Prepare for Your Studies

Prepare for your RN to BSN Studies

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 should keep in mind as you commence your coursework. While this is not an exhaustive list of common questions, we hope it helps you prepare for the classroom.

Additionally, 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.

What does it means to be in a university degree completion program?
You will be enrolling in one junior-level class and the remaining coursework is all at the senior level. You will 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 you should be prepared for the classes to be more challenging 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 and health-related 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 and, writing academic papers using APA style and will be expected to follow the academic integrity policies of the university, which prohibit plagiarism and cheating.
Will I take more clinical coursework?
The degree completion program is academic and didactic rather than clinically oriented. You will be in academic courses that include papers and project. While there is one community health class with fieldwork, that too will require an academic review and a group presentation. Many students are anxious about this kind of work, 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 learned and developed. Just as a first-year nursing student will become an expert clinician with time and practice, so too will you develop your academic skills during your time in the program.
What are the class attendance and homework expectations?
You should adjust your schedule to always attend classes and make 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 are not there to participate in discussions/learning activities and thereby your learning (and grade) may be impacted. You should expect approximately 10-11 hours of work outside of class per week for each 5 credits of coursework.
Carefully consider if you need to take a lighter load. It doesn't mean you’re not committed or that you’re taking it easy. Nurses sometimes neglect self-care; exactly the kind we tell our own patients to practice. Rather than try to do it all, reduce your credit load if needed or take a quarter off. If you are considering either of these options,  contact your advisor 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 that 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, remember that 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 understand that you may experience different instruction styles, as well as rules and practices surrounding homework submission and timeliness. Read the syllabus  for each course. It will tell you exactly what your faculty expect of you. If you have questions, ask them! Do not 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 424, Population-based Health in Community Practice, you need to be prepared to travel off campus/off site to the community partner's site. The instructors do their best to keep the fieldwork sites close to campus or to your instructional location, 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 change your schedule, or reduce your workload 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. In addition to planning for your schedule with school, work, and personal obligations, 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.