Mission and history

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The School of Nursing & Healthcare Leadership shares the University of Washington Tacoma's mission to provide undergraduate and graduate education for the diverse citizens of the South Puget Sound region. The School supports the interdisciplinary mission of the campus through teaching and scholarly inquiry. Within the overall mission of the campus, it focuses on the discovery and dissemination of knowledge that promotes health within an ethic of social justice. The curriculum emphasizes and fosters the integration of teaching, inquiry and service through a community of learners. Partnerships with the community assist the School in providing learning environments in which learners build upon their skills and knowledge to strengthen their understanding of local, national and global health issues.

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Nursing degrees are offered on all three campuses of the University of Washington - Seattle, Bothell and Tacoma - and fulfill the mission and goals of the University, the School, and the particular campus. The baccalaureate degree program (BSN) and master's degree program (MN) in nursing at University of Washington Tacoma are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791  (http://www.ccneaccreditation.org).


Tacoma's RN-to-BSN program was developed by School of Nursing faculty of the University of Washington Seattle and implemented by the founding faculty of UW Tacoma Nursing. This program was initiated to support a specific group of learners, experienced registered nurses (RNs), returning to the academic setting for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

In June of 1992, sixty-six students began course work that would lead to a BSN. The first graduate completed course work in March 1993 and celebrated commencement that June. Alumni of the University of Washington Tacoma BSN program now total over 1,500.

Another milestone for UW Tacoma Nursing was the beginning of the Master of Nursing (MN) degree in September 1996. The MN program focused on advanced nursing practice with Communities, Populations and Health. Twenty-six students began the part-time sequence in September 1996. In June 1998, the first class celebrated commencement. In 1999, the Master of Nursing Program began offering courses with an emphasis in Healthcare Leadership and Management. In 2002, the Nurse Educator option was added. More than 450 students have earned MN degrees since 1996.

Other program highlights include establishing an accelerated ADN-BSN-MN track in 2004; offering BSN courses off-site at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia in 2005, 2008, and 2011; and creating a dual enrollment program for the BSN program  with Pierce College in 2007, which allows ADN students to begin their BSN studies while they are completing their ADN program. This option has been expanded to other community colleges in the region.

In recent years, a minor in Health and Society was created for non-RN undergraduates at UW Tacoma. Autumn 2009 saw the admission of the first students to the Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Healthcare Leadership for non-RNs. In 2013, the Nursing & Healthcare Leadership and Education programs jointly launched a new practice doctorate degree, the Doctor of Education (EdD) in Educational Leadership. In 2019, Nursing & Healthcare Leadership was officially designated as a school at UW Tacoma.

The School of Nursing & Healthcare Leadership is exceptionally proud of each students' successes and for the countless contributions they make our region and beyond.