The School of Nursing offers the following curricula in the baccalaureate program: the traditional, the accelerated B.S. and the R.N.-B.S. completion. Successful completion of curricular requirements results in a Bachelor of Science degree. Note that the applicant is responsible for seeking advice from the School of Nursing on courses taken prior to admission.

Program goals

Students will achieve an advanced beginner level of nursing competence by demonstrating:

 I. Effective therapeutic nursing practice

 II. Nursing judgment

 III. A spirit of inquiry

 IV. Professional identity

Student learning outcomes

The graduate is a knowledgeable professional nurse who will demonstrate:

  1. Integration of theories and concepts from liberal education into nursing practice (III)
  2. Knowledge, skills and attitudes in leadership, quality improvement and patient safety to provide high quality health care (I, II, IV)
  3. Professional nursing practice grounded in the translation of current evidence (I, II, III)
  4. Knowledge of skills in information literacy, management and patient care technology (III)
  5. Knowledge of health care, financial and regulatory policies that influence the nature and functioning of the health care system (I, II)
  6. Effective communication and collaboration skills with the interprofessional team to deliver high quality and safe patient care (I, II, IV)
  7. Health promotion and disease prevention at the individual and population level necessary to improve population health  (I, II)
  8. Professionalism that reflects the inherent values of altruism, autonomy, human dignity, integrity and social justice fundamental to nursing (IV)
  9. Competence to practice with patients, including individuals, families, groups, communities and populations across the lifespan and across the continuum of health care environments that respects the variations of care, the increased complexity and the use of health care resources inherent in caring for patients (I, II, III, IV)

Other information

Our international and non-native English-speaking students bring different perspectives and new thinking to our nursing programs. To ensure that all incoming student are prepared for the school’s academic rigor, all international applicants and non-native English speaking applicants without a degree from a U.S. high school, college or university must provide additional information with their applications according to the English language proficiency guidelines on the program admission tab.

To be considered for admission to the School of Nursing, applicants must:

  1. Be eligible for readmission or be in good standing at the last college attended.

  2. Have graduated from a diploma or associate degree program in nursing from a college or university with institutional accreditation.

  3. Have a current unrestricted R.N. license or authorization to practice as an R.N. in the U.S. Graduates of international nursing schools who are not licensed in a state, the District of Columbia or a U.S. possession or territory are required to obtain a VisaScreen Certificate issued by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools.

  4. Provide additional information with the application according to the English language proficiency guidelines in the VCU Bulletin for applicants who are international or non-native English speakers without a degree from a U.S. high school, college or university.

  5. Complete the following general education courses at an accredited college or university with minimum grades of C.

    1. The following courses (17 credit hours) must be completed prior to enrollment:

      1. ​Statistics (3)

      2. Physiology (4)

      3. Anatomy (4)

      4. English composition (6)

    2. A minimum of 24 credit hours from the following 36 credits must be completed prior to matriculation. All general education courses must be completed prior to enrolling in the final nursing course:
      1. ​Introductory psychology (3)
      2. Developmental psychology (3)
      3. General sociology (3)
      4. Laboratory science (8)
      5. Microbiology (4)
      6. Nutrition (3)
      7. Philosophy (3)
      8. Humanities (9)

If the applicant has a bachelor’s degree in another discipline, the University Core Education Curriculum requirements and General Education requirements for the R.N.-B.S. completion program will be met with the previous baccalaureate degree, with the exception of the following courses that must be completed prior to enrollment: anatomy, physiology, microbiology, statistics and developmental psychology.

In addition to the above criteria, highly qualified applicants to the program who meet the following criteria are eligible for guaranteed admission:

  1. Cumulative GPA of 3.0 on all college courses
  2. Minimum grade of B in any nursing class

Degree requirements for Nursing, Bachelor of Science (B.S.), R.N-B.S. completion program

Credits required for admission to program: 53

Major requirements

Course Title Hours
NURS 301Nursing Informatics3
NURS 307Foundations of Professional Nursing I3
NURS 308Foundation of Professional Nursing II3
NURS 309Population Health3
NURS 403Evidence-based Practice in Health Care3
NURS 406Interprofessional Collaborative Practice2
NURS 408Ethics, Law and Public Policy: Application to Nursing Practice3
NURS 409Population Health: Application to Nursing Practice2
NURS 462Advanced Pathophysiological Concepts: Application to Patient Care3
NURS 477Leadership and Management in Health Care4
NURS 488Clinical and Management Decision-making (University Core Capstone)3
Upper-division proficiency credits awarded after successful completion of NURS 30839
Total Hours71

Total minimum requirement 124 credits

What follows is a sample plan that meets the prescribed requirements within a four-year course of study at VCU. Please contact your adviser before beginning course work toward a degree.

