University News

WIU RN to BSN Program Goes Online

January 16, 2014

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MACOMB, IL – Five years after Western Illinois University admitted its first nursing student, the RN to BSN program is now moving to a completely online academic path.

Nursing program Director Lea Monahan said the change is being made to accommodate the schedules of nurses who want to further their education while still working.

"All of the nurses we are seeking to serve are working at all different times and different days, and they have families," Monahan said. "They don't have time to come to class. By moving the program online they don't have to meet a face-to-face class obligation, but the faculty are still available to them. This allows nurses to get into classes that fit more into their schedules."

The enhanced program will be available first during the Fall 2014 semester. Monahan said the programming change offers the added advantage that students don't have to live close to the Macomb or Quad Cities campuses to take classes.

"As far as the clinical requirements, they can do that wherever they are licensed," Monahan said. "

The WIU Nursing program began in 2008, and the first cohort of students graduated in December 2010. The program offers students a four-year program that moves from pre-nursing to a pre-licensure bachelor's degree in nursing and the online program that allows RNs to receive their bachelor's degrees.

Currently the program has 10 full-time faculty members, in addition to Monahan, as well as two staff members and one adviser. The department also boasts a 100 percent job placement rate after graduation, and WIU students who take the National Council Licensure Exam have a 90 percent pass rate.

"We have numerous hospitals wanting to come to campus to recruit," Monahan said. "The demand is greater than the amount of students we can graduate. There are a few thousand open positions in downstate Illinois. I'm quite pleased that we are going to be able to provide the online education that is able to better meet the needs of working RNs."

Nursing graduate Ashley Lynn, who is now an instructor in the program and a nurse practitioner, said she believes her time at WIU opened "innumerable career opportunities."

"It could have afforded me an administrative route to change the dynamics of management in nursing," she said. "However, the route I chose was advanced practice. My professors at WIU were especially interested in my career advancement and went above and beyond to help me get into graduate school. I am now a certified nurse practitioner because of my success at WIU."

Lynn added that students can be proud of graduating from WIU's nursing program because the professors want to see students become excellent nurses.

"Everyone here wants you to be the absolute best you can be and will help you in any way to succeed in attaining your best," she said.

For more information about the options available through the nursing program, contact Academic Adviser Theo Schultz at (309) 298-2571.

Posted By: Jodi Pospeschil (
Office of University Communications & Marketing