Associate Degree in Nursing Science

Message from the Program Director

The Science in Nursing Program has a goal of offering an environment that favors achieving excellence and quality education, as well as preparing professionals with the greatest dedication and endeavor to develop future competent professionals within the world of work of Nursing Science. For many years, this branch of the health field has been an essential part in management and direct care to the patient.

It is with great satisfaction that I express that the progress of Atenas College Nursing Program is due to the commitment of a highly qualified faculty, the administration, and its academic-administrative staff. Day after day, our faculty provides their knowledge and puts into practice a variety of educational tools, succeeding in promoting in our student dedication, effort, and commitment for the career they have decided to pursue. We have the first simulated hospital in Puerto Rico, which enables our student to develop competencies of leadership, teamwork, use of technology, application of critical thinking to make decisions in offering patient-centered care, and to foster in them the importance of an evidence-based practice. More than being a complete program, we are a great family with the commitment to educate and prepare competent professionals who can contribute the best of themselves to society. Receive our warmest welcome!


Dra. Mariceli Morales Santiago, BSN, MSN, CNS

Nursing Program Director

Nursing Science Program Mission Statement

We are a program that provides a student-centered safe learning environment, considering cultural and spiritual diversity through the offering of arts, science, information and communication technologies, fostering lifelong learning and preparing the student to be responsible in its social and professional surroundings.

Nursing Science Program Vision Statement

To be the best Nursing Science program that prepares highly competent leaders to provide care centered in the patient, family, and the community at a local, national or international level, fostering a culture of quality and safety.


Nursing Science Program Values

The Associate Degree of Nursing Science program has seen that throughout its academic curriculum the student can develop the following values:

  • Honesty
  • Processional ethics
  • Confidentiality
  • Professional conduct
  • Courtesy
  • Safety
  • Responsibility within the academic institution and the clinical practice sites
  • Competencies and abilities

Program Description

In compliance with the mission and purpose of offering excellence and quality academic programs in the health area, Atenas College has designed this program with emphasis in nursing care, in response to the new trends in education, the need for ideal personnel to provide services in the health field, as well as the demands of the contemporary society. This program provides young and adult high school graduates, the opportunity to train and perform as nurses at an associate degree level. Based on the functions approved for the associate degree level, and endorsed by Act 254 of December 31, 2015, these personnel collaborate and participate in a nursing process in a holistic way, providing careful and direct nursing care to hospitalized to inpatients and outpatients. After competing training, the student will prepare to take the board exam from the Puerto Rico Examining Board of Nurses. The student must meet the out-of-class (outside work) hours required by the US Department of Education. This program consists of 68 credits distributed into 5 academic terms to be completed in 20 months. Students have a maximum of 7.5 academic terms to complete the program within the 150% maximum time of completion. The first academic term consists of general education courses, of which some are pre-requisite by the nursing courses.


Curricular Conceptual Model

The curricular conceptual model of the Nursing Science Program is founded on the following educational theories: P. Jeffries/National League for Nursing Simulation theory (2015); D. Kolb’s Experiential Learning theory (1970); and D. Schön’s Reflective Practitioner theory (1987). These theories hold the four pillars that sustain the needs of the client: 1) safe and efficient care environment; 2) health promotion and maintenance; 3) psychosocial integrity; and 4) physiological integrity. The conceptual model is based learning through competencies, which are developed through the curriculum. These competencies include general education competencies and professional competencies.


Program Philosophy

The faculty of the Nursing Program, in harmony with Atenas College philosophy, postulates encouraging students toward an inquisitive attitude with regards to the nature of human beings maintaining a balance; and their responsibility with self, to society in general, as well as to their communities.

Human Being

We believe each human being is in constant self-motivation and dynamic interaction with internal and external environments. Variations in these environments affect their behavior and adaptability during different stages of the growth and development process. As part of this process the person manifests basic needs, which require to be satisfied in order to maintain balance and a state of wellbeing. The human being is influenced by past and present experiences, heredity, and the environment; and as such constantly changes in response to different stimuli in order to maintain an optimal level of health in the health-illness continuum. The human being is a unitary being, transcending any combination of aspects.


We believe that health is a state of physical, social, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. Human beings seek to reach wellbeing, thus achieve balance. Nursing is a humane service based on scientific theories that promote health through application of the nursing process. Through this process, the nurse promotes health, helps clients who cannot care for themselves; and assists individuals, families, and communities according to their needs.

The faculty recognizes that the nursing process is a systematic scientific method used by nurses at different levels of education to achieve client’s goals by identifying their state of health, current and potential problems and needs; developing plans that satisfy these needs; and carrying out nursing interventions.


Illness is experienced as a state of disharmony in human environmental relationship or as a disharmony in relationship between various aspects of the self. Many aspects affect the experience of health, including genetics, age, life-style, perception of health and illness, health promotion activities, values, beliefs, and culture.


Based on the above definitions of health and illness, the nurse’s role is one of being a caring, healing presence promoting wellness for human beings in their internal and external relationships with themselves, others, and their environment.

To be a caring, healing presence, nurses have a responsibility for self-care, as well as to be knowledgeable about theories, principles, and applications of biological and social sciences. The nurse integrates multidisciplinary knowledge to promote the health of individuals/families/groups, or when necessary, to dignify death and ease the dying process. Nurses use reflective practice to improve quality of care. The following caring skills are identified as program themes: multiple ways of knowing including critical thinking, communication, management, teaching, professionalism, and nurse caring process. Caring is also expressed through curriculum threads of: pain management, pharmacology, nutrition, community, human maturation, caring, and cultural diversity. Nurses must collaborate with health professionals to provide effective health care. Patient centered care and advocacy are central to the nursing role with professional caring and ethical decision making as core values.

Therefore, the faculty is committed to providing through the teaching-learning process excellent human resources in the health field, nurses who are prepared to carry out quality performance in providing nursing care in a variety of settings.

Teaching and Learning

We believe that both teachers and students are engaged in a continuous process of teaching learning. Human beings have a natural potential for learning. This desire for expansion of knowledge and experience can be achieved through building upon the student’s previous experience, actively involving the learner in the process, and progressing from the familiar to the unfamiliar. Significant learning takes place when the subject matter is perceived by the adult learner as having meaning. Learning is the process by which individuals evolve as they apply knowledge, attitudes, and skills through experience and reflection. The ultimate responsibility for learning rests with the learner. A variety of opportunities for application of knowledge encourages the learner to develop and apply multiple ways of knowing and critical thinking skills. Teaching is the facilitation of learning and requires valuing the student as a person and understanding the student’s learning needs. Learning is facilitated by timely feedback that is understandable to the learner.


The faculty is convinced of the importance of developing specific competencies in any level of nursing preparation, therefore, it has incorporated the following competencies as recommended by Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) throughout the curriculum: Patient-Centered Care, Teamwork and Collaboration, Evidence-Based Practice, Quality Improvement, Safety and Informatics; using strategies, techniques, and methods to develop and evaluate these competencies in the levels of knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

Nursing Program Organizational Chart