About the Program

Learn more about the art and science of the Siena Heights' Nursing program.
Nursing Student

The Art & Science of Nursing

Our Mission

The mission of the Siena Heights University Nursing program is to educate prospective and practicing nurses in the art and science of nursing.

Based upon a liberal arts foundation, the faculty and students collaborate in a dynamic teaching and learning environment that embraces caring, diversity, and creativity. Siena Heights University nurses strive to continually become more competent, purposeful, and ethical in all interactions with individuals, groups, and communities while providing health care. Respectful of the dignity and worth of all people, Siena Heights University nurses are prepared to provide high-quality nursing care in ever-changing health care systems.

As a Catholic institution in that Dominican tradition, we believe in the dignity and worth of every human being. That philosophy is embedded into every aspect of SHU’s Nursing Program. When designing our RN to BSN degree program, we listened to what working nurses told us what they needed. That means the courses are practical and relevant to today’s health care professional. Students can tie their personal professional experience into the coursework. Classes such as Ethical, Cultural and Spiritual Nursing Practice and Advanced Health Assessment have a strong thread of ethics, leadership and knowledge of health care systems woven into them.

“Health care is often ‘what is your number?’ Where’s the humanness? Where I am as a nurse starts with the humanness. Health care has moved us to the impersonal. You’re a number. You’re a diagnosis. We’re not. We’re still people.”

Dr. Sue Idczak
Director of the Siena Heights University Nursing Program

The Art

“Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art, it requires an exclusive devotion as hard a preparation, as any painter’s or sculptor’s work; for what is the having to do with dead canvas or dead marble, compared with having to do with the living body, the temple of God's spirit? It is one of the Fine Arts: I had almost said, the finest of Fine Arts.”

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)

We couldn’t agree more with the Pioneer of Modern Nursing. The Siena Heights University Nursing Program is modeled after Nightingale’s Christian spirit of service and compassion. In fact, the Adrian Dominican Sisters, the congregation who founded Siena Heights, first arrived in Michigan in the 19th century to establish a hospital for injured railroad workers and the poor. Siena Heights is both honoring its past and looking to the future in establishing nursing.

The Science

“The most important practical lesson than can be given to nurses is to teach them what to observe.”

Florence Nightingale

Of course, science is also a vital component of the Siena Heights Nursing Program. With a new Skills Laboratory that includes high-tech teaching tools, such as a Virtual IV and adult and baby patient simulators, our program is dedicated to providing a climate of academic excellence and extending the existing body of nursing knowledge. We believe nursing education best occurs in a teaching and learning environment utilizing critical thinking and reflective writing as a key to knowledge development.

Fact: “In hospitals with higher proportions of nurses educated at the baccalaureate level or higher, surgical patients experienced lower mortality and failure-to-rescue rates” (Journal of the American Medical Association study, 2003).

The JAMA study also concluded that a 10 percent increase in the proportion of nurses with bachelor’s degrees led to a 5 percent decrease in the likelihood of patients dying within 30 days of hospital admission and the odds of failure to rescue. And with many hospitals striving to become part of the Magnet Recognition Program®, hiring nurses with four-year degrees or higher is fast becoming the preferred standard for quality patient care.

We believe that health is a continuum, and the goal of nursing is to assist individuals, families, groups and communities toward optimum health.

Meet Siena


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Alyssa Fausneaucht

Sport Management Major, Women's Golf; Adrian Campus

Faculty & Staff

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Gail A. Ryder

Associate Professor of Humanities


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Traci Stewart '02

Biology Graduate; Advance Practice Nurse