Foreign Educated Physician (FEP)



Foreign Educated Physician Nursing Program

Educational institutions that prepare nurses should meet different educational standards to provide students with various skills and knowledge for successful practical work and theoretical research in the future. One of the best ways to understand the competency of a nursing school, college, or medical university and the expected outcomes of the medical education that they give is the assessment of the curriculum.

This paper analyzes the Foreign Educated Physician (FEP) undergraduate nursing curriculum of Florida International University Nursing School with a focus on such aspects as design and adherence to national standards of nursing. Moreover, the investigation takes into account such issues as the design of the courses, as well as the objectives and outcomes of the program. Moreover, the paper provides a comparison and contrast of the nursing curriculum with the ones of other universities.

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The performed analysis suggests that the proposed Foreign Educated Physician curriculum for undergraduate nurses meets the AACN/CCNE standards and expectations of the society, but can be enhanced with the view to increasing the students’ adaptability to diverse ethical, legal, and technological issues. This research is useful for various students, teachers, and nursing professionals because it develops one’s understanding of the connection between the theory and practices through the framework of nursing education.

The Conceptual Framework, Mission, and Philosophy of the FIU

One of the aspects that are the basis of any curriculum is the mission and philosophy of an educational establishment that promotes the analyzed specialty. In this case, one should address the mission of the Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences (NWCNHS) Nursing Unit of the FIU. The scholars define it as “to prepare diverse healthcare professionals, […] to teach, conduct research and practice in service to the community through inter-professional collaboration, […] to create, promote, expand and validate scientific knowledge and evidence-based practice through interdisciplinary research” (“Mission, Vision & Strategic Plan,” 2012).

The analysis shows that this statement incorporates advanced educational concepts that influence the well-being of a community continuously. The focus on the aspect of teaching allows the institution to prepare health care professionals, who advocate “high quality, accessible, culturally competent care within a highly technological and global environment” (“Mission, Vision & Goals,” 2011). Moreover, the mission statement demonstrates that the college is concerned with medical science and aims at validating scientific knowledge and evidence-based practice through interdisciplinary research (“Mission, Vision & Goals,” 2011).

As a consequence, the philosophy of NWCNHS is more than just educating nurses and physicians or caring for scientific investigations in medicine. Apart from it, its experts promote a comprehensive approach to medical knowledge and strive to prepare nurse professionals that address and enhance all health aspects of respective communities.

In addition, it is critical to admit that the mission and philosophy of NWCNHS perfectly fit the framework of Florida International University. The mission of FIU is “serving its students and the diverse population of South Florida” using “high-quality teaching, state-of-the-art research and creative activity, and collaborative engagement with … local and global communities” (“Vision & Mission,” n. d.). Thus, a conceptual framework of NWCNHS validates the mission and goals of FIU by helping in achieving goals in medicine of both the local and global communities.

In addition, NWCNHS reviews and practices multiple theories in nursing that allow it to prepare competent specialists, who are ready to meet the health care demand of society. The evidence supporting this statement is the element of the curriculum that explores and reviews “the philosophies, theories, and history of the science of nursing” (“Theories in Nursing Course Syllabus,” 2016).

What is more important, it shifts to the practical application of evidence-based innovations with a particular focus on the global setting and allows exploring the roles of a nursing educator, clinician, and manager (“Theories in Nursing Course Syllabus,” 2016). Consequently, one expects that the FEP undergraduate nursing program helps educate nursing practitioners that can successfully implement earned knowledge; thus, they validate conceptual frameworks of both NWCNHS and FIU.

The Role of AACN/CCNE Standards

The analyzed program concerns the sphere of medicine; thus, it should follow national standards for nursing programs. They include the standards developed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). They provide valuable guidelines for the development of any nursing program. First, they require all curriculums to be written and accessible to both current and prospective students and other stakeholders; their goals should be differentiated according to the existing degrees and certificates (“Standards for Accreditation of Baccalaureate,” 2015).

