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NURS 4212 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

NURS 4212 - Trends and Issues in Nursing and Healthcare

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course explores and analyzes socio-economic and political variables that affect professional nursing and healthcare. 

Course Outcomes:

At the conclusion of this course the student will be able to:

  1. Incorporate the influence of professional nursing standards in nursing practice situations.
  2. Integrate the influence of changes in health care delivery systems, healthcare policies, and global environmental issues on professional nursing practice.
  3. Actualize professional accountability for practice and the advancement of the profession through designed activities. 
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

Admission to the TN eCampus MSN Bridge program.

Course Topics:
  1. Trends and Issues in the Advancement of Professional Nursing
  2. Trends and Issues in Nursing Governance and Licensure
  3. Trends and Issues in Nursing Education
  4. Trends and Issues in Healthcare Policy Formation
  5. Trends and Issues in Nursing Work Environments
  6. Trends and Issues in Legal Aspects of Healthcare
  7. Trends and Issues in Alternative Healthcare
  8. Trends and Issues in Healthcare Ethics
  9. Trends and Issues in Career Development 
Specific Course Requirements:

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:

Assigned periodicals, documents, position statements, and Internet online articles

Supplemental periodicals and journal articles assigned by instructor.
Institute of Medicine. (2011). The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health. Washington, D.C: The National Academies Press. 

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

All course requirements are submitted online. 

Grading Procedures:
Participation in online class discussions (22 Discussion assignments)22%
Ethical Dilemma Proposal3%
Ethical Dilemma Paper27%
High Performance Work Team Assignment20%
Final Exam20%


Grading Scale:


Assignments and Projects:

Participation in weekly online discussions of course content is expected as topics are introduced and as applied to assigned readings. The student is expected to identify an area of interest in professional nursing, locate examples of trends and issues related to that area of interest, and develop a scholarly paper. A second scholarly paper related to healthcare delivery systems will be developed as a group project and will be accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation. The presentation will be critiqued by other members of the class.

Participation in online class discussions (22%)

All students are expected to actively participate in online class discussions. Participation in weekly online discussions of course content is expected as topics are introduced and as applied to assigned readings. Each discussion question posted will be assigned a date by which the student must respond. If a student is unable to fulfill this requirement for any reason, he/she should notify the instructor prior to the class and make alternative arrangements. The aim is to encourage interaction among students and faculty, not simply to present information. Students are required to respond to all discussion questions. Student responses to discussion questions must be substantive, that is, thoughtful and analytical. Because the D2l system has its own way of formatting material posted on the discussion feature, the student will not be expected to strictly follow APA guidelines for online submissions. However, the student is held to academic standards of writing style and the use of proper grammar, punctuation and spelling.

Grade points for postings to the course discussion board are based on the student’s depth of participation. All students must participate in the discussion forums in order to meet the course requirements. The discussion board will be evaluated each week. The final grade for class participation will be dependent on the level at which the student generally participates throughout the semester.

Discussion Board points are assigned as follows:

  • Excellent – 1 point (Includes in depth response to discussion questions and additional substantive responses to 2 postings from other students)
  • Good – .75-.99 points (Includes in depth response to discussion questions and additional substantive response to 1 posting from another student)
  • Average – .5-.74 points (Response to assigned discussion question)
  • Poor – 0 points (Does not meet any of the criteria for assigned points)

Ethical Dilemma Proposal (3%)

Please follow the below directions for writing this one page proposal. The proposal should be one page in length with a cover page and reference page. Please use APA for the cover page, one page body and reference listings. Write the document in the order listed below. The class text will help you in writing the proposal as defined below. Start early on this assignment as soon as you know your topic. Your proposal will make writing the paper much easier than starting from scratch.

