2018-2019 Catalog 
    Sep 21, 2023  
2018-2019 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

School of Nursing

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Becky Hammack, EdD, MSN, RN, Dean
ACU Box 28035
Abilene, Texas 79699-8035
Office location: Zona Luce Room 211

Phone: 325-674-2081
Fax: 325-674-6256
Email: becky.hammack@acu.edu
Web: http://www.acu.edu/academics/nursing

Marcia Straughn, PhD, RN, CNE, Chair
ACU Box 28035
Abilene, Texas 79699-8035
Office location: Zona Luce Room 209

Phone: 325-674-2681
Fax: 325-674-6256
Email: mlr02d@acu.edu


Leslie Boiles, DNP, RN, Assistant Professor
Becky Hammack, EdD, MSN, RN, Associate Professor
Leigh Holley, MSN, RN, Instructor
Diane Jackson, MSN, RN, Instructor
Rebekah Mullins, MSN, RN, Instructor
Catherine Northrup, MSN, RN, Instructor
Marla Panzer, MSN, RN, Instructor
Marcia Straughn, PhD, RN, CNE, Assistant Professor
Laura Wade, MSN, RN, Instructor
Pricilla Wyatt, MSN, RN, Instructor

School of Nursing Mission Statement

To inspire and educate students for excellence in professional practice in preparation for Christian leadership and service as professional nurses throughout the world.


The faculty at the School of Nursing believes that professional nursing curriculum of a BSN program should reflect the current professional practice environment in compliance with evidence-based standards and rules of regulatory organizations. The curriculum integrates the mission of the university. Foundational concepts for the curriculum reflect current issues and trends, and were developed from concepts derived from the Differentiated Essential Competencies of Baccalaureate Nursing Education (DECs) by the Texas Board of Nursing (2010) and the Essentials of Baccalaureate Education by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2008). The foundational concepts are organized under the DEC headings: The Member of Profession, Provider of Patient-Centered Care, Patient Safety Advocate, and Member of the Health Care Team. Concepts reflect the knowledge, judgment, behaviors, skills, attitudes, and values required of a professional nurse. The student outcomes of the program reflect the cognitive, psychomotor and affective domains of learning. The faculty believes that active, participatory student-centered learning is required in baccalaureate generalist education to develop the professional competencies required of the graduate. Each semester, the clinical evaluation tools used demonstrate progression toward program outcomes to assist the students’ transition from the novice to advanced beginner stages of professional growth.

Upon graduation and completion of all Texas Board of Nursing requirements, the graduate is eligible to write the NCLEX-RN (National Council of Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses) that leads to licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN).

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of this program of nursing, the graduate will be prepared to:

  1. Apply clinical reasoning, and evidence based nursing competencies (knowledge, behaviors, judgments, skills, and attitudes) to holistically address and prioritize patient (individuals, families, groups, communities, populations) preferences, values, and needs.
  2. Collaborate effectively with multiple patients and the interdisciplinary health with shared decision making for the achievement of the highest safe patient health outcomes.
  3. Assume accountability for professional, legal, ethical, and regulatory laws/standards for individual performance and system effectiveness for safe nursing competencies.
  4. Apply an understanding of health care policy, finance, and regulatory environments by the coordination, evaluation, and modification of care of patients (IFGCP), and the management of confidential information technology for seamless care and transition in complex health care systems.
  5. Integrate professional values such as caring, advocacy, altruism, the preservation of human dignity, truth, justice, freedom, equality, ethics, integrity, civility, respect, and cultural competence in the pursuit of excellence of the Christian leadership and service of professional nursing.
  6. Promote the profession of nursing through leadership activities in the implementation of evidence-based practice standards, safety and quality care improvement, and patient advocacy.
  7. Engage in self care and reflection to prepare for clinical demands, envision growth to professional competence, and understand the need to participate in life long career and professional development.

