WSU Undergraduate Nursing Program Plan.

Pre-Licensure Nursing Program

The Bachelor of Science with a major in Nursing: Pre-Licensure program is a traditional 4 year, pre-licensure nursing program for students without previous nursing education or a nursing license who wish to earn a BS degree and obtain licensure as a registered nurse.

Students may apply to the nursing major through direct admission or holistic admission.

Direct admission guarantees admission to the nursing major for students with exceptional ACT/SAT scores who earn excellent college grades.

Holistic admission will consider students' personal achievements and experiences along with their college GPA and standardized test scores.

Learn More

If you would like more information about the pre-licensure nursing program, please contact Beth Twiton,, or 507.457.2232. 

She will be happy to meet with you in person by appointment if you visit Winona, or to arrange a phone or Zoom appointment to answer your questions. Schedule an appointment.

View the Pre-Licensure Program Brochure (PDF) to learn more.

Program Features

Direct admission guarantees admission to the nursing major for students with exceptional ACT/SAT scores who earn excellent college grades. Download our program brochure (PDF).

Graduates of the Pre-Licensure Program must complete the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to obtain RN licensure. WSU nursing graduates historically have first time NCLEX pass rates at or above the national average.

Winona State University partners with numerous healthcare providers throughout the region to provide clinical experiences for students. See the Facilities page for more information. 

The simulation space at Winona State University creates a unique learning environment that promotes independent student learning and collaboration between nursing students and their respective faculty mentors. Simulation learning is grounded in practical experience in an environment that mirrors the patient or client care setting. Simulation learning experiences are designed with defined learning outcomes and allow students to be independent in their learning.

Simulation is embedded within the nursing curriculum and affords students the opportunity to implement their knowledge and skills related to the nursing process, therapeutic communication, critical thinking, teamwork and leadership. Within the WSU nursing curriculum, simulation sessions occur throughout the program in the following areas of nursing practice:

  • Medical/Surgical Nursing
  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Obstetrical Nursing
  • Geriatric Nursing
  • Public Health Nursing
  • Community Health Nursing

DEU—Dedicated Education Unit

The dedicated education unit (DEU) is an innovative clinical teaching model designed to respond to recent trends in nursing education and the changing demands of our health care system. This model is an evidence-based alternative to the traditional model of clinical teaching and involves the collaborative efforts of leaders within the practice setting, faculty within the academic setting, nursing students, and staff nurses on the patient care unit. The model affords students the flexibility to complete clinical hours on multiple days per week and various types of shifts, including day shifts, evening shifts, night shifts, weekend shifts, and even consecutive shifts. 100% of our WSU nursing students will have the opportunity to participate in this autonomous clinical model.

The Winona State University Department of Undergraduate Nursing has partnered with several clinical agencies in the area, including Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic Health Systems and Gundersen Health System to implement the DEU clinical model. The model enlists the expert bedside nurses to take on the primary role of teaching and preparing nursing students to practice in today’s fast-paced, complex health care system. Training is provided for these registered nurses (RNs), who learn how to give feedback to help students cultivate critical thinking and prioritization skills. Faculty from WSU support clinical teaching through the mentoring of these staff nurses, periodic visits to the unit, and on-campus debriefing opportunities for students.

For over five years, the DEU model has been positively impacting students, staff nurses, faculty, and clinical partners, while also aligning with the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) Standards for Accreditation, which include the development of professional competencies in practice settings and meeting the needs of our communities of interest. DEU opportunities exist for our students in medical/surgical inpatient areas, as well as multiple specialty areas including progressive care units (PCU), radiology, critical access hospitals (CAH), ambulatory care, and surgical services. Students learn firsthand what nursing is all about, as they are paired one on one with a trained RN and enjoy the opportunity to self-schedule their DEU clinical shifts.

The DEU model of clinical teaching embodies the principles of collaborative partnership, mutual respect and trust, and reflects a commitment to supporting nurses in redesigning the practice and education environments to improve health outcomes

Bridges Health

Bridges Health is a clinical education model launched in 2017 through Winona State University. Students who are in health profession academic programs are deployed into the community in small, inter-professional teams to engage in student-led, faculty-guided, and clinically supervised preventative health, wellness, and social services.

Bridges Health has developed access to health promotion and prevention for underserved adult and youth groups, while training inter-professional health profession students, including nursing, social work, athletic training, public health, and exercise science.

The model applies academic-community partnerships to bridge community needs to existing resources in the academic setting. Bridges Health uses multiple community-access sites to reach underserved and marginalized groups and has developed services based on a community needs assessment, including a warming shelter, food shelf, and senior center.

Bridges Health represents a unique approach to traditional community clinics.

Rochester Community Practicums

The Rochester community offers nursing students a rich experience working hands-on with underserved and at-risk populations. Our community practicum opportunities are based on the concept of relationship building. Together with our community partners, we provide services to marginalized clients, such as the homeless at Dorothy Day Hospitality House and The Landing, MN, at-risk youth in the Alternative Learning Center, as well as English as a Second Language learners at Hawthorne Education Center.

Students can expect to provide clients with health promotional education and services, such as stress reduction management, basic health assessments, foot care, and medication teaching, while allowing clients a chance to share their narrative.

These service-learning opportunities afford students a chance to gain a larger community perspective regarding the role of the nurse in society and learn the importance of giving back.

Program Timeline

Students begin as nursing candidates and complete prerequisite courses to prepare for the upper division nursing major, as well as General Education Program courses to meet university requirements.

Students must apply to the nursing major, usually during their fourth semester. The application is selective and competitive. Successful applicants complete the nursing major in their final four semesters.

Applications for admission to the Nursing Pre-Licensure program are accepted twice each year.

Applications to begin the nursing major in fall semester are due by February 1. Applications to begin in spring semester are due by October 1.

Students are assigned to either the Winona or Rochester Campus. Campus assignment determines the facilities where students complete clinical experiences.

Students assigned to the Rochester campus attend upper division nursing classes at WSU-Rochester. Students assigned to the Winona campus continue to attend classes in Winona.