Nursing AreaOfStudy

SWCC offers nursing education as a ladder program.  This means students must complete their practical nursing (PN) year at SWCC (or another college/university) and pass the PN licensure exam to be eligible for SWCC's registered nursing program (RN).  Students with a PN license may choose to work while completing the RN program, or enter the workforce full time.  The choice is theirs.

Graduates of SWCC's PN and ADN (RN) programs are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) exam at the end of the one-year (PN) or two-year (RN) programs. Historically, SWCC graduates have achieved a high pass rate upon taking the exam for the first time.

The SWCC nursing program is approved by the Iowa Board of Nursing.  Third party accreditation is being investigated.

The curriculum offers students learning experiences in courses emphasizing concepts of the nursing process, the health-illness continuum, critical thinking, ethics, communications, the sciences, and the professional nursing practice role. Students spend time in the classroom and two days per week at a health care facility. A variety of clinical sites provide excellent experiences with direct supervision of skilled clinical faculty.

SWCC’s nursing program has participated in the Iowa Articulation Plan and therefore graduates of SWCC’s associate degree nursing program have been able to articulate easily into four-year colleges' bachelor of science degree in nursing (BSN) programs in Iowa.  So, if your plan is to stay in Iowa and obtain your BSN from an Iowa school, SWCC is the place for you.  

Classes begin annually in late-August and graduation is in late-June. The Creston campus offers PN and RN and the Red Oak Center offers RN only. Creston is 70 miles southwest of Des Moines and Red Oak is 50 miles southeast of Omaha, NE.

Students participate in a local student nurse organization which provides opportunities to develop knowledge and problem solving skills in leadership roles, community activities, and in nursing.

Employment opportunities for RNs and LPNs are very good.  Wear the Southwestern Pin with pride as you accomplish your goals for the future!

Awards Available

Diploma in licensed practical nursing
Associate of applied science degree in registered nursing

Nursing Degree Sheet

Potential Careers

  • Licensed practical nurse (LPN)
  • Registered nurse (RN)

Upon completion of the Practical Nursing Education Program, the graduate is prepared to function as a beginning Licensed Practical Nurse as defined in the Nurse Practice Act of Iowa.

  1. Develop behavioral, cognitive and psychomotor skills necessary to assume role of LPN, safely providing nursing care using the nursing process.
    1. Provide competent nursing intervention, within an organized setting, utilizing the basic skills of assessment, analysis/nursing diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation.
    2. Apply basic scientific and psychological principles in the classroom/clinical setting.
    3. Communicate effectively with patients, family and significant others, and with members of the health care system, regardless of the gender, socioeconomic environment and subculture.
    4. Recognize the role of the Licensed Practical Nurse in the overall concept of the nursing team.
    5. Successfully complete the NCLEX exam for state licensure as a practical nurse.
  2. Demonstrate professional work behaviors of LPN.
    1. Demonstrate professional attributes.
    2. Maintain the ethical and legal parameters of practical nursing.
    3. Practice confidentiality regarding the patient, the family, and the health team.
  3. Develop skills to participate in continuing education to maintain competency and to advance education.

Upon completion of the Associate Degree Nursing Program, the graduate is prepared to function as a beginning Registered Nurse, as defined in the Nursing Practice Act of Iowa.

  1. Develop behavioral, cognitive and psychomotor skills necessary to assume role of RN, safely providing nursing care using the nursing process.
    1. Utilize the nursing process within the clinical setting to provide safe patient care.
    2. Apply scientific and behavioral principles in giving holistic nursing care.
    3. Utilize principles of communication to provide a therapeutic environment for the patient, family, and/or significant others.
    4. Develop and implement health teaching utilizing appropriate resources.
    5. Recognize the role of the Registered Nurse as a part of the health care team.
    6. Successfully complete the NCLEX exam for state licensure as a registered nurse.
  2. Demonstrate professional work behaviors of RN.
    1. Demonstrate professional attributes.
    2. Maintain ethical and legal parameters of nursing practice.
    3. Practice confidentiality regarding the patient, the family, and the health team.
  3. Develop skills to participate in continuing education to maintain competency and to advance education.

 Nursing Director:  Dr. Susan White

Gainful Employment Information