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New BSN Curriculum - Start Major Coursework Immediately, No Prerequisites Required, Increased Lab and Clinical Hours

Posted by Dr. Nancy Kertz, Dean of the School of Nursing on Dec 27, 2018 11:58:17 AM

For over 100 years, the Mercy College School of Nursing has offered exceptional programs designed to educate quality nurses to support Iowa's healthcare needs. As dean, I am committed to ensuring we maintain the steadfast quality of these programs and that we accommodate Mercy College students who wish to pursue a career in nursing. 

Fundamentals of Nursing 331 (lab)

Despite a national nursing shortage in recent years, Mercy College continues to respond to the demand by offering additional program offerings such as the Accelerated Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing and the Paramedic to Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing. To ensure consistent program quality, the School of Nursing regularly conducts a review of all nursing program curricula. 

Following a careful review of our Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing (BSN) curriculum, and with exhaustive input from faculty and community of interest members, the School of Nursing has proposed an amended BSN curriculum beginning with the admission cycle of fall 2019, pending approval by the Iowa Board of Nursing. 

This curriculum change will allow our students to begin taking nursing courses in their first college semester. Prerequisites for the major will no longer be required as these prerequisite courses will be taken concurrently with the nursing coursework. The goal of taking the nursing courses and required science courses concurrently is to integrate key concepts and enhance the learning experience for nursing students. Another important feature of this curriculum change is the addition of more clinical/ laboratory hours and pharmacology content. The laboratory hours will be increased from 120 to 180 hours, and the clinical hours will be increased from 405 to 630 hours.

Any student who seeks admission to the BSN program must meet the minimum standards for Mercy College entrance requirements:

  • 2.25 high school GPA or an 18 ACT
  • 2.25 cumulative GPA from a higher education institution (9 credits or more)

If students meet the minimum standard, they are conditionally admitted into the BSN nursing program.

Once students are enrolled in the BSN program, they have their first 3 semesters to reach a 2.5 GPA calculated from the following courses:


  • NUR 105: Basic Nursing Skills 

  • NUR 115: History and Trends in Nursing Practice

  • NUR 125: Therapeutic Communication in Nursing

  • NUR 205: Foundations of Nursing Practice   

  • NUR 275: Holistic Assessment in Nursing                                           

  • BIO 302: Pathophysiology

Students who do not meet the 2.5 GPA may not be permitted to enter the 4th BSN semester. Students may be counseled into another program or placed on an intervention plan. Students who meet the required 2.5 GPA minimum will be permitted to enter the 4th BSN semester.

For students transferring in courses from another institution, the transferred grades at a “C” or better for any applicable course will be used in the GPA calculation to continue in the program. These courses will remain as transfer credit on a student’s transcript.

Students will continue taking PHA 202: Pharmacology. However, the pharmacology content will be enhanced with the addition of a one credit nursing pharmacology course and the inclusion of medication administration and treatment laboratory hours which will be incorporated into four medical-surgical nursing courses. Additional changes include a required chemistry course, an introduction to basic nursing skills course, a medical terminology course, a full course in both pediatrics and obstetrics (the content is currently integrated into other courses), two semesters of NCLEX preparation, the addition of a health promotion course, the addition of a therapeutic communication in nursing course, and a decrease in the number of nursing foundation courses from two courses to one course.

The curriculum plan will continue to be delivered year-round which will permit students to complete a BSN in two and a half years.

Nancy K. Kertz
Dean, School of Nursing

About Mercy College of Health Sciences
Mercy College of Health Sciences is the only private Catholic college in central Iowa and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Located in downtown Des Moines, Mercy College prepares graduates for service and leadership in the healthcare community with a wide-range of bachelor, associate, and certificate programs. Mercy College’s liberal arts and sciences education develops compassionate caregivers and leaders.

Visit www.mchs.edu or call (515) 643-3180 to learn more.