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Starting in the City of Roses

Starting in the City of Roses

A fake dummy-person is laid down on a hospital bed in a care room.

A Faster Track to Nursing 

By Emmett Pennington-Guthrie 

The Walla Walla University nursing program stands out among other nursing programs for the unusual reality that it sends its nursing students, renowned for their charisma, smarts, and newswriting ability, to Portland for the latter two years of their education. 

Walla Walla University is one of about 40 schools in Washington and over 2,600 in the country that offers a nursing degree. While nursing isn’t the only major Walla Walla University provides, it is one of the most popular. [1] 

What people may not know about is there are two ways into the nursing program and taking courses in College Place really isn’t necessary for getting a nursing degree at WWU. 

Of course, beginning in College Place is a good route, where students spend the first two years dipping their toes into clinical experience and learning the basics of nursing before heading to Portland. 

A picture of the School of Nursing sign hanging in a hallway of the Winter Educational Complex.
Both the College Place and Portland entries are good ways to get a nursing degree through WWU. Photo by Emmett Pennington-Guthrie

The other route is more direct. 

Known as the Portland entry, it involves taking several nursing courses over the summer in Portland, then continuing to take courses for two years on the Portland campus. 

It’s faster, but it crams all the nursing courses you would take in a year in College Place into one ten-week term, meaning it’s not for the faint of heart. 

This route also still requires several credits to have been taken before admission, so you can’t just use it to skip all those pesky anatomy and physiology classes. 

Freshman nursing major Kenden Staten is going to Portland this summer for the nursing program. 

Staten, who has had classes in College Place all year, came to Walla Walla University with some credits and found that the Portland entry option worked best for him. 

Now, he’s looking forward to a busy summer.  

Staten will be taking a year’s worth of nursing classes (and no general classes) over 10 weeks, so he doesn’t expect to also be working during this time. [2] 

The summer classes for Portland entry are Intro to Nursing, Fundamentals of Nursing, Nursing Assessment, and Pharmacology. [3] 

For context, nursing students starting in College Place take the first two of these simultaneously in the fall, then Nursing Assessment in the winter, and pharmacology spring term. 

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Considering the shorter amount of time allotted to these classes in Portland, Staten said he feels “the College Place nursing students probably have a better buildup of knowledge because it’s been a full year of practice,” and expects a “learning curve when I get to fall.” [4] 

This isn’t to say Staten and other students starting in Portland aren’t well-prepared, however. 

As Staten put it, “I know that if I can get past summer and get that basic understanding of nursing under my belt, I’ll feel better about it.” [5] 

Stated added that he thinks “it’s going to be a really good program. I know all the nursing faculty are really well qualified.” [6] 

He’s right. Each of the professors on the Portland campus holds at least a master’s degree and has experience in the field, and there are multiple with PhDs. [7] 

When asked about whether he’d recommend the Portland entry for others, Staten said “if you are self-paced and self-managing, the Portland start is good. It’s definitely lots of information, from my understanding.” [8] 


  1. Nursing school and program guide of 2022. (2022). Nursing School 411. 
  1. Interview with Kenden Staten, 5/25/2022. 
  1. Sample transfer BS in nursing program: Portland start. (n.d.). Walla Walla University. 
  1. Interview with Kenden Staten, 5/25/2022. 
  1. Ibid
  1. Ibid
  1. Faculty. (n.d.). Walla Walla University. 
  1. Interview with Kenden Staten, 5/25/2022. 
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