The RN to BSN degree builds on the foundation of previous nursing education at the associate degree or diploma levels. Initial licensure programs prepare graduates for RN licensure with courses in the biological and social sciences and nursing. The BSN degree for RNs expands knowledge in areas of research, theory, leadership, community concepts, healthcare policy, therapeutic interventions, and current trends in healthcare. Graduates are prepared to function in new roles as members of healthcare teams in many settings. Graduates are eligible for military, U.S. Public Health, and VA appointments as well as roles in school health, community, occupational, and other non-acute care settings. BSN graduates are also prepared to enter MSN programs. All work in this degree program is online and at a distance. The WGU RN to BSN program is evidence-based and developed according to The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2008) (Available at In addition, it incorporates competencies and standards from other specialty organizations.
Advanced Standing for RN License
Foundations of Success
Inter-Professional Leadership and Communication in Healthcare
The Leadership and Communication course is designed to help students prepare for success in the online environment at Western Governors University and beyond. Student success starts with the social support and self-reflective awareness that will prepare students to weather the challenges of academic programs. In this course students will participate in group activities and complete a number of individual assignments. The group activities are aimed at finding support and insight from other students. The assignments are intended to give the student an opportunity to reflect about where they are and where they would like to be. The activities in each group meeting are designed to give students several tools they can sue to achieve success.
This course is designed as a eight-part intensive learning experience. Students will attend eight group meetings during the term. At each meeting students will engage in activities that help them understand their own educational journey and find support and inspiration in the journey of others.
Applied Healthcare Statistics
Applied Healthcare Probability and Statistics is designed to help you develop competence in the fundamental concepts of basic mathematics, introductory algebra, and statistics and probability. These concepts include: basic arithmetic with fractions and signed numbers; introductory algebra and graphing; descriptive statistics; regression and correlation; and probability. Statistical data and probability are now commonplace in the healthcare field. You need to be able to make informed decisions about which studies and results are valid, which are not, and how those results affect your decisions. This course will give you background in what constitutes sound research design and how to appropriately model phenomena using statistical data. Additionally, you will be able to calculate simple probabilities, especially based on events which occur in the healthcare profession. This course will prepare you for your studies at WGU, as well as in the healthcare profession.
English Composition I
This course introduces learners to the types of writing and thinking that is valued in college and beyond. Students will practice writing in several genres and several media, with emphasis placed on writing and revising academic arguments. The course contains supporting media, articles, and excerpts to support a focus on one of five disciplinary threads (covering the topics of nursing, business, information technology, teaching, and literature, art, and culture) designed to engage students and welcome them into discussion about contemporary issues. The course supports peer review activities, though it may be completed asynchronously as well. Instruction and exercises in grammar, mechanics, research documentation, and style are paired with each module so that writers can practice these skills as necessary. This course includes full access to the MindEdge Writing Pad to support student writing and coaching sessions.
Introduction to Communication
This introductory communication course allows students to become familiar with the fundamental communication theories and practices necessary to engage in healthy professional and personal relationships. Students will survey human communication on multiple levels and critically apply the theoretical grounding of the course to interpersonal, intercultural, small group, and public presentational contexts. The course also encourages students to consider the influence of language, perception, culture, and media on their daily communicative interactions. In addition to theory, students will engage in the application of effective communication skills through systematically preparing and delivering an oral presentation. By practicing these fundamental skills in human communication, students become more competent communicators as they develop more flexible, useful, and discriminatory communicative practices in a variety of contexts.
Introduction to Psychology
In this course, students will develop an understanding of psychology and how it helps them better understand others and themselves. Students will learn general theories about psychological development, the structure of the brain, and how psychologists study behavior. They will gain an understanding of both normal and disordered psychological behaviors, as well as general applications of the science of psychology in society (such as personality typing and counseling).
Introduction to Humanities
This introductory humanities course allows students to practice essential writing, communication, and critical thinking skills necessary to engage in civic and professional interactions as mature, informed adults. Whether through studying literature, visual and performing arts, or philosophy, all humanities courses stress the need to form reasoned, analytical, and articulate responses to cultural and creative works. Studying a wide variety of creative works allows students to more effectively enter the global community with a broad and enlightened perspective.
