Nursing, LVN to BSN

Program Overview

Are you endlessly curious about the human body and what fosters its potential for health and healing? Do you have a desire to compassionately care for others in the midst of their pain and weakness? If so, you should consider a career in nursing. Earning your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from PLNU will allow you to combine your passion for healthcare with your longing for meaningful and even sacred work.

PLNU’s School of Nursing (SON) is highly respected in the San Diego community, so our graduates are actively sought after. The education you will receive from this rigorous program balances a focus on the human and spiritual aspects of nursing, as well as the physical and technical skills necessary to faithfully serve patients.

From your first semester, you will be working with patients using cutting-edge technology in a variety of clinical settings, providing you with over 1,100 clinical hours by graduation day — an advantage unique to PLNU. Our nursing program is also set apart by the genuine care shown by our committed faculty. Your professors will know you personally and hold you accountable in both your studies and in learning a healthy work-life balance that so often alludes professional nurses. Finally, you will benefit from a faith-based curriculum, an emphasis on servant leadership, and the lifelong support of our SON community.

Licensures and Professional Certifications:

This program is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing and meets the requirements for licensure or certification in the state of California, where Point Loma Nazarene University is physically located. PLNU cannot confirm whether or not specific programs meet out-of-state requirements for Professional Licensure or Certification. Information about out-of-state requirements in Nursing are available on the National Council of State Boards of Nursing website.

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Student Profile

Rose McCracken

Caring for others’ needs has always been natural for Rose (McCracken) Johnson (10). As a nursing major at PLNU, she was encouraged and prepared for her calling and career as an RN.

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The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, master's degree program in nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice program, and post-graduate APRN certificate program at Point Loma Nazarene University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Course List

For information about the courses required for the Nursing, LVN to BSN program, view the PLNU Catalog. 

Course Information

Start Application

Are you ready to take the next step to begin your PLNU journey? Whether you’re a high school senior, college transfer student, or international student, find out what we’re looking for in our applicants and how you can apply.

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Transfer Nursing Applicants: PLNU is NOT accepting applications into our 3-year BSN or LVN to BSN Programs for the 2023-2024 and 2024-2025 school years, and PLNU does not admit Nursing transfer students.


LVN’s who are licensed in California may be eligible to be considered for direct transfer of course credit and/or credit by examination. The principal objective is for the Advanced Placement student to graduate with knowledge and skills equivalent to the generic graduate of the nursing program, without unnecessary repetition of courses or course work. Students who desire advanced placement will receive individual counseling to determine eligibility and to facilitate their progress. The LVN-to-BSN program will take 2.5 years to complete.

Criteria for Admission

  • California LVN License.
  • Six months of LVN clinical experience.
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 in all college course work.
  • Completion of all pre-requisite courses (for entry into the program) with minimum grade of “C” (2.00).
  • Throughout the curriculum students may repeat only one pre-requisite or one Nursing course or one pre-requisite to a specific nursing course. With the need for a second repeat of any pre-requisite of Nursing course or pre-requisite to a specific nursing course, the student will be dismissed from the nursing program.
  • Completion of General Education courses and pre-requisite courses needed prior to entering subsequent nursing courses (as designated on the curriculum outline) with a minimum grade of “C” (2.00).
  • Evidence of good health: Physical exam must be completed within three months prior to entering clinical nursing courses. Form is available in the Nursing Office upon acceptance to the program.
  • LVNs with acute care clinical experience within the last five years may be eligible to challenge one NSG course for credit (NSG 3010/3011 or NSG 3030/3031).

Application Procedures

  1. Apply to PLNU for admission.
  2. Complete separate application process for School of Nursing, including letter of reference.
  3. Complete NSG 2050/2051 course challenge exam and fundamentals skills evaluation. This will be given by appointment in the School of Nursing.


Qualified students are selected based on:

Space-available basis.

A background check and drug screen prior to a student’s first clinical experience, per agreement with the San Diego Allied Health Occupations and Nursing Education Consortium and affiliated hospitals


Course Challenge Requirements

  1. Six units of theory and clinical credit will be granted for NSG 2050/2051, through the successful completion of the NSG 2050/2051 course challenge exam and fundamentals skills evaluation.
  2. A minimum score of 75% must be achieved. You may take the exam only 1 time.
  3. Exam administered by appointment through School of Nursing.

Other Requirements

Advanced Placements Students must:

  • Meet PLNU residence requirements by:
  • Completing a minimum of 21 upper division units in nursing at PLNU
  • Taking at least 36 units of degree at PLNU
  • Complete the same pre-requisite and general education courses required of the BSN Generic students.

LVN 30-Unit Option

The SON has an option for LVNs to complete optional courses, based on transcript review, in preparation to take the NCLEX-RN in the state of California. This non-degree option will take four (4) consecutive semesters to complete and is separate from the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program. Information is available upon request from the School of Nursing. Admission is on a space-available basis.

Admission is on a space-available basis.

Per agreement with the San Diego Nursing Service Education Consortium and affiliated hospitals, a background check and drug screen will be required prior to your first clinical experience. If a flag occurs from either your background check or drug screening, it will result in immediate dismissal from the Point Loma Nazarene University BSN program. You will be given further information and directions to complete upon acceptance to the BSN program.

