Kootenai | Kootenai Health | Issue 4, 2023

10 Idaho State University and Kootenai Health have joined forces to help anyone with a bachelor’s degree become a nurse in as little as 12 months By Lee Ann Waldron and Kim Anderson Idaho State University and Kootenai Health have joined forces to bring ISU’s Accelerated Bachelor of Nursing (ABSN) undergraduate program to the Coeur d’Alene area. Through the program, people who have earned a bachelor’s degree in another subject can go through a 12-month training program that prepares them to take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCEX-RN) and move directly into practice as a registered nurse. The program is currently offered at ISU’s main campus in Pocatello and its satellite campus in Meridian, with 90 seats available between the two southern Idaho locations. Plans are for the new cohort in Coeur d’Alene to offer 10 seats for its initial 12-month program. Additional seats can be added for future cohorts, depending on demand. “We are pleased to be home to ISU’s accelerated BSN program in northern Idaho,” said Kelly Espinoza, Ph.D., RN, chief nursing officer for Kootenai Health. “We are committed to providing a learning environment that leads to the utmost success for these students, which ultimately translates into improved patient care for those we serve.” A critical nursing shortage Hospitals, physician practices and many other health care settings across Idaho have experienced difficulty filling vacant positions because of a nationwide nursing shortage. This shortage has been especially hard-hitting in rural communities, including many in the north. Temporary, traveling nurses have been hired as a stopgap solution, but because wages are high for traveling nurses, this solution is too expensive to be sustainable. The Idaho Nursing Workforce Center at the Idaho Center for Nursing has reported that Idaho’s shortage of registered nurses ranges between 106 and 523 annually. Although the COVID-19 pandemic both highlighted and compounded the nursing shortage, FUTURE NURSES Can Get on the Fast Track