Rowan University nursing program heads west

Rowan University nursing program heads west

The R.N.-to-B.S.N. program at Rowan University continues to grow, adding new locations for health care employer-based cohorts — the latest about 2,500 mile west of the Glassboro campus.

The R.N.-to-B.S.N. program at Rowan University continues to grow, adding new locations for health care employer-based cohorts — the latest about 2,500 mile west of the Glassboro campus.

For the last four years, Virginia Wilson, M.S.N., R.N., has been crafting, developing and growing a program at Rowan to provide educational opportunities for South Jersey nurses to earn their bachelor’s degree, adding the letters B.S.N. after the R.N. they already have achieved.

The R.N.-to-B.S.N staff and faculty now work with more than 400 students in South Jersey, offering classes at Rowan, Gloucester County College, Camden County College  and four regional health systems in four counties: Virtua, Shore Memorial, Cooper and Underwood-Memorial

Earlier this year, Wilson unveiled Rowan’s nursing program in Palo Alto, Calif., coordinating classes for the prestigious Stanford University Medical Center and its nearby affiliate, Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital.

The first cohort, with 15 students, began in January.

While that is considerably smaller than the groups in South Jersey, it holds promise for future endeavors outside of the Delaware Valley and is a testament to what Rowan has developed.

To teach the classes, Rowan has retained three adjunct professors — all Stanford nurses, with specialties in leadership, quality and advanced practice. They hold onsite classes in Stanford’s Center for Education with the support of and overseen by their director, Suzanne Taylor, M.S.N., R.N.
“They all actively practice in the areas they teach,” Wilson said.

Wilson began work on the Stanford offering in May 2011 in conjunction with Taylor, whom she had known from professional organizations and conferences.
“We had discussed how to deliver the R.N.-to-B.S.N. program in a format other than online or video, which is more typical,” Wilson said.

Taylor asked Wilson to present the Rowan program to the nursing leadership at Stanford, and they were very receptive.

“We’re another delivery mode,” Wilson said. “Nurses enjoy the face-to-face contact and direct communication with their professors. Long-practicing nurses are not always interested in online classes. There’s a level of concern for the technology and losing the face-to-face contact.”

The first cohort, which also includes Stanford-area nurses not affiliated with the hospital, already has taken three of its nine required nursing classes: Comprehensive Health Assessment, Health Care Policy and Finance, and Ethics in Healthcare. Students also have to complete general education requirements, which they may do at local community colleges or online via Rowan prior to earning their Rowan nursing degree.

Wilson said Stanford is exploring starting a second cohort for the program, which usually takes 20 months to complete. “Stanford’s interest is high for a continued relationship with Rowan’s nursing department,” she said.

The Rowan administrator does not expect the California-based program to be the last one Rowan coordinates outside of New Jersey. “If the demand is there, I can conceive of us offering this elsewhere as a strong alternative to solely online or video programs. It has been well received, the students enjoy their classes, and the feedback has been very positive.”

Rowan University founded the R.S.-to-B.S.N. program in 2003 in conjunction with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey to help meet the increasing educational demands of and on nurses. The R.N.-to-B.S.N. program today stands as an independent program at Rowan and is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC, 20036., (202) 887-6791.


The R.N.-to-B.S.N. program is designed for RNs with an associate’s or diploma degree who want to complete their bachelor’s degree and possibly go further with their education. The program focuses primarily on undergraduate studies, offering two graduate-level classes that provide a steppingstone for nurses who want to pursue a master’s degree in their field. A part-time offering that can be completed in as little as 20 months (121 credits), the R.N.-to-B.S.N. program allows students to stay in their professional positions while attending classes.
NOTE: For more information about the R.N.-to-B.S.N. program, visit or call 856/256-4747.