Proposal to include:

  • Topic of the Ethical Dilemma or Issue
  • Definition of the dilemma- what are the decision options?
  • Significance of the Topic- why is this topic important to research?
  • Literature to Support Premises- 2 references to support key alternatives/possibilities for decision making related to action to take. Find two recent references to support the alternatives you need to consider in the dilemma. Paraphrase the findings in the proposal.
  • Framework Model for decision considerations-Box 9-3 on p. 202 in text is a simple framework model and the model used in the video is another quality model; you can use another model if preferred. Summarize a model that you can use to analyze an ethical dilemma decision.
  • Ethical principles to Guide Decision. What ethical principals can you use to help guide your decision? You can use the ANA website or other resources to identify the principals that guide nurses in difficult ethical situations and help nurses identify their own standards and principals (your moral compass).
  • Summarize the purpose for the paper and define the significance of the topic. The purpose sentence should state the reason you are researching the topic?
  • Proposal body must be one page or less

Ethical Dilemma Paper (27%)

This assignment will guide the student in writing a scholarly paper that requires the student to explore nursing values and behaviors that are essential in the practice of nursing, especially when the nurse faces an ethical situation that requires making a decision. Many ethical dilemmas occur in the delivery of health care, and this paper will give the student a practice opportunity in resolving a health related problem that presents as an ethical dilemma. The requirements of the paper will guide the student in improving his/her capacity to rely on personal intelligence and moral responsibility to analyze ethical situations, anticipate consequences, and take action with courage. The student will consider and explore the issues and the complexities in making a decision that has ethical ramifications. Alternative solutions are justified based upon the evidence of the literature and the ethical basis for the solution. The positive and negative sides of the decision are clearly defined.

Please follow the below directions for writing the paper.

Paper will include:

  • Topic
  • Definition of the dilemma-what is the ethical dilemma and what are the possible choices to make in the ethical dilemma?
  • Purpose of the paper clearly stated
  • Significance of the topic –why is this topic important to research?
  • Framework model used for decision making. Model is summarized and process for using is explained; assigned ethical dilemma is evaluated using this framework and process.
  • Ethical principles used to guide the decision-List all ethical principles that are applicable in making a decision regarding the assigned ethical dilemma. Autonomy, justice, beneficence, and nonmaleficence are examples of ethical principles that must be considered in the decision. Use of the ANA website is a resource that guides in identifying personal ethical standards; impact on the nursing profession is summarized.
  • Literature review that supports each side of the ethical decision
  • Relationship of the dilemma decision with family and significant others- Contextual issues are defined.
  • Student’s personal beliefs are discussed with references that support those beliefs.
  • Purpose of the paper and key findings are summarized.

High Performance Work Teams Assignment (20%)

High performance work teams (HPWT) improve work processes, problem solving, decision making, and better product output. HPWT members are able to perform at the highest level for extended periods of time and accomplish work efficiently and effectively. Business enterprises have focused for many years on developing HPWTs as they attempt to have high productivity, quality and effectiveness in a cost- 

Health care organizations can improve quality and effectiveness by creating the environment for developing and maintaining HPWTs. Employee satisfaction improves when the organization achieves their objectives with these types of teams. Nursing has an opportunity to optimally contribute to the success of an organization when each individual nurse functions and is supported in being a member of HPWTs.

The class will be divided into groups in order to produce a short research paper on this topic. Each group will create a four page document (in addition to title page and references) on the topic of HPWTs. This assignment will give you the opportunity to learn to optimally function as a team.

Students are expected to:

  • Check the course calendar for the due dates of assignments.
  • Check the course bulletin board frequently for announcements. 
Class Participation:

All students are expected to actively participate in online class discussions as presented. The aim is to encourage interaction among students and faculty, not simply to present information. Student responses to discussion questions must be substantive, that is, thoughtful and analytical. Because the D2L system has its own way of formatting material posted on the discussion feature, the student will not be expected to strictly follow APA guidelines for online submissions. However, the student is held to academic and professional standards of writing style and the use of proper grammar, punctuation and spelling. 

Late Policy:

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on April 28, 2017