Notice of Conditions that might Disqualify Students Eligibility for Licensure

Applicants for the national licensing exam for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN) and seeking licensure in Texas are required to submit a complete and eligible set of fingerprints on a form prescribed by the Board of Nursing for the purpose of obtaining a criminal history from the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigations. (Section 301.252 (b) and Section 301.252 (eo) of the Texas Occupations Code)

Prior to the start of the nursing program at Abilene Christian University, all potential NCLEX applicants with outstanding eligibility issues that could prevent them from taking the NCLEX examination upon completion of the nursing program are required to complete a Declaratory Order application. Further information and forms can be retrieved on the following website: http://www.bon.texas.gov.
This process permits the Board to make decisions regarding an applicant’s eligibility for licensure prior to entering a nursing program. The list below further delineates possible incidences of that may prevent eligibility and require a Declaratory Order application:

  1. For any criminal offense, including those pending appeal, have you:
    1. Been convicted of a misdemeanor*?
    2. Been convicted of a felony?
    3. Pled nolo contendere, no contest, or guilty?
    4. Received deferred adjudication?
    5. Been placed on community supervision or court-ordered probation, whether or not adjudicated guilty?
    6. Been sentenced to serve jail or prison time? Court-ordered confinement?
    7. Been granted pre-trial diversion?
    8. Been arrested or have any pending criminal charges?
    9. Been cited or charged with any violation of the law?
    10. Been subject of a court-martial; Article 15 violation; or received any form of military judgment/punishment/action? NOTE: You may only exclude Class C misdemeanor traffic violations.

Expunged and Sealed Offenses

While expunged or sealed offenses, arrests, tickets, or citations need not be disclosed, it is your responsibility to ensure the offense, arrest, ticket, or citation has, in fact, been expunged or sealed. It is recommended that you submit a copy of the Court Order expunging or sealing the record in question to our office with your application. Failure to reveal an offense, arrest, ticket, or citation that is not in fact expunged or sealed, will at a minimum, subject your license to a disciplinary fine. Non-disclosure of relevant offenses raises questions related to truthfulness and character of the Nurse.

Orders of Non-Disclosure

Pursuant to Tex. Gov’t Code §552.142(b), if you have criminal matters that are the subject of an order of non-disclosure, you are not required to reveal those criminal matters on this form. However, a criminal matter that is the subject of an order of non-disclosure may become a character and fitness of duty issue. Pursuant to other sections of the Gov’t Code Chapter 411, the Texas Nursing Board is entitled to access criminal history record information that is subject of an order of non-disclosure. If the Board discovers a criminal matter that is the subject of an order of non-disclosure, even if you properly did not reveal that matter, the Board may require you to provide information about any conduct that raises issues of character.

  • Are you currently the target or subject of a grand jury or governmental agency investigation?
  • Has any licensing authority refused to issue you a license or ever revoked, annulled, cancelled, accepted surrender of, suspended, placed on probation, refused to renew a license, certificate or multi-state privilege held by you now or previously, or ever fined, censured, reprimanded or otherwise disciplined you? (You may exclude disciplinary actions previously disclosed to the Texas Board of Nursing on an initial or renewal licensure application)
  • *In the past five (5) years have you been diagnosed with or treated or hospitalized for schizophrenia and/or psychotic disorder, bipolar disorder, paranoid personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, or borderline personality disorder which impaired or does impair your behavior, judgment, or ability to function in school or work? (You may answer “No” if you have completed and/or are in compliance with TPAPN for mental illness OR you’ve previously disclosed to the Texas Board of Nursing and have remained compliant with your treatment regime and have no further hospitalization since disclosure.) 
  • *In the past five (5) years, have you been addicted or treated for the use of alcohol or any other drug? (You may answer “No” if you have completed and/or are in compliance with TPAPN)

*Pursuant to the Occupations Code §301.207, information, including diagnosis and treatment, regarding an individual’s physical or mental condition, intemperate use of drugs or alcohol, or chemical dependency and information regarding an individual’s criminal history is confidential to the same extent that information collected as part of an investigation is confidential under the Occupations Code §301.466.

Lower-Level Requirements

All freshmen students accepted for admission, and stating a preference for nursing as a major, will be placed in lower-level university requirements, core, and nursing pre-requisite courses. Acceptance into the lower-level courses, however, does not guarantee that students will be selected for enrollment in the School of Nursing.

School of Nursing Admission Requirements

Students must meet all university degree requirements. A separate admission process is required for students to be admitted to the School of Nursing. Admission is competitive, and the size of the classes is determined by the Texas Board of Nursing. Admission to Abilene Christian University does not guarantee admission to School of Nursing.

