Graduation with Distinction in the Major

Nursing students have the opportunity to graduate with distinction in the major by focusing on the care of the older adult. Contact Dr. Kathleen Twohy ([email protected]) if you have any questions.





Course Title:

Special Topics: Excellence in Care of Older Adults

Course Number:

NRSG 305


0-4 per semester


Junior status in the nursing major

Core Designations:



Last four semesters in the major

Course Faculty:

Denise Meijer, MS, RN, WHNP-BC


Kathleen Twohy, PhD, RN











This 4-semester course is part of the Distinction in the Major-Gerontology option for nursing majors. Program application and acceptance required.


Course Description:

As the older adult population increases in size and complexity, nurses need specialized knowledge, skilled know-how and sharp relational skills to work effectively with these clients.  This course emphasizes developing and maintaining a long-term, professional relationship with older adult(s) living in the community, application of wellness and illness concepts, and an analysis of issues and dynamics in the family(ies) of older adults. The successful student will manifest increasingly complex application of knowledge, skills, and professional identity each semester. Students are expected to enroll in this course for four sequential semesters.


Course Learning Outcomes

1.  Initiate and maintain a therapeutic relationship with a community-living older adult couple.

2.  Uphold the standards and values of professional nursing

3.  Apply best practices in caring for older adults.

4.  Form a professional identity with expertise in the care of older adults.


NRSG 305A (fall term junior year) Co-requisite HONR 396 Thesis Proposal 

a.  Initiate a therapeutic relationship with an older adult couple.

b.  Conduct individual health assessments an environmental safety assessment

c.  Apply professional values and (relevant) standards in care delivery.

d.  Research best practices for care of older adults living in their own homes.

e.  Student generated learning outcome(s).


NRSG 305B (spring term junior year)

a.  Re-energize the therapeutic relationship with the older-adult couple.

b.  Implement a family assessment using a genogram method, sharing findings with clients(s).

c.  Update health information (individual and environment) as needed.

d.  Make referrals to community resources as indicated.

e.  Design a client education brochure/pamphlet relevant to client health/environment issues

f.   Provide anticipatory guidance regarding existing and emerging health and wellness issues

g.  Student generated learning outcome(s).


NRSG 305C (fall term senior year) Co-requisite HONR 398 Senior Honors Thesis or Project

a.  Update health information (individual and environment) as indicated

b.  Provide anticipatory guidance regarding existing and emerging health and wellness issues

c.  Visit a long-term care facility and interview the director of nursing using an interview protocol.

d.  Accompany a client to a health care appointment as appropriate and as acceptable to client.

e.  Assist the client (individual or couple) to understand recommendations made by health care provider(s) related health, wellness, and/or illness.

f.  Student generated learning outcome(s).


NRSG 305D (spring term senior year)

a.  Update health information (individual and environment) as indicated.

b.  Visit an independent and assisted living facility and interview the director using an interview protocol.

c.  Implement a strategy to influence policy that has relevance for older adults.

d.  Student generated learning outcome(s).


The Learning Environment:

Moodle course site, seminar room, Internet sites


Teaching-Learning Practices:

Face-to-face and electronic seminars, reading/research assignments, individual and group consultations with faculty, self-assessments.


Evaluation Methods:

Guided reflections, papers, seminar participation (face-to-face and electronic).