This Calendar is effective September 1, 2001 - August 31, 2002
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4.7. Bachelor of Nursing degree program — Post R.N.

(129 credits)

The regulations for this program have been amended with an effective date of January 1, 2002. To current regulations.

Introduction Admission
Requirements Back to 4.0


Athabasca University offers a Bachelor of Nursing—Post RN (BN—PRN) degree designed for students currently holding an RN diploma. The degree builds on the foundation acquired in the RN diploma and is designed to provide the practising nurse with an expanded knowledge base in the intellectual, practical, and cultural realms of both a professional and a liberal university education. Accordingly, the degree draws on knowledge from the discipline of nursing, as well as from many other disciplines.

Papers submitted for all Nursing and Health Studies courses must conform to the American Psychological Association (APA) publication format. Information about this publication is available online, from course instructors, or the Centre for Nursing and Health Studies Web site.

Students must complete the regulations that are in effect at the time they enrol in the program.


Enrolment Requirements

To enrol in the BN--PRN the following is required:

  • graduation from an approved nursing diploma program

  • current registration with a provincial, state, or national nursing association. This registration must be maintained while completing the Bachelor of Nursing (Post R.N.) program

  • an average of 60 percent in all previous applicable university studies will be accepted for transfer credit.

Credit may be awarded for university transfer courses taken in the R.N. diploma program if they are applicable to the Bachelor of Nursing program. These credits are in addition to the credit awarded for the R.N. diploma.

Degree Requirements

B.N. degree requirements 129 credits
R.N. diploma credits awarded 60 credits
Total credits required beyond the RN dipoloma 69 credits**
  • Required nursing credits
  • Required non-nursing credits
  • Electives
**A minimum of 12 required nursing credits must be taken through Athabasca University. The remaining 57 credits can be transferred in from other institutions.

Course Enrolment Requirements

Students are not required to be B.N. program students to register in most courses. Non-B.N. program students (unclassified or enrolled in other programs) and students involved in the program admission process may register for courses. Students should read the course description before they register, to determine whether they may be eligible for transfer credit and to ensure that the prerequisite requirements have been addressed. Benefits of program enrolment versus course registration are many. For details, speak with a tutor. Changes to the program do not affect those students already enrolled in the program but do affect those registered in courses only.

Students are strongly encouraged to register in HLST 320 as the first course in the program. If an equivalent course to HLST 320 has been completed previously, students should register in NURS 322 or ENGL 255. (200- and 300-level courses must be completed as prerequisites to 400-level courses.)

Required Nursing Courses (33 credits)

HLST 320 Teaching and Learning for Health Professionals   (3)
NURS 322 Introduction to Nursing Informatics   (3)
NURS 324 Concepts and Theories in Nursing Practice   (3)
NURS 326 Health Assessment and Health Promotion with Individuals   (3)
NURS 328 Understanding Research   (3)
NURS 432 Management and Leadership in Nursing Practice   (4)
NURS 434 Community Health Promotion   (4)
NURS 436 Family Health Promotion   (4)
NURS 438 Trends and Issues in Nursing and Health Systems   (3)
NURS 440 Senior Focus: Guided Independent Study   (3)

Required Non-Nursing Courses (24 credits)

1ENGL 255 Introductory Composition   (3)
2BIOL 230 Human Physiology or
     BIOL 235 Human Anatomy and Physiology (recommended)   (6)
3NUTR 330 Introductory Nutrition or
     NUTR 331 Nutrition for Health (recommended)   (3)
4PSYC 228 An Introduction to Child Development or
     PSYC 323 Developmental Psychology (recommended)   (3)
PSYC 381 The Psychology of Adult Development   (3)
MATH 215 Introduction to Statistics   (3)
5SOCI 316 Sociology of the Family or
     SOAN 384 The Family in World Perspective   (3)

Elective Courses (12 credits)
Humanities (300 or 400 level)   (3)
Social Science or Science (300 or 400 level)   (3)
Open electives as follows   (6)

  • one junior course and one senior course (in any discipline including nursing, however, the nursing course would have to be at the senior level only.)
  • two senior courses (in any discipline including nursing, however, only one of the two courses may be nursing.)


  1. Students are required to complete ENGL 255 as part of the BN—PRN degree; however, the Alberta Universities Writing Competence Test may be used to demonstrate mastery of English writing skills. Contact an Athabasca University Learning Centre for information about this test. Upon successful completion of the test, students will be exempted from completing ENGL 255. They must, however, replace ENGL 255 with any Humanities course selection.

  2. BIOL 235 is more applicable to students of nursing.

  3. NUTR 331 is more applicable to students of nursing.

  4. PSYC 323 is preferred over PSYC 228. PSYC 228 or PSYC 323 and PSYC 381 (together) deal with the topic of growth and development. Students who have studied this topic should not register in these courses until an assessment of their previous education has been completed by the Office of the Registrar.

  5. SOCI 316 and SOAN 384 deal with the topic of sociology of the family. Students who have studied this topic should not register in these courses until an assessment of their previous education has been completed by the Office of the Registrar. The prerequisites for these two courses are waived for nursing program students.

Sequence of Courses

To maximize your learning, the nursing and non-nursing courses should be taken in the sequence outlined below.

Suggested Seven-Year Plan

Year 1 HLST 320NURS 322ENGL 255
Year 2 NURS 324BIOL 230/235NUTR330/331
Year 3NURS 326PSYC 228/323MATH 215
Year 4NURS 328PSYC 381NURS 432
Year 5NURS 434ElectiveSOCI 316 or SOAN 384
Year 6 NURS 436ElectiveNURS 438
Year 7NURS 440ElectiveElective

Recognition for Previous Undergraduate Degrees

Students who are enrolled in the BN—PRN program and have a previous recognized undergraduate degree, may have their BN—PRN program reduced by up to 39 credits. This reduction is accommodated if the work completed in obtaining the previous undergraduate degree is applicable to the BN—PRN degree.

Students with a previous undergraduate degree are required to complete a minimum of 30 credits in order to obtain the BN—PRN degree from Athabasca University. Course work that has not been used to fulfil the requirements of a previous credential may be used to further reduce these 30 credits of course work. A minimum of 12 credits in required nursing courses must be completed through Athabasca University.

Notes Specific to the BN—PRN Degree

Given the unique and professional nature of this program, some of the general policies governing academic studies at Athabasca University are superseded by the regulations below.

  1. R.N. diplomas from approved institutions are accepted regardless of the year of graduation (10-year rule does not apply).

  2. Athabasca University will not normally award additional transfer credit for nursing courses/certificates (beyond the 60 credits for the R.N. diploma) that are more than 10 years old at the time of the request. If evidence of current practice in the content area is submitted, this regulation may be waived.

  3. In order to register in a nursing course with a practicum component, students must present proof of current registration with a provincial or state nursing Association or national governing body in the jurisdiction where the practicum will be undertaken. Active registration must be maintained while completing the practicum studies.

  4. Practicum courses require proof of up-to-date immunization status as stipulated by the Immunization Guidelines for Health Care Workers in the jurisdiction where the practicum will be undertaken.

  5. The agencies participating in practicum courses may request students provide proof of a criminal record check at the students' expense.

  6. The pass mark for all nursing courses is 60 percent.

  7. To be awarded a credential, a minimum program average of 65 percent is required.

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