Credits required for admission to program: 53 

Semester 1Hours
NURS 301 Nursing Informatics 3
NURS 307 Foundations of Professional Nursing I 3
 Term Hours: 6
Semester 2
NURS 308 Foundation of Professional Nursing II 3
NURS 309 Population Health 3
 Term Hours: 6
Semester 3
NURS 403 Evidence-based Practice in Health Care 3
NURS 409 Population Health: Application to Nursing Practice 2
 Term Hours: 5
Semester 4
NURS 408 Ethics, Law and Public Policy: Application to Nursing Practice 3
NURS 462 Advanced Pathophysiological Concepts: Application to Patient Care 3
 Term Hours: 6
Semester 5
NURS 406 Interprofessional Collaborative Practice 2
NURS 477 Leadership and Management in Health Care 4
 Term Hours: 6
Semester 6
NURS 488 Clinical and Management Decision-making 3
 Term Hours: 3
 Total Hours: 32

 Upper-division credits to be awarded after successful completion of NURS 308: 39

Total minimum requirement 124 credits

NURS 201. Concepts of Professional Nursing. 2 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture hours. 2 credits ( 2 credits lecture). Prerequisite: admission to the School of Nursing. Provides a foundation for all clinical nursing courses. Content focuses on professionalism, professional nursing values and health care delivery The core competencies identified by the Institute of Medicine for health care professionals are introduced as critical components of professional nursing practice, and selected concepts related to these core competencies are emphasized. Course activities are structured to establish effective professional behaviors and learning strategies useful across one's professional career.

NURS 202. Technologies of Nursing Practice. 6 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture and 90 clinical/laboratory hours. (3 credits lecture and 3 credits clinical/laboratory). 6 credits. Prerequisite: admission to the School of Nursing. This course introduces the student to the study and application of skills and interventions basic to nursing practice. Content focuses on the development of cognitive, psychomotor, affective, interpersonal and communication skills to become effective members of the collaborative health care team. Students will learn how the concepts of nursing process and evidence-based clinical decision-making are integrated into practice. Opportunities are provided for practice and demonstration of selected skills in the laboratory and in clinical settings. This course emphasizes techniques for the safe acquisition and management of patient information.

NURS 261. Health Assessment for Nursing Practice. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 30 clinical/lab hours. 3 credits (2 credits lecture and 1 credit clinical/lab). Prerequisite: PHIS 206. Pre- or corequisite: NURS 201. Enrollment requires admission to the School of Nursing. This course builds on the biopsychosocial sciences and focuses on development of knowledge, skills and techniques necessary for history-taking and physical examination in adults. Students are introduced to the nursing process and diagnostic reasoning skills are developed through analysis and documentation of assessment data. A laboratory experience provides opportunities for students to integrate communication and problem-solving skills with the health assessment process. The course focuses on the healthy adult patient and emphasizes the diversity of patient populations in health care settings.

NURS 301. Nursing Informatics. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: admission to the School of Nursing. This course focuses on data management and use of information and technology to communicate effectively, provide safe and effective patient care and use research and clinical evidence to inform nursing practice decisions. The course emphasizes information literacy and its application to nursing practice and effective health care delivery. Course delivered online.

NURS 307. Foundations of Professional Nursing I. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: admission to the School of Nursing. Corequsite: NURS 301. This course explores historical and contemporary trends influencing professional nursing practice within the U.S. health care system. The course focuses on research within the context of nursing’s development as a profession and discipline and within the context of evidence-based practice. The research process and analysis of research studies are emphasized. Course delivered online.