  1. Students must apply for admission to the School of Nursing. The deadline for submitting application for admission in the fall semester is February 1 of the same year. The deadline for submitting application for admission in the spring semester is September 1 of the previous year. Students are required to take a nursing admission assessment exam. Late applications will be reviewed after initial admission decisions are made.
  2. The School of Nursing will review all applications with at least 60 hours completed with a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 based on a 4.0 scale. Courses in the supplement for major (see nursing degree plan) completed with a letter grade less than “C,” or 2.0 on a 4.0 scale, will not be accepted toward the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
  3. Five courses listed under Supplement for the Major (not including labs) must be completed before turning in the application for admission. All prerequisite courses must be completed before entering nursing courses (those courses designated with the NURS prefix). Any exceptions must be approved by the Dean of the School of Nursing.
  4. Once accepted to the School of Nursing, students must submit the following:
    1. Certified Nursing Assistant Certificate
    2. Essential performance form (provided by the School of Nursing) that attests to the ability of the student to meet emotional, cognitive, and physical requirements of the program.
    3. Proof of immunizations and lab tests (a list will be provided by the School of Nursing)
    4. Documentation of Health Insurance
    5. Drug screen at a designated lab (further information is provided by the School of Nursing). Students may also be required to submit to random drug screenings in order to practice in the clinical facilities.
    6. Completed criminal background check required by the Texas Board of Nursing.
    7. Cleared clinical background check required by the clinical facilities (further information is provided by the School of Nursing).
    8. Proof of current CPR certification (American Heart Association Basic Life Support for Health Care Providers is required).
    9. Professional liability insurance (included in the student’s tuition costs) is required
  5. Applicants seeking admission by transfer must meet all of the same standards required of those students who have matriculated at ACU.
  6. In order for a student to meet program requirements for the completion of the BSN curriculum, the student must demonstrate minimal competency in nursing theory and practice. This competency is demonstrated through successful scoring on the identified exit exam.
  7. Students seeking the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) may take a minor outside the School of Nursing. This minor is NOT required as a part of the BSN degree, and credit hours beyond the minimum hours required may be needed to complete the minor.


Doctor of Nursing Practice

Tonya Sawyer-McGee, Program Director
16633 Dallas Pkwy, Suite 800
Addison, TX 75001

Phone: 214-305-9500
Email: tcs15b@acu.edu


Linda Gibson, DNP, Associate Professor
Jonas Nguh, PhD, Associate Professor
Tonya Sawyer-McGee, DNP, MSN, RN, ACNP-BC, Associate Professor


The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is offered online with integrated practice learning experiences (PLEs). The mission of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program is to prepare advanced practice nurses for the generation of knowledge through practice changes that impact individual and population health outcomes. This is accomplished through:

  • Integration of nursing science with knowledge from ethics, biophysical, psychosocial, analytical, and organizational sciences to enhance health and alleviate or ameliorate illness;
  • Development, implementation, and evaluation of care delivery approaches;
  • Development of consultative and leadership skills to create excellence in health care delivery; and
  • Integration of Christian identity in influencing the health care delivery system to promote social justice, equity, and ethical policy.

The DNP consists of 39 credit hours and a total of 1000 clinical practice experience hours between the master’s degree and at completion of the DNP degree. Coursework consists of ten core courses and three research courses, which move students toward the development and implementation of an evidence-based capstone project.

Graduates of ACU’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program will be prepared to evoke change and improvement in health outcomes and quality care through implementation of quality improvement processes that positively impact the health of individuals and communities. DNP graduates of ACU will be prepared and skilled in impacting change and will contribute to quality healthcare delivery in many local, regional, national, or international healthcare and academic settings while also impacting the legal and ethical aspects of healthcare delivery models.

Admission Requirements

  • Application for admission with a non-refundable processing fee (unless the student qualifies for a fee waiver).
  • Master’s degree in Nursing from an accredited school of nursing (ACEN, CCNE).
  • Official transcripts from the accredited colleges or universities that awarded the baccalaureate and master’s degrees to the applicant, sent in a registrar’s sealed and stamped/signed envelope or official electronic transcripts.
  • Proof of unencumbered registered nurse status and/or current advanced practice nursing licensure and certification.
  • Minimum graduate nursing cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
  • Two recommendation letters that attest to the applicant’s academic abilities, character, and professional ability.
  • A 500 word essay statement of the applicant’s interest in the Doctor of Nursing Practice and intended capstone topic.
  • Professional CV or résumé.

International applicants to the DNP will be required to complete the standard graduate application requirements for all international students applying for an ACU graduate degree, including TOEFL scores and transcript assessment for degrees completed outside of the United States (http://www.acu.edu/graduate/prospective-students/international/index.html).



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