A growing number of South Dakota's registered nurses are seeking advanced degrees, and more than 42 percent already had earned a bachelor's degree or higher, according to a 2012 South Dakota Board of Nursing survey. Nearly 34 percent of RNs who were surveyed also said they were currently enrolled in courses that would lead to higher nursing degrees, the nursing board reported. If you are ready to join your professional peers by earning your Bachelor's Degree in Nursing, you have found the right place to start.
The statistics are not surprising in light of the national push for RNs to prepare for changes in the health care industry by earning Bachelor of Science in nursing degrees (BSN). At BestNursingDegree.com, we too, believe that a more educated nursing workforce is a good direction to go. With several RN-to-BSN programs in the state, South Dakota nurses have opportunities to earn their degrees at an academic pace that is comfortable for them, in either ground based programs, or online.
We have taken the time to develop a comprehensive listing of all the RN to BSN programs available in your state, so you can focus on resuming your education. We recommend starting your search by requesting information from our featured schools, which often offer distance based programs that allow for clinical requirements to be met in your local area. Simply click on the information buttons next to each school to begin. And rest assured that you are doing something worthwhile for yourself, your nursing practice, and your profession.
Curriculum for RN-to-BSN graduates in South Dakota
South Dakota RN-to-BSN programs offer flexible options that allow students to take classes while continuing to work at their current jobs. At some schools, students can choose from campus-based classes, programs that are entirely online, or a mix of both. Some of the schools are primarily online, but they require students to earn at least some credits through clinical "practicum" work in their communities.
The curriculum in these programs, which varies by school, is based in part on past educational coursework. Every student is required to complete basic non-nursing core courses in subjects such as English or composition, speech and communication, and math. Scientific core courses may include classes in chemistry, microbiology, human anatomy, and health.
A variety of nursing courses also are required to complete a BSN. South Dakota nursing curriculum may include topics such as microbiology, organic and biochemistry, public health, physiology, health assessment, disease prevention, health care policy, research, and nursing theory.
Careers for RN-to-BSN graduates in South Dakota
South Dakota nurses have the option of working in a wide variety of occupational settings. According to the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations (SDAHO), the state has 60 hospitals and 115 skilled nursing facilities. According to the SDAHO(2012), about 5o% of Registered Nurses work in hospitals, 16% are employed by offices and clinics and 10% work in long-term care facilities, the association reported. Additional practice opportunities open up as you build upon your education, such as management and administrative roles.
Job-seekers might want to consider applying at the top-ranked hospital in the state -- Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, according to U.S. News and World Report. The hospitals that ranked second and third in the state in the 2013 survey were Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls and Rapid City Regional Hospital in Rapid City. Once you have earned your Bachelor's degree, you may find that you are eligible for expanded roles within these highly ranked hospitals, transitioning from floor nurse to more developed roles in both clinical and non-clinical areas.
Qualified nurses with a BSN often can find employment opportunities in nursing education, where national faculty shortages have been reported. South Dakota nursing schools employed more than 200 full-time and part-time nursing educators in 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. The average annual salary for those post-secondary teaching jobs in the state was $62,130, according to the labor bureau. While a Master's degree is usually required to teach BSN students, there may be opportunities to serve as adjunct faculty in ADN and CNA programs, as well as community life saving courses.
South Dakota's rural nature results in special recruitment needs for the health care industry. The state's Rural Healthcare Facility Recruitment Assistance Program offers $10,000 payment incentives to qualified professionals who honor a three-year commitment to smaller communities, according to the SDAHO. These incentives can be a great benefit for nurses in the job market, or who are looking to change locations. Because the state is sparsely populated, travel nurses also are frequently hired to meet the needs of patients in diverse locations.
What it comes down to in South Dakota, is that if you are willing to expand your education, you will likely expand your career and employment opportunities. In addition, you will be following the national trend toward more highly educated nurses, in order to meet the demands of today's healthcare environments.
Schools to consider
South Dakota State University (Brookings): A large part of this program's curriculum is available online. Two courses - health assessment and clinical decision making and community health - have a clinical component. Students may work with an agency in their area to complete the required practicum. Full-time and part-time options are offered.
University of Sioux Falls. Students are admitted year-round to this largely online program, which can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. Some onsite attendance is necessary and is scheduled one evening per week. Courses include evidence-based nursing practice and management, leadership and professional issues.
University of South Dakota (Vermillion): Students move through the program in a cohort and are admitted in the fall. Graduation is in December of the following year. Students take an average of two classes per semester and are able to continue working full-time if needed. Two courses require practicums which can be arranged in the student's community.