Health Status

Once accepted into the BSN program, students must provide evidence that they are physically and emotionally able to perform the duties required. A physical examination by a healthcare provider with information completed on a form provided by the SON is necessary. The examination includes current immunizations and tests as required by the SON.


Once accepted into the BSN program, students must provide evidence of a current American Heart Association "BLS for Healthcare Providers" card. Cards from the Red Cross are not acceptable.

Professional Licensure or Certification


PLNU cannot confirm whether or not specific programs meet out-of-state requirements for Professional Licensure or Certification. 

For more information on State Authorization and Program Licensure, please refer to our disclosures page.

Student Support

For most students, the transition into college life is one full of adjustments. There is the excitement of newfound freedoms, but also some uncertainty as you begin to make choices and take responsibility for your own future. 

At PLNU, we’re committed to supporting you — academically, professionally, spiritually, personally — so that you may be successful both in your time as a student and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

Student Support

Career Opportunities

After completing your licensed vocational nurse (LVN) training course and passing the state-issued certification test, you may be wondering what’s next in your nursing career. With the knowledge you gain from an LVN program, you’ll be well prepared for your bachelor’s in nursing, and Point Loma Nazarene University’s School of Nursing  offers networking and experience in the nursing field to help you take the next step in an already fulfilling career. 

Students who graduate with a Nursing B.S. from PLNU go on to work with renowned hospitals and innovative healthcare providers such as Sharp Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, Rady Children’s Hospital, Scripps Health, and the UC San Diego Health System (to name a few). Not to mention, 70% of PLNU nursing alumni are working in a field related to their program of study. So when you choose to study nursing at PLNU, you can rest assured knowing you’re attending the No. 1 nursing school in San Diego County according to Niche’s rankings of the 2021 Best Colleges for Nursing in the San Diego Area.

At PLNU, our School of Nursing centers on two fundamental elements of nursing:

  • The human and spiritual aspects of nursing 
  • The physical and technical skills necessary to faithfully serve patients

Why pursue a BSN after LVN completion?

  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, LVNs make $48,820 annually, whereas registered nurses (one of the most common careers PLNU alumni pursue with this degree) make $80,010 annually.
  • LVNs are supervised by an RN or doctor while BSN graduates who become RNs take on more autonomy in the workplace.
  • LVNs have more limited responsibilities in their organizations. BSN graduates may choose a specialization and thus take on more tasks with greater scope. 

Job outlook for nursing careers

Nursing positions are in high demand. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, “the registered nursing workforce is projected to grow from 3 million in 2019 to 3.3 million in 2029, an increase of 221,900 or 7%.” This is faster than the average for all occupations.

What can you do with a nursing degree?

Some of the positions our graduates currently hold include:

Registered Nurse (RN)

2020 Median annual salary: $80,010

In addition to the B.S. degree, registered nurses must complete the NCLEX-RN exam. Upon successful completion of both graduation and the NCLEX-RN exam, you’ll be able to enter the field. Registered nurses are responsible for providing medical support to patients and doctors. They work very closely with fellow RNs to divide the duties of completing healthcare assessments, administering medications, and providing catered attention to each patient.

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Sympathetic, non-judgemental
  • Organization
  • Communication 
  • Patience
  • Stamina and strength
  • Operating medical equipment
  • Giving diagnostic tests

Nurse Practitioner (NP)

2020 Median annual salary: $112,906

After receiving a B.S. in Nursing, nurse practitioners go on to complete a master's (MSN) and must also pass a national NP board certification exam. NPs have the responsibility of handling patient routine examinations and appointments. Their duties include speaking to patients about lifestyle choices and health, completing diagnostic tests, and providing care for injuries and illness. Nurse practitioners can also have a specialization ranging from behavioral health to short-term treatment planning.

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Operating medical equipment
  • Recording paperwork of patients’ medical histories
  • Ordering and giving diagnostic tests
  • Communication
  • Providing primary care

Medical and Health Services Managers

2020 Median annual salary: $98,350

Medical and health services managers have the task of managing and directing an entire facility or department within a hospital. They oversee clinical teams and are constantly informed of laws, regulations, policies, and procedures assigned to clinic operations.

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Attention to details
  • Communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Analytical skills
  • Writing

Social and Human Service Assistant

2020 Median Annual Salary: $35,960

Social and human service assistants provide a wide range of assistance to people in their community, from determining eligibility for welfare and other health programs to guiding clients regarding their physical and mental health needs. They help inform clients of the appropriate social service agencies which can provide necessary healthcare and rehabilitation. They work under the direction and supervision of nurses, counselors, social workers, psychologists, or other professionals and may also be a member of a treatment team. 

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Problem sensitivity
  • Active listening
  • Writing and reading
  • Customer and personal service

Making a lasting impact on patients and families

Upon completion of PLNU’s Nursing B.S. you’ll be equipped with knowledge of how to provide quality care and support in the medical field. This program prepares you with a versatile set of skills to flourish in a variety of settings within nursing positions or departmental management. 

If you’re ready to make an impact with a nursing degree and begin your journey at PLNU, get connected with one of our counselors for additional support and answers to any questions you may have. Or, you can apply today!