Introduction to Sociology
This course teaches students to think like sociologists, in other words, to see and understand the hidden rules, or norms, by which people live, and how they free or restrain behavior. Students will learn about socializing institutions, such as schools and families, as well as workplace organizations and governments. Participants will also learn how people deviate from the rules by challenging norms, and how such behavior may result in social change, either on a large scale or within small groups.
Survey of United States Constitution and Government
In Survey of United States Constitution and Government, you will examine the structure, institutions and principles of the American political system. The foundation of the United States government is the U.S. Constitution, and this course will introduce the concepts of (a) separation of powers, (b) checks and balances, (c) civil liberties and civil rights, and (d) federalism and republicanism.
By completing this course, you will have proven competency in the structures of government, your own role in the policymaking process, and the ways in which the Constitution and government has changed over time.
Human Growth and Development Across the Lifespan
This course introduces students to human development across the lifespan. This will include an introductory survey of cognitive, psychological, and physical growth. Students will gain an understanding in regards to the emergence of personality, identity, gender and sexuality, social relationships, emotion, language, and moral development through life. This will include milestones such as education, achievement, work, dying, and death.
Anatomy and Physiology I
Anatomy and Physiology I examines the structures and functions of the human body. The course is designed to provide students with a thorough understanding of human anatomy and physiology, including the interdependent operational relationships among them. Students will use a dissection lab to study organ systems of the human body in their healthy state including the digestive, skeletal, sensory, respiratory, reproductive, nervous, muscular, cardiovascular, lymphatic, integumentary, endocrine and renal systems. By examining these organ systems in a healthy state, healthcare professionals are more adept to recognize when a something is functioning abnormally, which is a key component to providing effective care to patients. For nursing students this is the first of two anatomy and physiology courses within the program of study. This course has no prerequisites.
Anatomy and Physiology II
Anatomy and Physiology II continues the examination of the human body systems first introduced in Anatomy and Physiology I. This course invites students to take a deeper look into the terminology, structure, function and interdependent operational relationships of human body systems. Students will continue their study of the nervous, muscular, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, digestive, endocrine, and reproductive systems. Additional topics include basic cell processes, metabolic functioning, the hematologic system, immunity and principles of thermoregulation. Labs allow the student to explore organ systems and their physiological processes. In addition to these labs, students are also given the opportunity to complete a hands–on fetal pig dissection. For nursing students this is the second of two anatomy and physiology courses within the program of study. All students needed to have completed Anatomy and Physiology I in addition to English Composition I and II as prerequisites to this course.
Clinical Microbiology introduces general concepts, methods, and applications of microbiology from a health sciences perspective. The course is designed to provide healthcare professionals with a basic understanding of how various diseases are transmitted and controlled. Students will examine the structure and function of microorganisms, including the roles that they play in causing major diseases. The course also explores immunological, pathological and epidemiological factors associated with disease. To assist students in developing an applied, patient-focused understanding of microbiology, this course is complimented by several lab experiments which allow students to: practice aseptic techniques, grow bacteria and fungi, identify characteristics of bacteria and yeast based on biochemical and environmental tests, determine antibiotic susceptibility, discover the microorganisms growing on objects and surfaces, and determine the Gram characteristic of bacteria. This course has no prerequisites.
Biochemistry covers the structure and function of the four major polymers produced by living organisms. These include nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids.
Nursing Theory and Practice
Care of the Older Adult
Care of the Older Adult adapts the concepts from prior coursework to the care of older adults. An understanding of the effects that policy and legislation have on how healthcare systems treat aging patients sets a foundation for improving their care. Students will apply health assessment skills and evidence-based standards in such a way to account for the specific needs of older adults. Emphasis is placed on the importance of maintaining the dignity of older adults by focusing on cultural, religious, spiritual, and communication needs and by collaborating on care with older adults, families, and caregivers.
Evidence-Based Practice and Applied Nursing Research
The Evidence-Based Practice and Applied Nursing Research course will help you to learn how to design and conduct research to answer important questions about improving nursing practice and patient care delivery outcomes. After you are introduced to the basics of evidence-based practice, you will continue to implement the principles throughout your clinical experience. This will allow you to graduate with more competence and confidence to become a leader in the healing environment.
