The most sweeping changes to health care reform have recently begun being implemented. In 2008, studies began to assess how the changes would affect nursing and its educational and professional requirements. As a result, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has put forth recommendations for a higher educated nursing workforce. The state of South Dakota is already working towards these new standards with a Campaign for Action aimed at ensuring that 80% of all RNs hold a BSN or higher by 2020.
South Dakota has already made great strides in preparing to meet this goal. As of 2012, 51% of RNs in the state had a BSN or higher. The action committee is partnering with faculty from nursing schools to ensure curriculums are updated to meet the educational needs of RNs transitioning into BSN completion programs. In collaboration, several state schools have begun exploring ways to ease the transition from ADN to BSN nursing programs.
All of these changes will benefits RNs as they prepare to further their education through BSN completion programs. Completing the BSN degree program will also open up further career advancement, allowing nurses to branch out in new areas that were unattainable with an ADN alone.
Enrolling in RN to BSN Programs in South Dakota
Online programs are standard when it comes to RN to BSN programs. Current RNs are working full or part time along with other life responsibilities, so the need for flexible education has resulted in the availability of distance learning options within the state of South Dakota.
South Dakota nursing programs are available online and through campus-based schools located in the following cities:
- Rapid City
- Sioux Falls
RN-BSN Program Entry Requirements
Accelerated programs are also offered to help expedite the process of completing the BSN degree requirements. RN-BSN program requirements may differ from school to school, but in general, entry into a BSN program will require the following criteria to be met:
- Graduate of a regionally and NLNAC or ACEN accredited Associate Degree or Diploma Nursing Program.
- Active, unencumbered RN license.
- GPA cumulative average of 2.7 or higher in RN-BSN general education requirements.
- Support coursework minimum grade of C or above.
- Criminal background self-disclosure.
Coursework and Clinical Rotations
RN to BSN programs are designed to build on an RN’s existing ADN-level education. Therefore many of the general curriculum requirements will already have been met.
The RN-BSN program adds additional core curriculum in addition to BSN related classes. Some coursework that will be required within the program would include the following:
- Transition to BS
- Family and Communication
- Health Assessment and Clinical
- Decision Making (includes practicum)
- Leadership and Management
- Community Health (includes practicum)
- Nursing Research and Theory
South Dakota hospitals that allow BSN clinicals and that are approved by the South Dakota Board of Nursing include:
- Avera McKennan – Sioux Falls
- Spearfish Regional – Spearfish
South Dakota Hospitals that Help Support RNs entering RN-BSN Programs
South Dakota has several top hospitals within the state, which underlines the importance of having highly trained staff to maintain excellent standards. Many of these hospitals now offer incentives to staff RNs that purse RN to BSN programs. Among these are Avera McKennan Hospital and Sanford USD Medical Center:
Avera McKennan Hospital – Sioux Falls
Avera McKennan Hospital is rated as the best hospital in South Dakota for overall clinical excellence by Healthgrades in addition to numerous other awards and achievements. This is another hospital that understands the importance of advanced degree nurses and because of that offers the Professional Nurse Development and Career Advancement program (PNAP). This program was developed to give nurses the opportunity to pursue additional education by providing recognition as well as monetary awards for professional advancement from RN to BSN.
Sanford USD Medical Center – Sioux Falls
Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls has consistently been named a Top 100 Hospital in the nation by Thomson Reuters. This outstanding ranking allows the hospital to recruit and maintain the best nursing talent in the state. To do this, Sanford USD offers a Nursing Loan Forgiveness program. The program offers a loan forgiveness payout of $5,000 to $10,000 with $2,500 being paid to the student each semester. In addition a Heart of Tomorrow Scholarship is available to dependent children of employees to help parents pay for higher education.
In addition to the incentive programs by individual hospitals, the South Dakota Department of Health offers a Rural Healthcare Facility Recruitment Assistance Program which offers a $10,000 payment to eligible health professionals with a completed three-year, full-time service commitment. These types of stipends can go a long way to helping pay for the new educational requirements and opening up many possibilities and long-term career stability and growth.