Gem State Roundup

Idaho State University expands nurse education program to North Idaho

By: - July 28, 2023 4:15 am
Photo of a Kootenai Health nurse in heavy personal protective equipment

In this file photo, a Kootenai Health critical care nurse works in the hallway in heavy personal protective equipment. While in the COVID-19 isolation unit, nursing staff delivered food and helped clean rooms to prevent unnecessary travel from other departments. (Courtesy of Kootenai Health)

Idaho State University is expanding its program that lets college graduates go back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

The university announced in a news release on Thursday that its Accelerated Bachelor of Nursing degree program is headed to Coeur d’Alene. The program already trains students in Meridian and ISU’s main campus in Pocatello.

ISU says its program, founded in 2002, has trained 550 nursing students who graduated. 

The program lets students who already have a bachelor’s degree go on to earn a new bachelor’s degree in nursing and go on to become a registered nurse.

Classes in the Coeur d’Alene program will be held at Kootenai Health. Students can also be placed in health care facilities for clinical learning opportunities in urban and rural North Idaho.

“We are excited by this inaugural named partnership with Kootenai Health, and understand that we could not have offered this innovative program without their support and collaboration,” said Teresa Conner, 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 North Idaho.”

Ten students can enroll in the program in its first year, which will begin next year and last a full year. The program accepts up to 40 students in Pocatello and 50 in Meridian.

Idaho has a shortage of nurses and other health care professionals. But the nursing shortage is even more pronounced in rural areas. Many registered nurses in Idaho live in or around Boise, the Idaho Capital Sun previously reported

“We are pleased to welcome ISU’s nursing students to beautiful northern Idaho, and to our health system,” said Kelly Espinoza, 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.”


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