NURS 308. Foundation of Professional Nursing II. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: NURS 301 and NURS 307, both with minimum grades of C. This course focuses on the impact of regulation and accreditation on safe patient care delivery. The course emphasizes concepts related to professional nursing practice and explores selected internal and external forces that influence health care delivery. Students will evaluate current nursing practice within the context of previous nursing education and professional nursing standards. Upon successful completion of this course, proficiency credits for prior nursing education will be conferred. Course delivered online.

NURS 309. Population Health. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 credits lecture. 3 credits. Prerequisites: admission to School of Nursing and NURS 301 and NURS 307, both with minimum grades of C. This course focuses on core concepts of population health. Socioeconomic, lifestyle, environmental, genetic and other major determinants of population health are examined. The nurse’s role in health promotion, disease and injury prevention across the lifespan are emphasized. The importance of collaboration with populations and other health care professionals is highlighted. Course delivered online.

NURS 325. Nursing of Adults I. 6 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture and 90 clinical hours. 6 credits (3 credits lecture and 3 credits clinical/laboratory). Prerequisites: NURS 201, NURS 202 and NURS 261. All prerequisites must be completed with a minimum grade of C. Focuses on adult and geriatric patients with acute and chronic physical illnesses that have relatively stable trajectories. Provides theoretical and evidence-based foundations for nursing management and related therapeutic regimens. Emphasizes clinical decision-making and technical skills in the provision of care to adult and geriatric patients in a variety of health care settings.

NURS 335. Nursing of Women. 5 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture and 60 clinical/laboratory hours. 5 credits (3 credits lecture and 2 credits clinical/laboratory). Prerequisites: NURS 201, NURS 202 and NURS 261. All prerequisites must be completed with a minimum grade of C. Examines the health needs of women across the life span with an emphasis on the health needs of the childbearing family. Applies nursing process, theory and research with an emphasis on the development of critical thinking skills in the diagnosis and treatment of human responses to health needs of women, neonates and families. Practices clinical skills and applies theoretical knowledge in selected ambulatory care settings for women's health and post-discharge care, and hospital settings for antenatal, intrapartum, post-partum and neonatal experiences.

NURS 345. Nursing of Children. 5 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture and 60 clinical/laboratory hours. 5 credits (3 credits lecture and 2 credits clinical/laboratory). Prerequisites: NURS 201, NURS 202 and NURS 261, all completed with a minimum grade of C. Examines health care needs of children within the context of the family system. Focuses on application of evidence, nursing process, communication skills and critical thinking when providing nursing to children. Applies current theory and evidence related to the child and family environment, developmental capacity, stress, adaptation and resilience. Incorporates standards of care for both well and ill children in the provision of care.

NURS 355. Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing. 5 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture and 60 clinical hours. 5 credits (3 credits lecture and 2 credits clinical laboratory). Prerequisites: NURS 201, NURS 202 and NURS 261. All prerequisites must be completed with a minimum grade of C. Examines theoretical, empirical and practical knowledge applied to the prevention and treatment of common psychiatric and mental health conditions encountered in basic nursing practice. Provides students with an integrative perspective from which to incorporate various frameworks of knowledge into practice. Provides didactic knowledge and clinical learning experiences to facilitate students' understanding of actual and potential psychiatric illnesses and mental health problems in individuals, families and communities.

NURS 365. Pathophysiology and Pharmacology I. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits (3 credits lecture). Prerequisites: anatomy, physiology and microbiology; BIOL 205, PHIS 206, BIOL 209 and admission to the School of Nursing. Introduces general and foundational principles in pathophysiology and pharmacology. Examines pathophysiological mechanisms selected diseases, syndromes and/or conditions and integrates related pharmacotherapeutics. Establishes a biophysiological basis for understanding relevant clinical assessments, clinical manifestations and disease trajectories. Provides a foundation for establishing physiological priorities for nursing care.

NURS 366. Pathophysiology and Pharmacology II. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits (3 lecture credits). Prerequisite: NURS 365 completed with a minimum grade of C. Examines pathophysiological mechanisms in selected human systems diseases, syndromes and/or conditions and integrates related pharmacotherapeutics. Establishes a biophysiological basis for understanding relevant clinical assessments, clinical manifestations and disease trajectories. Provides a foundation for establishing physiological priorities for nursing care.

