Nursing students working with baby simulator

Nursing Education

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.

Southwestern’s practical nursing program and associate degree nursing program are both approved by the Iowa Board of Nursing, River Point Business Park, 400 S.W. 8th St., Suite B, Des Moines, IA  50309-4685.  In addition to state accreditation, Southwestern is also investigating national accreditation.  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.  Our pass rates on the licensure exams during the past four years have averaged 93 percent for LPN and 90 percent for RNs.  Further information on the pass rates on the national licensure exams (NCLEX-PN and NCLEX-RN) are available on the Iowa Board of Nursing website

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 by 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 May. The PN and RN programs are offered at the Creston campus only. Creston is 70 miles southwest of Des Moines.

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

The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree is a specialized degree that can be used for immediate entry into the workplace.  Emphasis is placed on competence of applying basic principles, theories, and occupational skills.  These are two-year programs.

A diploma is awarded upon successful completion of all courses in a career and technical education program of less than two years.

Potential Careers

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

 
Want to find out more about the Nursing Education program? Get Information

  • BIO 151 Nutrition
  • BIO 168 Human Anatomy and Physiology I (w/lab)
  • BIO 173 Human Anatomy and Physiology II (w/lab)
  • PNN 140 Introduction to Professional Practical Nursing
  • PNN 172 Fundamentals of Nursing
  • PNN 231 Pharmacology
  • PSY 111 Introduction to Psychology
  • PNN 401 Mental Health Nursing I
  • PNN 434 Maternal Child Health I
  • PNN 531 Medical Surgical Nursing I
  • PSY 121 Developmental Psychology
  • BIO 186 Microbiology (w/lab)
  • ADN 231 Advanced Pharmacology
  • ADN 476 Mental Health Nursing II
  • ADN 561 Medical Surgical Nursing II
  • ADN 433 Maternal Child Health II
  • ADN 563 Medical Surgical Nursing III
  • ADN 443 Pediatric Nursing
  • ADN 831 Trends and Issues

Click on the course number in the list above to view the course description. This may not be a complete list of courses that may be included for the nursing education program. To see all courses in a semester-by-semester plan, view the nursing program course outline.

Download the program outline 

Degree requirement advising sheet

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 supportive or restorative care under the supervision of a registered nurse or physician using the nursing process which includes data collection (assessment), planning, implementation, and evaluation.  Students will be able to assist in the formulation of nursing diagnosis.
    2. Apply basic scientific and psychological principles in the classroom/clinical setting.
    3. Communicate effectively with patients, family and significant others, and with all members of the health care system and society.
    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 to provide safe patient care.  Students will understand accountability in the practice of a registered nurse.
    2. Apply scientific and behavioral principles in giving holistic nursing care.
    3. Communicate effectively with patients, family and significant others, and with all members of the health care system and society utilizing 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.

Graduation Outcomes

Practical Nursing

Performance on the practical nursing license exam:

  • SWCC three-year mean for NCLEX-PN will be at or above the national mean for the same 3 year period.

Program completion: Expected level of achievement for program completion:

  • PN graduation target rate will be equal to or greater than 65 percent.
  • PN attrition target rate will be less than 35 percent.

Job placement rates: Expected level of achievement for placement rates:

  • Practical nursing program job placement target rate will be at 60 percent six months after graduation.
  • Graduates will utilize the nursing process to provide individualized, holistic care to enhance the health of the clients in a variety of health care and community based settings.

Performance on the associate degree nursing license exam:

  • SWCC three-year mean for NCLEX-RN will be at or above the national mean for the same three-year period.

Program completion: Expected level of achievement for program completion:

  • ADN graduation target rate will be equal to or greater than 65 percent.
  • ADN attrition target rate will be less than 35 percent.

Job placement rates: Expected level of achievement for placement rates:

  • Associate degree nursing program job placement target rate will be at 90 percent six months after graduation.
  • Graduates will utilize the nursing process to provide individualized, holistic care to enhance the health of the clients in a variety of healthcare and community-based settings.

Admissions Department Contact:

641.782.1421 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

US Dept of Labor Occupational Profile for LPN - 29-2061

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