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Nursing Our Philosophy

USD Nursing is committed to producing lifelong learners who excel in their careers, are recognized as leaders and who focus on patient-centered care and the health of society. We are committed to producing nurses who practice with emotional intelligence and exceptional communication and who rely on evidence and critical thinking to achieve excellent patient outcomes and a healthier global society. As a result, our graduates are distinctive in how they think and relate to others.

We as a community of Nurse Scholars believe that nursing is both an art and a science. Foundational to nursing is caring and compassion with the essence of a person to be valued, respected, nurtured and understood. Through the spirit of inquiry, the nurse optimizes critical thinking and evidence-based practice in the delivery of holistic care across the lifespan. Nursing as a profession embraces leadership, scholarship and excellence; nurses advocate for well-being, comfort, dignity and health for humanity. The nurse develops a unique professional identity which serves as a guiding principle for the development of leadership, knowledge, values and ethics, and professional comportment. As nurses share knowledge and engage in scientific discovery, they significantly impact the health and well-being of individuals and populations. 

We as a community of Nurse Scholars believe that nurses have a responsibility to advocate for a safe and healthy environment in which to learn and practice. The environments of our practice have two parts: the Internal Environment (our state of mind, personal beliefs and values, worldview and level of knowledge and experience) and the External Environment (societal and professional norms, practice environment and cultural, social, political and economic environments). The confluence of these environments is where people grow, learn, work and reside. Therefore, the context within which nursing care is delivered is inclusive of culture, relationships and community.  

We as a community of Nurse Scholars believe that nursing education is a synergetic partnership between the learner and educator. Building on a foundation of liberal arts, nursing education leads to a broad worldview and rich perspective that allows the learner to develop a strong personal value system and professional identity. To foster the ability to link nursing practice and ethical reasoning, nursing education incorporates evidence-based, innovative educational pedagogies and active engagement. Nursing education supports the progression of knowledge, skills and values from novice to expert and  a commitment to lifelong learning. Through ongoing discovery and professional growth, nursing education leads to the development of nurse leaders committed to improving the health and well-being of the society they serve.


The Department of Nursing develops exceptional practitioners, leaders, and scholars who advocate for and improve the well-being of all people, particularly those in rural and underserved communities. To benefit the workforce needs of South Dakota, the region and beyond, we emphasize academic excellence, practical experience and public service within an interprofessional, learner-centered, collaborative environment.


The Department of Nursing will provide accomplished, forward-thinking leadership in nursing education that advances a culture of skillful and compassionate care for all.


The Department of Nursing is committed to the values, behaviors, and ethical standards that represent the profession of nursing. These values, behaviors and standards are foundational to contemporary nursing that shape, guide and inform nursing practice. We are committed to embedding these values in the USD nursing curriculum and student experience. 


Our practice is grounded on a foundation of using the best available evidence and information. We engage in continuous reflection, quality improvement, stewardship of resources, innovation and scholarship to continually advance the profession of nursing and the delivery of nursing education. Within a profession-centered environment, we promote academic rigor, learner engagement, accountability and utilize evidence-based practice to enhance our practice. We embrace leadership, coaching and mentoring to influence positive change.

Relationship Centered

We value relationships and partnerships that promote an environment of civility, collegiality, inclusivity and collaboration. We are committed to the practice of Inclusive Excellence, which allows each individual to work and learn in an atmosphere of respect, dignity and acceptance. We integrate respect, caring and humility in all interactions. Keeping the profession at the center of our work, we demonstrate a commitment to meaningful relationships with all program stakeholders and ensure that we demonstrate kindness, integrity and honesty in our communication with others. 


We continually demonstrate individual and collective qualities, behaviors and ethical and moral principles congruent with standards set by the nursing profession. These include moral courage, compassion, integrity, respect, empathy and resiliency. Professionalism encompasses the development of professional identity in nursing. The nurse’s professional identity incorporates the values and ethics of the nursing discipline, a scientific knowledge base, leadership required to transform shared visions into reality and professional comportment demonstrated through words, actions, and presence. 


We partner and invest in our community and we accept the call to service. We honor all humanity as we strive to develop professional nurses that are devoted to service for others. We advocate to reduce healthcare disparities and to improve health and well-being for all.