A Joint Effort to Produce More Nurses with Bachelor's Degrees

Nov 28, 2016

Des Moines Area Community College and Iowa Wesleyan University in Mount Pleasant are joining to offer a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing completion program. It will be open to students who earn their Registered Nurse associate degrees at DMACC.

Lashaina Woods of Waterloo (left) and Cassidy Heitz of Des Moines are among the first nursing students enrolled in the RN-BSN 3 1 program offered by DMACC and Iowa Wesleyan University.
Credit Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio

It’s being called the RN-to-BSN 3+1 completion program. Graduates of DMACC’s nursing program will be able to complete their BSN degrees in one year by taking on-line courses provided by Iowa Wesleyan. 

For nontraditional students such as Lashaina Woods of Waterloo, the initiative comes with significant cost savings.

“I’m very grateful for something that can link the two programs together, that BSN and RN component," she says, "and also make it achievable, especially for those nontraditional students who may not have that additional help.”

The director of the nursing program at DMACC, Kendra Ericson, says the initiative will mean convenience for RN graduates aiming at higher degrees.

“It allows our student to stay here where the affordability is in a program with which they are very familiar, with the rigor they are very used to in achieving that associate degree, but also at that point they will be able to do their bachelor’s,” she says.

DMACC President Rob Denson (left) and Iowa Wesleyan University President Steven Titus chat before signing an agreement to establish the RN-BSN 3 1 degree program.
Credit Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio

A report issued in 2011 by the Institute of Medicine called on community colleges to play a bigger role in producing more nursing graduates with BSN degrees.