How To Become A Nurse In Idaho

Becoming a nurse is a solid career that allows you to decide how long you want to go to school based on your career goals. All skill levels of nurses are always in demand, and once you find a job as a nurse, it is usually for the long haul, which cannot be said about many jobs these days. The decision on where to attend nursing school will depend on the level of nursing you want to attain. If you have never worked in the medical field before, it is best to start out at the lowest level of nursing, an LPN or Licensed Practical Nurse. It allows you to work as a nurse, but it requires only 12 to 18 months of school, and can usually be taken at a community college, vocational school or technical school. These schools cost far less than a four-year college or university and usually have flexible schedules that allow you to work and go to school at the same time. If you are already working in the medical field as an LPN or another capacity, you can choose to become an RN or Registered Nurse with either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Choosing between the degrees depends on your career goal for the most part, but will also depend on your finances as well. Choosing to attain an associate’s degree, work in the nursing field for a while, then returning to school for your bachelor’s is the most financially friendly option, especially if you find a job where they offer tuition assistance. If you decide to become an RN and want to work in general nursing you may choose to stay at the associate’s degree level, or if you want to work in a specialty nursing field or in nursing management, you will want to continue school and attain your bachelor’s degree. No matter where you attend school or what level you plan to attain, you must be sure that the program is accredited by the Idaho Board of Nursing. The Board of Nursing for the State of Idaho is responsible for assuring that all nursing education programs provide sufficient curriculum to allow you to pass the licensing exams to work as a nurse in the State of Idaho.

LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse)

Becoming an LPN or Licensed Practical Nurse is your first step to start your career in nursing. If you have never worked in the medical field, it is probably a good choice as it allows you to experience working as a nurse before you invest additional years and additional dollars on a career you may not be cut out for. To become and LPN you can enroll in an LPN training program at your local community college, vocational or technical school. These types of schools provide you with a flexible schedule as well as a much lower cost than a four-year college or university. You can usually complete the program in 12 to 18 months depending on whether you attend full-time or part-time. If you choose to apply to a community college, do not be surprised if you are put on a waiting list to take your actual nursing classes, as nursing is a popular field, especially at the LPN level. Take advantage of the time you are waiting and take all the other classes you are required to take. Keep in mind when spots open up for the nursing classes they will choose those that have completed the most pre-requisites and have the highest GPA. Be sure before you commit to any LPN training program it is accredited by the State of Idaho Board of Nursing. Once you complete your training successfully, you will be required to take the NCLEX-PN or National Council Licensure Exam for Practical Nurses. This is a four-part exam that must be passed successfully in order to obtain your state nursing license and be able to work as a nurse in the State of Idaho.

An LPN has very limited care they can provide to patients, but it does allow you to experience what it is like working in the nursing field to help you decide if you want to further your career to a higher level of nursing. The scope of practice, or care you are legally allowed to provide, is quite narrow, but it does give you the opportunity to provide basic patient care. As an LPN, you are not allowed to pass medication or start or provide IV (intravenous) therapy, but with additional training, you can learn these skills and they will become part of your scope of practice. All care you provide will be under the supervision of an RN. Depending on where you work as an LPN, you may also be able to take advantage of any tuition assistance they offer if you find that you enjoy nursing and want to further your career.

RN (Registered Nurse)

If you already have experience working with patients in the medical field, you may want to start your nursing career as an RN. The choice between becoming an RN with an associate’s degree or an RN with a bachelor’s degree will depend on your career goal and finances. Whichever choice you make, you should try to apply to a four year college or university, so if you decide after receiving your associate’s degree you want to return for your bachelor’s, you can simply return and not have to reapply. If you are not sure you want to go into a specialty area of nursing or nursing management, you can work in general nursing with an associate’s degree. Working in general nursing can give you the opportunity to work in many areas, and if you decide you favor one over the others, you can return to get your bachelor’s degree in that specialty. If you are more inclined to work in nursing management than in direct patient care, you can also get your bachelor’s in those areas. No matter what degree you decide on, make sure the program is accredited with the Idaho Board of Nursing to be sure the curriculum will provide you the education to pass your licensing exam. Once you complete school successfully, you will be required to take the NCLEX-RN to obtain your nursing license. NCLEX-RN stands for the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses. Like the test for Practical Nurses, it consists of four sections that all must be passed in order to pass the exam as a whole and obtain your license to practice as an RN in the State of Idaho.

Working as an RN provides you the opportunity to provide much more intensive nursing care than an LPN. You will be expected to assess patients, use your nursing skills and judgment in providing care and contribute to continuing care plans for patients. You will also be responsible for monitoring patients using various machines. You will in most cases also be responsible for the LPNs working in your area or department as well. If you decide to work in nursing management, you can work in positions that require your nursing judgment and skills, but do not involve direct patient care.

Becoming an RN – Associate’s versus Bachelor’s degrees

Attaining an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree depends on a few variables. The first being your career goal and in close second is your financial situation. While most people cannot afford to take four years off work to go to school, they can find a way to work and attain a two-year degree much easier. This is especially true if you can work in a facility that offers tuition assistance, as they are usually able to provide you with a flexible schedule while you attend school. Financially, it makes more sense for them to provide you funds to return to school and gain a higher degree than higher people from the outside with a higher degree from the start. Working in general nursing with an associate’s degree also allows you to work in different areas, which gives you a chance to see if you are interested in a specialty. If you work for a while and find that you would like to work in nursing management, you can also return to school for your bachelor’s in nursing management and administration.

All levels of nursing require you to continually keep your skills updated. This is done by taking classes that provide you with CE (Continuing Education) credits throughout the year. The State of Idaho Board of Nursing will inform you of the number of hours you need per year in order to renew your license every two years. If you work in a larger facility these CE opportunities are usually offered on site. However, if you work a different shift or in a smaller facility that does not offer them, you can take them online for credit as well through sites provided by the Board of Nursing.

Nursing Schools in Idaho

While the LPN program is offered at a majority of technical schools, vocational schools and community colleges in Idaho, the following schools are based on those attending for an RN degree of any level. While there is a limited availability of nursing schools in Idaho, you may want to consider attaining your LPN at a local community college, then attending in another state for your RN.

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Nursing School Locations

Idaho State University
Department of Nursing
Pocatello, ID 83209-0101
Phone: (208) 282-2185

Boise State University
School of Nursing
1910 University Drive
Boise ID, 83725
800) 824-7017

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