaluation outcome measures, and the health care marketplace. The faculty considers the research literature and incorporates evidence based practice in nursing and health care as well as academic and clinical position papers developed by professional groups.

Instruction, which includes classroom teaching and clinical supervision, is the major component of the faculty role in the School of Nursing. Faculty also engages in scholarly activities and University and community service. The faculty provides leadership in many local, regional, and international community groups. Faculty works closely with students, individually, and in groups, to provide support, advising, mentoring, and professional and personal enrichment.

Shared governance is an integral part of the mission of the School of Nursing. Faculty participates in decision making and policy development. Students are members of selected nursing faculty organization committees. Students are encouraged to participate in professional and University organizations.

The School of Nursing provides educational opportunities to all eligible persons without regard to age, gender, color, race, religion, national origin, or disability. Tennessee Technological University School of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.


The faculty of the School of Nursing subscribes to the following beliefs:


Nursing is an art, service and an applied science, evolving from a theoretical foundation in the natural and social sciences. Nursing directs its therapeutic nursing interventions by enhancing the well-being of others through the integration of nursing theories and models. Professional nursing practice encompasses the nursing process, research, and leadership skills. These nursing dimensions enhance accountability, critical thinking, communication, assessment and therapeutic nursing interventions in a dynamic and ever changing health care system.


Individuals are born with certain genetic attributes which are influenced by their familial, societal, psychological and cultural environments. Individuals are dynamic and have the potential for change. Persons have the ability to affect their own health, and are responsible for their choices. Utilizing a variety of coping mechanisms, individuals adapt to stress based on their current stage of growth and development.


Society is composed of social/cultural systems possessing structure, values, beliefs, and morals of which family is the basic unit. Societies as well as individuals have the ability to grow, adapt, and change.


The environment affects the health and well-being of its people. Families, groups, organizations, communities, and economic, political, and ecological systems comprise the environment. The relationship between the various systems in the environment is dynamic and interactive. When one system changes, it affects the other systems, including the individual.


Health is a state of wholeness or integrity of the individual or larger system at any point along a continuum of health, illness, or disability. Health is influenced by the interrelationships among systems. Individuals and other systems may be empowered to achieve and maintain the highest possible level of health. This level of health may occur through education, self-care or assistance with self-care, adaptation, and interactions with health care workers to meet the needs throughout the life span.


Students are involved in a life long learning process, which encompasses interdependent/independent and self-initiated learning. Each student brings unique past experiences, life styles, learning patterns, and life goals to the learning environment. Faculty assist the students in their learning by acting as facilitator, resource person, and role model in the classroom and practice settings by stimulating intellectual curiosity, creativity, critical thinking and professional growth. Students can grow in self-confidence and assertiveness in an environment that supports their personal and professional growth. Students and faculty collaborate to meet the goals and objectives of the School of Nursing by assisting in curriculum planning, policy making, the development and evaluation of learning experiences and instructional methods, community involvement, and participation in professional organizations.


The baccalaureate nursing degree is the minimal educational preparation for entry into professional nursing practice. Baccalaureate nursing education lays the foundation for graduate study. Graduates are prepared as generalists, responsible for counseling, health promotion, prevention of disease, and the care of the sick in the community, hospitals, other agencies, and the home. The graduate is prepared for independent, collaborative, managerial and leadership roles with individuals of all ages in a variety of settings.

In classroom, laboratory, and clinical assignments, students will be expected to utilize the following:

CRITICAL THINKING: Is defined as interpretive, strategic, and adaptive reasoning. Critical thinking also includes critiquing one’s own reasoning skills in nursing practice through self-evaluation.

THERAPEUTIC NURSING INTERVENTION: Is safe, effective care to meet the physical and psychosocial needs of the client.

COMMUNICATION: Is the expression and transmission of information in a written and oral form.