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Nursing

If you have a heart for helping people and a passion for active, exciting, and challenging work, look no further than a nursing major at Dordt. Our goal is to guide, evaluate, and challenge nursing students to recognize and use their God-given responsibilities in their work while living a life of Christian discipleship. In short, our nurses serve God while serving their patients every day.

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A male student in scrubs speaks with a female student in the simulation lab

Program Overview

Dordt’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) courses are rooted in God’s call to care for the vulnerable and love our neighbors. The program is uniquely designed to combine intensive skills training and nursing knowledge.

You’ll gain practice skills by working in a hospital-like laboratory setting as well as a state-of-the-art simulation studio. You’ll also have a chance to engage in direct, real world patient care in more than 25 area hospitals, clinics, schools, and community settings. Combined with a wide variety of practice settings, including rural clinics, urban facilities, and acute and chronic care placements, it’s clear Dordt’s nursing majors are ready to make an impact on day one.

Plus, 100% of the nursing class of 2022 passed the NCLEX on the first attempt. This shows that our coursework and training prepare students to succeed.

A nursing instructor assists nursing students during lab.

What you can do with a nursing degree from Dordt University?

It’s not surprising that the majority of our nursing majors go on to achieve professional success as nurses. What can be surprising is the wide variety of fields our nurses can serve in—from traditional hospital settings to rural clinics, worldwide relief organizations, and everything in between. If you want to learn more about the options you’ll have after graduating from Dordt’s nursing program, check out the info below or reach out to our nursing department.

The career outcome rate for our nursing graduates in 2021 was 100%.

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse Practitioners provide aid and take steps to help care for patients.

Nurse Educator

A Nurse Educator teaches and provides different healthcare facilities with useful skill and knowledge.

Nurse Informatics Specialist

A Nurse Informatics Specialist uses their knowledge and skill to provide medical information to the technology side of healthcare.

Program Details

It’s not surprising that the majority of our nursing majors go on to achieve professional success as nurses. What can be surprising is the wide variety of fields our nurses can serve in—from traditional hospital settings to rural clinics, worldwide relief organizations, and everything in between. If you want to learn more about the options you’ll have after graduating from Dordt’s nursing program, check out the info below or reach out to our nursing faculty.

The career outcome rate for our nursing graduates in 2021 was 100%.

To learn more, you can also view the program strengths and learning outcomes for this program.

At Dordt, you'll receive an education that prepares you for lifelong service. Graduates with bachelor's degrees in nursing have a broad base of education in areas such as sociology, psychology, natural science, and social science. The curriculum is comprised of:

  • 64 credits of nursing courses, including over 570 hours of clinical and simulation and over 180 hours practicing in the nursing lab.
  • A foundation of CORE courses (30.5 credits) and co-requisites (34 credits).

A low instructor-to-student ratio gives a high-quality learning environment with opportunities for one-on-one instruction.

Dordt nursing uses a concept-based curriculum. Concept-based learning is increasingly viewed as a major trend for the future of education. Teaching conceptually turns traditional learning upside down, focusing on generalities (concepts) and then applying this understanding to specifics (exemplars), instead of the traditional educational approach that focuses more heavily on content and facts.

By gaining a deeper understanding of a core set of concepts, a student can recognize and understand similarities and recurring characteristics, which can be applied more effectively than memorized facts. Students can understand how to assess and intervene based on concepts, then apply understanding to care of patients.

You will follow a curricular plan that will introduce you to nursing practice in the first year. In the second year, you will learn health and wellness concepts that may be applied to all patients and clients across the life span. In year three, you will learn about chronic diseases and disorders, as well as predictable health experiences such as pregnancy, labor, and delivery. In your fourth year, you will engage with patients who are experiencing acute, intensive illness and complex health situations. You will also work closely with the nursing faculty to prepare for your licensing exam.

Prior to admission: All first-year students who have an ACT less than 22 and a high school GPA less than 3.0 will be counseled that they must meet with a tutor for first semester classes and they must meet with their nursing adviser at least twice during the semester to obtain a recommendation to continue in the nursing major.

Admission to the nursing major will be completed in April or May of the first year.