This measure allows prospective and existing students to analyze the outcomes of nursing education programs, as well as AACN and CCNE to revise their content. Moreover, the curriculum should be “developed, implemented, and revised to reflect clear statements of expected student outcomes that are congruent with the program’s mission and goals, and with the roles for which the program is preparing its graduates” (“Standards for Accreditation of Baccalaureate,” 2015). Also, it must have a logical structure that allows evaluating and reaching expected student outcomes, teaching-learning practices, and environments that support the achievement of expected student results and planned clinical practice experiences (“Standards for Accreditation of Baccalaureate,” 2015).

These guidelines allow both students and the faculty to focus their efforts on the achievement of the expected goals of the program by providing the preparation of competent professionals. Last, different elements of the curriculum and teaching-learning practices should consider the needs and expectations of the community of interest, apply procedures for evaluating the individual student performance, and foster students’ ongoing improvement (“Standards for Accreditation of Baccalaureate,” 2015). Therefore, if the analyzed curriculum follows the presented guidelines, it allows preparing competent undergraduate nurses, who can successfully meet the expectations of their communities.

The Curriculum and the NCLEX Preparation Knowledge and Skills

Apart from the guidelines of AACN and CCNE, there is one more issue that requires thorough consideration because it allows undergraduate and graduates nurses to enter their profession. This issue is the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for Registered Nurses, which is regulated by the licensing authorities within each member board jurisdiction of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (“National Council of State Boards of Nursing,” 2016). NCLEX is the last concern, which separates nursing graduates from getting a workplace and starting applying their knowledge and skills. Experts claim that regulating the entry-level of the practice of nursing is critical for ensuring public protection by measuring competencies that are needed for the safe and effective performance of a newly licensed registered nurse (“National Council of State Boards of Nursing,” 2016).

As a result, the curriculum of the education program that prepares BSN practitioners has to provide students with knowledge and skills that are essential for validating safe and efficient patient caring and treatment practice. Developers of NCLEX believe that nursing is a unique profession that requires a broad range of competencies that range from the assessment of the health status of a client and treatment to meeting one’s cultural and spiritual needs (“National Council of State Boards of Nursing,” 2016).

Therefore, the structure of this test allows ensuring that a graduate nurse possesses the expected level of proficiency in various domains that allow meeting the needs of the respective community. Among such needs, scholars identify a safe and effective care environment, health promotion, and maintenance, as well as psychosocial and physiological integrity (“National Council of State Boards of Nursing,” 2016).

Also, it is expected that after graduation, an entry-level nurse would incorporate the knowledge that will allow preventing diseases and detecting health problems in the early stages of their development or mitigating them. In addition, each professional action of such a nurse should support the emotional, mental, and social well-being of a client that experienced any stressful events or suffers from acute or chronic illnesses (“National Council of State Boards of Nursing,” 2016). Consequently, if the analyzed curriculum fails to meet these needs and expectations, student graduates of the FEP nursing program at NWCNHS would be unable to start their work because of professional incompetence.

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The Design of the Curriculum

The curriculum of the undergraduate program for FEP has a design that allows students to develop the competencies discussed above in the process of studying that takes five semesters. The program is accredited by the CCNE, the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs, and approved by the Florida State Board of Nursing (“Accelerated Combined BSN/MSN Program,” 2016). The curriculum follows the principles of teaching the concepts of nursing starting from simple to complex ones. Also, it demonstrates the presence of integration, which is “the horizontal relationship of curriculum experiences” that “considers how students will develop an appreciation for and the ability to apply skill sets across a variety of subjects and situations” (Billings & Halstead, 2015, p. 92).

Each semester offers six subjects that allow students to obtain maximum credits that range from 13 to 18 and get 81 credits (“Accelerated Combined BSN/MSN Program,” 2016). These courses of the first semester discuss the foundations of the nursing practice in non-clinical, clinical, and laboratory settings. Additionally, it covers such issues as procedures of the health assessment and health promotion and defines the role of professional nursing and the tasks of a registered nursing practitioner.

