My suggestion. Take your classes at a community college. Not only are they cheaper they also tend to be MUCH smaller classes! I'm not going to say they will be easier (although some may be). You can do the community college thing on a "trial basis" to see if you can get your grades in the important pre-reqs up -->You can take off 1 quarter and summer from UW without issue. Make sure you are taking courses that directly transfer, it's really really easy to do. https://admit.washington.edu/EquivalencyGuide In the Seattle area, I do feel it is easier to get a job with a BSN. That said, when you are ready, you can (& should) apply to both ADN & BSN programs. Your grades really do matter when applying to nursing school, although UW also places a strong emphasis on medical/hospital related experience (easiest to achieve as a nurse aid).
My experience: I completed some of my prereqs at UW but I also took a good number at a community college (I was dual enrolled for a bit). UW SCHOOL OF NURSING DOESN'T CARE WHERE YOU TAKE YOUR PRE-REQS, but the grades matter! Take use of the fact that UW lets you take a quarter off. When I realized I wanted to get into the nursing program, I had a lot of hurtles to overcome. But, I started taking courses at a CC over the summer and Aut quarter and then I was dual enrolled Winter quarter (needed to finish the Biol series at the CC but also needed to return to UW). Because UW doesn't count summer against you, you can then take Aut off and still be enrolled as a UW student and return Winter without any issues.
If you do end up leaving UW to do all your pre-reqs at a community college, you can and should still apply to the UW nursing program (although with other programs, realistically, it's not easy to get in to nursing school and you should have back-ups). UW does NOT give preferential treatment to current UW students; every applicant is treated the same. So don't think that just because you didn't do your pre-reqs at UW or that just because you aren't a current UW student means it will be harder to get in: it's not true! I would say 2/3 to 3/4 of my UW nursing cohort were transfer students, students with previous degrees, or otherwise "non-traditional" students. Very few went the "traditional" route of UW freshman, sophomore and then nursing student.
ALSO: FYI, getting into UW's public Health program is still competitive. Not a great back-up plan, especially if you still plan to pursue nursing (this coming from someone that has a degree in public health from UW).
What UW says: "If you are an undergraduate or professional student (dental, law, or medical) who has completed the preceding quarter here at the University of Washington, you may take a quarter off under the Quarter-Off Eligibility Policy.Subject to college, school and departmental enrollment policies, an undergraduate or a professional student who has completed a quarter at the University of Washington may take the following quarter off and remain eligible to register in Registration Period I for the subsequent quarter without submitting an application as a returning student. For example, a student completing winter quarter may, without registering for or completing spring quarter, register during Registration Period I for autumn quarter without reapplying. Any quarter from which a student has completely withdrawn, or from which he/she is canceled, does not constitute a completed quarter. Summer quarter enrollment is not required to maintain continuous registration eligibility."