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2023-2024 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Kirkhof College of Nursing

Leadership Team

Dean: Thomas
Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs: Winter
Assistant Unit Head, Undergraduate Programs: Elrod
Associate Dean, Graduate Programs and Nursing Research: Moran
Assistant Unit Head, Graduate Programs: VanderKooi



The mission of the Kirkhof College of Nursing is to provide quality nursing education to a diverse population of students. The Kirkhof College of Nursing strives to improve the well-being of people through leadership in nursing education, professional practice, and scholarship.

Kirkhof Legacy

The Kirkhof College of Nursing (KCON) was named in recognition of Russel Kirkhof, a self-taught electrician. His avid interest in finding solutions to manufacturing problems through the application of electricity developed into an international business enterprise. His life paralleled the American dream of becoming a self-made millionaire through the virtues of hard work, talent, and personal determination. Kirkhof was a humble man who conducted his life without fanfare and he was happiest when he was working with his hands. Today, his life story serves as an inspiration to others in making meaningful contributions to their communities. KCON embodies the values espoused by Kirkhof through professional education that teaches the importance of making significant contributions as nurses to surrounding communities and society-at-large.

Program Information

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.): Traditional
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.): Second Degree (for students with degrees in other disciplines)
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.): RN to B.S.N. (for individuals currently working on or having completed academic preparation as an associate degree prepared nurse)
Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) Students can choose elective courses that lead to a certificate in Informatics or Palliative and Hospice Care; or elective courses that focus on the Clinical Nurse Leader or in Leadership).
Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.): Primary Care Adult /Older Adult Nurse Practitioner; Primary Care Child/Adolescent Nurse Practitioner; Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner; Post-MSN DNP (students can choose elective courses that lead to a certificate in Informatics or Palliative and Hospice Care, or elective courses in Leadership)
Interprofessional Palliative and Hospice Care (certificate)
Interprofessional Health Informatics (certificate)
Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (certificate)
Telehealth (badge)
Palliative and Hospice Care I (badge)
Palliative and Hospice Care II (badge)


KCON is recognized for outstanding teaching, scholarship, and service. The Bachelor of Science in nursing, the Master of Science in nursing, and the Doctor of Nursing Practice programs at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) Kirkhof College of Nursing (KCON) are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education ( The Bachelor of Science in nursing (B.S.N.) program is also approved by the Michigan Board of Nursing, P.O. Box 30004, Lansing, MI 48909; Telephone: (517) 241-0199. KCON offices are housed on the GVSU Health Campus in the DeVos Center for Interprofessional Health at 333 Michigan St. N.E. in Grand Rapids, MI 49503; Telephone: (616) 331-3558.

Graduates of the KCON traditional or second degree Bachelor of Science in nursing (B.S.N.) programs are qualified to take the National Council Licensure Examination RN (NCLEX-RN) to obtain licensure to practice as a registered nurse. Students completing the advanced generalist Master of Science in nursing (M.S.N.) degree will be eligible for national certification as a clinical nurse leader. Students completing the Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) degree in one of the nurse practitioner tracks will be prepared for national primary care specialty certification in either pediatrics, adult-gerontology, or psychiatric/mental health. Students completing the D.N.P. health systems leadership track will be eligible for and encouraged to sit for national certification as a nurse executive.


Information regarding undergraduate and graduate admissions is outlined under the respective academic program section of the catalog. For questions or clarification, call the Kirkhof College of Nursing Office of Student Services at (616) 331-7160.

Graduate Assistantships

The Kirkhof College of Nursing employs graduate students in full- and part-time assistantships to support student engagement in faculty scholarship, teaching, and academic activities. Assistantships provide tuition and stipend support for graduate education. For more information, contact KCON at (616) 331-7160.

Honors Organizations

Sigma Theta Tau International (Sigma) is recognized as the honor society of nursing with over 135,000 members in more than 90 countries worldwide. Members serve as agents and catalysts for change throughout the world. Sigma members include clinicians, educators, administrators and researchers who are leaders in the scientific journey toward advancing world health by recognizing and promoting nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service. Sigma's local Chapter,, was organized in 1996. Potential candidates for membership may be students in undergraduate or graduate nursing programs or may be nursing professionals or community leaders. The society challenges members to become better nurses and offers support through continuing education, networking opportunities, access to nursing research, mentoring opportunities, and many other avenues.

Student Organizations: Baccalaureate

The Kirkhof College of Nursing is proud to hold the All College Membership status within the National Student Nurses' Association (NSNA) at Since 2017, the GVSU SNA has been recognized as a NSNA Stellar School Chapter, which is the highest award an SNA chapter can receive. All undergraduate students are encouraged to actively participate in the Grand Valley chapter of the NSNA. The benefits of joining the GVSU Student Nurses' Association (SNA) include opportunities for leadership, networking, and volunteering in the community. For the 6th year, the SNA has been awarded the Stellar Chapter Award by NSNA.

Students taking prerequisite courses are encouraged to join the GVSU Pre-Nursing Association (PNA) by visiting online at This organization is student-run and open to all pre-nursing students. The benefits of membership include leadership, networking, social connections, and opportunities to learn more about the nursing profession. Additional information about PNA is available through the Student Life Office (

Student Organizations: Graduate

The Graduate Student Organization (GSO) is a university wide student organization dedicated to Grand Valley graduate students. Its goals include intellectual, professional, and social development while fostering interprofessional communication, collaboration, and community. Because this organization represents all graduate students, M.S.N. and D.N.P. students are encouraged to participate. The annual meeting schedule is posted on the GSO Blackboard site in September of each year. Additional information about GSO is available at

All graduate nursing students are encouraged to join the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Graduate Nursing Student Academy (GNSA). The GNSA provides high value programs, services, and resources to graduate nursing students enrolled in master's and doctoral programs at AACN member schools, of which GVSU is a member. The GNSA is committed to supporting graduate students preparing for careers as faculty members, researchers, advanced practice registered nurses, clinical nurse leaders, policy experts, and health care administrators, among other roles (AACN, 2022, para.3). Additional information about GNSA is available at

The Michigan Council of Nurse Practitioner (MiCNP) Greater Grand Rapids Student Chapter was recently organized to provide funding opportunities, clinical learning and networking opportunities for nurse practitioner students. Additionally, this group provides legal advocacy for nurse practitioners. Additional information can be found at


Numerous scholarship opportunities are available to undergraduate and graduate nursing students. Information regarding specific scholarships is available through the Kirkhof College of Nursing website at and the Office of Financial Aid website at

Office of Student Services

The mission of the Kirkhof College of Nursing Office of Student Services (OSS) is to recognize individuality and establish collaborative partnerships with students and those interested in our nursing programs. To do this, OSS advisors engage in intentional and holistic advising through proactive outreach toward individuals seeking a nursing degree at Grand Valley. The OSS strives to promote diversity and foster student connections within KCON, Grand Valley, the broader community, and the nursing profession. The OSS provides a wide range of services to support undergraduate and graduate nursing students, including degree-planning in consideration of general education and major or minor requirements, as well as development and review of degree-progress plans to promote academic success. Students are assigned to a professional advisor once they declare nursing as their intended major. For individual and group appointments, students may call the Kirkhof College of Nursing Office of Student Services at (616) 331-7160.

Program Descriptions:

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