James Madison University

Chronic Illness Minor

Minor Overview

Chronic Illness Minor

The interdisciplinary minor in chronic illness prepares students from any major to understand and respond to the impacts of chronic illness on the individual, family, the health care system, and society. Knowledge and strategies to address the prevention and the management of chronic illness across its trajectory will enhance the skills and abilities of students who plan to practice in any profession. The minor is open to all undergraduate students at JMU. The minor requires a minimum of 18 credits with no more than 6 credits in the student’s major counting toward the minor.  

Steps to Declare Chronic Illness Minor

  1. Consult with your academic advisor regarding the feasibility of your workload to complete the minor in addition to your major requirements.
  2. Beginning September 15

    1. Log into MyMadison, select Student Center.
    2. Select Major/Minor Change from the “Other Academic…” dropdown menu.
    a. To add a program of study select Add Major/Minor - Choose Chronic Illness as  your plan.
    3. After all requests are entered select Submit Request.

  3. Deadlines for submission of the Application to Declare a Chronic Illness Minor are due to the Chronic Illness Minor Coordinator by:  
    • The last day of September for fall registration  for the Spring term.
    •  The last day of February for spring registration  for the Fall term.

Course Requirements for the Chronic Illness Minor

Core Classes:

  • NSG 390:  Impact of Chronic Illness  (3 credit hours)
  • NSG 391: Living Successfully with Chronic Illness (3 credit hours)

*** Students completing the Nursing major must plan to take both NSG 390 and 391 prior to starting major courses

Additional required credits:

Select 12 credits from the following courses. Students completing the Nursing Major should select 6 credits.  Not all elective courses are offered each semester.

  • EXED 306: Lifespan Issues for Individuals with Disabilities (3 credit hours)
  • GERN/SOCI 280: Social Gerontology (3 credit hours)
  • GERN 305: Programs and Services for the Elderly (3 credit hours) *GERN/SOCI 280 is a pre-requisite
  • IPE 415/NSG 415: Ethical Decision Making: an Interprofessional Approach (1 credit hour)
  • KIN 424/NUTR 455 Exercise and Nutrition in Chronic Disease (3 credit hours)
  • PSYC 304: Death and Dying: Thanatology (3 credit hours)
  • SOWK 332: Community Mental Health Practice (3 credit hours)
  • SOWK 442: Social Work in Health Care (3 credit hours)  *SOWK 332 is a pre-requisite
  • NSG 302 (formerly NSG 490): Behavioral and Mental Health in Children and Adolescents (2 credit hours)
  • NSG 306 (formerly NSG 490): Combating Childhood Obesity (1 credit hour)
  • NSG 310: Helping Persons in Pain (2 credit hours)
  • NSG 311: End of Life Care (1 credit hour)
  • NSG 319 (formerly NSG 490): Understanding Sexuality across the Health-Illness Continuum (2 credit hours)
  • NSG 320: Innovative Diabetes Health Education (1 credit hour)     
  • NSG 322: Integrative Health Care (2 credit hours)
  • NSG 326: Care and Consideration for Children with Special Needs (1 credit hour)
  • NSG 328: Life, Death and the "Dash" Between (1 credit hour)
  • NSG 329: Best Practices in Diabetes Care (2 credit hours)
  • NSG 368 (formerly NSG 490): Addiction Treatment Strategies (2 credit hours); 357, 357L pre-requisite
  • NSG 393 (formerly NSG 490): Issues in Family Violence (1 credit hour)
  • NSG 490: Environmental Health and You (2 credit hours)
  • NSG 490: History taking/History telling:  Narratives of Chronic Illness and Disability (2 credit hours)
  • NSG 490: Sick in America (1 credit hours)
  • NSG 490: Healthy Health Policy (2 credit hours)
  • NSG 490 Nursing, Chronic Illness and Health in a Global Context (2 credit hours)
  • NSG 490 Empowerment & Resilience  (1 credit hour)
  • IPE 490: Issues and Applications of Family Caregiving (1 credit hours, may be taken twice)
  • NSG 490/HHS 490: Exploring Universality and Diversity in Promoting Health; Costa Rica (2 credit hours )
  • NSG 490: Study Abroad Australia (2 credit hours)
  • NSG 490: Study Abroad Kenya (2 credit hours)

*Special topic courses or other courses not listed can be applied to the minor with the approval of the minor coordinator. Courses must have a strong correlation with chronic illness.

Benefits of the Chronic Illness Minor

  • The prevalence of chronic illness will continue to increase in both the young and old. As the U.S. population ages, knowledge and strategies to manage chronic illness are increasingly important for students in many professions.
  • The more you know about the prevention and management of chronic illness the more likely you can positively influence these life changing conditions. When a chronic illness cannot be prevented it can be managed to reduce the impact and improve the health of the individual and the overall health of society.
  • The greatest proportion of the United States and a large proportion of other countries health care dollar are directed to those with chronic illness. The more you know how these monies are managed the more valuable you can be to an employer.
  • With the increasing complexity of healthcare knowledge and specialization in a variety of disciplines, no one healthcare professional can meet the complex needs of patients with chronic illness. In the environment of specialization, communication across disciplines would naturally decrease. This dilemma can be reduced through a better understanding of the interdisciplinary approach. The interdisciplinary education gives the student the opportunity to view chronic illness through a variety of perspectives. The knowledge will better prepare the individual to work collaboratively to better deal with the issues associated with chronic illness.
  • A minor will provide a way to focus additional academic work that complements the nursing major.

FAQ About the Chronic Illness Minor

  • Do I have to take the courses in a specific sequence?
    Answer: No. The minor was designed that the courses can be taken in any sequence, except if the particular course has a prerequisite that must be met before enrolling in the course (i.e. GERN/SOCI courses). It is up to the student to ensure that prerequisite is met. Although the two core courses are not restricted to Chronic Illness minors, we encouraging the student to declare the minor prior to taking the core courses.  The core courses can be taken in any order or simultaneously.
  • Can my 2 credits of nursing electives required for my nursing major be applied to the minor?
    Answer: Yes, as long as they are chronic illness electives.  If you are accepted to the Nursing program, 2 credit hours of electives used for the Chronic Illness minor can also count towards the nursing major.  You need to complete a minimum of 6 credits of Chronic Illness electives in addition to the 6 credits of core Chronic Illness courses for a total of 12 credits. 
  • What if I have taken a class I believe should be accepted as credit for the Chronic Illness minor but is not listed as an elective option?
    Answer: You can apply to have the class reviewed by the course coordinator. If the coordinator feels there is sufficient justification to consider the course, the coordinator will present that course to the School of Nursing Curriculum Committee to seek formal acceptance or rejection of the credits. Be aware that no more than 6 credits of the student’s major can be applied to the minor.
  • Will I be notified when I am a declared Chronic Illness minor? Will it show up on My Madison or will I receive an email or will I just be able to register for the classes required for the minor? 
    Answer:  Signed declaration pages are forwarded to the registrar’s office and the minor should show up on your record within 7-10 business days. If not, and it has been at least 14 days since you brought your declaration page by for a signature from the Chronic illness adviser, contact the registrar’s office.

Questions about the Minor? Contact:
Christina Lam PhD, RN 
Chronic Illness Minor Coordinator 
School of Nursing 
James Madison University 
Health and Behavioral Studies Building Office 4074
Office Hours: Tuesday 1400-1600; Wednesday (after 9/19) 1130-1330