PROGRAM FAQS
Nursing (LPN/RN)

Getting Started!

  1. Is there a waiting list for the Technical (lab/clinical) portion of the Program?
     
  2. How many students are accepted each semester and when does the Program start? 
     
  3. Is Kirkwood's Nursing program accredited?
     
  4. What determines my acceptance into the Program? 

  5. Will taking all the general education classes ahead of time shorten the length of the Program?
     
  6. What high school courses will help me prepare for the Nursing Program? 

  7. What is the difference between a Nursing Program of study and a pre-Bachelor of Nursing Program of study? 
     
  8. Do you have anything to assist me in planning out my classes?
     
  9. Where are clinicals held?
     
  10. What are the compliance requirements for the clinicals? 
     
  11. Do I need to buy a uniform?
     
  12. Is it possible to have a part-time job while enrolled in the Nursing Program? 
     
  13. What if I have a felony conviction. Will I be able to attend Clinical, get a job or obtain a Nursing license? 
     
  14. What placement math scores are required? 
     
  15. Do I need a laptop for my Nursing courses?


    Transferring to Kirkwood Community College!

     
  16. I am already an LPN, how long will it take me to complete the ADN Program? 
     
  17. I have taken Nursing courses at another school. How do those transfer into Kirkwood? 



    Graduating/Completed the Kirkwood Nursing Program!
     
  18. If I'm a licensed LPN in Iowa, may I work as and LPN in other states?
     
  19. If I'm a licensed RN in Iowa, may I work as and RN in other states?
     
  20. What degree do I have when I graduate? 
     
  21. Can I get a bachelor's degree in Nursing after the ADN Program? 
     
  22. What is the difference between a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), a Registered Nurse (RN) and a Bachelor's Science Degree Nurse (BSN)?
     
  23. How are Nurses licensed? 






























 

1. Is there a waiting list for the Technical (lab/clinical) portion of the program?

Since 2012, we have not had a waiting list. We do, however, receive more applications than we have openings, generally, in the Fall program. But we do not hold those applications for the next term. The student must reapply each term. Upon completion of the necessary pre-requisites, the Program GPA is the deciding factor for acceptance into the Nursing Program.


2. How many students are accepted each semester and when does the program start?

The PN-ADN program begins each Spring, Summer and Fall

  • Fall - 75 Students are accepted
  • Spring - 75 Students are accepted
  • Summer - 50 Students are accepted

The LPN Transfer* technical program begins each Fall term.

*LPN Transfer is someone who already holds an LPN license and is returning to obtain their ADN degree (RN).

3. Is Kirkwood's Nursing program accredited?

The Kirkwood Nursing PN and ADN programs are approved by the Iowa Board of Nursing and the North Central — Higher Learning Commission.

Iowa Board of Nursing
River Point Business Park
400 S.W. 8th Street? Suite B
Des Moines, IA 50309-4685?
(515) 281-3255
www.iowa.gov/nursing
Higher Learning Commission—North Central
200 S. LaSalle Street
Suite 7-500
Chicago, Illinois 60604
(800) 621-7440
https://www.hlcommission.org/

The Kirkwood Community College Associate Degree in Nursing program holds pre-accreditation status from the National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation, located at 2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20037 202-909-2526. Holding pre-accreditation status does not guarantee that initial accreditation by NLN CNEA will be received.

The Kirkwood Nursing ADN program is currently the #1 Nursing Program in the state of Iowa as judged by its NCLEX-RN pass rate over the past 5 years by RegisteredNurse.org: 

4. What determines my acceptance into the Program?

Applications are considered based upon the following criteria:
  • ALL pre-requisites must have been completed (Minimum C grade, unless noted)
    • Introduction to Nursing grade must be a B- or better
    • Human Anatomy & Physiology I & II (including Lab) grades must be a B- or better
    • Human Anatomy & Physiology I & II (including Lab) (BIO-168 & BIO-173) must be less than 5 years old
  • Attend a Program Conference
    • Attendance date must be less than 2 years old from date of entry into the Technical portion of the Program.
  • CNA must be listed as Eligible on the Direct Care Registry for the State of Iowa OR have passed all of the units for HSP State Certification (CORE, HMM & PADL) and the HSP state exam.
    • For more information on the CNA or HSP, please see item #4 below.
  • Minimum Program GPA of 2.5 (Effective Fall 2020 Acceptance, the minimum will be increased to 2.75)

As a Kirkwood Nursing Student, if English is not my first language, am I required to take the TOEFL?
  • If you graduated from a U.S. high school or college, no.
  • If you graduated from a high school or college abroad, yes. 
    • TOEFL IBT of ≥ 84 with a Speaking score ≥ 26 required for students graduating from a non-U.S. high school, community college.
      • An applicant shall be exempt from the requirement when the education was completed in a college, university, or professional located in:
        • Australia
        • Barbados
        • Canada (except Quebec)
        • Ireland
        • Jamaica
        • New Zealand
        • Trinidad and Tobago
        • United Kingdom
    • Other foreign language tests may be substituted for TOEFL IBT
      • Verification of the ability tread, write, speak, and understand the English as determined by the TOEFL or IELTS.  A passing score is as follows:
        • 560 for the paper-based TOEFL
        • 220 for the computer based TOEFL
        • 6.5 for the IELTS academic
 

5. May I take any of the general education classes at the same time as the Technical portion of the Program?

No, as completion of all of the Gen Eds is required before you may enter the Technical portion of the program.