NURS 371. Evidence-based Practice. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: STAT 210, NURS 201, NURS 202. All prerequisites must be completed with a minimum grade of C. This overview course focuses on the knowledge and skills required to enact evidence-based practice over one's professional life. Students will examine the relevance of nursing research to evidence-based practice as they review important research concepts and identify factors affecting utilization of evidence in practice. The course formally introduces a model for evidence-based practice with an emphasis on the components of searching for, appraising and synthesizing best evidence.

NURS 396. Nursing Internship. 1-5 Hours.

Semester course; 120 clinical hours per credit. Variable credit. May be repeated. Prerequisites: NURS 325, NURS 335, NURS 345, NURS 355, NURS 365, NURS 366 and NURS 371. All prerequisites must be completed with a minimum grade of C. Provides combination supervised clinical experience and paid work experience in selected settings of the VCU Medical Center. Many of these settings are not available in traditional curriculum. Introduces students to the work life of a nurse.

NURS 397. International Comparison of Nursing Education and Clinical Care. 1 Hour.

Semester course; 30 clinical hours. 1 credit (1 credit clinical/lab). Enrollment restricted to students in the nursing program of the University of Cordoba or VCU. This course focuses on a comparison of the nature of nursing in two countries: the United States and Spain. Specifically, the course focuses on comparing and contrasting the health care systems and examining the nursing education systems and nursing student experiences in Spain and the U.S. Students from the University of Cordoba will engage in clinical simulations designed to expose them to the high fidelity simulators used in U.S. schools. Additionally, students from both schools will engage in guided observation of nursing care provided to patients in acute care settings and citizens within community-based settings.

NURS 403. Evidence-based Practice in Health Care. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: NURS 308 with a minimum grade of C. This course formally introduces models for evidence-based practice, examines hierarchies of evidence, reviews change theories useful to initiate EBP and identifies individual and organizational resources needed for EBP. Emphasis is on developing skills in retrieving and appraising literature relevant to clinical problems, understanding the research process and critiquing evidence from research publications and other sources to inform evidence-based nursing practice. Course delivered online.

NURS 406. Interprofessional Collaborative Practice. 2 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture hours. 2 credits. Prerequisite: NURS 308 with a minimum grade of C. Explores the necessity for interprofessionalism in the contemporary health care environment. Core competencies and best practices for interprofessional collaborative practice are emphasized. Participation in virtual team activities provides students with opportunities to apply interprofessional knowledge, skills and attitudes that improve practice and impact patient care outcome. Course delivered online.

NURS 408. Ethics, Law and Public Policy: Application to Nursing Practice. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: NURS 308 with a minimum grade of C. This course examines ethics, law and public policy that influence nursing practice and the nature and function of the health care system. The emphasis of the course will be on the role of the professional nurse as advocate for patients, families, communities and the nursing profession, as well as an advocate for changes in the health care system as needed. Course delivered online.

NURS 409. Population Health: Application to Nursing Practice. 2 Hours.

Semester course; 60 clinical hours. 2 credits (2 credits clinical/lab). Prerequisites: NURS 308 and NURS 309, both with minimum grades of C. This course provides opportunity to apply core concepts of population health in a community within the framework of the nursing process. Epidemiological and population-level data will be used to develop and/or guide interventions in the management of care. The course emphasizes evidence-based approaches to achieving sustainable population health outcomes. Course delivered online.

NURS 416. Community Health Nursing. 5 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture and 60 clinical hours. 5 credits (3 credits lecture and 2 credits clinical laboratory). Prerequisites: NURS 325, NURS 335, NURS 345, NURS 355, NURS 365, NURS 366 and NURS 371, all completed with a minimum grade of C. Focuses on development of knowledge and skills essential for care of communities and populations. Explores theory and evidence relevant to the assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation of communities and populations. Incorporates epidemiological principles to population-focused nursing and emphasizes the study and application of community health nursing roles for health promotion and disease prevention. Evaluates the impact of health policy on the public’s health. Designs an evidence-based service-learning project to address the health care needs of at-risk populations.

