Drake, Mercy College of Health Sciences form accelerated degree partnership for Nursing

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

A new partnership between Drake University and Mercy College of Health Sciences will allow students to earn bachelor’s degrees from both institutions in four years. Under the new partnership, students will earn a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences from Drake and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Mercy College in approximately the same time it would normally take to earn a degree from one institution.

The partnership with Mercy College, and a similar new partnership between Drake and Allen College in Waterloo, provide Drake students with a smooth transition into the high demand field of nursing, with the opportunity to pursue a nursing degree at schools with clinical partnerships at two of Iowa’s major health systems. Allen’s students have clinical rotations with UnityPoint Health, and Mercy College has clinical rotations throughout central Iowa with primary access to Mercy Health Network at more than 150 sites.

“Drake’s new degree partnerships allow students to deepen their skill-set in a way that uniquely prepares them for careers in nursing and other health care fields in an accelerated format,” said Renae Chesnut, dean of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. “Students who graduate from Drake and either Mercy College or Allen College will also benefit from connection with students, faculty, and alumni base of two of the state’s most respected colleges and universities."

“The Mercy College partnership offers the fastest way for qualified students to obtain a BSN in Iowa, all without having to leave Des Moines,” said Dr. Nancy Kertz, dean of the School of Nursing at Mercy College. “This 12-month accelerated BSN format allows students to earn two degrees in four years and will better prepare them for placement in a growing job market.”

After completing their third year at Drake, students who meet academic qualifications will be admitted to Mercy College, where they will then complete four eight-week terms and a 15-week semester of clinical rotations. In total, students complete nearly 150 credit hours during the four years that it takes to complete the two degrees.

  • Mercy College’s 12-month program is the fastest path for qualified students to become a bachelor’s prepared nurse in Iowa.
  • This partnership allows Drake students to remain in Des Moines to complete their accelerated education.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics indicates the job market for nurses is strong nationwide, with a 15 percent growth rate, which is much faster than average of seven percent. In 2016, BSN prepared nurses had a median pay of $68,450 per year.

More information on each of these programs can be found online at http://www.drake.edu/hs/tracks/ or http://www.mchs.edu/nursing.

Drake’s health sciences majors receive inter-professional education experience, coursework addressing current and critical issues in healthcare, and pre-requisite courses for graduate professional programs in a variety of fields, providing excellent preparation for medical school or clinical doctorate programs (such as doctoral programs in nursing practice, physical therapy, or occupational therapy).

In addition to nursing, Drake’s health sciences majors have the opportunity to pursue accelerated degree options in a variety of other professional fields:

  • Students can earn a bachelor’s in health sciences from Drake and a professional certification in medical laboratory sciences from Mercy College in four years.
  • Students can earn a bachelor’s in health sciences from Drake and a master’s in business administration (MBA) or public administration (MPA) from Drake, or either health administration (MHA) or public health (MPH) from Des Moines University in five years.
  • Health sciences majors can remain at Drake to pursue a Master of Athletic Training (MS-AT) in five years, a Juris Doctor (JD) in six years, or a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) in seven years.

Drake alumni have the highest average salary of any college or university in Iowa, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard, and the University is in the top 3 percentile nationwide for return on investment, according to The Economist. 

Drake University is a midsize, private university in Des Moines, Iowa, enrolling more than 3,300 undergraduate and 1,700 graduate students from 40 states and approximately 40 countries. Students choose from over 70 majors, minors, and concentrations and 20 graduate degrees offered through six colleges and schools. Drake students, faculty, and staff take advantage of the wealth of cultural, recreational, and business opportunities found in Iowa's capital city. In return, Drake enriches the city through its own cultural offerings, considerable economic impact, and many service-learning endeavors, which channel the talent and energy of the Drake students toward meeting the needs of the community.

Mercy College of Health Sciences is the only private Catholic college in central Iowa and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Offering bachelor’s, associate and a number of certificate programs, Mercy College prepares graduates for service and leadership in the health care community by integrating its core values with a professional and liberal arts and sciences education. Mercy College students receive hands-on experience serving patients in our communities at dozens of health care sites across the region.

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