General Education Requirements

BIO-151 Nutrition
BIO-186 Microbiology with Lab+
ENG-105 Composition I
PSY-111 Intro to Psychology
PSY-121 Developmental Psychology
SPC-101 Fundamentals of Oral Communication+
SOC-110 Intro to Sociology+
XXX-XXX Humanities Elective+ (from approved listing)
BIO-168 Human A&P I with Lab (min grade B-)
BIO-173 Human A&P II with Lab (min grade B-)
HSC-189* Introduction to Nursing (min grade B-)
+ Not required for LPN Program ONLY
*Pre-requisites for Intro to Nursing: English Comp I, Human A&P I, CNA or HSP certification, TOEFL (please see #3 for details), and attend a Program Conference.
  • If CNA: 
    • You must be listed as Eligible on the Iowa Direct Care Worker Registry
    • If your CNA has expired LESS than a year, you must retake both the Written & Skills exams
    • If your CNA has expired OVER a year, but LESS than 10 years, you must take the refresher course, and both the Written & Skills exams
    • If your CNA has expired OVER 10 years, you must retake the full course (NOT the refresher course), and both the Written and Skills exams
      • The State of Iowa allows you to take the exams without retaking the course, but due to potential liability issues, as a Kirkwood student, you MUST take the refresher, or retake the full course PRIOR to taking both exams.
Please Note: To ensure patient safety, a CMA will NOT be accepted in place of a CNA. A CNA is trained for more hands-on patient care. For example, bathing, properly moving patient using a gate belt, brushing their teeth, etc. This is not part of the CMA training.
  • If HSP: 
    • When providing proof of completing the HSP course, please note, you must complete all of the units in CORE, HMM & PADL, as well as the state exam. See below for more details.
    • Since HSP does not have a skills component, you must provide a signed letter from your Supervisor (on company letterhead), stating that you have been working as an HSP for at least 3 months, listing your current job duties.
    • You must also provide a copy of your HSP Certificate, showing that you passed your HSP state exam.

What is a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant)?
Job responsibilities vary based on where you work and live. CNAs often work in a wide variety of settings; nursing homes, hospitals, adult day care centers, personal homes and assisted living facilities all require nursing assistants to act as a helpful liaison between the RN or LPN and the patient. In many cases, CNAs serve as the RN's or LPN's eyes and ears, and relays information between many patients and nurses.

Nursing assistants fulfill basic quality-of-life needs for patients of any age in residential nursing care facilities or outpatient clinics. Since nursing assistants have daily contact with patients, they are gatherers of vital information about the patients conditions, which they must then transmit to their supervisors. A CNA's workload can become intense and fast-paced, but the human contact and ability to help those in medical need is a strong motivating factor. A desire to help people and compassion for patients can help a nurses assistant get through difficult days.

Here is what Kirkwood Continuing Ed offers: www.kirkwood.edu/nurseaide

What is an HSP (Health Support Professional)?
This is a standard curriculum that includes the requirements to comply with federal nursing home regulations. Thus, this curriculum is expected to be recognized in Iowa as "the CNA curriculum." At the same time, this curriculum will prepare those who work outside the nursing home setting to meet the competencies necessary to work in other settings, such as home health. It is designed to ensure training needs are met and recognized for at least the same functions as CNA, yet does not have the federal "eight-hour requirement" attached for those who choose not to work in a nursing home.
  • Successful completion of the standard Health Support Professional (HSP) training, which includes the following modules:
    • Core training (CORE) - A basic foundational knowledge and introdution to the medial profession.
    • Health Monitoring and Maintenance (HMM) - Services that support and maintain an indvudual's health and provide functional support to certain conditions.
    • Personal Activities of Daily Living (PADL) - Services to assist and individual to meet basic needs.
  • State Exam to earn an Advance Certification.
Here is what Kirkwood Continuing Ed offers: www.kirkwood.edu/preparetocare 

Please note:


6. What High School courses will help me prepare for the Nursing Program?

Algebra, Biology, English, Psychology, and Computer Technology classes will help you prepare for the Nursing Program. Kirkwood does offer a High School Health Academy Program within the local school districts that will enable you to explore healthcare options before graduating from High School. Contact your High School Counselor for more information.