Also, the introductory semester improves students’ knowledge of pharmacological concepts in advanced nursing practice. During this course, students learn categories of drugs and the role of medications in their careers (Keating, 2014). These aspects allow foreign-educated physicians to raise their awareness of both local and national standards of the nursing practice and various issues associated with it.

In the second semester, the FEP program in nursing discusses the concepts and issues that are associated with the care of adults in clinical and non-clinical practice, the basics of integrative nursing care, and pathophysiology. In its turn, the third semester of the curriculum focuses on the psychosocial aspects of the nursing and nursing care of older adults. One of the most important elements in this semester is the discussion and formation of concepts of professional nursing leadership together with a critical review of the major theories in the field. By visiting such courses, students acquire an opportunity to apply theories and concepts to their practice by “solidifying the assimilation of leadership skills in the health care system and policy-making environments” (Keating, 2014, p. 196).

The fourth semester allows students to enhance their competency in different issues of family care. It also has a division of subjects that discuss procedures of caring for a childbearing family in clinical and non-clinical settings. Additionally, the courses of this semester include “Nursing in Global Health Systems” and “Senior Clinical Synthesis” (“Accelerated Combined BSN/MSN Program,” 2016). The benefit of having these disciplines in the curriculum is that they allow future nurses to comprehend their role in the global community. In other words, they have to collaborate with physicians with the view to promoting health care globally. Moreover, they foster the process of synthesizing the obtained knowledge, evidence, and expertise and improve some aspects of their future practical application, as well.

The last semester for FEP undergraduate specialists in nursing focuses on the aspects of the clinical practice, community health nursing, and culture in advanced nursing practice and research methods. These issues are critical; on the one hand, the fifth semester is borderline, after which BSN nurses start their practice. At the same time, they should have enough knowledge and skills for conducting their research, which is one of the basic scholarship competencies. Thus, the curriculum has a set of such subjects as “Senior Clinical Practicum,” “Advanced Client Assessment” and “Research Methods in Nursing” (“Accelerated Combined BSN/MSN Program,” 2016).

Also, the focus on different aspects of the nursing practice that are related to community health is an undeniable benefit for any community because nurses that pass this course act towards meeting the needs of their communities (Billings & Halstead, 2015). Therefore, the analysis suggests that the structure of the program in focus is the result of the influence of both regulatory policies in nursing and the philosophy and mission of the institution that prepares undergraduate nurses. As a result, the objectives and outcomes of the program at hand should meet the expectations of both the local and global communities.

Objectives and Outcomes of the Program and Social Expectations

Objectives and outcomes of the program allow validating the vision and mission statements of NWCNHS. The program aims at promoting the competencies that allow the graduates to “lead, coordinate, & oversee the delivery of accessible, affordable, high-caliber, comprehensive, culturally competent, humanistic, and holistic health care” (“Accelerated Combined BSN/MSN Program,” 2016). Also, it prepares students for operating in a culturally competent manner in the complex and diverse global environment and competitive, as well as highly technological health care systems (“Accelerated Combined BSN/MSN Program,” 2016).

The design of the curriculum allows facilitating the attainment of these outcomes because it incorporates the required knowledge and practices and gradually promotes them. Its structure, which starts from courses that discuss the nursing practice and duties in general up to complex narrow-focused disciplines, allows for the successful implementation of outcomes of the program. What is more important, achieved results meet social expectations because the competency of graduated BSN specialists meets national accreditation standards, which take into account the needs of diverse communities.

The Design of Courses and Teaching Learning Strategies

The analysis of courses allows asserting that they meet the curricular design because of their structure. The strength is that the curriculum allows bridging the concepts of lower-division courses to upper-division ones successfully and forms the required competencies of a future nurse (Keating, 2014). For example, the course Nursing Care of Adults incorporates four disciplines of different complexity that are a part of the preparation of future nurses for the clinical and non-clinical practice (“Accelerated Combined BSN/MSN Program,” 2016). Also, the order of disciplines in the curriculum demonstrates that they form in students various professional concepts and skills starting from theoretical to practical issues.

