Mission and Philosophy

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The mission of the School of Nursing is to enhance and improve the health and well being of the people of North Carolina and the nation, and, as relevant and appropriate, the people of other nations, through its programs of education, research, and scholarship, and through clinical practice and community service. The School accomplishes its mission as steward of the public interest by:

  1. providing high quality education within an environment of scholarly inquiry in order to prepare competent and compassionate practitioners and scholars of, and leaders in, nursing who will actively contribute to the goal of a healthy state and nation,
  2. generating, integrating, disseminating, and using knowledge for practice and policy,
  3. creating vibrant and supportive life-long learning environments to ensure a cadre of nurses who value and participate in scholarship and life-long learning, and who are able quickly to respond to and effectively address the changing health needs and problems of the state and nation,
  4. ensuring equal and fair access to its programs to guarantee that a gender-, racially/ethnically-, and culturally-diverse professional group will be ready to serve a similarly diverse population, and
  5. fulfilling its covenant of care with the publics it serves.


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.