School ofNursing

Dean's Welcome

Thank you for this opportunity to introduce you to one of the best nursing schools and small liberal arts-based universities in the United States. This claim is demonstrated by the quality and numbers of our nursing faculty and staff, our clinical agencies, our accreditation, and our alumni success, as well as student benchmarks such as high NCLEX-RN pass rates and high graduation rates.

We offer and expect much more of our students than qualification for RN licensure or advanced practice certification; our mission is to promote and facilitate each student's development as a professional nurse for lifelong learning and human service. Our programs are innovative, and both academically and clinically rigorous, to ensure that we meet our mission to offer an educational experience that will serve our graduates throughout their nursing careers.

Our campus is located on 126 beautiful acres, housing wonderful facilities, and is located amidst some of the finest hiking, skiing, boating and camping terrain in the world. Three major metropolitan areas are available to you as a student with the PLU School of Nursing located in Tacoma, 40 minutes from Seattle and 30 minutes from the historic state capitol of Olympia. PLU is only two hours from Portland and about 60 miles from Mount Rainier National Park. Being in or near these cities insures the best and most modern clinical facilities for our student learning and faculty development.

We admit two classes of undergraduates per year, one in the fall and one in the spring. Students admitted to our undergraduate program include transfer students from community colleges and other universities, as well as PLU students beginning as freshmen.  Our undergraduate program is tailored to the generic baccalaureate student pursuing the BSN, the LPN pursuing the BSN, and the bachelor's-prepared RN pursuing the MSN without a BSN degree. The distinctiveness of each of these three groups is recognized and supported equitably and appropriately.

Our graduate program culminates with the student earning the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. The traditional master of science in nursing pathway is designed for Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)-prepared registered nurses. The RN-B to MSN pathway is designed for registered nurses with a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field.

The Entry-Level Master of Science in Nursing pathway is an accelerated program designed for the student with a prior non-nursing baccalaureate degree to gain RN licensure and complete the MSN degree in 27 months of study.  The Dual Master of Science in Nursing and Master of Business Administration degree is designed to prepare practicing nurses for high-level careers in management and administration.

We also provide excellent continuing education for nurses and other interested health care professionals. I encourage you to check out our offerings frequently on this web site, recognizing that they are updated each term.

Class size and variety of instruction by doctorate-prepared faculty with strong, active clinical backgrounds enhance the quality of our programs. Our faculty is committed to staying current in their specialties and most maintain active practices in addition to scholarly production.  Our faculty and staff work as a team to facilitate your learning in all of our programs. Interdisciplinary learning is characteristic of many of our course offerings.  We incorporate sophisticated simulations in our state-of-the art labs as part of learning, while at the same time we do not substitute this valuable technology for actual clinical experience.

Instead of just lectures or throwing a course on the web, we involve our students in active learning projects and encourage their involvement in activities that will help them succeed as nurses and productive members of society as a whole. PLU continues to offer more direct patient care experience than any other program in the state, and is on par with other top programs in the country. Many of our students choose to have an "international experience" which means they spend a January or summer term studying abroad.

We recognize there are many ways that you can pursue nursing education. We also know that cost, convenience and quality are three critical variables influencing your decision-making. There is a myth that small private universities are only for the rich and that diversity is not supported. Over 90 percent of our students at Pacific Lutheran University receive significant financial assistance through scholarships, traineeships, work-study, and/or financial aid. Many of our nursing students work while attending college.

We want any decision you make in relation to us to be well informed and up-to-date. I encourage you to call or write us with specific questions or for further information. We believe in serving our students to the best of our ability and take our responsibility to respond to your inquiries very seriously. After all, you could become a PLU alumnus, if you are not one already.

Dr. Sheila Smith, PhD, RN, ARNP-BC
Dean and Professor

Sheila SmithSheila Smith, PhD, ARNP

Dean and Professor of the School of Nursing