Thus, the “Nursing Care of Adults II” discipline teaches to apply the nursing process to assist individuals, families, and communities in adapting to actual environmental stressors. Such help can be provided via health promotion, maintenance, rehabilitation, and provision of diverse research findings (“Florida International University Curriculum Map,” n. d.). However, this course has no focus on the practical application of students’ nursing skills in the context of specific cultural settings. This task is delegated to another discipline, “Nursing Care of Adults II Clinical,” which enhances the previously mentioned aspects using applying knowledge in “assessing psychological, developmental, cultural, and spiritual adaptive dimensions” (“Florida International University Curriculum Map,” n. d.).

As a consequence, the course design achieves the expected learning and curricular outcomes through different procedures that allow synthesizing the scientific knowledge, from nursing and related disciplines, in the provision of care to diverse populations (“Florida International University Curriculum Map,” n. d.). One expects that other courses of the curriculum follow characterized principles of the analyzed discipline and promote professional competence in students. What is more, the achievement of the goals of the curriculum is possible because of the application of advanced teaching-learning strategies. Among them, one can name active learning, problem-based learning, case-based learning, team-based learning, and team-based learning workshops (“Active Learning,” 2012).

These learning strategies allow students to identify their learning objectives independently and collaboratively, seek the required information to meet them, and contribute to the learning of a group (“Active Learning,” 2012). Consequently, the discussed strategies help boost the efficacy of the course design and successfully educate competent BSN professionals.

Comparison and Contrast with the Curriculums of other Universities

It is important to compare and contrast the analyzed curriculum with the ones offered by other educational institutions to define its positive and negative aspects. Thus, John A. Burns School of Medicine of the University of Hawaii at Manoa offers an undergraduate program in medical technology. Currently, it is the only undergraduate course, which is connected with medicine and allows obtaining a BS certificate. The curriculum of this program is narrowed to the applied sciences such as chemistry, biology, clinical microbiology, parasitology, and other disciplines starting from simple to complex (“The University of Hawai’i at Manoa,” n. d.).

Its benefit is the recent update, according to which, nursing students train together with doctors in a shared curriculum, which enhances clinical collaborative aspects of their future practice (“Future Nurses and Doctors,” 2011). Furthermore, the School of Nursing at the University of California at San Francisco offers only the Master of Science and Doctoral programs in nursing. The benefit of such a curriculum is that they prefer focusing on certain nursing tasks by teaching pharmacology, pathophysiology, and effective communication, among others. Also, it is evident that the offered courses start from narrow concepts, for example, nursing care, and gradually embrace broader concepts such as adult and geriatric, parent-child, mental health, family, and community health nursing (“Masters Entry Program in Nursing (MEPN),” 2016).

However, it is impossible to contrast this program to the one analyzed in the paper adequately because the first offers an MSN degree instead of a BSN. Also, it is possible to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, which offers broader nursing programs. Its curriculum is divided into seven clusters, which start from the general education with such subjects as economics, liberal arts, and language, which validate a multi-disciplinary approach (“Curriculum,” n. d.). Other clusters such as Nursing Science, Clinical, Business Core, Senior Capstone Course, and others demonstrate the growing complexity and allow students to deepen the understanding of their profession (“Curriculum,” n. d.).

However, the disadvantage of this curriculum is that it devotes much time to promoting business and management skills instead of the ones that are closely associated with the clinical practice of a BSN specialist. Last, the curriculum of the program for the accelerated completion of a BSN degree, which is offered by the University of Florida College of Nursing, has specific advantages and disadvantages if compared to the one that is provided by NWCNHS. Its strong points are the focus on the promotion and restoration of wellness, population-focused care, and multi-system care, as well as legal and ethical issues in nursing (“University of Florida College of Nursing Bachelor of Science in Nursing Curriculum Plan,” 2016).

