The University of Iowa is looking for students with different degrees to apply for the new accelerated nursing program for Spring of 2023 during a nationwide nurse shortage.
Julie Zerwic, dean of the college of nursing at the UI, said she believes this program will be an excellent way to attract students that may already have the skills they’re looking for, at a time when nurses are imperative to the workforce.
“There’s definitely a need for more nurses. We knew that that shortage was coming before the pandemic, so I think the pandemic hastened that,” Zerwic said.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the nursing profession will grow 9 percent from 2020 to 2030 because of a shortage of nurses from factors like an aging population and workforce and burnout.
The Master of Science in Nursing: Entry into Practice program is a five-semester accelerated nursing program that gives students who went into non-nursing career fields or graduated with different degrees the ability to change their course to become a nurse.
Sandra Daack-Hirsch, UI College of Nursing professor and executive associate dean, said the college is hoping to attract students from a wide variety of backgrounds to increases the diversity of the workforce.
Daack-Hirsch said she will be in charge of the application process. She was a Teacher’s Assistant for another UI program that the Master of Science in Nursing is based on.
“I was a TA in the old program and students that have graduated with a different degree and have different experiences bring such richness to the program,” said Daack-Hirsch. “I think that they bring a very practical perspective to the program.”
The program offered before the Master of Science in Nursing program was a practice master’s program, so it offered students the ability to gather more knowledge and insight into the nursing field.
“This program gives us an opportunity to add a program that is different from the programs that we currently offer, and that offers more to students in general,” Zerwic said.
According to the program’s website, after graduating from this course, students will be fully prepared to take the nursing licensure exam.
Although the actual program doesn’t begin until Spring of 2023, applications for the program are due March 15.
Zerwic said the program will accept up to 48 students at its peak. The current UI nursing program has about 160 graduating nurses every year.
Zerwic said the admission deadline was set so early so that the overall admissions process is sped up too. This allows students time to get any required prerequisites that may not be completed, finished by the time the course begins in January of 2023.
Although the pandemic affected the desire for more nurses, conversation for this program started in the fall of 2019 before COVID-19.
“These students will have unique knowledge, insight, and experiences to not only bring into the nursing field but into our nursing family as well,” UI first-year nursing student Angelina Cotroneo, said. “I am excited to see these students on campus next spring.”
Students entering the program have to have an upper-level statistics course, eight natural sciences, and three social sciences.
“The reason we are accepting applications this early is to give those individuals who do get admitted, an opportunity to finish that coursework,” Zerwic said.