Health Sciences

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Health Sciences Careers: Nurse

Health Sciences Designation: Pre-Nursing (PNUR)
Career: Nurse
Job Outlook: 15% from 2016-2026
Median Pay: $71,730 annually in 2018 (approximately $34.48 per hour)
Entry-level Education: Bachelor's degree



Nurses focus on individualizing care for each patient. As a future nurse, you will use objective data and subjective experience along with the biological, physical, and behavioral needs of your patients to give them the best care possible. You will also advocate for your patients and their families while playing a key role in the health care team. There are many work settings and specialties to choose from within nursing, so you will be able to use your skills, passions, and expertise to find the area that’s right for you!


Work Settings:

Nurses work in a variety of healthcare settings, ranging from ambulatory healthcare to hospitals and many more.  Some of the common settings for ambulatory care include physicians’ offices, home healthcare, and outpatient care centers. If you are interested in a more non-traditional path, you could work in home health and travel to patients’ homes to provide care. You can also work in schools, nursing homes, and community centers. If you wish to expand your skills and expertise throughout your career, there are many advancement opportunities from clinical roles into senior-level administrative roles, as well as opportunities in the business side of healthcare. The military is also an option for nurses to serve your country and provide services to our armed forces. Nursing is a very diverse career that offers opportunities for you to find the match that best fits you.


Academic Requirements:

Registered nurses usually pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), or a diploma from an approved nursing program. BSN programs usually take 4 years to complete while ADN and diploma programs usually take 2 to 3 years. Each year, more employers are moving to requiring nurses to have a bachelor’s degree. Drake’s Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree is a great way for you to explore how you can pair nursing with other areas of healthcare.  We offer two 3+1 BSN degree combination options that will allow you to graduate in four years with a Health Sciences degree from Drake and a BSN from either Mercy College of Health Sciences or Allen College.


Additional Information:

All states, the District of Columbia, and US territories require nurses to have a nursing license. To become licensed, nurses must graduate from an approved nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). There are many specialties that nurses can go into each with its own set of additional certifications and education. The American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS) recognizes 19 certification programs for the different areas that nurses can specialize in. Some examples of specialties include:

  • Cardiac
  • Emergency Nursing
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Gastroenterology
  • Hospice and Palliative Care
  • Legal Nurse Consultant
  • Neuroscience
  • Pain Management
  • Pediatric
  • Perianesthesia
  • Psychiatric
  • Surgery


Why is Health Sciences a great major for Pre-Med?

As a student in our Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree, you’ll get the best of both worlds: a rigorous science curriculum that will prepare you for the challenges of working in clinical settings and an education in healthcare that will help you succeed in your professional career.  All Health Sciences students take core courses in the sciences that you can customize based on the required prerequisite coursework you’ll need to get into your top choice nursing program.  But beyond that, you’ll also complete our Health Sciences Core Curriculum, which teaches you about every aspect of healthcare and how to be a successful professional once you graduate.  The Health Sciences Core Curriculum includes coursework in professionalism, innovation and problem solving, cultural sensitivity, healthcare ethics, and an overview of what to expect when you enter the workforce.  This unique curriculum is only offered to Health Sciences majors at Drake and is one thing that will make you stand out when you begin your nursing career.

In addition to the coursework you take at Drake, you can take advantage of the partnerships we have with established nursing programs in Iowa.  We partner with Mercy College of Health Sciences in Des Moines and Allen College in Waterloo to help you earn two degrees in four years.  If you are interested in nursing, you can spend your first three years at Drake earning your Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree.  The courses you’ll take in this degree program will fulfil the required prerequisite coursework for both the Mercy and Allen BSN programs and prepare you for study in your nursing education.  After you are admitted to the nursing program at either Mercy or Allen, you will spend your fourth year completing the requirements for your BSN.  Upon graduation, you will earn both your Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences from Drake and your Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the other institution.  This is a great way to become trained in the field of nursing, while also learning about ways to enhance and expand your skills in healthcare!



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