Associate Degree Nursing

The concept of Associate Degree nursing was developed out of innovative research done across the United States in the 1950’s which showed that individuals could be prepared in two years to be competent and caring registered nurses (RNs) who would become “the heart of bedside nursing care.” Hesston College still connects to this original mission of Associate Degree nursing by continuing an emphasis on “touching lives.” The mission of the nursing program is to serve the current and future health care needs of clients, families, and communities by facilitating within students the development of clinical judgment and a passion to serve others through a holistic, comprehensive approach to client-centered care.

Over time, associate degree nursing has proven its merit. Each year, more AD-prepared graduates take the licensure exam than those prepared by either the diploma or four-year BSN educational routes. In 2014, 55 percent of the U.S. candidates taking the NCLEX-RN licensure exam were graduates of associate degree nursing programs, according to National Council of State Boards of Nursing. In the clinical setting, associate degree nurses perform a variety of nursing roles with competency and caring.

Admission Policies

Curriculum Sequences

Application Process

In order to be admitted to the college for the nursing program, an applicant must be a high school graduate or have passed the GED examination. The first steps in the admission process follow. All information must be submitted to the Hesston College Admissions Office.

  1. Complete and submit the Hesston College Application for Admission.
  2. Complete and submit the Hesston College Nursing program application.
  3. Provide two references. If employed in health care, one reference must be from current employer. References may also come from other employers, supervisors, teachers, coaches, pastors, etc. References from personal friends or relatives are not accepted. Forms are available online or from the Admissions Office.
  4. Submit official high school transcripts or GED scores.
  5. Submit official ACT, SAT or ASSET test scores.
  6. Submit official transcripts from all colleges, universities and other schools attended.

Nursing Graduate and Program Outcomes

Advantages of the Associate Degree in Nursing

Students who choose the two-year Associate Degree for their nursing education experience the following advantages:

  • An early opportunity to affirm career choice by beginning nursing experience already in the first semester of college
  • Savings of time for those eager to enter the workplace
  • Significant financial savings since programs typically require only four to five semesters to complete
  • Access to exciting employment opportunities in a wide variety of roles and settings
  • An opportunity to continue education while working at an RN wage
  • Financial assistance with tuition costs (once in the workplace as an RN, many hospitals offer tuition reimbursement for RNs choosing to continue their education for a bachelor’s degree in nursing)
  • Flexible options for RN-to-BSN study (many programs offer evening or weekend classes, on-line courses, and advanced placement for RNs who want to complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing)
  • An opportunity to bring actual employment experience to upper-level nursing courses, resulting in multiple years of valuable clinical experience that can now be applied in the academic setting

Job Outlook and Employment Opportunities

Hesston College Associate Degree graduates have a wide range of position opportunities open to them immediately upon graduation and licensure. Alumni typically are employed as staff nurses and charge nurses in hospitals, medical centers, extended-care facilities, home health care and clinics. Graduates can enter a wide range of nursing areas including medical nursing, surgical nursing, maternity care, pediatrics, mental health care, operative nursing, urgent care, home health/hospice care, out-patient care centers and long-term care.

The current and projected job market for RNs across the United States is very strong, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 edition. Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will occur for a number of reasons, including an increased emphasis on preventative care; growing rates of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity; and demand for healthcare services from the baby boomer population, as they live longer and more active lives. Registered nurses (RNs) provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients and the public about various health conditions and provide advice and emotional support to patients and their family members.

The median annual wage for registered nurses was $65,470 in May 2012. Many employers offer flexible work schedules, child care, educational benefits, and bonuses (Bureau of Labor Statistics).