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LPN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing in Iowa

Working LPNs who pursue RN certification by way of a BSN degree program not only set themselves up for career advancement and higher pay, they are also better suited to rise to the growing demand for highly skilled nursing professionals. The Cedar Rapids Gazette notes that the health care needs in Iowa are shifting, requiring more BSN educated nurses to take on roles that include doing home visits. The need is just as strong in areas like ambulatory and long-term care, making an LPN-BSN degree a wise choice for LPNs looking to advance their nursing careers.

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LPNs earn your ADN or BSN degree online in up to 1/2 the time and cost of traditional programs. All applicants must be either an LPN or LVN to apply.

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Additionally, those enrolled in LPN to BSN programs can take advantage of state incentives, including Title VIII grants specifically allocated for LPNs interested in becoming RNs at the baccalaureate level. An American Association of Colleges of Nursing report notes that over $44,000 grant dollars were awarded in 2013 alone.

Enrolling in an LPN–BSN Degree Program in Iowa or Online

Academic institutions in three cities offer Iowa Board of Nursing-certified programs for LPNs pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree:

  • Waterloo, IA
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Sioux City, IA

You’ll find even more options offered online, specifically designed to meet the scheduling needs of busy working professionals returning to school.

There are a few requirements students must satisfy before enrolling in one of these LPN – BSN degree programs, which typically include completing 25 or more semester hours of credit from a regionally accredited school, including a minimum of 6 semester hours of natural science coursework.

Components of LPN–BSN Degree Programs

After meeting admission requirements and enrolling, LPN-BSN students take general education classes similar to those shown below, followed by BSN-specific coursework:

General education requirements:

  • Intermediate Written Communication
  • Oral Communications
  • One Humanities elective
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Lifespan Growth & Development
  • Social Science electives
  • Anatomy & Physiology I & II
  • Chemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Nutrition
  • Introduction to Statistics
  • Diversity elective

Standard BSN coursework requirements:

  • Introduction to Professional Nursing
  • Health Assessment
  • Pathophysiology
  • Fundamentals of Clinical Nursing
  • Pharmacology
  • Adult Nursing I & II
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Introduction to Nursing Research
  • Maternal-Newborn Nursing
  • Aging Adult Nursing
  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Professional Issues & Trends
  • Community & Public Health Nursing
  • Nursing Leadership & Management
  • Adult Nursing: Internship
  • Role Transition

LPN – BSN degree students complement their coursework with clinical experience that can be completed at their current facility of employment or in partnership with other institutions, which could include:

  • Allen Memorial Hospital in Waterloo, IA
  • Cedar Valley Medical Specialists in Waterloo, IA
  • Foot Care and Community Screening Clinic in partnership with the Salvation Army
  • UnityPoint Health in Cedar Rapids, IA

Preparing for the NCLEX with an LPN–BSN Degree Program

After completing the required coursework, LPNs looking to obtain an RN certification through an LPN-BSN degree program will need to sit for the NCLEX exam to be licensed by the Iowa Board of Nursing. The following are requirements to obtain this RN licensure:

  • Official transcripts sent to the Iowa Board by the student’s degree-awarding institution
  • Request and return a fingerprint card to Iowa Board of Nursing
  • Fill out an Iowa Board of Nursing RN application and submit the $143 application fee
  • Register and pay the $200 testing fee to take the NCLEX-RN exam
  • Candidates will receive confirmation that the board has approved testing, then they may complete the exam
  • Upon passing the exam, an Iowa Board of Nursing Registered Nurse license will be sent by mail

Employer Incentives for Completing LPN – BSN Programs in Iowa

Because LPN-BSN graduates are in high demand in Iowa and in light of the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation that the proportion of nurses with BSNs needs to be increased to 80% by 2020, many medical facilities offer financial support for nurses looking to complete an LPN – BSN degree program.

CHI Health in Council Bluffs, IA

CHI prides itself on being the largest not-for-profit, faith-based healthcare system in southwestern Iowa and Nebraska. The hospital offers up to $2,500 in tuition reimbursement for nurses employed full time and a loan forgiveness program to attract recent BSN graduates for hard-to-recruit jobs.

UnityPoint Health in Des Moines, IA

Ranked in Iowa’s top three hospitals by U.S. News and World Report, UnityPoint offers a nurse residency program for recent graduates of Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs in Iowa. The program partners new nurses with seasoned professionals to ensure a smooth transition during the first year of employment

Career Advancement Opportunities that Come with a BSN Degree

Beyond receiving financial support to complete an LPN–BSN and obtain an RN license, BSN-prepared nurses are eligible for higher pay and more advanced positions. In fact, they are preferred for a variety of positions requiring a baccalaureate-level education at minimum. A couple of examples recently advertised include:

  • Administrative Hospitalist in Mason City, IA
  • Clinical Trials Nurse in Des Moines, IA