If you are a Junior or Senior in High School, or a parent of a Junior or Senior in High School, we invite you to visit our campus and learn more about the Nursing Program at Kirkwood Community College!


7. What is the difference between a Nursing Program of study and a pre-Bachelor of Nursing Program of study?

Students may take general education courses that can transfer to four-year Nursing programs that grant a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Advisors are assigned through the Advising Center. Students earn an Associate degree in Liberal Arts and do not take technical Nursing courses at Kirkwood. These students are not Kirkwood Nursing students. Upon successful completion of a Liberal Arts degree at Kirkwood College Community, the student must apply and be accepted into a BSN program. Completing the degree at Kirkwood Community College does not guarantee acceptance into a BSN program.


8. Do you have anything to assist me in planning out my classes?

Yes! The links below are worksheets that will assist you in planning out your academic blueprint for a successful completion of your diploma/degree requirements.

  • Register for a Nursing Program Conference at your earliest opportunity.
  • Meet with your Advisor.
    • Your Advisor information can be found in your Degree Audit on EagleNet, or on MyHub.
    • You can come to Walk-in Advising on Tuesdays (8:00AM-11:00AM) and Thursdays (2:00PM-5:00PM)
      • Please call ahead to make sure there are no conflicts in scheduling, etc.
  • Use one of the following Program Worksheets:
    • I would like to go for my LPN diploma (LPN Only)
    • I already have my LPN, but would like to get my RN (LPN Transfer)
    • I would like to get my RN (ADN Program)
      • Use the ADN Nursing Program Map for student success in the Nursing program.  Please know, depending on what pre-requisites you may have already completed, this program map is a recommendation. This map may be altered.


9. Where are clinicals held?

Clinical courses are held within the (7) county area Kirkwood serves. A variety of long-term care facilities and hospitals are utilized. Travel is required and students are responsible for their own transportation. Some clinical sites include parking fees. Car-pooling is encouraged.


10. What are the compliance requirements for the clinical courses?

Check out our Compliance Guide for more information.

11. Do I need to purchase Nursing scrubs?

Nursing scrubs are required for Nursing students who are completing the Nursing labs, simulatons, and clinical assignments.


12. Is it possible to have a part-time job while enrolled in the Nursing Program?

The Nursing curriculum is very intense and requires a lot of study time. Many students do work part-time while enrolled in the Program. It is recommended that students plan to study 4-6 hours for every hour that is spent in class or clinical. For example - a 3 credit lecture class equals 12-18 hours of study per week. If you must work, we advise not more than 20 hours a week.

Please Note: For scheduling purposes, please know that you CANNOT work the shift directly prior to your clinical day. This is for patient safety and is closely regulated.

 

13. What if I have a felony conviction. Will I be able to attend Clinical, get a job or obtain a Nursing license?

Once the criminal background check is completed, any offenses, other than traffic violations, must be reported to the Human Services Department in Des Moines. The student will be given documentation to complete, which will be sent along with the background check to the Department of Human Services. Human Services will then make the decision on whether or not the student will be allowed to participate in Clinical. Even if the student is cleared to participate in Clinical, the Iowa Board of Nursing (IBON) has the right to decline licenser. Criminal background checks are repeated prior to taking the Nursing licensure exam and are always done upon an offer of employment in any health care setting.  IBON requires students to submit their legal paperwork prior to taking the licensure exam.
 
The Nursing Program will notify students, and prospective students, in writing, when Nursing courses with a clinical component may NOT be taken by a person:

  1. Who has been denied licensure by the board
  2. Whose license is currently suspended, surrendered or revoked in any United States jurisdiction
  3. Whose license/registration is currently suspended, surrendered or revoked in another country due to disciplinary action
  4. Refuses to participate in the background check or evaluation process
  5. A felony conviction
  6. A felony, serious misdemeanor, or aggravated misdemeanor charge with an outstanding disposition or warrant
  7. A serious misdemeanor or aggravated misdemeanor conviction in which the probationary period has not been completed
  8. A criminal conviction of any kind, related to past employment, and/or a healthcare system or organization
  9. Certain inclusions on the child, dependent adult, and/or sexual abuse registry
  10. A criminal conviction of any kind related to illegal distribution or theft of drugs in the past 10 years
  11. 2 OWI convictions in the past 3 years
  12. A criminal conviction related to the possession of drugs, and/or illegal substances in the past 3 years.
 
