Sep 16, 2021  
Graduate Catalog 2018-2019 
Graduate Catalog 2018-2019 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

School of Nursing

Dean: Barbara James

Program Coordinators: Holly Gadd, Frances Johnson

Graduate Enrollment Counselor: Jamie Thompson

Faculty: Ronda Christman, Holly Gadd, Barbara James, Frances Johnson, Michael Liedke, Christine Moniyung, Linda Peoples, Elizabeth Scott, Lilly Tryon, Maria Valenca

Adjunct Faculty: Stephen Bauer, Bonnie Freeland, Ileanna Freeman, Bonnie Gnadt, LouAnn Johnson, Harold Mayer, MaryAnn C. Roberts, Brenda Spurbeck, Dennis Steele

Mission Statement

The School of Nursing provides a Christian learning environment that nurtures a culture of integrity and academic excellence, and prepares caring, competent professionals to serve the diverse healthcare needs of individuals, families, and communities within a global context.

The School of Nursing’s graduate programs are designed to provide master’s and doctoral level Christian nursing education which prepares caring, competent advanced practice clinicians, educators and leaders who make a positive impact on the individuals and organizations they serve.

Program Outcomes

  1. provide personalized, compassionate, and coordinated care for the individual, family, or community through use of the nursing process, based on the unique variables that make up the whole person (physiological, psychological, socio-cultural, and spiritual).
  2. manage the provision of nursing care through effective functioning within inter- and intra-professional teams through open communication, mutual respect and shared decision-making in order to achieve quality patient care.
  3. consistently fulfill the role of member of the discipline through the assimilation of a set of nursing roles and behaviors that include integrity, accountability, civility, critical thinking, collaborative relationships, clear communication, advocacy, legal and ethical practice, community and professional involvement, and life-long learning in order to effectively demonstrate Christ-centered excellence through caring, connecting, and empowering.

Degrees Offered

The School of Nursing offers Doctoral and Master’s degree programs.

BS to DNP, DNP, MSN, accelerated RN to MSN and post-master’s and DNP specialist certificates are available as campus-based emphases in the for following areas:

  • Acute Care - Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • Primary Care - Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • Primary Care - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Primary Care - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Online emphases for the Doctoral and Master’s degree progrms include:

  • Acute Care Specialization (DNP only)
  • Lifestyle Medicine (DNP only)
  • MBA (in collaboration with School of Business and Management: DNP and MSN - not available as accelerated RN to MSN)
  • Nurse Educator (also available as post-master’s and DNP specialist certificates)


All Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Master of Science (MSN) degree programs are approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), The Tennessee Board of Nursing, and accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), 3343 Peachtree Road, NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, GA 30326.

Admission Requirements

1.  Graduate Studies Application submitted to graduate studies office (includes the following documents):

  • Completed Graduate Studies Application
  • Thoughtfully written statement describing purpose and goals for pursuing selected degree and demonstrating writing skill.
  • Curriculum vitae or resume
  • Three recommendation forms (2 from a clinical setting; 1 academic)
  • Official transcripts of an Associate degree, Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in nursing from a recognized college or university with an accredited program
    • Minimum cumulative graduate or undergraduate GPA of 3.00 (3.25 for Accelerated RN to MSN)
    • If the candidate has previously taken 12 or more graduate credits from another college or university, the graduate GPA may be substituted for the undergraduate GPA.
    • International students must submit official transcripts along with an evaluation by an accredited evaluation service. Applicants must achieve a TOEFL score of 100 (Internet-based) within the past year prior to application.
  • Documentation of successful completion of an undergraduate or graduate course in statistics (3 credit hours)


DNP applicants

  • Scholarly writing sample (e.g. previous academic paper)


MSN/MBA and DNP/MBA applicants

  • A Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) taken within the past five years. Students will be admitted based on the following formula: GPA x 200+GMAT = 1000.
  • An applicant with an undergraduate degree from an accredited U.S. college or university, and who has an undergraduate GPA of 3.25 or above, or a GPA of 3.00 and five years of full-time business-related management experience may be admitted without a GMAT score.


