About the School of Nursing

  • The School of Nursing at Pacific Lutheran University is a professional school that combines nursing science with a strong foundation in natural sciences and the liberal arts.
  • PLU has offered the bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree since 1951, the master of science in nursing (MSN) degree since 1990, and the doctor of nursing practice degree since 2015.
  • The BSN program prepares students as skilled generalists and provides a foundation for graduate study. The program also responds to the educational and technological learning needs of practicing nurses to remain current, competent practitioners and/or to revise their practice focus.
  • Outstanding, diversified clinical experiences and instruction are provided for all nursing students through over 100 cooperating health care agencies and community-based sites in the Tacoma metropolitan area. These agencies include the Multicare Health Care System with Tacoma General, Mary Bridge Childrens and Allenmore Hospitals; the Franciscan Health Care System with St. Joseph’s Hospital; Madigan Army Medical Center; Western State Mental Health Services; and Veterans Administration Hospital at American Lake.
  • The degree programs in nursing are defined as: the traditional BSN program, the accelerated BSN program, the BSN to MSN program,the Entry-Level MSN program for students with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, and the DNP (doctor of nursing practice) program. The MSN/MBA dual degree (master of science in nursing and master of business administration) is designed to prepare practicing nurses for high-level careers in management and administration. All of these degree programs are selective and require applicants to meet additional criteria.
  • Since its inception in 1991, nearly every graduate of the MSN program has passed his or her certification examination upon first take.
  • About 30 percent of graduate students publish articles in professional journals after completing the MSN at PLU.
  • The School of Nursing is one of the first two nursing programs in the State of Washington to offer an accelerated-entry master’s degree program. This program, officially named the Entry-Level MSN program, admits qualified students with baccalaureate degrees in fields other than nursing. Students complete 15 months of intensive preparation for RN licensure and continue to complete the coursework necessary for this generalist MSN degree.
  • The School requires a minimum of a master’s degree in nursing for faculty appointments. The doctorate is required for tenure-track appointments.
  • The members of the nursing faculty represent a wide range of specialty nursing areas from over 30 academic institutions.
  • A majority of the nursing faculty is certified as advanced practice nurses (midwives, family nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialists).
  • The nursing faculty as a whole represent over 700 years of clinical and teaching experience.
  • Many of the School’s alumni have made notable contributions to health care and the nursing profession, such as: Rep. Lois Capps Nursing ’59: United States Representative, 22nd Congressional District, California.

Continuing Nursing Education (CNE)

  • Consistent with the service mission of the School, Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) is an integral part of SoN that provides both academic and non-academic offerings to the nursing community at large, as well as PLU students and faculty.
  • CNE’s programs vary in length and format and typically number 30-35 per year, addressing the needs of nurses in the surrounding geographical area.
  • Pacific Lutheran University Center for Continued Nursing Learning is approved as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by Montana Nurses Association, an accredited approver with distinction by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation
  • Every year CNE develops and disseminates a calendar that is mailed to 20,000 nurses and local health care agencies.

Other Notable Facts

  • In 2008, PLU’s School of Nursing formed an ongoing partnership with three Washington state foundations to address the regional nursing crisis and give nursing students new competencies in geriatric care. The three foundations–The Dimmer Family Foundation , the Gary E. Milgard Family Foundation and the Bruce W. Gilpin Memorial Foundation–have matched tens of thousands of dollars from the Robert Wood Johnson and the Northwest Health Foundation’s Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future program.
  • PLU’s Comprehensive Gerontologic Education Partnership (CGEP) consists of 15 local partners with the goal of admitting a cohort of nursing students with a gerontologic focus each year and recruiting three gerontological nursing faculty members. Much progress has already been made.
  • The School has received federal funding through the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) for nurse traineeships (scholarship grants) since its first graduating class in 1992.
  • Delta Iota Chi, the nursing student organization, coordinates two blood and bone marrow donation drives on campus every year, as well as a toy donation program for Pierce County Fire Department.