A guide to SMU’s RN-to-BSN program

Olivia Alvord, Staff Writer


Saint Martin’s University is now offering a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program to its course offerings as of fall 2019. This is pending approval from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and the Washington Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission. This program will not only fill a need of more local nurses, but it will also create a baccalaureate nursing program between the hubs of Portland, Ore. and Tacoma, Wash.

The original nursing program at Saint Martin’s was founded in 1986. In the early 1990s, the program added a master’s degree for health policy and family nurse practitioners, in hopes of increasing enrollment. However, enrollment for the program declined, and the program was slowly phased out in the late 90s, just a few years after it started. Although the program has had less to offer since then, it still exists and has had 81 graduates since 2012.

Teri Moser Woo, Ph.D., RN, was appointed to her position as Director of Nursing in July 2018. Her entrance into the nursing program led to the creation of the RN-to-BSN program at Saint Martin’s, and has also increased enrollment into this future program. Woo is a fabulous addition to Saint Martin’s University, and brings more than 30 years of nursing and leadership experience with her. Woo previously held the position of a professor and associate dean for the graduate nursing programs at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU). According to the Saint Martin’s website, “at PLU, Woo was awarded $1.75 million in Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) nursing education grants, used to provide funds for student tuition and strengthen nurse practitioner education to care for rural and underserved populations.” She has been an instrumental addition to the nursing team at Saint Martin’s, and continues to bring more opportunity to our community.

Taken from Saint Martin’s University Media Relations Manager Kevin Hyde’s email announcement: Teri Moser Woo, Ph.D., RN, stated, “we are excited about creating a pre-licensure BSN program at Saint Martin’s. The program will serve a critical need for nurses locally. We also anticipate BSN students from Hawaii, Guam, and the Pacific Islands, so our BSN graduates will fill a need outside the local area as well.”

During this past summer, Saint Martin’s participated in an auction for some nursing equipment from a former Benedictine University in Oklahoma that closed in 2017, and won. This purchase means that we are much more prepared for this program, as it enables the school to move forward on including nursing labs on campus. In addition to the new BSN program, Saint Martin’s also got approval to include a bachelor of science and bachelor of arts in exercise science to the course catalog which will also be offered for students in the fall of 2019.

Saint Martin’s has already started to think about the future of the local nursing community and has begun to form the backbone of the program. As of fall 2019, Saint Martin’s will admit 25 first-year students to the BSN program. They will start to admit upper division transfer students in the fall of 2020. After this, the RN-to-BSN program will provide an option for nurses with an associate’s degree or high school diploma to complete their BSN in only a year. Keep your ears to the ground for more information regarding the nursing program at Saint Martin’s, as there will be updates on the overall program as well as the RN-to-BSN program in particular.




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