NURS 425. Nursing of Adults II. 6 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture and 90 clinical hours. 6 credits (3 credits lecture and 3 credits clinical laboratory). Prerequisites: NURS 325, NURS 335, NURS 345, NURS 355, NURS 365, NURS 366 and NURS 371. All prerequisites must be completed with a minimum grade of C. Focuses on the patient in acute phases of physical illnesses and with complicated multisystem health problems. Provides theoretical and evidence-based foundations for nursing management and related therapeutic regimens. Focuses on the development and application of clinical decision-making and an evidence-based model in the provision of care to acutely ill adults in a variety of settings.

NURS 462. Advanced Pathophysiological Concepts: Application to Patient Care. 3 Hours.

Semester; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: NURS 308 and NURS 403, both with minimum grades of C. This course expands on basic knowledge of normal physiology and common pathophysiologic conditions across the lifespan. The course focuses on advanced knowledge of pathophysiology in relation to complex health care conditions. Integration of appropriate assessment skills and evidence-based pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions are highlighted. The nurse’s role in anticipating complications and evaluating clinical outcomes is emphasized. Course delivered online.

NURS 477. Leadership and Management in Health Care. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 4 lecture hours. 4 credits: Prerequisites: NURS 308, NURS 309 and NURS 403, all with minimum grades of C; corequisite: NURS 406. This course examines principles of leadership and management that facilitate coordination and implementation of safe, quality-oriented and ethical patient care. The course emphasizes development of leadership competencies within contexts of the nursing community and interprofessional team in a variety of settings within the contemporary health care delivery system. Course delivered online.

NURS 478. Leadership and Management in Health Care: Theory and Application. 5 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture and 60 clinical/laboratory hours (3 credits lecture and 2 credits clinical/laboratory). 5 credits. Prerequisites: NURS 325, NURS 335, NURS 345, NURS 355, NURS 365, NURS 366 and NURS 371, all completed with a minimum grade of C. Integrates principles of leadership and management to prepare students for management, coordination and implementation of safe and ethical patient care in contemporary health care delivery systems. Based on an understanding of nursing's development as a profession, advances enactment of professionalism. Precepted clinical experiences provide opportunities to apply leadership and management principles to nursing practice in a variety of settings and specialty areas.

NURS 488. Clinical and Management Decision-making. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 2 laboratory hours (60 clinical/lab contact hours; delivered online). 3 credits (1 credit lecture, 2 credits clinical/lab). Prerequisites: NURS 406, NURS 462 and NURS 477, all with minimum grades of C. This course is designed as the culminating or capstone experience for the R.N.-B.S. completion program. The course provides opportunities to evaluate outcomes of baccalaureate education within the context of the clinical practice setting, to apply leadership principles and change theories to clinical and management decision-making, to employ concepts of quality and safety, and to use quality improvement processes in the health care setting.

NURS 491. Special Topics Course. 1-6 Hours.

Semester course; 1-6 lecture hours. 1-6 credits (1-6 credits lecture). Prerequisites: admission to the School of Nursing and permission of instructor. An in-depth exploration of specific topics in nursing theory and practice.

NURS 492. Elective Study. 1-5 Hours.

1-5 credits. Prerequisite: admission to the School of Nursing. Independent study projects planned to meet the learning objectives of the student.

NURS 496. Senior Synthesis. 6 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 120 clinical/lab hours. Honors section only: 2 lecture, 1 seminar and 120 clinical/lab hours. 6 credits (2 credits lecture and 4 credits clinical/lab). Honors section: 7 credits (2 credits lecture, 1 credit seminar [2 contact hours] and 4 credits clinical/lab). Prerequisites: NURS 325, NURS 335, NURS 345, NURS 355, NURS 365, NURS 366, NURS 371, NURS 425, IPEC 501 and IPEC 502. Honors section prerequisite: NURS 512. All prerequisites must be completed with a minimum grade of C. This course is designed as a culminating experience that meets the criteria of the third tier of the VCU Core Curriculum. It prepares students for successful transition into professional practice; thus it requires higher-level cognitive processes that include synthesis of knowledge, evidence and skills from all previous course work and clinical experiences. The course requires that the student consistently enact professional practice, demonstrate competency in standards of care, application of evidence, professionalism and safe and legal practice. This course is taken during the last semester of the nursing program.