Purpose and Philosophy - Graduate Nursing Studies | Briar Cliff University

Graduate Nursing Program: Purpose & Philosophy

Our Purpose

The global purpose of the Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs is to prepare professional nurse leaders competent in fulfilling advanced practice nursing roles as nurse practitioners or nurse educators, while working within complex health care and educational systems and a rapidly changing society. These roles include the advanced practice dimensions of educator, researcher, advocate, clinician, consultant, and collaborator. These programs provide a solid foundation for scientific and clinical leadership in nursing, continued learning through personal study and/or doctoral education, and advocacy for the health of the public.

Our Philosophy

Graduate level nursing inquiry reflects a synthesis of nursing science and nursing arts and thus is based on theoretically and clinically directed research. This synthesis provides the foundation for fulfillment of the core competencies of advanced practice nursing. Graduate nursing education exists within an educational milieu that honors ongoing personal and professional growth and development, fosters innovation, creativity, and experimentation, and is guided by Christian principles within a Catholic Franciscan framework. Collaborative relationships with faculty, student colleagues, clients, mentors, preceptors, community partners, and other health-related professionals empower the advanced practice nurse as an adult learner to meet the expectations of this role. 

Conceptual Framework

The Briar Cliff University Department of Nursing utilizes an eclectic approach as a framework for the curriculum. The advanced practice nurse approaches the investigation of health problems systematically, incorporating nursing theory, new knowledge gained through formal research and through evaluation of one’s own practice experience, and knowledge from other disciplines. The major concepts utilized are nursing, health, client, and environment. 


  • Is defined as a discipline with a unique body of knowledge that helps inform nurses and others of health and quality of life.
  • Exists as an art and as a science. The art of nursing involves the nurse being present with others. The science of nursing involves the acquisition of discipline specific skills and knowledge including the theoretical knowledge of nursing. Living the art and science of nursing involves presence and honoring the perspective of others.
  • Is a discipline that is wholistic in its concern for humanity.
  • Is being, knowing, and acting with caring compassion.
  • Recognizes cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity.


  • Is a state of being and becoming.
  • Is an inherent right.
  • Is an individually chosen value.


  • Is an individual, family, group, or community and is viewed wholistically.
  • Is a dynamic composite of physiological, psychological, developmental, sociocultural, spiritual, and ethical dimensions.
  • Is a unique being who is self-directed, interactive, and free to choose within situations.
  • Is indivisible from the environment.
  • Is illimitable. 


  • Is all factors interacting with the client.
  • Is indivisible from the client.
  • Is everchanging.
  • Is illimitable.

For more information, download a PDF of the graduate nursing catalog and student handbook »