Admission procedures: Students will be admitted to the nursing major in April of their first year. Requirements for admission include:

  • A grade of C or above in supporting courses
  • College GPA: 2.67
  • Adviser recommendation

Progression and retention: Progression in the nursing major will be dependent upon the following:

  • Nursing courses: a grade of 80% or above
  • Supporting courses: C or 77%
  • CORE 120, PSYC 204 and 244, BIO 203, 204, 210, 302, STAT 131, CHEM 201, SOC 201
  • Other courses: pass

The passing standard includes repeating all failed courses. A grade of 80 percent or higher is required for all nursing courses. In courses with a clinical component, students must pass both theory and clinical in order to pass the course and continue in the curriculum. The evaluation policies for nursing courses are the same as those utilized by other departments.

Transfer: Students desiring to transfer into the nursing major from another college must arrange for a telephone or personal meeting with a nursing department faculty member. Students must submit application materials as described above. Transfer students will be allowed to enroll in the nursing major as sophomore nursing students on a case by case basis if they meet enrollment requirements. Transfer students who are eligible must take learning and adaptation nursing courses prior to beginning the sophomore personal wellness concepts. The learning and adaptation courses will be available as independent studies or online for transfer students. When possible, a BSN for a transfer student will be completed in four years, but depending on previous coursework, extra semesters may be necessary.

If you are interesting in transferring into the Dordt University nursing program, you can find our academic requirements in the catalog on page 11.

We work with transfer students on a case-by-case basis. As a transfer student you will work closely with your admissions counselor, nursing department, and registrar. All you'll need to do now is:

  • Apply online to Dordt.
  • Submit both high school and college transcripts to the registrar.

Once all your documents have been received, we are committed to reviewing your transcripts and developing a plan of study in a timely manner.

If you have preliminary transfer questions please contact our nursing program director, Deb Bomgaars, at Deb.Bomgaars@dordt.edu or (712) 722-6689.

Approval/accreditation: The Iowa Board of Nursing granted interim approval for the BSN at Dordt University (formerly known as Dordt College) on July 19, 2017. The Dordt University Nursing Program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and approved by the Iowa State Board of Nursing.

