Skip to main content

South Dakota State University

Close Search

Mission & Philosophy

Students walking on campus


The College of Nursing improves human health and quality of life for people in the state of South Dakota, the region, the nation, and the world. The College strives for excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research, scholarship, and health services to diverse individuals, communities, and populations across the life span.


To be a national leader in accessible and quality undergraduate and graduate nursing education and recognized across health disciplines, and to prospective students, alumni, and nursing leaders as innovative scholars and researchers who improve human health through strategic partnerships and interprofessional collaboration that shapes new delivery models of quality health care and nursing education.

Core Values

  • Honesty, respect, and integrity
  • Excellence in learning, research and service
  • Improved health and quality of life
  • Academic quality, rigor and student engagement
  • Human dignity, altruism, and social justice
  • Access to quality nursing education and health care
  • Diversity among ourselves and the people we serve
  • Innovation in scientific discovery that improves human health outcomes
  • Collaboration and partnership development



Education of nurses and other health care professionals is essential to the health and quality of life in the state, region, and nation. Education is a self-directed, yet interactive lifelong process that empowers learners to think critically and grow toward their potential as individuals and contributing members of the profession and society.

The essential components of professional nursing education include liberal education, professional values, clinical reasoning, and role development. The role of faculty is to guide, direct, facilitate and evaluate learning while encouraging curiosity, creativity and independent thinking.

Undergraduate education prepares individuals for basic entry into nursing practice. This education provides the foundation for the development of professional knowledge, critical thinking, ethical decision-making, leadership skills and pursuit of high standards in health care to influence quality health outcomes. The health science minor offers nursing and other professional students knowledge and skills to promote health, prevent disease and protect the environment.

Master’s education prepares nurses for advanced practice in nursing or for specialty areas of nursing practice. The advanced professional nursing role relies on best practices and evidence-based research with a focus on evaluation of health outcomes and process.

Doctoral education prepares the PhD nurse scholar to influence health care through leadership in education, policy, research, nursing theory and nursing knowledge development. Doctoral education prepares the nurse clinician (DNP) for advanced practice in a primary care role and to influence health policy.

Meta-paradigm in Nursing

The nursing curriculum is based upon the meta-paradigm of nursing, which includes the concepts of person, health, environment, and nursing.


Each person is a complex and unique multidimensional being, which includes physical, psychological, sociocultural and spiritual dimensions. Person encompasses the lifespan. The concept of person encompasses individuals within families and communities as well as groups and aggregates within populations.


Health encompasses multidimensional states of developmental, cognitive, physical, psychological, social, cultural, genetic and spiritual balance throughout the lifespan. Health is a dynamic state which is individually defined within the environment.


Environment consists of dynamic internal and external factors that interact to influence a person’s health. The environment can be altered to positively affect a person’s health by changing or removing unhealthy factors and enhancing or providing health promoting resources. Persons are influenced by and responsive to their environments and can choose to alter their internal and external environments to influence their health.


Nursing is a professional way of caring which uses both art and science to respond to and interact with all dimensions of the person and the environment to provide quality health care and promote quality of life in health, illness, and end of life. Nursing is concerned with human experiences and responses to birth, health, illness, and death within the context of individuals, families, groups, and communities (American Nurses Association, 1995). Nurses, individually and in collaboration with other health care professionals, provide optimal health care and comfort of individuals and groups through the systematic application of knowledge from nursing and other disciplines. Implicit in the practice of professional nursing is accountability for professional growth and practice, demonstration of leadership, and commitment to the development and application of nursing theory, nursing knowledge and research. Life-long learning leads to the optimal development of both the individual practitioner and the discipline of nursing.