   Accelerated RN to MSN

  • Completion of the following general education and cognate courses. Some courses may be taken as part of the RN-MSN program instead of as pre-requisites. Students who have completed the majority of these requirements are considered stronger candidates for admission to the RN-MSN program.
    • Chemistry: Chemistry - 3 hours 
    • Computer - Computer - 1 hour
    • Communication: Public speaking - 3 hours
    • English: Composition - 6 hours
    • History: Elective - 3 hours
    • Religion: Elective - 3 hours
  • Completion of the following general education and cognate courses at Southern Adventist University, unless otherwise approved:
    • SOCI 349 Aging and Society - 3 hours
    • RELT 373 - Christian Ethics 3 hours
    • PEAC 225 Fitness for Life - 1 hour

2.  School of Nursing application requirements - documents submitted to graduate enrollment counselor in the School of Nursing

  • Licensure
    • Current licensure as a registered nurse in Tennessee or current multistate license with privilege to practice in the state of Tennessee. A Georgia license is strongly encouraged for nurse practitioner students.
    • Online students must have current licensure in the state or country of practice.
    • Acute Care Specialization emphasis requires current Advanced Practice Certification as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner from a nationally recognized organization and current Advanced Practice License in state or location of practice.
  • Work experience
    • Applicants should have minimum of two years (4000 hours) nursing experience.
    • Acute care nurse practitioner program applicants must have substantive experience in critical care or a related area, and submit documentation of critical care skill set with application.
    • Exceptions related to work experience may be considered for students with limited work experience.  These students are required to obtain and maintain ongoing work experience as a registered nurse or nurse practitioner while enrolled in the graduate curriculum.
      • BS to DNP
        • Work experience as RN is recommended but not required for admission to the program.
        • Students with limited RN experience will be required to document a minimum of 4000 hours of experience prior to beginning any nurse practitioner practicum in the DNP program. 
  • Interview by faculty member(s)
    • Interview by faculty is scheduled once all other documents have been submitted
    • Schedule admission interview with the MSN Graduate Enrollment Counsellor, Diane Proffitt (; 423-236-2957). Interviews are done on selected Fridays following an informational session, and must be completed prior to the application deadline.
    • MBA Emphasis - must include personal interview with School of Business Graduate Program Coordinator.

Admission to the Program

The Graduate Nursing program admits students in the fall and winter semesters.  Students may elect to attend full or part time. The program contains both online and face to face classes, depending upon the emphasis chosen by the student.  Nurse practitioner emphasis courses are face to face and taught on Tuesdays.

Once students are accepted into the Program and before registration, the following documents are to be submitted to the graduate enrollment counselor in the School of Nursing

  • Physical Exam
  • Criminal background check
  • Drug screen
  • Current immunizations* (currency must be maintained throughout the program)
  • CPR / BLS certification* (currency must be maintained throughout the program)

Provisional Admission

Applicants with less than a 3.00 grade point average (3.25 Accelerated RN to MSN) may be admitted provisionally. Students initially granted provisional acceptance may progress through the program with a maximum of one C grade.

MBA Emphasis

  • An applicant with a combined GPA/GMAT score of less than 1000 may be admitted under scholastic provisional status. A student accepted on this basis may be admitted to regular status upon the completion of 12 credit hours taken through Southern with a minimum grade of “B” in each course. Students are not permitted to repeat courses in order to satisfy this requirement. Students who do not satisfy this requirement will not be permitted to continue in the program

Application Deadlines

All documents for Step 1 and Step 2 of the admission process must be complete by admission deadlines. Applications will be prioritized for review based on an applicant’s level of education, work experience, and completion of all items of the application process.

School of Nursing application deadlines are as follows:

TERM                      U.S. RESIDENTS                      INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

Fall                                        April 1                                          March 1

Winter                                 October 1                                     August 1

Applicant Notification of Admission Status

Applicants will be notified in writing of the Admissions Committee’s decision within one month following the published application deadline (typically by June 1 or November 1).

Time Limits

The Graduate Nursing program is designed to meet the needs of working adults. Students typically complete two to four courses each semester. Normal progression for the part-time student requires registration for a minimum of one course per semester (5 hours if receiving financial aid).


  • Normal progression through the BS to DNP program for the full time student requires 9-10 hours per semester and takes eight to nine semesters. 
  • The total time allowed to complete the program from enrollment in the program to the conferring of the DNP degree may not exceed six years. An application for an extension will be considered on an individual basis.

DNP, MSN, Accelerated RN to MSN

  • Normal progression through the program for the full-time student requires registration for 9 to 12 hours per semester and takes five to six semesters.
  • Time permitted from enrollment in the program to conferring of the MSN degree may not exceed five years. Application for an extension will be considered on an individual basis.

DNP Specialist and Post-master’s Certificate

  • Time permitted from enrollment to completion of DNP specialist or post-master’s certificate requirements may not exceed three years.  Application for an extension will be considered on an individual basis.