Download Plan

  • Human Biology I: An overview of the structure and function of the human body, using an experimental approach. Addresses how worldview impacts the use of one’s own body and guides ethical decision-making. Cadaver lab exercises will be included. Three lectures and one laboratory per week. For nursing, HHP, and other non-biology majors.
  • Human Biology II: A study of human anatomy and physiology in the context of common diseases and disorders, integrating core knowledge of structure and function with clinical correlations. The complex connections of the human body are investigated with applied lab exercises and activities. Three lectures and one laboratory per week. For nursing majors.
  • Nutrition: This course will focus on the basic science of foods and their components including relationships to health and disease. The implications of personal decision making and behavior change, as well as social, economic, and cultural influences, will be discussed. Does not count toward the biology major.
  • Microbiology: A study of the form, structure, and classification of microorganisms, including an introduction to viruses. The course will emphasize bacteria, general laboratory techniques, culturing and control of microbial growth. A substantial portion of the course will deal with immunologic processes: antibodies and antigens, host-antigen reactions, T & B cell response mechanisms, and non-specific host defense mechanisms. Three lectures and one laboratory period per week. Prerequisite: second year student in the BSN program; or permission of instructor. Does not count toward the biology major.
  • General, Organic, and Biochemistry: An introduction to the fundamental concepts of general, organic, and biochemistry. Using relevant biological case studies, we will explore how chemistry helps us investigate, understand and explain the function and malfunction of living systems. Topics include atomic structures and chemical bonding, states of matter, chemical reactions, solutions, equilibria, acids, bases and buffers, basic organic chemical mechanisms, structure and function of biomolecules, enzyme catalysis, and central dogma of molecular biology. Three lectures per week.
  • Lifespan Development: This course studies the growth and maturation of persons throughout the entire lifespan, including examination of physical, cognitive, personality, social changes, faith development, and other developmental tasks. This course will also focus on evaluating the theoretical issues and
    descriptive information portraying the growth of an individual from conception through late adulthood. Students will develop a biblicallyinformed vision of who we are as image-bearers of God and what it means to be humans living in God’s creation.
  • Psychopathology: This course examines the development and symptoms of emotional and behavioral problems. Topics covered include the clinical assessment of affective disorders, schizophrenia, personality disorders, psychosomatic disorders, anxiety disorders, and the process of adjustment to stress. Attention will be given to personality, social, and religious factors, and their role in mental health.
  • Sociology and Social Justice: Includes an examination of culture, socialization, social structure, group behavior, and inequalities (of class, race, and gender), as well as identifying and analyzing the pressing problems in our world that requires an understanding of social change that occurs through collective action and social movements. Through an exploration of predominant sociological theories, students are able to contrast those with a biblical worldview that challenges them to articulate how a reformed Christian understanding of creation (and norms) sin, redemption, and consummation may be used to positively affect social interaction, organizations, and institutions.
  • Introductory Statistics: An introductory course in statistical techniques and methods and their application to a variety of fields. Topics include data analysis, design of experiments, and statistical inference including confidence intervals and hypothesis testing. Exposure to statistical software and a substantive student project are also part of this course.
  • Introduction to Nursing Practice: This course introduces nursing majors to the practice of nursing as they explore nursing as a verb and a noun. As the student explores their vocation as a Christian nurse, foundational concepts studied include caring, compassionate accompaniment, and advocacy. Students are introduced to nursing’s scope of practice and ethics in health care.
  • Understanding Nursing Education: This course introduces nursing majors to the study of nursing practice as a preparation for licensure and for life-long learning as a professional nurse. Concept-based learning is introduced, and curricular links and clinical competencies are examined. Students learn and integrate study habits and test taking skills. Students commence their learning of the practice concepts of personal protection, quality and safety, the nursing process and ways of knowing as well as evidence-based practice.
  • Wellness in Self and Others: The course emphasis is on caring for the whole person, to include oneself, in light of God’s command to care for his creation. Concepts investigated include healthy eating, exercise, hygiene, safety, sleep, relationships, and spiritual well-being. Students analyze concepts further and apply them to individuals across the lifespan. The lab emphasis is on applying course concepts of healthy eating, exercise, hygiene, safety, sleep, relationships, and spiritual well-being to the self and to others in the nurse’s care. Using appropriate clinical reasoning, activities include wellness assessments and interventions among self, other individuals, and groups.
  • Health Promotion in Community: Continuing the emphasis on caring for the whole person in light of God’s command to care for his creation, students conduct a concept analysis of health promotion across the lifespan and within specific vulnerable populations. Students discriminate influences from the environment as well as the role of infection control, inflammation, glucose metabolism, and skin integrity in maintaining health. Students integrate the concepts of stress management, maladaptive behaviors, and disaster preparedness as part of health promotion in community.
    Concepts will be applied in three hours of lab time each week.
  • Chronic Illness Dynamics: The course extends the concepts of health and wellness of Nursing 201 and 202. Students deconstruct new concepts that include hydration, mobility, homeostasis in hormonal, neuro, and thermal regulation, gas exchange, glucose regulation, and elimination. Students analyze hemodynamics and the role of nursing care of patients as well as the management of chronic pain. Students learn aspects of integrated care planning. Includes two-hour lab each week.
  • Dimensions of Predictable Health Conditions: In the course students analyze concepts common to predictable health conditions and outcomes. The study of reproductive health care and the childbirth experience, fetal development, and genetics are included. Students integrate care coordination and related therapeutic procedures to the predictable health conditions studied. Aspects of creational development are emphasized. Includes two-hour lab each week.
  • Professionalism in Nursing Practice: This course focuses on concepts of professionalism in nursing practice to include confidentiality, health information security, and patient rights. The concept of professionalism is deconstructed. Additional concepts include formal and informal professional relationships, interdisciplinary interactions, communication and collaboration among individuals, groups, as well as patients and their families. Students are introduced the processes of grief, dying, and death. Included are interrelationships among legal and ethical directives in health care.