However, despite these strengths, the curriculum lacks focus on community-centered care that is segmented to the individual, family, and age-specified care and treatment. Therefore, the comparison of curriculums by diverse educational establishments demonstrates that despite each nursing school and college undergoing a similar certification, they modify their education plans according to their mission and vision statements.

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Curriculum Evaluation and Recommendations for Modifications

When evaluating the Foreign Educated Physician (FEP) undergraduate nursing curriculum of Florida International University Nursing School, one should note that in general, it meets the demands of the suggested accreditation programs in nursing. For instance, its goals are clearly defined and known to students and all faculty members. Implemented teaching-learning outcomes correspond to the objectives of a specific program. This congruence is critical because the guidelines of AACN and CCNE define that the curriculum should reflect professional nursing standards and implement teaching-learning strategies that allow meeting its goals (“Standards for Accreditation of Baccalaureate,” 2015).

Moreover, the analysis demonstrates that the model of the curriculum meets such demands as the systematic processing of knowledge, the presence of program completion rates, and licensure and certification rates (“Standards for Accreditation of Baccalaureate,” 2015). These components allow both controlling the progress in the knowledge and skills of students and meeting expectations of diverse communities and national nursing accreditation standards.

What is more, some issues require revision and analysis with the view to making the analyzed BSN program more up to date. These matters are especially evident when contrasting the curriculum with other universities that prepare undergraduate nursing professionals. For example, this research advises enhancing it with the disciplines that can broaden the standards and knowledge of a BSN specialist. Thus, adding Ethics and Legal Issues in Nursing, and Nursing Technology and Informatics, for example, would be beneficial for students. This knowledge can make a graduated BSN nurse more adaptable to the modern technological environment, as well as ethically and legally prepared for solving various issues.

Furthermore, it is sound to follow the example of the curriculum of John A. Burns School of Medicine of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and add a subject that would allow nursing students to work with doctors. This measure would increase the understanding of future BSN specialists in their clinical role and the importance of cooperation with physicians. Last, it is advised to organize the disciplines of the curriculum into clusters as at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. So far, the analyzed curriculum seems to have these clusters, but they are accompanied by disciplines, which do not relate to their concepts.

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For example, the second semester has a cluster of “Nursing Care of Adults,” which includes such subjects as “Integrative Nursing Care” and “Pathophysiologic Basics” instead of “Nursing Care of Older Adults” (“Accelerated Combined BSN/MSN Program,” 2016). The modification of this model and the formation of coherent clusters should positively affect the formation of knowledge about the chosen subject without any irrelevant components studied during the semester. Therefore, the suggested recommendations would boost the competency of BSN specialists and allow forming coherent and up-to-date knowledge and practice in the health care sector at their level.


According to the presented information, the Foreign Educated Physician curriculum for undergraduate nurses allows preparing competent BSN specialists that meet expectations of both the local and global communities. Moreover, the design of the program validates the mission and vision statement of Florida International University Nursing School and, at the same time, meets the AACN/CCNE standards. It means that after completing this program, undergraduate nurses are capable of not only passing NCLEX but also entering their practice with the required scope of expertise for promoting safe care and treatment.

At the same time, the paper suggests modifying the curriculum to help BSN specialists to be more adaptable in the contemporary competitive and challenging global environment. Such modifications consist of several components, for example, the enhancement of the curriculum with subjects that discuss nursing informatics, ethics, and legal aspects, and the formation of clusters of disciplines that would match each semester.

Additionally, it is suggested to add disciplines that oblige students to work with doctors, which can increase their awareness of their role and the importance of interprofessional cooperation. Therefore, although the analyzed Foreign Educated Physician curriculum for undergraduate nurses prepares competent BSN practitioners, its efficacy may be boosted in the case of implementing advised modifications.

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