Wilkes University Nursing School Review

Wilkes University (WU), founded in 1933, is situated in northeastern Pennsylvania. It is a relatively small university, enrolling just over 2000 students in its programs in the humanities, arts, social sciences, business, health sciences, sciences, and engineering. As part of its Nesbitt College of Pharmacy and Nursing, Wilkes University offers undergraduate and graduate programs in nursing, all accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing – BS Program

Over the course of four years, the Bachelor of Science (BS) with a major in nursing program at Wilkes University trains students for entry-level nursing careers. It is a traditional, four-year program, with a strong emphasis on hands-on experience. In addition to regular clinical rotations, students at Wilkes University gain hands-on experience through the Clinical Nursing Simulation Center (CNSC). This state-of-the-art center includes anatomical models and computerized models, and also arranges for upper-level students to act as patients. Through the CNSC, students can gain experience and ease the transition from classroom learning to clinical rotations.

Students spend the first year in the program taking general education classes. They transition into nursing classes in their second year, and begin receiving practical instruction through the simulation lab. In total, a BS student must earn 127 credits to graduate. Graduation makes him eligible to take the National Council Licensing Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX_RN). If successful, he may begin working as a Registered Nurse (RN).

Bachelor of Science– LPN to BS Program

A graduate of a practical nursing program who is a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) may enroll in the LPN to BS program. While she must complete all general education requirements and upper-level nursing courses, she can place out of the first year of nursing courses and clinical hours by completing an exam. Apart from the advanced placement credits, she must complete the remainder of the BS program along the traditional track.

Bachelor of Science– RN to BS Program

An RN who is a graduate of an associate-degree or diploma program may complete his baccalaureate degree through the RN to BS Program. Without taking any test, he can receive thirty-six credits toward the lower-level nursing courses.  Including these advanced placement credits and any other credits that he may be able to transfer toward the general education requirements, he must earn 120 credits in order to graduate. The length of the program will vary depending on how many credits he has to earn.

Bachelor of Science – RN to MS Program

An incoming RN also has the option of completing the undergraduate portion of her degree at an accelerated rate, and transitioning smoothly into the Master of Science (MS) program through the RN to MS program. After entering the MS program, he can choose among the six advanced practice specialties that Wilkes University offers, and complete the program along the traditional course. When a student enters the RN to MS Program, an advisor will evaluate his transcript and determine his specific course of study. The length of the program will vary depending on this evaluation.

Accelerated Baccalaureate Degree (Professional Master’s Program)

Through the Accelerated Baccalaureate Degree program (also called the Professional Master’s Program, a student who already holds a degree in a field other than nursing can become an RN in just three semesters, after completing prerequisites. The prerequisites include anatomy and physiology, microbiology, statistics, and nutrition. Once enrolled in the program, he will spend the fall, spring, and summer semesters earning forty-eight credits of nursing courses, and preparing for the NCLEX_RN. Upon graduation, he will be awarded a Master’s Degree in Nursing (which is not an advanced practice degree) and a pass-through Bachelor of Science degree with a major in nursing.

Master of Science Degree

After completing a baccalaureate program, an RN is eligible to enroll in the Master of Science program, majoring in nursing. The MS program at Wilkes University trains advanced practice nurses. The program includes twenty-four credits of core graduate nursing classes, in addition to fourteen to eighteen credits in a selected area of specialization. Students may work toward certification as Adult Nurse Practitioners, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners, Adult-Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialists, Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialists, Nurse Executives, and Nurse Educators. The MS program is designed for working RNs; classes are offered mostly online, with short and intense on-campus sessions. Clinical rotations are included, but they can be completed in a location that is convenient for the student.  A student may complete the program on a full-time or part-time basis.

Post-master’s Certification

A nurse who already holds a master’s degree does not have to retake core graduate nursing classes in order to prepare for certification in a different area of specialization. By completing the fourteen to eighteen credits in the area of specialization, a post-master’s student can work toward certification as an Adult Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist, Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Executive, or Nurse Educator.

Doctor of Nursing Practice

The Doctor of Nurse Practice (DNP) program prepares nurses to conduct research and apply that research to their clinical practice. The DNP courses are offered online, although depending on the incoming student’s level of education, she may need to take classes on campus before beginning the DNP classes. Wilkes University offers three different points of entry for the DNP program:

A nurse who has completed a master’s degree and holds advanced practice nursing certification can proceed directly to the DNP classes. She needs to earn thirty credits in total to finish the DNP program.

A nurse who has a master’s degree but does not have an advanced practice nursing certification must earn certification at the master’s-level before beginning the DNP program. Through Wilkes University, she can work toward certification as an Adult Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist, Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist or Nurse Executive. After completing the classes necessary for this specialization and taking the certification exam, she may begin the DNP classes.

A nurse who has only a baccalaureate degree must earn a master’s degree and advanced practice certification before beginning the DNP classes. In total, she will earn between sixty-eight and seventy credits, depending on the advanced practice area of specialization. This should take about five years to complete.

Wilkes University
84 West South Street,
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766