Dawn Hales

Dawn Hales sets example for nurses as she earns her BSN

Dawn Hales has always wanted to get her BSN and has always loved Iowa State University, so she knew Iowa State’s BSN program was where she was meant to be.

Dawn has been looking forward to earning her bachelor of science degree in nursing (BSN) since she began her nursing career about 25 years ago. She’s spent most of her time as a registered nurse (RN) in long-term care, as well as working in hospice and assisted living. In recent years, Dawn has worked as a nursing consultant and is the current director of nursing at Accura HealthCare of Ames.

Dawn is proud to lead a team of 20 nurses and 40 aides as the director of nursing. She wants to use her journey of obtaining her BSN to set an example for her coworkers.

“If they can see that I can [get my BSN] at 62, then they’ll know there’s nothing they cannot do,” Dawn said.

Dawn is a junior in nursing at Iowa State. She said that Iowa State offering a BSN program solidified her decision to start on her degree.

“People were saying, ‘why don’t you just go get your BSN online?’” she said. “Because it’s not Iowa State! Iowa State is where my heart is.”

Being on-call 24/7, working through a full-time student schedule, and spending time with her family has been a juggling act for Dawn, but she’s eager to do the work to fulfill her goal of getting her BSN.

“It’s been really hard. There have been times when I took my laptop to my grandson’s ball games,” Dawn said. “But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can’t wait to get a license plate that says ‘ISURNBSN’ on it at the end of my ISU journey.”