Mission & Philosophy

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The School of Nursing is an integral part of the University of North Carolina and, as such, endorses the purposes of the University: Scholarship in Teaching, Research and Service.

The mission of the School of Nursing is to:

  • design and implement innovative educational programs for lifelong learning;
  • create, conduct and disseminate cutting-edge research; and
  • use our practice, expertise and service for the betterment of individuals, communities, health care systems, and the profession of nursing.

From our leadership in these areas, we will prepare the next generation of Carolina nurses to assume roles in interprofessional health care and interdisciplinary research environments.


The Faculty of the School of Nursing believe that nursing is a practice discipline and an instrument of care in society. Nursing is distinctive among the practice disciplines in its angle of vision; in its intimacy, scope, and privileged position in relation to patients; and, in its concern with creating and using knowledge to achieve practical and moral ends. Nurses are witnesses to life’s most profound events, especially when people are at their most vulnerable. Nursing is an embodied practice, transcending time and space — that is, always there — and traversing boundaries usually considered relatively impermeable and even inviolable. Nurses stand in between patients — and illness, medicine, and health care systems — as mediators, buffers, translators, facilitators, and cultural brokers. By constantly reconfiguring their practice to accommodate patient needs, situations, and locations, nurses model what dynamic, responsive, and embodied caring about and caring for are, and how such care is fundamental to cure.

The Faculty believe that nursing education is the instrument by which nursing becomes an instrument of care in society. Education at all levels occurs in an environment of scholarly inquiry and is variously oriented toward preparing students to care about and for individuals through the lifespan, to participate with individuals, families, and communities to enhance well being, promote a healthful life, prevent injury and disease, ameliorate the negative effects of injury and disease and their treatment, and to ensure a dignified and peaceful death. A healthful life is one in which individuals and communities are able to fully participate in the benefits of and conversations about health, and one that is not limited by place, poverty, prejudice, and violence. Students of nursing learn the benefits of forming partnerships with individuals, families, and communities, and at various organizational levels to improve health, and to influence practice and policy. Students of nursing learn to combine their knowledge of the humanities, the biological, social, and nursing sciences, and of clinical diagnosis and therapeutics, with their intimate knowledge of the particularities of patients to provide biographically relevant, culturally sensitive, evidence-based, and ethically appropriate health care services. In addition to using creatively knowledge from the sciences and humanities in their encounters with the persons and communities they serve, nurses produce knowledge that, in turn, contributes to these sciences and the humanities and to the distinctive knowledge of practice that is the forte of nursing.

The signature contributions of nursing and nursing education are to the generation, transmission, and creative use of knowledge for practice, the enhancement of health, and the continuous improvement of health care. Practice knowledge is comprised of complex transformations and syntheses of case, patient, person, and system knowledge for the purpose of discovering and enacting workable and moral solutions to health care problems. As a steward of the public interest, committed to beneficence and the fair use of resources, the School of Nursing maintains and improves resources for the benefit of the populations it serves.