nursing students practicing treating a hospital patient

Associate Degree Program Information

Associate Degree in Nursing Options

Pierce College's Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) Program is six quarters in length and fully prepares students for the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). This exam measures the competencies needed to be a safe, effective, entry-level registered nurse. Pierce's program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN) and approved by the Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission, Washington State Department of Health.

Pierce College also offers an LPN to RN option. The ADN Completion program is three quarters in length and is open to students who have an active and unencumbered Washington State Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) license. These students must complete the application process and must take an articulation course (NURS 218) as scheduled prior to the start of fourth quarter coursework. Students complete the remaining three quarters building upon existing competencies and skills as they progress to become RNs.

Nursing Program Description

The nursing program is organized into two (2) major components:

  • Prerequisites (which comprise general education courses, with a focus on biological and social science courses)
  • Nursing courses

The nursing courses are further organized into three (3) distinct areas—nursing theory, skills laboratory, and clinical rotations:

  • The theoretical portion of the nursing curriculum presents concepts and knowledge essential to the practice of nursing.
  • The skills laboratory portion of the curriculum allows the development of manual skills required for nursing practice.
  • The clinical rotation portion of the curriculum provides the opportunity to apply both theoretical knowledge and skills in the direct care of clients and includes a service-learning project. Simulations conducted in the nursing lab are considered a part of clinicals.

The six (6) quarter sequence of courses provides for progressive development of knowledge and skills.

During the first three quarters, students learn basic nursing science and practice basic technical and interpersonal skills in providing care to clients whose health/illness problems are stable and predictable.

The last three quarters focus on the assessment and intervention processes for clients experiencing unstable and unpredictable illness states, with health care needs of increasing acuity. The emphasis is on problem solving and managing the care of groups of clients.

The curriculum is designed to provide the student with a theoretical framework on which to base nursing interventions and a way of processing information to arrive at competent decisions, as well as competence in manual skills basic to nursing practice.

Implementation of the nursing curriculum is based on the following principles:

  • Courses and topics of study are designed so that the student moves from the simple/basic aspects to the complex/more difficult aspects.
  • The sequence of topics among nursing courses and between nursing and related science courses is planned to correlate as much as possible.
  • Courses are structured to provide didactic instruction, skills laboratory and simulation, exercises, seminars, small group discussions, and direct clinical practice at the high level of correlation.
  • Learning expectations are structured by program design and consistent use of theory and laboratory objectives.

RN to BSN Transfer Opportunities

University of Washington-Tacoma and Saint Martin's University Bachelors of Science in Nursing RN to BSN Programs

The Pierce College Nursing Program has an agreement with University of Washington-Tacoma (UWT) and Saint Martin's University (SMU) where nursing students enrolled in our ADN program are able to apply for entry into the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program at UWT and SMU. This allows Pierce College ADN graduates to begin work toward their bachelors or masters degrees.