The philosophy of the Decker School of Nursing (DSON) emphasizes the search for meaning, freedom of choice, integrity, personal responsibility, self-awareness, caring, and compassion for self and others. The Faculty is in accord with the stated mission of Binghamton University, a premier public institution, that is ". . . dedicated to enriching the lives of people in the region, nation, and world through discovery and education and to being enriched by its engagement in those communities."

The Faculty views nursing as an art and a science actuated by humanistic values. Nursing, as a science, is grounded in knowledge, generated through discovery, and implemented in evidence-based practice. Nursing, as an art, seeks to synthesize scientific, aesthetic and self-knowledge in providing direct care that promotes health, prevents illness, and maximizes the quality of life.

The focus of nursing is on human systems that consist of individuals, families, and communities, each existing interdependently with their environments. These systems experience ever-changing and complex states of health and require nursing care at various times along the life cycle. Nursing promotes self-actualization through health promotion, prevention of disease, restoration of health, and a peaceful and dignified death.

The Faculty believes in the essential dignity and worth of every person, family, and community as a unique and dynamic system. Human systems have aspects that are physical, social, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual in nature, culminating in a greater whole. The Faculty views all human systems as evolving, on a purposeful journey through the wide dimensions of human experience.

The Faculty believes that human systems are ultimately responsible for their own growth, values, and search for fulfillment, while recognizing that self-actualization takes place in relationship with other human systems and the broader ecosystem. To this extent human systems interact with society at large and become stewards of their environment.

People should have the opportunity to exercise freedom of choice in determining and attaining their goals without interfering with the freedom and well-being of others. The Faculty values the promotion of social justice, whereby the necessary resources for growth, development, and actualization are available to all people and communities.
Health is a complex phenomenon characterized by dynamic interaction between the internal and external environments of every human system. Human systems experience health, illness, and death in unique and varying ways. The Faculty associates good health with the harmonious balance among all aspects of the human system throughout the continuum of life. Any human system functioning at a high level of health will also be maximizing that system's creative potential. Groups such as families, communities, and societies follow a similar pattern of relationships, capacity for growth, respect for diversity, and balance needed for optimal health. The health of rural and other vulnerable populations is of special interest to the students and Faculty of the DSON, whether caring for a rural client in an urban system or influencing the community or health care systems of rural areas.

The health of human systems is nursing's greatest concern. Nurses respect the principles of social justice; realizing health care resources in some environments are limited and need to be distributed fairly. To provide comprehensive health care, nursing must be cognizant of health values, beliefs, and perceptions of human systems and their effect on well-being in the context of complex environments and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Caring, trust, compassion and mutual respect are fundamental to the nurse-client relationship. The nurse incorporates knowledge and self-awareness in the development of a therapeutic approach. Nursing has its own knowledge built on theory and discovery, and shares a knowledge base with other disciplines to generate and utilize the best evidence for effective care.

Within professional nursing there are multiple levels of practice. The nurse generalist, prepared at the baccalaureate level, applies theory and research from the physical, behavioral, and nursing sciences to the practice of nursing. The baccalaureate-prepared nurse becomes an intelligent consumer of research, uses research-based evidence to support clinical practice, and participates collaboratively to manage comprehensive health services for a diverse and multicultural population. Baccalaureate-prepared nurses demonstrate beginning leadership and management skills in the coordination of resources for client systems within a value system consistent with professional nursing. The nurse specialist prepared at the graduate level solves complex client care problems through a multiplicity of roles using theoretically driven strategies of advanced nursing practice. The master's-prepared nurse participates in research, uses evidence-based practice, assumes a leadership role in the planning, management, and improvement of health care, influences health policy, and promotes the continuing development of nursing as a profession. The terminal degrees in nursing are at the doctoral level, including the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). The PhD graduate from the DSON is actively engaged in designing original research to generate and test theory. The DNP graduate evaluates and implements research into evidence-based practice. Both degrees make an effort to enhance nursing practice in rural and other vulnerable populations and to develop policies that optimize the health of these populations. Together the nurse generalist and nurse specialist collaborate to advance the profession of nursing.

Nursing education is achieved through the active participation in discovery, practice and scholarship. The Faculty views education as a continuous lifelong process of becoming, aimed at the development of intellectual, aesthetic and professional interests that advance each learner towards personal and professional goals. The essence of learning and growth for both teacher and learner is the Faculty-student relationship. The Faculty prepare culturally, ethnically, and racially diverse nurses to strengthen the professions ability to meet the needs all people. The Faculty recognizes and supports the need for international collaboration and experiences for both students and Faculty, as we seek to generate a global vision in relation to health and nursing.

Additional units of the DSON such as Health and Wellness, serve to educate on the importance of healthy lifestyles. Health and Wellness and Nursing faculty can bring synergy to research into issues of health promotion and disease prevention.

Last Updated: 2/24/14