Iowa Western Community College
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Nursing: Practical Nursing

Just the Facts

Program Start Term: Fall and Spring
Program Length: 2 Semesters
Award: Diploma
Iowa State Board of Nursing

Completed Online: Full-Time Only
Completed in the Evenings: No
Pathway: Career Path
Career Cluster: Health and Sciences
Program Locations: Council Bluffs Campus,  Clarinda Center,  Shelby County Center

About the Program

Doctors might be higher profiled in the health care industry, but Practical Nurses play an extremely important role in the care of patients. You can enter this important and exciting profession by enrolling in Iowa Western’s Practical Nursing study program. You will earn a diploma and prepare to write the National Council of State Boards of Nursing examination. You will also have the opportunity to progress and complete the Associate Degree Nursing program to become a Registered Nurse (RN).

In this program, you’ll learn under the close direction and supervision of a registered nurse or physician. The courses will serve as the foundation for Iowa Western’s Associate Degree Nursing program. You’ll receive 12 hours worth of lab work per week and get hands-on experience in rehab facilities, daycare facilities, hospitals, and long-term care facilities.

Nurses are in high demand. You can enter the job market immediately after graduating or continue toward a bachelor’s degree to become a registered nurse for even higher-paying positions.


The Nursing programs are approved by the Iowa Board of Nursing, RiverPoint Business Park, 400 SW 8th Street, Suite B, Des Moines, IA 50309-4685, (515) 281-3255.

Career Information

The Licensed Practical Nursing program is designed to place students into the workforce upon completion of the one-year diploma. Practical Nurses care for the sick, injured, convalescent, and disabled under the direction of physicians and registered nurses. They are responsible for providing basic bedside care, such as taking vital signs (temperature, blood pressure, and pulse), treating pressure ulcers, administering injections, and applying dressings. Other on-the-job duties handled by a Practical Nurse include helping patients with bathing, dressing, and personal hygiene. All states require Licensed Practical Nurses to pass a licensing examination known as the NCLEX-PN after completing a state-approved practical nursing program. Licensed Practical Nurses are in high demand, especially in nursing homes. While there will be an abundance of jobs for nurses in the next decade, those wishing to work in a hospital setting will experience some competition, simply because hospitals are serving fewer inpatients and are not increasing their nursing staff. The earnings of Licensed Practical Nurses vary widely, depending on skill level, location, and experience.

Career Coach

Program Outcomes

Upon the successful completion of the program students will:

  • Identify effective methods of communication with clients and health care team members to promote, maintain and restore the optimal health of clients across the life span with common health needs.
  • Apply the nursing process in the provision of nursing care for clients across the life span with common health needs for the promotion, maintenance and restoration of optimal health.
  • Demonstrate the implementation and reinforcement of the teaching of clients with common health needs according to an established teaching plan.
  • Demonstrate the delivery of nursing care, assuming the role and responsibilities of the licensed practical nurse, within the health care environment for clients across the lifespan with common health needs in a variety of structured health care settings.

Average: $23.51
Entry Level: $14.19
Experienced: $30.39

* Salary information from EMSI Analyst Database.