Aug 21, 2018  
2009-2010 UMass Dartmouth Graduate Catalog 
2009-2010 UMass Dartmouth Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

College of Nursing

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Graduate Faculty and Fields of Interest

Benson, Janet Lecturer, Family Nurse Practitioner (1996), BS Southeastern Massachusetts University, MSN Boston College. Specialization: Family nurse practitioner.

Christian, Ellen G (Director, Center for University Academic Advising) Professor of Adult and Child Health Nursing (1974), BS 1969 Boston University, MS 1973 University of Colorado. Specialization: Child health.

Christopher, Kimberly (Chairperson Department of Adult and Child Health Nursing) Associate Professor of Adult and Child Health Nursing (1999), BS 1979 Boston College, MA 1984 Stanford University, MS 1987, PhD 1998Boston College. Specializations: Oncology, Research methods. chronic illness.

Currier, Phyllis Professor of Adult and Child Health Nursing (1980), BS 1967 Salve Regina College, MS 1972 University of Rhode Island, EdD 1991 Boston University. Specializations: Women’s studies, Portuguese studies.

Curtin, Alicia Jane
Assistant Professor ofCommunity Nursing (2004), BA 1984 Colby College, MSN 1989 MGH Institute of Health rofessions, PhD 2002 University of Rhode Island. Specializations: Community health, gerontology, international health.

Dluhy, Nancy
Professor of Adult and Child Health Nursing (1981), BSN 1967 University of Delaware, MSN 1981, PhD 1993 University of Rhode Island. Specializations: Theory synthesis, adult health, chronic illness, informatics.

Fain, James
(Dean, College of Nursing) Professor of Nursing (2005), BSN 1976 University of Rhode Island, MS 1979 University of Alabama in Birmingham, PhD 1985
University of Connecticut. Specializations: Diabetes care and education, psychometric evaluation of research instruments.

Fater, Kerry H
Associate Professor of Adult and Child Health Nursing (1992), BSN 1972 Villanova University, MS 1979 University of Rhode Island, PhD 1985 University of Connecticut. Specializations: Adult health, phenomenology, nursing education.

Gramling, Kathryn Assistant Professor of Adult and Child Health Nursing (2000), BSN 1966 Boston College, MSN 19Sousa, Sharon85 University of Connecticut, PhD 1999 University of Colorado. Specializations: Adult health, caring models, aesthetics.

Howe, Carole Assistant Professor of Community Nursing (2000) BS 1976 University of Massachusetts Amherst, MS 1981 University of Connecticut, PhD 2002 University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Specializations: Maternal-child health, culture, vulnerable Populations.

Hunter, Susan M Lecturer in Adult and Child Health Nursing (1998), BS 1992 Fitchburg State College, MS 1997 University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Specialization: Adult health, theory.

Kenty, Janet
Associate Professor of Community Nursing (1987), BS 1967 University of Massachusetts Amherst, MS 1979 Boston University, PhD 1995 University of Rhode Island. Specializations: Maternal-child health, parenting and prevention, nursing education.

Leffers, Jeanne M (Graduate Program Director) Associate Professor of Community Nursing (2000), BA 1970 Simmons College, MS 1985 University of Rhode Island, MA 1991, PhD 1997 Brown University. Specializations: Community and international health, sociocultural aspects, environmental health.

Martins, Diane C Assistant Professor of Community Nursing (2004), BS 1978 Salve Regina College, MEd 1981 Columbia University, MA 1987, PhD 2003 University of
Connecticut. Specialization: Community health.

McCurry, Mary
Lecturer in Adult and Child Health Nursing (2000), BS 1986 University of Massachusetts Amherst, MS 1996 University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Specialization: Adult Nurse Practitioner

Peterson, Sonja Stone
(Chairperson, Department of Community Nursing) Professor of Community Nursing (1981), BSN 1972 McGill University, MA 1976 New York University, EdD 1990 Vanderbilt University. Specializations: Leadership, violence, interpersonal relationships.

Russell, Gail
Associate Professor of Community Nursing (2003), BS 1968 University of Massachusetts Amherst, MS 1973 Texas Woman’s University, EdD 1992 Columbia University. Specialization: Community health, health care policy, health services administration.

Sethares, Kristen
Assistant Professor of Adult and Child Nursing (2001), BSN 1987 University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, MSN 1993 University of Massachusetts Boston, PhD 2003 Boston College School of Nursing. Specialization: Adult health.

Sousa, Sharon
Associate Professor of Community Nursing (1999), BA 1974 Johnson State College, MA 1975 University of Vermont, PhD 1983 Boston University, MS 1997 Northeastern University. Specializations: Mental health issues, genetics.

The College of Nursing at UMass Dartmouth offers a graduate program leading to the degree of the Master of Science in Nursing. The program offers small classes, close contact with a diverse faculty, and easy access. Successful completion of a minimum of 42 or 43 credits (depending on option) are necessary to achieve the Master’s degree. Six of these credits may be taken at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth prior to matriculation. A total of six credits may be transferred from other graduate programs following appropriate review.

The College of Nursing is fully accredited by the National League for Nursing. This accreditation applies to all programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. The review process occurs on a regular, cyclic basis.

Graduates of the program are prepared to assume roles in advanced practice. Courses are scheduled to permit either full-time or part-time study.

The Master of Science in Nursing Program at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth prepares graduates for a nursing leadership role in one of the following areas: (a) adult nurse practitioner, (b) advanced practice in adult health, or (c) advanced practice in community health.

