Dr. Christina Nyirati

etter from Dr. Christina Nyirati,
Director of Nursing,
announcing a new direction for
nursing at Heritage University



For more than a year, the administration and faculty of Heritage University have been engaged in a strategic planning process. We contemplated the Heritage University mission, to “provide quality, accessible baccalaureate and master’s degrees to populations that, for reasons of location, poverty, or cultural background, have been denied these opportunities in the past.”  We seriously thought about the needs and demands for creating a local nursing workforce for the 21st century, informed by the Institute of Medicine Report on the Future of Nursing (2010); the Washington Center for Nursing Master Plan for Nursing Education (2008) and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Educating Nurses: A Call for Radical Transformation, (Benner, Sutphen, Leonard, & Day, 2009).  These reports highlight how nurses’ roles, responsibilities, and education should change significantly to meet the increased demand for high-quality and high-value care, as well as to advance improvements in America’s increasingly complex health system.  

We surveyed and interviewed chief nursing officers and other health care executives in Washington, particularly those in the Yakima Valley. We listened to deans of various health disciplines, including nursing, medicine, pharmacy, and others. 

After careful analysis and deliberation, we agreed that the Nursing Department would change direction to be responsive to the current and evolving health care landscape. As we look to the future, our goal is to prepare nurses to make an enduring difference in the health of their families and communities in a highly complex environment; and to share accountability for collaborative decisions with members of interdisciplinary health teams. 

We examined nursing program exemplars, and concluded that creating a program based on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2008) Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice would provide a foundation for a 21st century nursing program at Heritage. What’s more, the bachelor’s degree is consistent with the rich tradition of liberal arts and sciences, and fulfills the original mission of Heritage University. 

In order to fulfill our new vision, we made the difficult decision to voluntarily close our LPN-ADN program. We recognize that this decision may be disappointing to those intending to enroll in our pre-licensure RN program leading to the ADN.  As Heritage lays plans for the BSN, we hope to devise a strategy for the LPN to attain a BSN in a timely fashion.

Additionally, while it will not close, we will not admit students to the Heritage University Practical Nursing (PN) Program in fall 2015. Students currently enrolled will complete the PN program in 2015. We are proud of the graduates of our LPN-ADN and PN programs, but we have concluded that now is the time to develop a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. 

We invite you to check back with us on this website frequently for announcements on our progress. If you wish to subscribe to a monthly electronic update, please contact Melissa Sanchez, our Administrative Coordinator for the Department of Nursing at Heritage University. Discover how Heritage is moving toward fulfilling the need for 21st century nurses!


Christina Nyirati, PhD, FNP-BC
Director and Associate Professor, Nursing
College of Arts & Sciences
Heritage University