More About SKC Nursing

Salish Kootenai College Nursing program, established in 1988, leads the nation in graduating Native American Registered Nurses.  Individualized education and a supportive learning environment are hallmarks of the Salish Kootenai College Nursing program.  In 1998, the nursing program expanded to include an RN-BSN completion program, with the first class graduating in 2000. The NEW Direct Admit BSN program accepted the first 4-year cohort Fall Quarter 2020, who will graduate June 2024.

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree is approximately 185 quarter credits. If your college is on the semester system, a BSN is approximately 120 semester credits. Either way, you are in college approximately 4 years full time. (Three 10-week quarters per academic year for colleges on the quarter system, 30 weeks total per academic year-- and two 15-week semesters per academic year for colleges on the semester system, 30 weeks total per academic year). An Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree is approximately 104 quarter credits. The student is eligible to take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) with either an ASN or a BSN, and if successfully passed along with a clear background check and other requirements by the State Board of Nursing, will be a Registered Nurse (RN). The ASN graduate can complete their RN-BSN degree for an additional 76 quarter credits to equal the 180 quarter credits required for a bachelor’s (BSN) degree.

The BSN is now the industry standard for a practicing nurse. It is currently a mandatory nursing degree requirement for most employers and one day, it will be the mandatory nursing degree for all employers. Nurses who currently have an ASN are returning to school to complete their RN-BSN degree so that they meet the industry standard. Most students are choosing to enroll in a BSN at the very outset.

While an individual may earn an ASN and successfully pass the NCLEX and become a Registered Nurse in two to three years, individuals earning the industry standard nursing degree—the BSN—will take four to five years.

Nursing Department Mission
The mission of the SKC Nursing Department is to provide Native American nurses with the competencies required for professional practice and leadership in rural and tribal communities. The Department promotes collaborative partnerships and relationships with individuals and communities to enhance their health, well-being, and cultural identity.

ASN End-of-Program Student Learning Outcomes
At the completion of the ASN Program, the graduate will be proficient in:

Critical Thinking
Utilize critical thinking and evidence-based interventions to coordinate holistic care.

Utilize effective written and verbal communication and information technology to collaborate with health care members, patients and their families.

Culturally Congruent Care
Provide culturally congruent care to reduce health disparities.

Demonstrate citizenship, integrity, self-reflection, and lifelong learning in nursing practice.

BSN End-of-Program Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the RN-BSN program, the student will be able to:

Critical Thinking
Utilize critical thinking, nursing theory, and research to support decision making in nursing practice.

Incorporate information literacy, effective communication strategies, and analysis of nursing knowledge to provide effective community-based care.

Culturally Congruent Care
Provide culturally congruent care to utilize advocacy in improving the effectiveness of health care systems.

Demonstrate citizenship, leadership, social consciousness, and commitment to improve the quality of life for Native American and rural communities.

The Direct Admit BSN, ASN, and RN-BSN nursing program curriculum is based on professional nursing standards.  The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Essentials of Baccalaureate Education, the American Nurses Association (ANA) Scope and Standards of Practice, the ANA Code of Ethics, and the National League for Nursing (NLN) Outcomes and Competencies for Graduates of Baccalaureate Programs in Nursing all inform the curriculum.

Communities of interest such as employers and members of professional associations also provide input to the curriculum. Classroom (didactic) and clinical components comprise the ASN and BSN curriculum delivery. The ASN program prepares graduates to provide safe, competent, and culturally congruent nursing care. The BSN program prepares graduates to be nurse leaders, particularly in rural areas and on Indian Reservations.

The Nursing Program, including both ASN and BSN programs, assesses student learning outcomes using a variety of both direct and indirect measures for both formative as well as summative evaluation purposes. The program incorporates comprehensive projects, exams, quizzes, competency and skill demonstrations, medication calculation exams, Kaplan standardized exams, and specific assignments for direct assessments. Indirect assessments include student exit surveys, Community Advisory Board evaluations, student course evaluations, student faculty evaluations, and NCLEX-RN pass rates. All assessments are based on measuring students’ ability to meet both course student learning outcomes and end-of-program student learning outcomes. The 4 Cs of critical thinking, communication, culture competence, and citizenship inform the metrics associated with achievement of the College’s general education courses, Nursing courses, and the Nursing program.

The Nursing Department’s Systematic Plan of Evaluation (SPE) analysis is conducted quarterly, annually, or as needed. Through the SPE process, key components of administration, faculty, students, curriculum, resources, and outcomes are assessed systematically so that changes may be made in a timely manner, therefore contributing to the nimbleness of the program. Additionally, systematic assessments also point out what processes are working well and need to be continued.

Core Competencies
The four core competencies, Critical thinking, Culturally Congruent Care, Communication, and Citizenship are fundamental to nursing practice, and are threaded throughout courses in the curriculum and are also instrumental in forming the foundation for the College’s academic programs. The competencies are enmeshed in the educational outcomes of the Nursing Program—the 4 Cs. Definitions of critical thinking, communication, culturally congruent care, and citizenship as operationalized by the Nursing Program include:

Critical Thinking is a creative, disciplined, reflective, and self-directed activity leading to a justifiable and rational decision. Critical thinking is a holistic process that incorporates tradition, multiple perspectives and solutions, and diverse ways of knowing, to produce effective client outcomes.

Communication is the respectful dynamic process of human interaction that honors individual patterns, multiple ways of interaction, and relationship-based care. Communication through listening, oral, non-verbal, written, and informatics modalities leads to respectful human connections, and effective client outcomes.

Culturally Congruent Care begins with the awareness of one's own system of values, beliefs, traditions and history and knowledge and respect for the systems of others. Development of culturally congruent care is the continuous process of integrating knowledge, skills, and attitudes that enhance cross-cultural communication and effective client interactions. Environment, community, and tradition provide the context for respectful adaptation of care that is congruent with client beliefs and values.

Citizenship is informed and committed participation in the life of the community through creative and collaborative action at local, national and global levels. Nursing uses ethical and professional frameworks to recognize, and address community issues, role model behaviors that respect the rights of others, provide community service, and advocate toward social justice.