The Montana Technological University’s Sherry Lesar School of Nursing is dedicated to preparing generalist nurses through a diverse array of nursing roles in a variety of community settings emphasizing our unique heritage in rural healthcare.

The Sherry Lesar School of Nursing stresses the importance of being an intellectual leader and role model in the profession of nursing.


We believe:

Nursing and nursing education are essential for the promotion, maintenance and restoration of health, along with the prevention of illness.

Nursing and nursing education will become more complex as health care evolves. This continually changing health care environment mandates the role, function and educational preparation of the nurse.

The profession of nursing is best served through highly educated members who continually strive to broaden their knowledge and expertise to meet the increasing demands of the health care environment.

In a holistic approach to nursing education, including sensitivity to the physical, psychological, spiritual, sociocultural, and diverse needs of the individual, family and community.

Acquisition of nursing knowledge and skill is best achieved through a combination of classroom requirements and clinical experience in both simulated and actual care environments.

In a continually evolving curriculum, that reflects best practice.

Program Goals

  1. Prepare individuals for practices as baccalaureate prepared nurses.
  2. Recruit and retain a qualified and engaged faculty.
  3. Provide an environment that supports student’s success and promotes innovation and excellence in instruction.
  4. Contribute to the improvement of healthcare in our local and regional communities.

Program Outcomes

The BSN curriculum will provide nursing education that will enable the baccalaureate-prepared nurse to:

  1. Provide safe nursing care to individuals, families and populations utilizing inter-professional communication, collaboration, clinical judgment, and a holistic framework.
  2. Design, manage, and evaluate person-centered nursing care in a variety of structured and unstructured settings to address individual health, population health, and social determinants of health.
  3. Function as a leader, advocate for health policy and resource manager in system-based practice using informatics, healthcare technology and fiscal administration.
  4. Critically appraise current research to promote understanding regarding the production of knowledge and application of evidence-based practice and nursing scholarship.
  5. Actualize a commitment to professional accountability and ethical standards in nursing practice with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

AACN Threads and Concepts for Nursing Practice

The focus of the Sherry Lesar School of Nursing’s curriculum is to provide education leading to substantial specialized knowledge of the biological, physical, behavioral, psychological, and sociological sciences and of nursing theory as a basis for the nursing process. The nursing process is the assessment, nursing diagnosis, planning, nursing intervention, and evaluation in the promotion and maintenance of health; the prevention, case finding, and management of illness, injury, or infirmity; and the restoration of optimum function. The term also includes administration, teaching, counseling, supervision, delegation, and evaluation of nursing practice. The professional nurse is directly accountable and responsible to the consumer for the quality of nursing care rendered.

1. Clinical Judgement

As one of the key attributes of professional nursing, clinical judgment refers to the process by which nurses make decisions based on nursing knowledge (evidence, theories, ways/patterns of knowing), other disciplinary knowledge, critical thinking, and clinical reasoning. This process is used to understand and interpret information in the delivery of care. Clinical decision making based on clinical judgment is directly related to care outcomes (AACN, 2023). 

2. Communication

Communication, informed by nursing and other theories, is a central component in all areas of nursing practice. Communication is defined as an exchange of information, thoughts, and feelings through a variety of mechanisms. The definition encompasses the various ways people interact with each other, including verbal, written, behavioral, body language, touch, and emotion. Communication also includes intentionality, mutuality, partnerships, trust, and presence. Effective communication between nurses and individuals and between nurses and other health professionals is necessary for the delivery of high quality, individualized nursing care. With increasing frequency, communication is delivered through technological modalities. Communication also is a core component of team-based, interprofessional care and closely interrelated with the concept Social Determinants of Health (AACN, 2023).

3. Compassionate Care

As an essential principle of person-centered care, compassionate care refers to the way nurses relate to others as human beings and involves “noticing another person’s vulnerability, experiencing an emotional reaction to this, and acting in some way with them in a way that is meaningful for people.” Compassionate care is interrelated with other concepts such as caring, empathy, and respect and is also closely associated with patient satisfaction (AACN, 2023).

4. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Collectively, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) refers to a broad range of individual, population, and social constructs and is adapted in the Essentials as one of the most visible concepts. Although these are collectively considered a concept, differentiation of each conceptual element leads to enhanced understanding. Diversity references a broad range of individual, population, and social characteristics, including but not limited to age; sex; race; ethnicity; sexual orientation; gender identity; family structures; geographic locations; national origin; immigrants and refugees; language; any impairment that substantially limits a major life activity; religious beliefs; and socioeconomic status. Inclusion represents environmental and organizational cultures in which faculty, students, staff, and administrators with diverse characteristics thrive. Inclusive environments require intentionality and embrace differences, not merely tolerate them. Everyone works to ensure the perspectives and experiences of others are invited, welcomed, acknowledged, and respected in inclusive environments. Equity is the ability to recognize the differences in the resources or knowledge needed to allow individuals to fully participate in society, including access to higher education, with the goal of overcoming obstacles to ensure fairness. To have equitable systems, all people should be treated fairly, unhampered by artificial barriers, stereotypes, or prejudices. Two related concepts that fit within DEI include structural racism and social justice (AACN, 2023).

5. Ethics

Core to professional nursing practice, ethics refers to principles that guide a person’s behavior. Ethics is closely tied to moral philosophy involving the study of or examination of morality through a variety of different approaches. There are commonly accepted principles in bioethics that include autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice. The study of ethics as it relates to nursing practice has led to the exploration of other relevant concepts, including moral distress, moral hazard, moral community, and moral or critical resilience (AACN, 2023).

6. Evidence-Based Practice

The delivery of optimal health care requires the integration of current evidence and clinical expertise with individual and family preferences. Evidence-based practice is a problem-solving approach to the delivery of health care that integrates best evidence from studies and patient care data with clinician expertise and patient preferences and values. In addition there is a need to consider those scientific studies that ask: whose perspectives are solicited, who creates the evidence, how is that evidence created, what questions remain unanswered, and what harm may be created? Answers to these questions are paramount to incorporating meaningful, culturally safe, evidence-based practice (AACN, 2023).

7. Health Policy

Health policy involves goal directed decision-making about health that is the result of an authorized public decision-making process. Nurses play critical roles in advocating for policy that impacts patients and the profession, especially when speaking with a united voice on issues that affect nursing practice and health outcomes. Nurses can have a profound influence on health policy by becoming engaged in the policy process on many levels, which includes interpreting, evaluating, and leading policy change (AACN, 2023).

8. Social Determinants of Health

Determinants of health, a broader term, include personal, social, economic, and environmental factors that impact health. Social determinants of health, a primary component of determinants of health “are the conditions in the environment where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality of life outcomes and risks.” The social determinants of health contribute to wide health disparities and inequities in areas such as economic stability, education quality and access, healthcare quality and access, neighborhood and built environment, and social and community context. Nursing practices such as assessment, health promotion, access to care, and patient teaching support improvements in health outcomes. The social determinants of health are closely interrelated with the concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion, health policy, and communication (AACN, 2023).

American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2021). The Essentials: Core competencies for professional nursing education. Accessible online at

To be successful in the BSN program, students will be competent in the following domains:

  1. Knowledge for Nursing Practice
  2. Person-Centered Care
  3. Population Health
  4. Advance the scholarship of nursing.
  5. Apply quality improvement principles in care delivery.
  6. Interprofessional Partnerships
  7. Apply knowledge of systems to work effectively across the continuum of care.
  8. Information and Healthcare Technologies
  9. Professionalism
  10. Personal, Professional, and Leadership Development