Top Iowa Nursing Schools, Colleges & Degree Programs
Iowa does not yet have a significant shortage of nurses. However, it is projected that a shortage crisis is about the begin as a substantial percentage of the current workforce starts to retire. In anticipation of this, the Iowa Board of Nursing is putting significant measures in place to prevent it from happening in the next 10 years.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nationwide demand for nurses will increase by 19% by 2020, which is a faster growth than in any other type of occupation. As 46% of the current nursing workforce in Iowa is over the age of 50, there is now a burden on the schools to ensure enough new students are educated. So far, they seem to be meeting these demands, as only 55 potential students had to be turned away.
One of the main measures that have been put into place in Iowa include a residency program for newly graduated nurses. This will allow the nursing graduates to become better qualified much more quickly. So far, six hospitals in the state have year-long residency programs. There are another 83 smaller hospitals that need to offer something similar and they are working at developing online programs. These are currently being tested by around 150 nurses in the state, for which they have received a $150,000 grant.
This model is unique to Iowa and they are leading the way for other states to do something similar. It will allow all new graduates to have the competencies and skills they need to be the best they can be in the highly complex world of healthcare.
An additional benefit of these online programs is that they focus on nurse retention. In numerous states, the workload of existing nurses is so high that many are leaving the profession just to get away from the stress. If the program continues to be successful, retention will rise and 80% of the workforce will have at least a bachelor’s degree. This rate is currently just 26%, which must be raised to at least 50% in the next few years.
The average salary for a registered nurse in Iowa is $65,000, which is at par with the national average. This and the new education programs make Iowa a very interesting place to start a nursing career. Job conditions are incredibly good as Iowa is committed to ensuring all its residents have access to high quality healthcare, particularly since 69.05% of the population currently lives in medically underserved areas.