program overview

B.S. in Nursing

The Nursing Program at Colby-Sawyer leads to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and integrates knowledge from the liberal arts and sciences with professional education and experience. Students are immersed in educational and clinical experiences that seek to prepare them for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and to assume entry-level positions in professional nursing or to enroll in graduate studies in nursing. Our graduates practice in a variety of professional settings, including hospitals, clinics, private practices and community-based healthcare organizations.

Colby-Sawyer's nursing education takes place in small classes in state-of-the-art classrooms and labs to help students develop the essential skills for entry-level practice. Students apply the skills they learn at the college to real-life practice gained through the college's collaborations with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC), located just 30 minutes north and the college's other partners in health care.

The Nursing Department's partners include New London Hospital, Concord Hospital, the Lake Sunapee Region Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice, Kearsarge Regional School District, and others.

Colby-Sawyer College is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. The Nursing Program is approved by the New Hampshire Board of Nursing and received a 10-year accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education in the fall of 2012.


Applicants to the Nursing Program must provide a completed application for admission to Colby-Sawyer College by the Early Action deadline of November 15. Up to 50 of the top qualified candidates will be directly admitted to the Nursing Program.

Should a student not be directly admitted to the Nursing Program, they may still be admitted to Colby-Sawyer and will be able to choose from a variety of program areas, including many in the health field. Once admitted to Colby-Sawyer, internal transfer into the Nursing Program may be possible on a space available basis provided the student is able to demonstrate the ability to meet the program's academic requirements.

The Nursing Program is a rigorous field of study and students must demonstrate competence in both the classroom and the program's clinical/laboratory components to progress in the major.

Successful applicants will demonstrate the following academic record from their high school or collegiate studies:

• 3.3 GPA in college preparatory course work or coursework at the collegiate level

• Three years of high school science including chemistry

• Three years of high school level math including Algebra II

Students will learn of their admittance to the program two weeks after the Early Action deadline.

Clinical Rotations

In the Nursing Program, clinical rotations are the clinical component of nursing courses. Rotations are taught by nursing faculty, who are responsible for assisting students in the integration of theory and practice in clinical settings.

The Nursing Program offers its student nurses clinical rotations in a great variety of inpatient and community settings through its collaborative relationships with numerous hospitals and community-based organizations. These include Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, New London Hospital, Concord Hospital, Elliot Hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital, and New Hampshire area schools, in addition to other health and human services organizations.

As sophomores, students spend one day each week in a clinical setting. During junior year and fall of the senior year, nursing students spend two days a week in a clinical setting. Hospital-based clinical rotations include rotations in pediatrics, obstetrics, medical/surgical, and mental health. In the process, our students broaden their knowledge and skills and often gain a better sense of direction for their future careers in nursing.

Capstone Projects

In their senior year, nursing students complete both a Nursing Leadership Capstone and a Clinical Capstone.

In the year-long Nursing Leadership Capstone, the nursing role includes acting as provider, manager and coordinator of care for individuals, families and communities. Nursing care includes planning health promotion through normative transitions across the life span, prevention of events that compromise health, and management and maintenance of optimal health for persons with chronic illness and disability. Emphasis is on assessing and planning nursing care for select aggregates and communities and utilizing community health indicators in collaboration with community partners. Students work with community mentors to identify and plan interventions based on the capacities of the community and the nursing program and meet weekly for clinical seminar. As the Capstone progresses, there is a greater focus in this course on the coordination of care and the leadership role of nurses in the community. Topics include cultural influences on the health of communities, roles of human service organizations, interdisciplinary collaboration, occupational health nursing, public safety/disaster management, and evaluation methods. Weekly clinical seminar meetings allow students to benefit from one another's experiences. Student projects/interventions are presented to a group jointly identified by student, faculty and community mentors.

For their Clinical Capstone, students provide and coordinate complex restorative nursing care in the hospital setting to acutely ill individuals and their families. Students work under the guidance of a clinical mentor to achieve competence in providing safe, effective nursing care at a novice level. Students explore professional issues and responsibilities to develop management and leadership skills as they assume a professional role. Topics include management of nursing care, nursing leaders/leadership, role development, and career management. Weekly clinical seminars provide opportunities for analysis and evaluation of therapeutic nursing interventions and the professional role of nurses.

The Colby-Sawyer nursing program has partnered with several community sites including Adult Day Out; the village of Pokuase in Ghana, Africa; Newport Health Center; New London Hospital; Lake Sunapee Region Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice; Tiger Treatment Center at Newport Middle High School; Kearsarge Regional School District and Baird Health and Counseling Center on Colby-Sawyer's campus.


Undergraduate nursing education is the process of preparing students for entry-level practice as professional nurses, for graduate study, and for life-long learning. The Department of Nursing recognizes that nursing education must be both responsive to trends in health care and grounded in a core curriculum. We emphasize the importance of students' personal responsibility for their learning because they will need to continue learning throughout their professional lives. The philosophy of the Department of Nursing is summarized in this statement of our faculty's beliefs about nursing, health, the persons for whom we care, and the environment in which nursing care is provided. The following description of nursing summarizes the philosophy of the nursing faculty at Colby-Sawyer:

Nursing is the care of persons who are experiencing or can be expected to experience variations in health, and the tending of the entire environment in which care occurs.