As more and more Iowans get health insurance for the first time, local clinics and hospitals are trying to increase their staff of nursing professionals. In particular, many employers want high-level nursing professionals that can take on independent care, leadership, education, and training responsibilities. This level of responsibility comes with a Master's of Science in Nursing.
Take some time to contact the Iowa nursing schools that offer Direct Entry MSN programs in order to compare programs before selecting your school.
With a Bachelor's degree in a non-related field, you can still work towards a Master's degree in nursing. This degree is split up into an undergraduate component, which allows you to take lower-level nursing courses and become an RN (Registered Nurse), and a graduate component, which permits you to earn your MSN. To be eligible for admission to one of these degree programs, you must meet fairly demanding requirements. At most schools, you must have a C or higher in classes like Anatomy and Physiology, Biology, and Statistics. In addition, your overall GPA should be 3.0 or higher. Some schools may be even more selective in regards to prerequisites and GPA.
The courses you take in a direct entry MSN program are designed to help you meet learning outcomes laid out by your school. Upon graduation, you should be dedicated to evidence-based practice and continued learning in the field of nursing. Instructors will also be assessing your leadership skills to ensure that you can effectively lead other nurses and health care professionals. Choosing and developing the appropriate interventions for different health care problems is a significant part of an MSN program.
Your curriculum may contain a wide selection of clinical and classroom-based courses. Altogether, your degree should provide you with over 800 clinical hours in your field. If you decide to become a nurse anesthetist, your curriculum may include classes like Advanced Principles of Anesthesia, Rural Anesthesia, Obstetrical Anesthesia, and Clinical Decision Making.
Nurse practitioner students my take classes like Primary Care for Infants and Children, Clinical Leadership, and Health Promotion in Advanced Clinical Practice. Those who go into a field like nursing leadership can plan on taking classes like Financial Management, Executive Leadership and Management, Health Policy and Law, and Clinical Leadership.
Iowa has a significant range of nursing scholarships for students in all advanced nursing specialties. Begin researching your financial aid options early, as scholarship applications are often due early and you want to apply for as many as possible. Mercy Medical Center awards six scholarships every year, starting at $500. The Trinity Foundation awards the McMillen Scholarship for advanced nursing students, the Tom and Margaret Welch Scholarship, and the Roselpha Lovrien Nursing Scholarship. Consider applying for scholarships through the Iowa Nurses Association. They award the Mike Anderson Scholarship and the Iowa Nurses Foundation Scholarship.
Depending on which nursing specialty you choose, you may have to pursue advanced licensure through the Iowa Board of Nursing. Though they only require registered nursing licensure for fields like nurse education and nurse leadership, clinical specialties like anesthesia and midwifery have different licensing requirements. You can plan on completing exams in your specialty and applying for an advanced license if you take a highly clinical route.
Your hard work may pay off when you see the excellent job outlook in Iowa! Per O*Net, the lowest growth rate is recorded for nurse anesthetists. Job openings in this field are expected to increase 13% between 2012 and 2022 (O*Net, 2012). The fastest-growing nursing career is nurse education, which may see an increase of 35 percent between 2012 and 2022 (O*Net, 2012).
Average salaries in this state vary, but typically, they are in line with national averages. Nursing instructors claim a median income of $60,500 per year, as reported by O*Net. The highest average salary in the state goes to nurse anesthetists, who earn an average of $153,800 per year (O*Net, 2013).
Nursing can be a personally fulfilling job that has a broad reach on the health of many. Wherever your passions and skills lie, you can likely find an advanced nursing specialty that suits you. Your advanced education and experience can help you improve the state of health care for everyone. To learn more simply contact the schools you see on this page to get detailed program information.