Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU), a small university founded in 1885 which is affiliated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church, enrolls less than 1000 students each year. The majority of these students are undergraduates, although the university does offer a few graduate programs in education as well.
Among the undergraduate students, the most popular major is nursing, offered through the Arlene Gates Department of Nursing, which is a part of the Donna Starr Christen College of Healthcare, Fitness, and Science. DWU’s nursing programs are accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) and approved by the South Dakota Board of Nursing; DWU itself is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.
Associate of Arts in Nursing
Either on the main campus in Mitchell, South Dakota, or on the satellite campus in Huron, prospective Registered Nurses (RN) can complete a course sequence leading to an Associate of Arts (AA) degree with a major in nursing. This program starts in the fall, and takes two full years (including two summer semesters) to complete. After completing all six semesters and earning seventy-one credit hours, a graduate is prepared to take the National Council Licensing Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The curriculum of the AA in Nursing program includes both general education courses and nursing courses, and has a strong emphasis on clinical practice; students begin clinical rotations in the very first semester of the program. Before beginning the program, students must complete a nurse assistant training course. This can be done at DWU, or through another college or healthcare facility.
Associate of Arts in Nursing – LPN to RN
Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls hosts the DWU AA in Nursing Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) to RN program; the LPN to RN program is not available on the main campus in Mitchell or in Huron. In order to accommodate LPNs who are working, classes are offered on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and some classes are offered online. Before beginning the LPN to RN curriculum, an LPN must complete prerequisite courses in anatomy, physiology, chemistry, microbiology, psychology, English composition, and sociology. After these prerequisites are complete, the LPN to RN curriculum takes one year (two semesters) to complete. It begins in the fall. Graduates may take the NCLEX-RN.
Bachelor of Arts in Nursing – RN to BAN Completion Program
The RN to Bachelor of Arts in Nursing (BAN) program is offered online, in order to accommodate working RNs. An incoming RN must complete twenty credits of nursing courses via the distance learning format. In addition to these nursing courses, she may need to complete additional general education classes, depending on her transcript. DWU does not offer the non-nursing courses in an online format; students must either travel to campus to complete these or take them online through another university and transfer the credits. The RN to BAN program includes a clinical component, which can be completed in a location convenient for the student. In total, a student in the RN to BAN program must earn 127 credits to graduate. The length of the program will vary depending on how many general education courses an RN needs to complete.
Nurse Aide Training Course
DWU offers a Nurse Aide Training Course every August. This course is required for students who are planning to start the AA in Nursing degree in the fall. However, the short program can also provide a direct entry into the nursing profession. Graduates of the training course are eligible to take the state certification exam and, if successful, pursue careers as Certified Nurse Assistants (CNA).
Dakota Wesleyan University
1200 W. University Avenue,
Mitchell, SD 57301