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Why Nursing at West Penn

School of Nursing

West Penn Hospital School of Nursing prepares nurses to meet the exciting and rapid pace of today's healthcare environment.  No matter where they practice, "West Penn grads" find they have the solid academic foundation and clinical experience they need to meet the challenges of a career in  professional nursing. The School features:

See our School Catalog for full information about our program.  See links below for 'fast facts':

West Penn Hospital School of Nursing is approved by the Pa. State Board of Nursing and is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), 3343 Peachtree Road, NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, GA 30326; 404.975.5000;  www.acenursing.org.

The School's goal is to provide an educational system whereby students grow, personally and professionally, in the acquisition of knowledge, attitudes and skills needed to function as practitioners of nursing in healthcare settings that are responsive to individual and community needs.

Please contact us for more information or to schedule a visit.

West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh is the first hospital in western Pennsylvania to be awarded Magnet Recognition® status by the American Nurses Credentialing Center - and the first in the region to be redesignated Magnet (2012).

Part of Allegheny Health Network, West Penn Hospital is a leader in patient care, education, and research, and serves as a clinical campus for Temple University School of Medicine.

Academic Resources

The School's classrooms and administrative and faculty offices are located in the School of Nursing, adjacent to West Penn Hospital.

Also located in the School of Nursing is the Clarion University of Pa. - Pittsburgh Site.  All academic classes for West Penn Hospital's student nurses are taught by on-site Clarion faculty, and eligible School of Nursing students may receive an Associate of Science degree in allied health from Clarion concurrent with their West Penn Hospital School of Nursing RN diploma.

West Penn Hospital's School of Nursing also houses the STAR (Simulation, Teaching and Academic Research) Center, which is used extensively by nursing students for teaching, learning, and practicing clinical skills and scenarios.  It includes the region's first Ambulance simulator and a neonatal/pediatrics unit, birthing suite, medical-surgical unit, ICU, and home care 'apartment' with full-size adult, newborn, and child mannequins as well as numerous task and partial-body trainers.

West Penn Hospital's Richard M. Johnston Health Sciences Library offers a wealth of print and online resources.

School Catalog

Application and Enrollment information

Student Services

School of Nursing faculty are committed to helping students achieve their personal potentials for success. Each student's faculty advisor works with the student on an individual basis. Several
faculty members have additional expertise in helping students who experience particular challenges in achieving their goal of becoming a nurse.

University Affiliation

Required college courses for students enrolled in West Penn Hospital's School of Nursing are taught by Clarion University faculty in classrooms located in the School of Nursing.

School of Nursing students may be eligible to receive an Associate of Science in Allied Health degree from Clarion concurrent with their Diploma in Nursing from the West Penn Hospital School of Nursing.

The Clarion University Pittsburgh Site at West Penn also offers classes for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree for students who wish to continue their education at West Penn.

Admission Criteria

The admission criteria for the School of Nursing include:

  • Graduation from an approved high school, with these courses:
    - English - 4 units
    - Science - 2 units (one course must be chemistry with a grade of "C" or better; both must include a laboratory)
    - Social studies - 3 units
    - Mathematics - 2 units (one course must be algebra with a grade of "C" or better)
    - Electives - 5 units
  • A General Equivalency Diploma (GED) may be substituted but the chemistry and algebra requirements still apply
  • Class rank in the top two-fifths
  • GPA of 2.5 or above
  • Acceptable standardized test scores
  • A minimum of 2 letters of reference
  • Pre-admission physical examination
  • Child abuse and criminal background check clearances

Application and Enrollment Information

Program Overview

The first year of the School of Nursing's 22-month program consists of 4 (10-week) terms:

  • three sequential foundational nursing courses (Foundations I, II, and III) followed by
  • an adult medical-surgical nursing course

and related liberal arts and science courses each of the 4 terms.

The second year of the program consists of 4 (10-week) terms:

  • one adult medical-surgical nursing course,
  • one family nursing course,
  • a community nursing course, and
  • a nursing management course

and related liberal arts courses each of the 4 terms.

View the full Curriculum.

Curriculum Outcomes

At the completion of the program, the graduate of  West Penn Hospital School of Nursing:

  • Integrates the clinical judgment process grounded in evidence-based practice in the provision of safe health care to clients.
  • Displays personal integrity and professional accountability as a practitioner of nursing.
  • Incorporates principles of communication into professional interactions as a healthcare provider.
  • Acts as a health facilitator to empower clients to make healthcare decisions, including health promotion and illness prevention.
  • Integrates the concept of holism in meeting healthcare needs of a diverse client population.
  • Manages the care of clients within various healthcare organizations to promote positive outcomes.


Clinical Settings

West Penn Hospital School of Nursing curriculum provides for extensive and varied clinical experiences.

Primary clinical sites include West Penn Hospital, Allegheny General Hospital, and Forbes Hospital. 

Experience in mental health nursing is gained at Forbes Hospital. 

Pediatric clinical experience is provided at Children's Hosptial of Pittsburgh of UPMC and The Children's Home. 

Other affiliate agencies are utilized for specialized experiences and activities in community, geriatric and home health nursing.


West Penn Allegheny Health System
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