South Dakota's western area of the state is where the Black Hills are located and traditionally where the Sioux residents live. Therefore, there is a need for expanded healthcare in many rural areas. This state offers several opportunities for nursing education, and the South Dakota Action Coalition is working to promote higher levels of education and training for nurses by improving their educational system. South Dakota is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact that allows nurses to have one multi-state license, which allows nurses to practice in their home state and other compact states.
There are many types of graduate degrees for nurses, and South Dakota Nurse is a full practice state for Nurse Practitioners, which includes prescribing medications. Some of the nursing graduate programs include:
- Clinical Nursing Leadership
- Nurse Educator
- Family Nurse Practitioner
- Post Master's Certificate in Family Nurse Practitioner
- Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
- Nurse Administrator
- Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
- MSN in Advanced Public Health Nurse Leader
- Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
- Nurse Anesthesia
- Adult Geriatric Nurse Practitioner
South Dakota State University admission requirements include:
- BSN from an accredited university by CCNE or NLNAC
- Completed Statistics course containing both descriptive and inferential statistics within five years prior to graduate program
- Cumulative GPA of 3.0
- A minimum of 1500 hours of nursing practice as an RN
- Licensure as an RN
- Coverage by professional RN liability insurance
- Demonstration of logical thinking and writing skills in the preparation of a narrative statement (600 word minimum)
- For applicants with English as a second language, proof of English proficiency by taking the TOEFL or IELTS
South Dakota State University has a Nurse Practitioner program that takes two years full-time and three years if you attend part-time, which is 52 credit hours and clinical/lab hours total 1050.
The curriculum includes:
- Advanced Practice Nursing: Introduction to Roles and Issues
- Advance Assessment Across the Lifespan
- Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Across the Lifespan
- Research Methods for Advance Practice Nurses
- Pathophysiology Across the Lifespan: Applied to Advance Practice Nursing
- FNP Practicum I & II
- Health Policy, Legislation, Economics and Ethics
- Pharmacotherapeutics Across the Lifespan: Application to Advance Practice
- Cultural Competence in Healthcare
- FNP Practicum III: Small Group Instruction
- FNP Practicum III (one 4 credit course and one 5 credit course)
Following graduation you may either take the American Nurses Credentialing Center exam or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certificate Program exam. The credential award from the American Nurses Credentialing Center is considered a reliable assessment of your knowledge and skills as a nurse practitioner, and it is valid for five years. If you are a member of the American Nurses Association the cost is $200, and if you are a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners the cost is $280, while nonmembers must pay $350. The certification from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners has been developed in cooperation with the Professional Examination Service (Pro–Exam). This is a competency-based national certification exam that is an objective measure of knowledge and skill required by a nurse practitioner. Members of this organization pay $290 for this certification, and nonmembers pay $365. Having one of these credentials is essential to working as a nurse practitioner and it is something that your employer will want to verify.
Family Nurse Practitioners earned a mean annual income of $95,070 as of May 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If you need assistance in paying for your education, visit your Financial Aid office at your university and complete a FAFSA application, which is a federal grant program. The Health Resources and Services Administration offers low interest loans, scholarships and loan repayment programs.
Other opportunities for help include the Hearst Foundation Grants, the Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Pioneer Portfolio Unsolicited Proposals. South Dakota also has a South Dakota Recruitment Assistance Program for nurse practitioners or nurse midwives that are willing to work for three continuous years of practice in an eligible rural community for payment of educational loans.
While South Dakota has had an 80 percent increase in nurses, they still expect to need 2,000 more nurses over the next ten years, so job security is excellent for nurses, particularly for those with higher educations. Earning your graduate degree will give you a sense of satisfaction and possibly allow you to position yourself in an expanded role that may also increase your income.
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