    Through reflection, student’s self-awareness as part of God’s creational structure and their personal response is constructed.
  • Pharmacology in Nursing Practice I: This is part one of a three-part course that focuses on foundational pharmacological concepts that include drug categories, pharmacokinetics, expected actions and untoward outcomes. Discussions include methods to understand mathematical calculations, pharmacological abbreviations, and administration techniques. Students differentiate principles of ethical indications, legal precautions, and administrative responsibility.
  • Health Promotion in Community (Clinical): Clinical experiences in community settings introduce students to competencies applicable to the course concepts as well as opportunities to implement their competencies in professionalism, and transcultural nursing practice. Students will perform selected, applicable nursing skills. Graded on a pass/fail basis.
  • Chronic Illness Dynamics (Clinical): Clinical experiences include caring for patients with chronic illness across the lifespan in a variety of practice settings. Previously learned nursing practice competencies will be reinforced. Students apply additional, selected, applicable nursing skills. Graded on a pass/fail basis.
  • Dimensions of Predictable Health Conditions (Clinical): Clinical experiences include application of nursing concepts studied in Nursing 204. The student will focus on caring for patients across the lifespan who have health conditions with predictable courses and outcomes. It provides opportunities for continuing development of clinical competency in the performance of selected, increasingly complex nursing skills. The students demonstrate knowledge of standards of nursing practice, professionalism, and transcultural nursing practice. Graded on a pass/fail basis.
  • Standards of Nursing Practice: The focus of the course is to introduce the student to concepts relevant to standards in nursing practice, while integrating knowledge from Nursing 207. Students analyze the ethical standards of nursing ethical as well as a variety of other professional standards. Students discuss informed consent, clinical judgement, errors and variances, and reporting responsibilities. Students are introduced to common healthcare resources, technology and informatics in health care, and distinction of nursing practice among different practice settings.
  • Pharmacology in Nursing Practice II: This is part two of a three-part course that augments Nursing 208 content. The course focus is on in-depth systems-based disease specific pharmacological therapeutics. Students identify and translate mechanisms of action, potential interactions, and contraindications. Additionally, students learn specific responsibilities in administering central access and parenteral therapies. Students integrate the nurse’s responsibilities in documentation of pharmacological interventions. Prerequisite: enrollment in BSN program; Nursing 202, 208. Corequisite: Nursing 203; or permission of instructor.
  • Pharmacology in Nursing Practice III: This is part three of a three-part course. The course introduces total parental nutrition, transfusions, interventional pharmacology, and pharmacogenomics. Students synthesize disease specific pharmacological therapies and incorporate aspects of applicable patient education outcomes. The course reinforces and expounds on the content from Nursing 208 and 218.
  • Healthcare Systems and Nursing Practice: In this course the students discuss healthcare organization and systems, health policy and other applicable influences of law in health care, the economics of health care to include compensation and reimbursement. Students reflect on maintaining the integrity of their role as Christian nurses while meeting the expectations of employing organizations.
  • Care of Acute and Complex Patients: The focus of the course is on concepts particular to the care of persons with acute and complex health conditions. Students analyze hemodynamics, metabolic demand, and acid-base balance. Students study the influencing aspects of family dynamics while caring for patients with acute or complex health conditions. Students extrapolate aspects of crisis intervention and emergency management applicable to nursing practice.
  • Integration and Readiness: During this preceptorship seminar, students conduct formative discussions on the integration of program concepts and competencies with their clinical experiences during the nursing preceptorship. Students generate Christian nursing concepts and translate them into personal behaviors with measurable outcomes. This course also involves student review of all program concepts and clinical competencies. Students hone test-taking skills, and practice testing for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) examination. Students analyze their strengths and weaknesses as they prepare for licensure. Students complete administrative steps required for application to test.
  • Faith and Cultural Aspects in Health Care: Students engage in an introductory study of culture and its influence on behavior. Discussions include specific cross-cultural issues that affect healthcare delivery. Students consider the worldviews of modern cultures and the implications for Christian discipleship within nursing practice; define health and illness as Christian individuals and part of the community as a whole; and comprehend traditional and alternative health care practices, incorporating religious beliefs, practices, and rituals. A phenomenological assessment is applied to the populations studied.
  • Care of Acute and Complex Patients (Clinical): Clinical experiences emphasizing integration of concepts learned in Nursing 301 with additional selected nursing competencies required in caring for patients with acute and/or complex health conditions. Students continue to integrate previously acquired knowledge and skills. Graded on a pass/fail basis.
  • Nursing Preceptorship (Clinical): Clinical experiences include 120 hours of practicum along with med-surg clinical practice in acute care. Clinical focuses on the application and refinement of all nursing program concepts and skill competencies. Clinical experiences may vary depending on the particular, selected practicum setting. Graded on a pass/fail basis.
  • Leadership in Nursing Practice: Concepts related to leadership in nursing practice are the focus of this course. Servant-leadership is emphasized as a reflection of the Christian Nurse’s reformational response to God’s calling in their life. Students discuss key characteristics and essential behaviors involved in being preceptors and mentors. Students learn aspects of delegation, chain of command, and conflict resolution within health care, and nursing practice.
  • Health Assessment: This course facilitates the students’ integration of all program concepts structuring assessment skills, decision-making, and intervention responses into three distinct categories: health promotion, risk assessment, and failure-to-rescue. Health assessments include physical, psychological, socio-cultural, and faith dimensions of the individual across the lifespan. Includes two classroom hours and one hour lab time each week.
  • Professional Practice Development in Society: This capstone course concentrates discussion of Christian nursing practice within a broader perspective of a Reformed Christian worldview. It examines conflicting worldviews, prominent theoretical frameworks used to explain and guide professional nursing practice, and the integration of Christian caring while performing the various roles of the professional nurse. Students develop their individual philosophical perspective of nursing practice. The ability to conceptualize issues, apply critical thinking, theoretical reflection, and serviceable insight to political, economic, and psychosocial issues and trends affecting nursing and health care is facilitated.