Any of the criteria listed below may disqualify you from enrollment in Kirkwood Community College's Nursing program based on factors such as job/program related patterns, timeframes, and/or completion of sentence
  1. A misdemeanor conviction involving domestic abuse with injury, violence, or sexual misconduct
  2. A pattern of criminal convictions or charges
  3. Recent criminal conviction(s) or charges of any type.
While enrolled in the nursing program at Kirkwood Community College, it is expected that students report all child abuse, dependent adult abuse, and/or criminal activity in which they are involved, to Kirkwood Community College Nursing Department within forty-eight (48) hours of the incident.  Failure to do so could result in criminal charges per Iowa Code and removal from the program.

14. What placement math scores are required?

 One of the following is required:

  • ALEKS algebra score of 30 (effective October 1, 2016)  
  • ACT math score of ≥ 19
  • SAT math score of ≥ 510
  • College level Math course equivalency
  • Earned AA or Bachelors Degree

Please note: Test scores expire after 2 years.

Learn more information about mandatory testing at Kirkwood.


15. Do I need a laptop for my Nursing courses?

Yes. We use an electronic exam system, and you will need to have your own laptop as per the attached requirements.

16. I am already an LPN, how long will it take me to complete the ADN program? (LPN ONLY)

It depends on the number of pre-requisites you have remaining. Please see attached detailed worksheet for more information.

Please note (for LPN Transfers ONLY):
Acceptance into the Technical Day Program is each Fall term only.


Also, Nursing courses with a clinical component may NOT be taken by a person:
  • Who has been denied licensure by the board.
  • Whose license is currently suspended, surrendered or revoked in any United States jurisdiction.
  • Whose license/registration is currently suspended, surrendered or revoked in another country due to disciplinary action.
     

17. I have taken Nursing courses at another school. How do those transfer into Kirkwood?

Your Nursing and other general education courses will be evaluated by the Nursing Program Department Coordinator and Kirkwood Enrollment Services. Your official transcripts may be sent to:

Kirkwood Community College
OneStop Office

6301 Kirkwood Blvd. SW
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

Please Note: Before sending in your transcripts, it is highly recommended that you meet with our lead advisor first. Please bring a copy of your unofficial transcripts, unless you have already sent them to Enrollment Services/OneStop. This way, she will be able to assess your current status, and work with you to plan your path for success with the Kirkwood Nursing Program. Please note the following Walk-In Advising Session Times:

Tuesdays, 8:00 AM - 11:00 AM*
Thursdays, 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM*
(319) 398-5563, Option 2
*Call ahead to verify available times and avoid a wait.


18. If I'm a licensed LPN in Iowa, may I work as an LPN in other states?


Yes, any state in the U.S. For more details, please go to the following NCSBN link: https://www.ncsbn.org/enhanced-nlc-implementation.htm  

19. If I'm a licensed RN in Iowa, may I work as and RN in other states?

The Nurse Licensure Compact Agreement (NLC) allows a nurse who resides in a compact state to hold ONE license in the nurse's primary state of residence and practice in all other states in which the compact is in effect. Primary state of residence is where the nurse holds a driver's license, pays taxes and/or votes. A listing of the compact states and additional information about the NLCA can be found at www.ncsbn.com.

A fact sheet to assist new graduates with Nurse Licensure Compact questions can be found in this pdf file: NLC Information for New Grads


20. What degree will I have when I graduate?

After the second semester of the Technical portion of the Nursing Program, students earn a Practical Nurse diploma and are eligible to complete the LPN licensure exam. If you continue through the full Program (ADN courses), you will be granted an Associate degree in Nursing  (ADN) and are eligible to complete the RN licensure exam.

 

21. Can I get a Bachelor's degree in Nursing after the ADN program?

There are colleges and universities that offer a Bachelors Degree in Nursing. Kirkwood's ADN Nursing Program transfers to (11) accredited four-year Nursing programs in Iowa (and 1 in Nebraska). Your state license will remain as an RN; having a Bachelors Degree may offer additional advancement opportunities in the field of Nursing. Check out our RN to BSN  page for more information.

 

22. What is the difference between a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), a Registered Nurse (RN) and a Bachelor's fo Science Degree Nurse (BSN)?

Degree PN (Practical Nurse) ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)
License Licensed Practical Nurse Registered Nurse Registered Nurse
Employment Long-term care
Hospitals
Physician offices
Same as LPN plus:
Home Health
Insurance Companies
Same as ADN
Advancement   Possibility for advancement Increased opportunities for advancement
Practice Works under the supervision of an RN or Physician Performs patient assessments Same as ADN
Develops and manages Nursing Care Plans  
Performs patient assessments Performs patient assessments  
Implements nursing interventions Implements nursing interventions
 
  

23. How are Nurses licensed?

Graduates of a School of Nursing must apply to the Iowa Board of Nursing (IBON) and successfully pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) before they are licensed as a Nurse in the State of Iowa. After successfully completing the Practical Nursing Program, you are eligible take the LPN licensure exam (Licensed Practical Nurse). After successfully completing the ADN program, you are eligible to take the RN (Registered Nurse) licensure exam.