Kootenai | Kootenai Health | Issue 4, 2023

KH.ORG 11 it wasn’t the only contributing factor. Idaho’s nursing profession also faces retirements of a large number of the incumbent workforce. Currently, 29 percent of Idaho’s nurses are 55 years or older, and 3 percent of those are 65 years or older. While the number of nurses has declined, the need for nurses has only increased. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 10,000 people turn 65 years old every day nationally, which further increases the demand for compassionate and caring nurses. An innovative program Increasing enrollment in ISU’s program is one key strategy to address the nursing shortage. The ABSN program at ISU offers the opportunity for individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree in another discipline to make a career change and enter the nursing profession. The program is three semesters in length, including one summer semester, so it can be completed in one year. Courses in Coeur d’Alene will be delivered at the Kootenai Health campus, and clinical learning opportunities will be provided to students across the panhandle region, including placements in urban and rural settings. Kelly Espinoza, Ph.D., RN Teresa Conner, PT, Ph.D., MBA Anyone with a bachelor’s degree in another discipline is eligible to enter the program. Depending on the individual’s field of study, additional prerequisite courses may be needed to ensure they are ready to succeed in the accelerated program. Prerequisite courses may be taken through ISU or another accredited college or university. Because every situation is unique, the best way to learn what is needed is by reaching out to Idaho State’s school of nursing advisor directly at sonadvis@isu.edu. Once any needed prerequisite classes are complete, students are eligible to enter the program. Applications are due in November of each year, and applicants are interviewed the following February. By March, applicants are informed of their acceptance into the program, and classes begin in May. Although the application deadline for the 2024 session has passed, now is a perfect time for interested students to reach out and begin the process of having transcripts reviewed and learning where and how to begin completing any needed prerequisites. Support and collaboration The accelerated BSN program started on ISU’s Meridian campus in 2002 and has consistently expanded to meet the program’s growing demand. Over 550 students have graduated from the program since its inception. Graduates of the program have a high rate of passing the NCLEX-RN national examination for registered nurses, which speaks to the quality of the program. Many of these nurses have remained in the area, helping fill Idaho’s need for nurses and patients’ needs for quality, compassionate care. “We are excited by this partnership with Kootenai Health and understand that we could not have offered this innovative program without their support and collaboration,” said Teresa Conner, PT, Ph.D., MBA, dean for the College of Health at ISU. “It truly opens doors for accelerated nursing education and the ability to address the critical nursing shortage in northern Idaho.” Students in Idaho State University’s accelerated BSN program work with their instructors to learn hands-on skills. Advance your career Learn more about the ABSN program at Kootenai Health at KH.org/ABSN.