See the course catalog for more information.

“Dordt has taught me to treat each patient, co-worker, and person I encounter as an image-bearer of Christ, and to use all the gifts God has blessed me with for his glory. I received such a rich education and experience at Dordt, and I am excited to be in a position to be able to give back to others, for the glory of God and his kingdom.”

Samantha Roos
A picture of a smiling women with brown hair wearing a stethoscope.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Our program is one of 45 programs of study on campus contributing to a vibrant learning community. Campus and educational activities work hand-in-hand allowing for many opportunities within and outside the classroom. The primary focus of the nursing faculty is to shape, nurture, and challenge students, providing a personal, God-glorifying learning experience.

Nursing students apply for admission into the program simultaneously with their application to Dordt University. As soon as the admission criteria are met, the student will be notified; there is no waiting list. The program has an established plan of study relieving students of the burden of planning out eight semesters of classes.

Fun! Sometimes scary. Interesting. Eye-opening. Stressful. These are student words used to describe the clinical experience. Initially, students will spend time in the clinical practice laboratory or simulation laboratory. When ready, students will experience providing direct patient care in a variety of facilities offering medical, surgical, obstetric, pediatric, psychiatric, and public health nursing care. Although students may have a favorite area of clinical, these expansive experiences expose students to a wide variety of practice settings and the many possibilities for their emerging vocation.

Every Registered Nurse learns basic skills to provide safe nursing care to patients. One example is taking a blood pressure and understanding what the numbers indicate. The skill of properly administering medications and other treatments is critical to the patient’s well-being and the nurse continually assesses and evaluates the patient’s status. The Registered Nurse monitors the patient’s psychological and emotional needs. They coordinate and facilitate patient care requirements and interventions among numerous providers in the healthcare setting.

Students may travel to the assigned clinical sites mostly in their own vehicle and occasionally together as a group using a university vehicle.

Yes! We encourage students to be fully involved in the Dordt University experience! Students involved in co-curricular activities must communicate their schedules with their instructors, coaches, and directors ahead of event times, and they need to be excellent time managers.

When you have completed your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) degree at Dordt University you will be eligible to sit for the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination), the national licensing exam taken by all student nurses. After successful completion of this exam, you will be eligible to be licensed as an R.N. in whichever U.S. state you choose.

Zylstra Nursing Education Center

As a nursing major, you'll have the opportunity to spend time in Dordt's Nursing Center. This unique location includes a large classroom, skills lab, two simulation labs with control and debrief rooms, and faculty office spaces.

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