School of Nursing and Health Studies

Prepare for Your Studies

Prepare for your RN to BSN Studies

Congratulations on your admission to the UW Bothell RN to BSN program!

Whether this is your first undergraduate degree or your second, preparing for the program is going to aid you in a successful start and graduation. Below are considerations and general expectations you need to be mindful of as you commence your coursework. While this is not an exhaustive list of common questions, we hope it helps you prepare for the classroom.

Click one of the questions below to see the answer.

What does it means to be in university degree completion program?
You will be enrolling in one junior-level class and the remaining coursework is all at the senior level. You'll be engaging in scholarly work that will require not only meeting the nursing essentials, but an elevated level of academics. If this is your first university degree, the classes will probably be different than what you have experienced in the past. Your faculty will have high expectations of you, and will help you meet them, but be prepared for the classes to be different from previous classes.
What does it mean to be a student of a research university like UW?
It means you will be reading and analyzing a large amount of nursing research and data while doing your own research. You should expect to be reading literature and peer reviews along with other scholarly works and papers. You will be composing, writing academic and literature review papers and using APA and be expected to follow the academic integrity policies which include plagiarism.
Will I take more clinical coursework?
The degree completion program is academic based; not clinical based. You will be in lecture based courses that include papers and project. While there is one Community Health Class with fieldwork in a community health setting, that too will require an academic review and a group presentation. Many students are anxious about this, because they see themselves as “not a writer”, or “not an academic”. Critical analysis and academic writing are skills, not inherent characteristics! Just as with clinical skills, academic skills can be improved, and just as a first-year nursing student will be an expert clinician with time and practice, so will you develop your academic skills during your time in the program.
What are the class attendance and homework expectations?
You need to adjust your schedule to always attend classes and have time for homework. It is “not okay” to miss class. Set your class day aside and make it a priority. Missing 'just one day' of class is equal to missing one week of class because you only meet once per week. If you miss class, your grade may be impacted. You should expect approximately 10-11 hours per 5 credits of lecture. Carefully consider if you need to take a lighter load – it doesn't’t mean you’re not committed or that you’re “taking it easy”. Nurses sometimes neglect self-care – you know, that self-care you tell patients to do? Please don’t try to ‘do it all’- reduce your credit load if needed and if needed, take a quarter off. If you need to talk about reducing your credit load or taking a quarter off, contact your adviser as soon as possible, even if you’re not sure that’s what you want to do.
How should I best communicate with the University Professors?
Your professors will expect that you communicate with them in a professional manner. Communication is also one of the Essential Nursing Abilities and Behaviors of the program. This means your emails should be well-written and have the appropriate salutations (for example, don't use "hey" as your greeting). Be sure to stay in touch with them and respond to their emails when they reach out to you. Additionally, extend the same level of professional communication when you are with them in class. Lastly, your instructors are a great resource! Reach out to them for assistance,, problem-solving and help with completion of an assignment. They've been through school (a lot of school!) and know it can be challenging – they are there to help where and when they can!
Is the teaching standard or will I experience different teaching styles?
You should be prepared to understand may experience different approaches to instruction, general rules and practices surrounding homework submission and timelines. Read the syllabus – it will tell you exactly what your faculty expect of you. If you have questions, ask them! Don’t assume that expectations for papers, deadline leniency, use of electronics in the classroom, and other aspects of teaching will be identical. Faculty are different people, and courses have different needs.
Will I have to travel to complete the fieldwork required for community health?
When you are in BNURS 409/424 which is the Community Health course, you need to be prepared to travel off campus/off site to the community partner site. The instructors do their best to keep the fieldwork sites close to campus or your off-site, but that is not always possible. For example, if you are at the Everett site, you may need to travel to north King County or South/North Snohomish County. This may be similar to the situation in your RN program, when there was not always a local placement available.
Will I have time to work while in the program?
Work is a very important part of most students’ lives, and we recognize this. However, attending the BSN completion program will probably require some adjustment to your life, particularly if you continue working full-time. You may need to work with your manager to tweak your schedule, or drop down in FTE if that is an option for you. As noted above, the hours spent in class are a small part of the full commitment required to complete the program, and it is important to block off time for school work outside of class. Don’t forget to schedule time with family, friends, and for yourself! While this can be an intense year, students also tell us that it is worth the effort, and that the experience of earning a BSN was valuable to them personally and professionally.