A criminal background check and drug screen are required of all students upon enrollment. Background checks are paid for and completed by the student online. Drug screens are facilitated by the School of Nursing Graduate Enrollment Counselor through a drug testing service. Additional screening may be done at random. Progression may be adversely affected by negative background or drug screen reports.

Students are required to maintain current professional RN license, current immunizations, TB screening and healthcare provider CPR certification for program progression. 

Students benefit from additional clinical experience.

  • BS to DNP - Students entering the BS to DNP program have no requirement for experience at the time of entry into the program.  It is expected, however, that they will have achieved a minimum of 2 years (4000 hours) of nursing experience prior to beginning any DNP practicum courses. At the recommendation of the faculty advisor or program administrator, a student who has less than two years of experience or whose clinical experience is remote or weak, may be required to register for NRSG 500 Individual Study and Clinical Practice, for the purposes of balancing and enriching their academic or clinical program and experience.
  • MSN to DNP - Students entering the post-master’s DNP program are expected to have a minimum of 2 years (4000 hours) of clinical experience at the time of application.  Ongoing work experience during the program is encouraged.
  • MSN - At the recommendation of the faculty advisor or program administrator, a student may be required to register for NRSG 500 Individual Study and Clinical Practice, for the purposes of balancing and enriching their academic or clinical program and experience.

Academic standing is monitored regularly for incomplete, unsatisfactory or low course grades and GPA. Students noted to have difficulties in any of these areas are subject to advisement and consideration regarding program progression. In general, the following rules apply to progression.

Clinicals Outside of TN

Any student wishing to complete clinical experiences outside the state of TN must verify that state is a member of NC-SARA and seek permission from that State Board of Nursing. Clinical placements in some states may not be able to be accommodated due to specific state board of nursing regulations.


  1. Students may have no more than two classes with a grade of B- in their DNP program.
  2. No grade below B- is allowed during the DNP program.
  3. A course with a grade below B- must be repeated.
  4. Two courses may be repeated in the DNP program


  1. No more than one C or C+ grade is allowed during the MSN program.
  2. A grade of C- or below must be repeated.
  3. Only one course may be repeated in the MSN program.


Students are expected to meet residence requirements at Southern Adventist University. Students enrolled in a graduate program in the School of Nursing (with the exception of the post-master’s certificate program) are expected to complete 75% of their program at Southern (excluding pre-requisite courses).  Students must complete their last 30 hours in residence.

Transfer courses must be taken at an accredited institution, carry grades of B or better, and be approved by the School of Nursing.

Validation exams may be used to meet approved program requirements in accordance with graduate catalog specifications.  The School of Nursing allows up to 10 hours with approval of the graduate program coordinator, school dean and graduate dean.  Validation examinations may be recorded as pass/fail or by letter grade, as determined by the School of Nursing.

Graduation Requirements

Graduate nursing students must:

  • Submit an application to graduate to the Records and Advisement office a minimum of two months prior to the expected graduation date
  • Complete all coursework with a minimum grade-point-average of 3.00
  • DNP students - have a grade of B or better in all courses
  • MSN and Accelerated RN to MSN students - have no more than one class with a grade below B-.  Classes with a grade of C- or below will not be counted for credit toward the master’s degree.

Students with dual emphases must complete coursework for both emphases. Second emphasis requirements listed in general graduate enrollment policies may be waived as needed.

DNP Overview

The DNP program is designed for nurses seeking their terminal degree in nursing practice. The DNP degree options are based on the Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice guidelines put forth by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN, 2006).

The BS to DNP is a program for the Registered Nurse who has completed a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing and wishes to progress rapidly and seamlessly to a doctoral degree. Those enrolled in this program are not awarded the MSN degree. This program is primarily a face-to-face program with some online courses. Students are required to register for and attend a DNP seminar on campus each fall until completion of their program.

The DNP degree program is for the Registered Nurse or Advanced Practice Nurse who has completed a Master’s degree in Nursing and who wishes to expand their scope of practice. This program includes both face-to-face and completely online options (see prior section - Degrees offered). All students, including those in completely online options, are required to register for and attend a DNP seminar on campus each fall until completion of their program.

Attendance at the annual, on-campus DNP Seminar (NURS 705 ) in the fall semester is required of all students. Failure to attend the seminar will result in suspension of enrollment until the student is able to resume commitment to degree requirements.


Graduate Major

Dual Majors