The nursing program has the following objectives: — to

  • Model nursing care practice that demonstrates respect for human dignity, ethical responsibility, and interpersonal connectedness.
  • Master communication strategies to address complex health issues in a variety of forums and formats.
  • Evaluate the aggregate outcomes of nursing care using accepted professional standards and evidence-based benchmarks to effect quality of care within or across systems.
  • Implement evidence based nursing strategies that have been developed, tailored and evaluated with clients to maximize health.
  • Synthesize specialized and diverse knowledge in advance nursing practice.
  • Assumes a leadership role in advancing, fostering and maintaining nursing values and standards.
  • Influence nursing practice and health policy to shape care delivery to diverse and vulnerable populations
  • Assume a leadership role in collaboration with interdisciplinary team members, and community partners to promote health, guide clients through the illness experience and to improve the health care system.

In addition, students must meet all of the requirements of the Graduate School before the degree is granted. It should be noted that the University allows six years for completion of degree requirements.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must submit the required application materials for the Graduate School. Additional or specific requirements include:

  • An official transcript reflecting either a Bachelor of Science of Nursing (B.S.N.) degree from an NLN-accredited program or a Baccalaureate degree in a related program (see Graduate Admission Program for RNs with a Non-nursing Baccalaureate Degree). Transcripts of any other undergraduate or graduate work must also be submitted.
  • A 3.0 or higher cumulative average in undergraduate studies.
  • The minimum of three letters of recommendation should include 1) references from the dean, chairperson, or faculty member of the student’s undergraduate program if recently graduated and 2) a reference from the current or a recent employer. Letters of recommendation should be solicited from individuals capable of evaluating the applicant’s potential for academic success, commitment to nursing, or quality of practice.
  • The letter of intent. The admission process in the College of Nursing attaches weight to this letter. Candidates should give considerable thought to the aspects of (a) professional development and areas of expertise; (b) professional goals; and (c) appropriate “fit” between applicant’s goals, background, and the selected program option.
  • A professional resume
  • A pre-admission interview with members of the Graduate Committee of the College of Nursing may be requested.
  • Evidence of a current license to practice as a Registered Nurse in the United States.
  • The following prerequisites must be met: Introductory Statistics — including descriptiveand inferential statistics.
  • At least one year of experience as a registered nurse — kind of experience is considered especially for acceptance into Adult Nurse Practitioner.
  • Applications for admission for the Fall semester must be complete by April 20. Completed applications for the January term must be on file by November 15.

Graduate Admission Program for RNs with a Non-Nursing Baccalaureate Degree

RNs who hold a BA or BS in a related, non-nursing field will be considered for admission to the Masters Program in Nursing. Related fields include psychology, sociology, anthropology, biological areas, and health services. Other fields of study will be evaluated on an individual basis.

All other admission requirements to the program must be met. Students completing the program are awarded a Master of Science degree in Nursing. No Nursing BS degree is awarded. During this program, students complete a portfolio to demonstrate expected undergraduate nursing outcomes. They also take an additional six graduate credits in nursing, including NUR 503 Transition to Advanced Practice Nursing.

Financial Assistance

Graduate students are eligible for financial aid, such as loans or work study. Eligibility is dependent upon income. Applications are available from the Office of Financial Aid on the first floor of the Foster Administration building. Please refer to the chapter on “Expenses and Financial Assistance.”

A limited number of teaching assistantships are available. Teaching assistants work with department faculty for 20 hours a week and are compensated with a stipend and tuition/partial fee remission. Teaching assistants might assist in direct supervision of foundational clinical experiences or support faculty teaching responsibilities. Part-time teaching assistantships are available depending on the needs of the department (10 hours per week).

Research assistantships become available as faculty are awarded scientific or program grants. Announcements of the requirements will be posted on the web site, or faculty will directly contact students who have demonstrated interest and skills in the research area. You may wish to make your field of interest known to faculty.

A limited number of scholarships are available to nursing graduate students. Additional funds are traditionally available through memberships in the following organizations. While small in amount, these awards tend to be readily available and require minimal application data. Explore all options that might apply.

District State Nurses Association–MNA, District III, etc.

Sigma Theta Tau Chapter–Theta Kappa or your original chapter

Specialty Nursing Organizations–Oncology; Critical care; Emergency room

Alumni Organizations–Particularly diploma schools

Organizational Affiliations–Hospitals; parent corporations; local communities

Specialty Categories–Black Nurses Association

Acceptance to Certificate Programs

Applicants apply for acceptance to a graduate certificate program through the office of Graduate Studies. Applicants must have baccalaureate preparation in nursing or a related field. Applicants with extensive leadership background, lacking baccalaureate preparation, will be considered on a case-by-case basis. An abbreviated application process for the certificate program is required to ensure eligibility to complete the certificate. Formal acceptance into the certificate program also enhances potential employer reimbursement if the certificate promotes skills applicable to your work role.

If all other entry requirements are met, courses included in either certificate program can be applied towards a Master’s of Science in Nursing. The number of courses applicable varies for each graduate option. At present the courses directly applicable toward a graduate degree are:

Advanced Practice in Adult Health 4 of 4
Advanced Practice in Community  4 of 4
Adult Nurse Practitioner 2 of 4


Dr Jeanne Leffers
Director, Graduate Nursing Program
College of Nursing
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
North Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300
508 999-8159

A graduate open house is conducted each fall, spring, and summer. Contact us at 508-999-8159 for the date of the next open house.

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