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The OCNE curriculum prepares nurses to care for Oregon’s aging and increasingly diverse population. It was built on a foundation of evidence-based learning science and nursing education research. In the OCNE Model, optimal learning, whether in the classroom, laboratory, or clinical setting, is designed to be:
  • Contextual – situated in real nursing practice.
  • Conceptual – focused on knowledge, know-how, and ethical comportment.

OCNE’s curriculum, launched in 2006, was a result of two years of collaborative work by representatives from all OCNE partners statewide. The curriculum is continually updated and reviewed by the OCNE Curriculum Committee and other workgroups, whose members are faculty from all partner schools.


Competency-Based Curriculum

What Does “Competency-based Curriculum” Mean?

OCNE’s core competencies are derived from analysis of what a nurse needs to know and be able to do. There are two categories of competencies: professional competencies and nursing care competencies.

  • Professional competencies define the values, attitudes and practices that competent nurses embody and may share with members of other professions.
  • Nursing care competencies define relationship capabilities that nurses need to work with clients and colleagues, the knowledge and skills of practicing the discipline, and competencies that encompass understanding of the broader health care system.

The OCNE competencies are the basis for our design of learning activities, assessment of student learning, and progression across the curriculum.

Our curriculum and integrated learning activities emphasize deep understanding of the nursing discipline’s most central concepts. OCNE faculty members help students learn content through active engagement in experiences that reflect actual practice. Our curriculum supports metacognition, reflection & self-directed learning.

The OCNE core competencies (abbreviated):

      1. Bases personal and professional actions on a set of shared core nursing values
      2. Uses reflection, self-analysis, and self-care to develop insight
      3. Engages in intentional learning
      4. Demonstrates leadership in nursing and health care
      5. Collaborates as part of a health care team
      6. Is able to practice within, utilize, and contribute to all health care systems
      7. Practices a relationship-centered approach
      8. Communicates effectively
      9. Makes sound clinical judgments
      10. Locates, evaluates and uses the best available evidence

Overview of Nursing Courses

In the OCNE curriculum, major concepts are introduced in the first courses and threaded across the nursing education program. We call our curriculum “spiraled,” referring to the intentional revisiting of major topics throughout the curriculum at increasing levels of difficulty/complexity, so that new learning is related to previous learning.

OCNE’s curriculum represents a shift from the fundamentals of Nursing to that which is fundamental to nursing. The singular focus of basic skills/procedures has been broadened substantially to include health promotion, strategic introduction to clinical judgment, evidence-based practice, and leadership. Basic care measures remain, while the instructional approach is altered to having the learning framed from the perspective of a registered nurse.

Courses are organized around foci of care:
    • Health Promotion
    • Chronic Illness Management
    • Acute Care
    • End-of-Life Care
And cross-cutting competencies:
    • Leadership & Outcomes Management
    • Population Health Practice
List of OCNE Nursing Courses*:
    • NRS 110/210: Foundations of Nursing Health Promotion
    • NRS 111/211: Foundations in Chronic Illness I
    • NRS 232: Pathophysiology I
    • NRS 230: Pharmacology I
    • NRS 112/212: Foundations in Acute Care I
    • NRS 233: Pathophysiology II
    • NRS 231: Pharmacology II
    • NRS 222/322: Nursing in Acute Care II, End of Life
    • NRS 221/321: Nursing in Chronic Illness II, End of Life
    • NRS 224/424: Integrative Practicum I
    • NRS 410: Population Health Practice
    • NRS 411: Epidemiology
    • NRS 224/424: Integrative Practicum I
    • NRS 412: Leadership & Outcomes Management
    • NRS 424 (A-H): Population Focus I
    • NRS 425 (A-H): Population Focus 2
    • NRS 425: Integrative Practicum II

* 400-level Nursing courses are taught only on OHSU campuses. Students must also complete prerequisites and additional non-nursing courses to graduate.


The focus on concepts is pertinent to both the clinical setting and a way of integrating clinical experience into the classroom setting. Concepts transcend specific diseases, and are seen as pertinent to multiple diseases or groups of individuals. Here are some examples.

  • Concepts in the health promotion course include an emphasis on health behavior change as a middle-range theory and motivational interviewing as an evidence-based intervention to support health-behavior change.
  • Concepts in chronic illness courses include concepts of chronicity, self-health care management, functional status assessment, care/case management.
  • Concepts in acute care include oxygenation, pain, fluid balance, environments of care, care planning, communication, ethics, and delegation.