The Direct Care Worker Advisory Council advises the director of the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) on the regulation and certification of direct care workers. The group also develops recommendations on certification, education and training, standardization requirements for supervision, and functions for direct care workers. Like the Task Force, the Advisory Council has very broad representation. It is made up of representatives of direct care workers, consumers of direct care services, educators of direct care workers, other health professionals, employers of direct care workers, and appropriate state agencies. A career in nursing provides opportunities to care for people of all ages in a variety of settings. The men and women who select the nursing profession practice in hospitals, clinics, offices, schools, clients’ homes, workplaces, long-term care facilities and many other settings. Many nurses practice as health team members with physicians and other caregivers. Nursing care is provided to acutely and chronically ill patients and their families, and frequently involves health education and health promotion for clients from birth to death.
Historically, hospitals served as the primary setting for the delivery of health care services. This trend has reversed in an effort to provide affordable and accessible health care to all Iowans. Patients are discharged from hospitals earlier and many require nursing care in their homes. This has increased nursing opportunities in community settings. Many nurses continue their education and pursue advanced preparation as nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists and certified nurse midwives.
Nursing requires a broad based general education and clinical experience. Students take college level courses in the liberal arts, natural sciences, humanities and behavioral sciences. These courses serve as the foundation for clinical practice. Nursing courses emphasize critical thinking, technical skill, and commitment to providing nursing care that encompasses health promotion, illness prevention and rehabilitation.