RN-to-BSN program at Saint Martin’s to support nurses seeking professional growth
February 27, 2012
Starting this fall, Saint Martin’s University will offer a
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
degree for registered nurses (RNs) seeking to further their professional development. A
new addition to the University’s College of Arts and Sciences, the RN-to-BSN program will
enhance the ability of nurses to work in today’s demanding health care environment and
contribute to their communities in the spirit of service and stewardship.
“Saint Martin’s will serve RNs who want to strengthen their knowledge and skills in order to
effectively support what is known as the ‘triple aim’ — better care for individuals, better
health for populations and lower health care costs,” says
Louise Kaplan, Ph.D., ARNP, FAANP,
the newly appointed director of the RN-to-BSN program.
“The program is ideal for students in associate degree programs who wish to enroll in a BSN program
upon graduation, as well as experienced RNs who want to expand their professional development by
earning a BSN,” explains Kaplan. “Our program will prepare students to continue on to a master’s
or doctoral program, will hone their professional expertise, and will ultimately improve the
lives of those around them.”
Saint Martin’s RN-to-BSN program will fill an unmet community need and meet workforce demands in
the state of Washington, according to Kaplan. She reports that the University was approached by
local health care systems to consider developing the nursing program.
In preparation for the program launch, Saint Martin’s has been building relationships with regional
institutions, including nearby South Puget Sound Community College, which offers an
degree in nursing. Conversations are also underway between Saint Martin’s and health care
organizations about potential partnerships to serve the needs of the surrounding community.
The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, a landmark report issued in 2010 by
the Institute of Medicine (IOM), recommended that nurses achieve higher levels of education
through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression. The report
called for the education of nurses to respond to the needs of an evolving health care system
and the changing needs of patients, and to meet the increased demand for health care as access
improves. Experts emphasize a need for nurses to acquire the right competencies to provide
care and lead change.
Linda Tieman, executive director of the Washington Center for Nursing, applauds Saint Martin’s
for starting the new program. “There’s a definite gap in the educational offerings for a nursing
baccalaureate in Washington,” says Tieman, who observes that the state’s Action Coalition, formed
in response to the 2010 IOM report, has established a goal to increase the proportion of RNs with
BSN degrees to 80 percent by 2020.
“Nursing is a demanding field these days,” Tieman continues. “Only 43 percent of Washington state
RNs have a BSN. Saint Martin’s is stepping up to meet a critical need. Without programs like
Saint Martin’s, we will not have sufficient numbers of educators, researchers, managers and
leaders in Washington state — now and in the future.”
Tieman adds that Saint Martin’s program is ideally located to reach out to southwest Washington students,
noting it will be the only nursing program between Vancouver and Tacoma to offer a baccalaureate degree.
Class sizes will be small, offering students personalized attention from experienced, accessible faculty members.
Saint Martin’s will work with incoming students to help them obtain maximum transfer credit, and will assist them
with seeking new career opportunities after graduation. Students will be able to enroll for part-time or full-time
study. Financial aid is available for students who are enrolled at least half-time.
For the RN-to-BSN program, Saint Martin’s has designed courses to develop critical thinking and the ability to translate
research into practice. Coursework will also focus on health policy, ethics, leadership, care coordination, and the
promotion of population health in the community. An integrative capstone experience will allow students to
synthesize their learning and make it applicable to their future career plans. Students will have the opportunity to
take electives, including a course on traditional Chinese medicine and evidence-based practice that will be developed
in collaboration with the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Saint Martin’s Dean of Arts and Sciences Eric Apfelstadt, Ph.D., notes that the first cohort of Saint Martin’s new
nursing program will be an important group of students. “They will be the early adopters of the program, and those
who choose to be a part of it will help define it and establish its reputation,” he explains. “We’re looking for
very special and committed students — students eager to learn in the unique environment of caring,
community-focused instruction that Saint Martin’s provides.”
Prospective students interested in learning more about Saint Martin’s RN-to-BSN nursing program are invited to
contact Kaplan at email@example.com or 360-412-6129. To be admitted into the program, individuals first must
apply and be admitted to Saint Martin’s University. For information about the program, visit
Saint Martin’s University received accreditation for the RN-to-BSN program from the Northwest Commission on Colleges
and Universities (NWCCU) in September 2011. The program will also be applying for accreditation from the Commission
on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year, coeducational university located on a 380-acre wooded campus
in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14
Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains.
Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 21 majors and six graduate programs
spanning the liberal arts, business, education and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes 1,250 students from many
ethnic and religious backgrounds to its main campus, and 650 more to its extension campuses located at
Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Everett College, Centralia College and Tacoma Community College. Visit the Saint
Martin’s University website at www.stmartin.edu.
For additional information:
Louise Kaplan, PhD, ARNP, FNP-BC, FAANP
Director, nursing program
Saint Martin’s University
Director of community relations and event management
Office of Marketing and Communications
Saint Martin’s University