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Education can Substitute for Years of Experience: RN to BSN Programs in Iowa

Enrollment in BSN completion courses grew by more than 20% between 2013 and 2014. Registered nurses are heeding the recommendations of organizations like the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the Institute of Medicine. Both organizations have collected significant bodies of data that point to the need for advanced training. Additional coursework will allow professional nurses to function effectively in a complex and de-centralized healthcare system.

What will you find in an RN to BSN course and how can it offer you better preparation for careers you might seek? Courses in health assessment, professional collaboration, and public health nursing prepare you to practice with more autonomy in settings outside the hospital. Health informatics can give you advanced preparation for an increasingly technological medical system; leadership courses, meanwhile, prepare you for roles in both systems and organizational management.

You might also need to take some science and liberal arts courses as a part of your program. The AACN believes this broad education makes nurses more effective. Requirements vary from school to school, but often include varied offerings like professional writing, public speaking, and genetics.

You may have the opportunity to do fieldwork in health assessment, leadership, and/ or public health nursing. There can also be opportunities to individualize your program to meet your career goals. You might have the opportunity to take electives or choose an area of concentration in leadership or education.

BSN Career Mobility

How much will a BSN help you in your quest for, what you hope is, a more desirable position? It depends on your long-term goals and where you are currently in your career. The baccalaureate can be quite valuable to a nurse in the early stages of his career. During difficult economic times, employers are more likely to consider new graduates with baccalaureate degrees. This is a trend around the nation. In some cases, education can substitute for years of experience. A recent posting in the kidney transplant department of Iowa Health, for example, sought an ADN with five years of appropriate experience or a BSN with two.

Some positions consistently favor or even require the BSN degree. These include quality control and care coordination roles as well as various nursing manager and supervisor positions. An employer may prefer or require the BSN and/ or give you consideration only if you are currently enrolled in a program. Some clinical positions favor candidates with the more advanced degree as well. These might include telemetry or neurology, for example.

Magnet hospitals are known as excellent employers and also as very selective ones. Iowa has six healthcare facilities with magnet recognition, each located in a different city.

RN to BSN Program Considerations

The Iowa Articulation Plan makes it easier for registered nurses to transfer their credits and complete their baccalaureate degrees. If you graduated from a validated Iowa school, you can transfer your credits directly to a participating institution. If you graduated from a program in another state, you may need to validate your credits first. This can be as simple as taking an examination or successfully completing one course. If you prefer to enroll in an RN to BS completion course through an out-of-state institution, that is an option as well.

BSN completion courses are designed to accommodate busy professionals. Your program may be carried out entirely online. There could be prerequisites in areas like sociology. However, you may be eligible for credit by examination -- it depends on the policies of the particular institution.

You may pay by the semester (if full-time) or by the credit hour. There are various financial aid options possible. You may, for instance, be eligible for an Iowa Tuition Grant. Some employers even offer tuition reimbursement.

RN to BSN Programs in Iowa

Allen College

Briar Cliff University

Clarke University

Coe College

Dordt College

Grand View College

Iowa Wesleyan College

Mercy College of Health Sciences

Morningside College

Mount Mercy College

Saint Ambrose University

University of Iowa

William Penn University

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