About the School

Information for prospective students is provided in the West Penn Hospital School of Nursing Handbook

About the School


School Goals

Student Learning Outcomes

Approval and Accreditation

Non-discrimination Statement

About the school

The need for professional nurses became acute near the turn of the twentieth century. In response, the Western Pennsylvania Hospital developed a nursing education program.  Fifteen students were chosen and the Western Pennsylvania Hospital Training School for Nurses on September 1, 1892, with a two-year curriculum. Ten students successfully completed the program and graduated on September 20, 1894.

Present day, students at West Penn Hospital School of Nursing gain a vast experience in assessing, planning and administering patient care.  Allegheny Health Network’s West Penn Hospital serves primary clinical setting for the School of Nursing. Work and study in this dynamic urban hospital environment bring students in contact with professionals from a variety of healthcare disciplines and institutions. Other hospitals within Allegheny Health Network and selected agencies in Allegheny County provide opportunities for student enrichment in certain specialty areas. School of Nursing classrooms, simulation center, financial aid, administrative and faculty offices are located in the School of Nursing building on the campus of West Penn Hospital.



We, the Faculty of West Penn Hospital School of Nursing, believe that nursing education prepares nurses who focus on promoting and maintaining optimum health of clients within the community. The graduate is accountable within the scope of the nursing profession in a variety of community settings that promote, protect, restore and rehabilitate the health of patients. The graduate, as an advocate and a health facilitator, assists patients to achieve and maintain optimum health through the patient’s own actions and decisions.


Nursing is an autonomous healthcare profession based on a holistic philosophy of health. The foundation of nursing is a body of knowledge derived from the biophysical and psychosocial sciences. Nursing is an art and a science that promotes human betterment and is based on theories and evidence-based clinical practice. Nursing utilizes clinical judgment and systems thinking to give direction to nursing actions that promote health, prevent disease, or restore and rehabilitate health. Nursing incorporates principles of critical thinking, communication, teaching and management in the provision of excellence in patient care. Nurses collaborate with patients and with other healthcare professionals. An appreciation for diversity is apparent as nurses promote health through the development of caring and empathetic relationships.


An individual is a valued being with inherent dignity and deserving of respect. As an open system with a uniquely determined internal environment, an individual functions holistically through constant interaction with the external environment. An individual is self-regulating and changes physically, psychologically, socially and/or spiritually in response to environmental alterations.


The patient is an open system and the focus of nursing. The patient is an individual, family or group and is the chief agent of health promotion. The patient is a subsystem of the community; the community is a subsystem of society; society is a subsystem of the world. The community consists of aggregates having common organization, needs and purposes. Society is comprised of dynamic communities that determine the nature of health care.


Health is the reflection of the patient’s physical, sociocultural, psychological and spiritual conditions and is defined by the client. Health is dynamic and evolves as the patient continuously adapts to the internal and external environment.


Learning is a continuous, lifelong process by which an individual exhibits a change of behavior resulting from cognitive, affective and/or psychomotor experiences. The School of Nursing faculty believe that the behavioral, cognitive and humanistic theories of learning apply to education. Learning is based on a hierarchy progressing from simple to complex and general to specific. Specific conditions of learning emphasized in the program relevant to the teaching- learning process include: conditioning, reinforcement modeling, transference, concept formation, psychomotor skill learning, readiness to learn, repetition, empowerment and learning to learn. The learner is recognized as an individual with basic human needs, motivation and capacity to learn, and a unique learning style. Integrity is valued and inherent to the learning process. The learner is expected to participate in the teaching-learning process by actively engaging in all aspects of the education. The learner is ultimately responsible for learning.

Nursing education

A culture of excellence in nursing education is a dynamic process that enables the student to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values necessary to practice the profession of nursing. The student and the faculty share their unique knowledge, experience, and creativity in a collaborative learning environment that emphasizes critical thinking and clinical inquiry. Faculty design learning experiences using a variety of teaching strategies in the classroom and clinical laboratory that take into consideration the diversity of individuals. Students and faculty value learning, autonomy, and the holistic growth of the individual. The teaching-learning process is a partnership whereby both the student and the faculty have rights and responsibilities that result in positive learning outcomes.


School goals

The goal of West Penn Hospital School of Nursing is to provide an educational system whereby students grow, personally and professionally, in the acquisition of knowledge, attitudes and skills needed to function as practitioners of nursing in healthcare settings that are responsive to individual and community needs.


Student learning outcomes

At the completion of the program, the graduate nurse will:

  • Integrate clinical judgment grounded in evidence-based practice in the provision of safe health care to patients.
  • Demonstrate responsibility and accountability in the role of a professional nurse
  • Incorporate principles of communication into the role of the professional nurse.
  • Act as an advocate to guide patients with health promotion, illness prevention and healthcare decision making.
  • Integrate socioeconomic factors, cultural, spiritual and health beliefs to meet the healthcare needs of a diverse patient population.
  • Manage the care of patients within various healthcare settings to promote positive outcomes.



The diploma  nursing  program at  Western Pennsylvania Hospital l School of Nursing is approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing.


The diploma nursing program at Western Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is accredited by the: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

The most recent accreditation decision made by the ACEN Board of Commissioners for the diploma nursing program is: Continuing Accreditation

For more information about ACEN accreditation, please contact:

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
3390 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 1400
Atlanta, Georgia 30326
Phone: 404-975-5000
Fax: 404-975-5020

View the public information disclosed by the ACEN regarding this program at http://www.acenursing.us/accreditedprograms/programSearch.htm


Professional Licensure Notice

In earning your Professional RN Diploma from the Western Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing, you will meet all the necessary requirements to take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX – RN) and become eligible for licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN) in the state of Pennsylvania.

Our graduates have also taken NCLEX -RN and have been deemed eligible for initial licensure in the following states: Arizona, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

If you plan to practice nursing in a state not listed above, please visit nursinglicensure.org for specific state requirements.

Non-discrimination statement

It is the policy of West Penn Hospital School of Nursing to provide equal educational opportunity in accordance with federal, state, and local laws and/or regulations related to nondiscrimination. The West Penn Hospital School of Nursing, administration, faculty and staff are responsible for the implementation of equal opportunity for all applicants and students, and does not discriminate in the recruitment, admission, transfer, education, progression, dismissal, termination, graduation or financial support of students or in the operation of any of its educational programs and activities.

Equal opportunity to applicants and students is provided regardless of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, gender expression, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, veteran status, or other legally protected groups. West Penn Hospital School of Nursing will continue to support and promote equal educational opportunity, human dignity, racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity.

All applicants and enrolled students must be able to complete the essential functions of a student nurse with or without reasonable accommodation. Required clearances include Act 33 PA Child Abuse History Certification, Act 34 PA Criminal Record Check, and Act 73 Fingerprints for program admission and continued enrollment.