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Department Mission, Vision, Values & Philosophy


Eastern Mennonite University’s (EMU) Nursing Department prepares competent, professional baccalaureate and graduate nurses from a Christian-Anabaptist perspective. The department fosters leadership in its students, preparing them to serve and lead in a global context.


Our goal is to develop nurse leaders across all levels of education who exhibit cultural humility; work for social justice; and embrace a Sacred Covenant approach to nursing.


Like the greater university, the nursing department’s mission and vision are grounded in the enduring biblical values of Christian discipleship, community, service and peace. The department also embraces the core value of a sacred covenant approach to nursing. The Sacred Covenant is a philosophical approach to nursing that recognizes the interweaving of art, science, and spirit within the sacred ministry of health care and health promotion. The practice of nursing as sacred covenant recognizes the holy spaces within relationships between nurse and client, whether individual, family, or community. The commitments of these relationships recognize all persons as created by God with human dignity and worth, working within a dynamic interdependent system of care


The nursing program is based upon Christian-Anabaptist faith beliefs, as well as the standards for nursing education established by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the Virginia Board of Nursing, and is consistent with EMU’s mission and vision. This philosophical statement identifies the major underpinnings for the program and the nursing department’s philosophy of education.

The discipline of nursing is concerned with how nurses interact with people in relation to their health and within their total environment. Nursing at its core is caring for people within their health experience. Persons are viewed holistically in terms of needs that vary with developmental stage and cultural background. Individuals, families, groups and communities, as clients, are approached within a sacred covenant framework. Trust among partners, loyalty, responsibility, mutual obligations and unconditional faithfulness characterize a covenant relationship. Health is seen as relative and as encompassing both wellness and illness. Wholeness and healing, the goals of nursing care, are viewed from a Christian perspective. The environment is viewed as including both natural and sociocultural systems. Health care systems are especially important components of the environment. Nursing is characterized by Christian Anabaptist approaches to caring, roles, and professional responsibilities. The discipline of nursing is thus best built upon knowledge from the natural and behavioral sciences and the liberal arts. 

Preparation of baccalaureate and graduate professional nurses requires the development of intellectual and affective capacities. The effective nurse is able to think critically, care compassionately, listen carefully, communicate clearly, interact meaningfully, act morally, assume responsibility. reflect deeply and exhibit a thirst for knowledge. 

A number of beliefs underlie the educational environment we seek to create. Foundationally, we believe that personal growth is essential for professional growth and that interdependence in a covenant relationship with faculty facilitates this growth. Growth is enhanced when teachers provide honest feedback within a supportive framework. Learning is also promoted when students are actively involved; when students are partners in learning; when the goals of learning are clear; and when students have the opportunity to practice desired skills. Learning within the covenant framework is facilitated by faculty and students partnering together. Flexibility in curriculum design enhances learning for students with diverse educational and cultural backgrounds. The educational experience incorporates a variety of methodologies in recognition that not one teaching method meets everyone’s learning needs.

Graduates at all levels have the capacity to develop a personal art of nursing that grows from an excellent knowledge base; their own personal resources; a sense of the sacred in moments and places; and a profound sense of respect for all people. Graduates are self-directed and engage in continual learning and development. They are accountable for their own actions but work collaboratively with clients; other health team members; and communities within which they practice. As professionals, they seek to improve health care via approaches which promote peace and justice through involvement in church, community and political and professional organizations. 

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