Nursing RN-to-BSN

Nursing RN-to-BSN


The RN-to-BSN program is part of Woodring College of Education.

Western's nationally accredited RN-to-BSN program is a degree completion program for nurses to complete their BSN. As an exclusive transfer degree, the plan of study has 45 upper division credits and builds on and provides credit for previous general university requirement (GUR) and nursing credits completed in an Associate Degree pre-licensure program.

The RN-to-BSN program is specifically designed for nurses who have completed an Associate's or Diploma nursing program, have their RN license already or who will take the NCLEX-RN exam and are successfully licensed as a Registered Nurse by the end of their second quarter of study. It has been designed to meet the most recent AACN Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice (2008) through a collaborative career pathway that incorporates both prior learning from pre-licensure nursing education along with RN-to-BSN course work. 

The program — offered on the main Bellingham Campus — is structured with classes meeting one full day per week in order to allow working nurses to balance their continued professional education along with ongoing work and personal responsibilities. The innovative four quarter program of full-time study (8 quarters part-time) will prepare nurses with the professional competencies necessary for the increasing complexities of healthcare. It has been guided by national standards for nursing as well as WWU Student Learning Objectives. Students gain experience learning concepts and theories in the classroom during their first two quarters of study, and then apply of concepts and theories through Practice Experiences in their last two quarters of study.

Beyond the Classroom

Examples of course projects include:

  • Wellness promotion for older adults
  • Nurses and disaster preparedness in Whatcom County
  • Reducing transmission of communicable diseases in childcare centers
  • Preparing nurses to provide end-of-life care
  • Reducing hospital readmission rates for older adults
  • Recommendations for developing district-wide policies for food allergy protocol in a local school district
  • Chronic disease self-management program in senior activity centers
  • Hearing the voices of families of children with special needs
  • Care navigation for the oncology patient
  • Care coordination for high-utilization clients: A literature review
  • Care coordination trends in mental health
  • Patient family units, care fragmentation, and interdisciplinary coordination: How hospice and palliative entities are making a difference
  • Home visits vs. telephone encounters in care coordination
  • Care coordination in an acute cardiovascular surgery setting
  • Smoking cessation information sessions for mental health patients
  • Improving charting and documentation for efficient care coordination among patients living with mental health illnesses

Careers and Graduate Studies

Western’s RN-to-BSN program prepares nurses for administrative, management or other leadership roles, as well as enhances patient care and advocacy skills learned in registered-nursing programs and work experience. As more acute care hospitals work to achieve magnet status, a BSN degree may be required by these employers.

Employers of Western Nursing Graduates:

  • PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center and Medical Groups
  • PeaceHealth United General Hospital
  • Skagit Valley Hospital
  • Whatcom County Health Department
  • Providence Medical Group & Hospital
  • Public School Districts
  • Correctional facilities

Sample Jobs

  • Community Health Nursing
  • Public Health Nursing
  • Outpatient Clinic Services
  • Leadership and Management
  • Pathway to graduate programs including Nurse Practitioner

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.