Nursing Schools in Iowa – IA | Colleges | Degree | Education

Nursing Schools in Iowa – IA

With an average number of 750 hospital inpatient days for every 1,000 residents in Iowa in 2008, the number of hospital inpatient days at facilities including Saint Luke’s Hospital and Genesis Medical Center East totaled over 2.2 million.  Nevertheless, only about 38,000 nurses are employed in the state to meet the ever increasing need for medical care that its population requires.  As more professionals will be needed to enter this field, individuals interested in health-oriented careers should explore opportunities for post-secondary education at nursing schools in Iowa.  

Individuals who choose to become nurses have the option to earn either an associate of nursing degree, referred to as an ADN, or a bachelor of nursing degree, referred to as a BSN.  The amount of study required varies according to the program selected, as ADN programs can be completed in as few as 12 months and BSN degrees require the completion of a four-year college program.  Both degree programs, as well as nursing diploma programs that some hospitals offer over a three-year course of study, prepare individuals to thoughtfully apply their practical and theoretical knowledge of the field in demanding careers in which they can be highly impactful and effect positive change.  Moreover, master degrees in nursing enable professionals to assume administrative duties in nursing as well as to teach in programs that train aspiring practitioners.

Nursing Jobs in Iowa

As the demand for health care professionals in the United States increases in correspondence with the public’s demand for medical services, more nursing professionals will be needed.  As result, more nursing jobs in Iowa will become available over the next several years.  The field is poised to expand rapidly as the American population ages, epidemiological concerns mandate both proactive and reactive solutions and major medical advancements require professionals who are skilled in these new ways of practice. 

According to the nation’s Department of Labor, there will be almost an additional 600,000 nursing jobs by the year 2018.  Most of this job growth will occur in physician practices and home health care companies.  Nurses will be employed in these industries to assist in the increasing number of outpatient procedures performed and to provide follow-up care for patients while they recover at home from surgeries.  Contrarily, the number of nurses employed by hospitals in expected to remain relatively flat.  While job opportunities will continue to be strong in major cities like Des Moines, Davenport and Cedar Rapids, individuals who can provide care for rural populations will also be heavily recruited, as the state’s 125 rural health clinics will also be in need of more professionals in the field.

Nursing Programs in Iowa

Depending on their preference and scheduling demands, individuals can opt to enroll in either on-campus or Web-based nursing programs in Iowa.  Online studies may be particularly appealing to those who have families and/or work full-time and must set their class schedules in consideration of other lifestyle demands.  Both in-person and Internet studies provide thorough instruction in subjects such as biology, anatomy and physiology so learners can transition smoothly from classroom to career.  Their coursework prepares graduates of these programs to address head-on the challenges the occupations in the profession often present.  A supervised practicum, which many programs require, also helps them to more easily adjust to job responsibilities.  Moreover, nursing programs allow students to develop communication and leadership abilities so they can work effectively and collaboratively with other colleagues on behalf of patients. 

Nursing professionals in Iowa are licensed by the Iowa Board of Nursing once they complete and pass the National Licensure Examination.  This test is offered online throughout the year and requires exam takers to answer multiple choice, fill-in and graph-related questions.  Once they earn licensure, both ADN and BSN holders can renew their licenses up to two months prior to expiration, but no later than one month before this deadline.  Graduate degree holders who are considered advanced practitioners are notified approximately 60 days in advance of license expiration so they can apply for renewal. 

Nursing Salaries in Iowa

Nursing salaries in Iowa range in accordance to a number of factors including degree type and location.  On average, individuals who earn nursing degrees at community colleges earn less than those who earn degrees at four-year institutions.  For instance, those who practice with ADN credentials in the state earn $36,300 a year while four-year and graduate nursing degree holders earn $51,930 annually.  Nevertheless, individuals should carefully consider which degree program best aligns with their career objectives and interests.

Across the country, salaries are typically higher in major cities and metropolitan areas, and this is no different among nurses in Iowa.  This is because nurses in densely populated cities in the state must treat more patients than those in rural settings as well as often work longer hours during their shifts at renowned facilities such as the Iowa Methodist Medical Center.  Although these nurses earn higher incomes, individuals may be more interested in practicing in rural settings in which the pace can be less hectic and where there is a greater need for skilled health care experts who provide treatment that would otherwise not be available.

Approximately one-fifth of nurses in the U.S. are union members, which provides them a means to both ensure fair compensation and to protect their wages.  In addition, many nurses receive benefits beyond traditional health insurance, including reimbursement for continuing education and performance bonuses.

Nursing Schools