The Health Assessment course is designed to enhance students’ knowledge and skills in health promotion, the early detection of illness and prevention of disease. To that end the course provides relevant content and skills necessary to perform a comprehensive physical assessment of patients throughout the lifespan. Students are engaged in these processes through interviewing, history taking and demonstration of an advanced-level physical examination. Dominant models, theories and perspectives related to evidence-based wellness practices and health education strategies also are included in this challenging course. Competency is measured through successful completion of one objective assessment and two performance tasks. It is recommended that students plan to complete C349 in four to six weeks.
Health and Wellness Through Nutritional Science
Nutritional ignorance or misunderstandings are at the root of the health problems that most Americans face today. Nurses need to be armed with the most current information available about nutrition science including how to understand nutritional content of food, implications of exercise and activity on food consumption and weight management, and management of community or population specific nutritional challenges. The Nutrition for Contemporary Society course should prepare nurses to provide support, guidance and teaching about incorporation of sound nutritional principles into daily life for health promotion. This course covers the following concepts: nutrition to support wellness; healthy nutritional choices; nutrition and physical activity; nutrition through the lifecycle; safety and security of food; and nutrition and global health environments.
Community Health and Population-Focused Nursing
Community Health and Population-Focused Nursing will assist students in becoming familiar with foundational theories and models of health promotion applicable to the community health nursing environment. Students will develop an understanding of how policies and resources influence the health of populations. Focus is concentrated on learning the importance of a community assessment to improve or resolve a community health issue. Students will be introduced to the relationships between cultures and communities and the steps necessary to create community collaboration with the goal to improve or resolve community health issues in a variety of settings. Students will gain a greater understanding of health systems in the United States, global health issues, quality-of-life issues, cultural influences, community collaboration, and emergency preparedness.
Community Health and Population-Focused Nursing Field Experience
Community Health and Population-Focused Nursing, Field Experience will introduce and familiarize students with clinical aspects of health promotion and disease prevention in the community health nursing environment. Students will practice skills based on clinical priorities, methodology, and resources that positively influence the health of populations by assessing a primary prevention topic in the community. Students will demonstrate critical thinking skills by applying principals of community health nursing in a variety of community settings aligning with the selected primary prevention topic. As part of this process, students will be required to complete a minimum of 90 practice hours in order to meet the requirements of the course. Practice hours include direct and indirect hours of activity engaged with the community or population chosen as your focus. Students will describe the completed Field Experience in a written assessment that will also outline recommendations to improve the community health concern using the nursing process. Students will develop and recommend health promotion and disease prevention strategies for population groups.
Professional Roles and Values
This course explores the unique role nurses play in healthcare, beginning with the history and evolution of the nursing profession. The responsibilities and accountability of professional nurses are covered, including cultural competency, advocacy for patient rights, and the legal and ethical issues related to supervision and delegation. Professional conduct, leadership, the public image of nursing, the work environment, and issues of social justice are also addressed.
Leadership and Professional Image
Nursing is a practice discipline that includes direct and indirect care activities that affect health outcomes. Baccalaureate nursing students are developing new competencies in leadership, and in order to achieve mastery, must apply those competencies to live practice experiences and situations. In this course students will complete a Leadership Learning Experience (LLE) and develop their own personal professional portfolio. The professional portfolio is a collection of artifacts from BSN coursework as well as a resume and personal statement.
Information Management and the Application of Technology
Information Management and the Application of Technology helps the student learn how to identify and implement the unique responsibilities of nurses related to the application of technology and the management of patient information. This includes: understanding the evolving role of nurse informaticists; demonstrating the skills needed to use electronic health records; identifying nurse-sensitive outcomes that lead to quality improvement measures; supporting the contributions of nurses to patient care; examining workflow changes related to the implementation of computerized management systems; and learning to analyze the implications of new technology on security, practice, and research.
Organizational Systems and Quality Leadership
Nurses serve as clinicians, managers, and mentors to shape the future of healthcare and impact patient care outcomes in positive ways. This course will help students to be more confident and better prepared to assume leadership roles regardless of their position in the healthcare delivery system.This advanced leadership course focuses on the concepts of Patient Safety, Improvement science, balancing cost, quality and access through the triple aim, leadership and patient/family centered care. Students will develop mastery of advanced competencies particularly in patient safety in quality improvement science.