Iowa State’s nursing program receives final approval

After much anticipation, Iowa State University now will begin enrolling students in the new Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program.

Administered by the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, the program received approval from the Higher Learning Commission Feb. 20 – the final step in the approval process.

“Approval from both the Higher Learning Commission and the Iowa Board of Nursing assure that standards are met and resources are in place to provide a quality program,” said Virginia “Ginny” Wangerin, clinical assistant professor and director of nursing. “We are confident this new nursing program meets Iowa State University’s high expectations of excellence.”

Classes for the unique, campus-based program will begin being offered during the fall 2018 semester. Students must have their associate’s degree in nursing with licensure before being enrolled in the program. In addition, they must meet all Iowa State University admission criteria.

The RN-BSN program is designed for registered nurses to advance their nursing career. It will prepare nurses to apply new skills to day-to-day interactions with patients and co-workers, as well as provide them with a broader perspective on the increasingly complex healthcare environment.

Students will have the opportunity to collaborate with the campus community, as well as participate in clubs and other social and academic events while pursuing their bachelor’s degree.

“The uniqueness about our program is our ability to integrate courses in human nutrition and disease prevention into the nursing curriculum,” said Ruth MacDonald, interim senior associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “Understanding the important role of food and nutrition in health will give our graduates advantages in patient care that will translate into improved health outcomes.”

The RN-BSN curriculum consists of 22 credits of nursing courses, six credits of food science and human nutrition courses, as well as six credits from an approved course list. Students can enroll in elective courses that relate to their career interests.

Wangerin has been fielding calls for the past several months from individuals interested in Iowa State’s nursing program.

“The level of excitement and support from alumni, potential students and the community has been amazing. Their support and input has been extremely helpful in creating a unique nursing program that meets the goals of employers, nurses and the community for advancing health and wellness,” Wangerin said.

As many as 30-40 students are anticipated to be enrolled this fall semester, and those numbers are expected to increase during the coming years.

In preparation for the start of the program, the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition has begun searching for a clinical assistant professor to teach some of the nursing courses alongside Wangerin.

“We are excited to be able to add this new major to our department and see great opportunities to partner with the wide number of RN programs and clinical partners in our community. In addition, we are looking forward to the skills these students will bring to campus and see many ways that they will have an impact on Iowa State,” MacDonald said.

“The nursing program will help promote the multi-disciplinary approach to health care for our students,” added Ruth Litchfield, interim chair of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. “Nursing students will be interacting with dietetics, pre-medicine, and other pre-health professional students in our department.”

Individuals interested in applying for the program should go to www.admissions.iastate.edu/apply/online. Additional information is available online at fshn.hs.iastate.edu/nursing. Questions may be directed to nursing@iastate.edu.