Nurses with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) might question the possibility of completing their Bachelor’s Degree because of family obligations, hectic work schedules, and money being tight.

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Thanks to Oakland University’s new affordable, seamless pathway model for BSN degree completion, this opportunity has become a reality for many. 

Most recently, Oakland University School of Nursing (SON) and McLaren Oakland Hospital partnered to devise this innovative option for the ADN-prepared, employed nurses to return to school to complete their four-year degree in the most timely, flexible, and cost-effective way. 

Jason Pennington, MA, director of advising for the School of Nursing, worked with his advising team and the SON faculty and administration to develop a roadmap for seamless entry into the RN-BSN degree completion sequence. 

“We optimize the number of credits that nurses currently have and demystify the admission process,” Pennington said. “The SON wants to see nurses succeed in completing their BSN while being a partner who can lay out a program plan in easy-to-follow language, in a cost-effective way.”

This revised roadmap set the stage for a partnership between McLaren Oakland Hospital and Oakland University. With the support of the Willyerd Medical Education Fund at McLaren Oakland, McLaren nurses are able to minimize the financial constraint of returning to school to complete their BSN. 

To be eligible for full tuition, current nurses must qualify for admission to the program and remain an employee of McLaren Oakland for 24 months post-completion. 

“I think our partnership with McLaren is a win-win,” said Carrie Buch, PhD, RN, associate dean of the SON. “McLaren Oakland provides us with clinical placements and often, priority placement, which has been a great experience for our nursing students.” 

Buch noted additional benefits that included having BSN-prepared nurses at McLaren Oakland who are now available to precept SON students with the possibility of being hired at McLaren as RNs.

“We are excited about this partnership and pleased to have the opportunity to support the advanced education of the nursing workforce in Pontiac,” said Judy Didion, the dean of the School of Nursing.

Kyra Calicutt, BSN, RN, McLaren Oakland nurse educator, agreed. As a graduate of the BSN degree completion program, she knows the quality of programming. She incorporates this opportunity into her new hire orientations. 

“That is a point of excitement for many of our new hires,” Calicutt said. “This is a huge advantage for staff who want to further their career but did not think they could afford it. The 100 percent funding assistance through the Willyerd Medical Fund is a big incentive for our nurses.”

The incentive began last year and the number of recipients has already doubled for this year. Interest continues to be generated and support at every level is high. 

“I have loved watching this partnership grow,” Calicut said. “As our nurses go through the RN-BSN program, they are so proud of their accomplishments. For some, they were finally able to prioritize themselves and even set themselves up for leadership roles. Others wanted to show their children that they are never too old to better themselves.” 

The OU BSN degree completion program can be completed in 12-18 months. For those who do not work at McLaren Oakland, the affordable program tuition is offered at a program rate that totals under $10,000.

For more information, contact Jason Pennington at, call (248) 370-4253 or visit