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Release: Immediate

April 24, 2000

UI College of Nursing program wins distance education award

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa College of Nursing will receive a Points of Presence award for its RN-BSN Progression Program from the Iowa Distance Learning Association, the association announced recently. The award specifically cites the college's RN-BSN program for nurses at Veterans Affairs Medical Centers in Iowa City, Des Moines and Knoxville, calling it an "outstanding distance education program."

The association will present the award at its annual convention, which begins Thursday in Des Moines.

The UI program is the first in the nation to assist VA-employed registered nurses, who are under a federal mandate from the Department of Veterans Affairs to earn their bachelor's degrees in nursing by the year 2005. Enrolled nurses receive all the required supporting and prerequisite courses, general education requirements, and nursing major courses to complete the degree.

Course work is delivered over the state-run Iowa Communications Network (ICN), an interactive fiber optic network that connects more than 700 classrooms around the state. The program for VA nurses, which began last August, will conclude in 2003. More than 60 registered nurses are expected to earn bachelor's degrees.

RN-BSN director Keela Herr, Ph.D., an associate professor of nursing at the UI, said the program is "truly a collaborative effort of UI faculty, the Iowa VA Hospitals' staff, and the UI Division of Continuing Education," which provides technical and logistical support for the program. "Each has assumed a significant role in developing the program, implementing it and dealing with the multitude of issues that are inherent in a distance education program offering," Herr said.

The UI College of Nursing is a leading provider of distance education programs for registered nurses in Iowa. The college has been offering a bachelor's degree program to nurses at sites across Iowa since 1986. Prior to the development of the ICN in 1993, the college utilized satellite television transmission and telephone conferencing to provide course work in the program. Currently, the College offers the program at ICN classrooms located in Fort Dodge, Iowa City, Mason City, Orange City and Spencer.

The college's master of science degree program also utilizes the ICN to serve BSN-prepared students at sites in Burlington, Calmar, Davenport, Des Moines, Emmetsburg and Fort Dodge.