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RN Nursing Programs in Idaho - ID

How to Become an RN in Idaho

It is possible to become a Registered Nurse in Idaho in one of three ways. The first, a diploma program, is only found rarely, although it is the quickest route, and is offered directly through a hospital. The second route, which is pursued by around half of RNs in Idaho, is an Associate Degree, Nursing, or ADN. ADNs take around three years, once prerequisites and applications are considered. Thirty credits in general studies are required before applying to a college of nursing—this goes for both an ADN and the third and longest route: a BSN. A Bachelor of Science, Nursing, or BSN, takes at least four years, but close to half of the RNs in Idaho RNs choose this route. A BSN provides more comprehensive training and the ability to specialize in topics that go beyond baseline RN training.

Both BSN and ADN programs share a similar first two years, which is mostly focus on patient treatment strategies and other nursing-specific topics. But the final two years are what really sets a BSN apart, as students take advanced care, theory and research courses, as well as a collection of electives on upper-level topics like sociology of health, third world development and health issues focusing on specific populations. Indeed, the final two years prepares students for more analytical jobs and a wider range of employment than those taken in a BSN. In addition, it can also lead to graduate studies and licensure as an Advanced Practice Nurse if a BSN student has good enough grades and wishes to pursue further studies.

Both an ADN and a BSN provide a practicum component to gain on-the-job experience, and both have the same licensure examination at the end: the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN). The exam carries a $200 fee from national exam administrators Pearson Vue and the Idaho Board of Nursing also charges a $90 application fee. Around five out of six applicants pass the test on their first try, with pass rates slightly higher for BSN programs. And once you pass the NCLEX, working in one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States becomes a reality.

RN Jobs in Idaho: Salary, Hours and Duties

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Boise, Idaho is about $61,000 per year. It is slightly less in places like Idaho Falls, and Pocatello, but rest assured nurses still make upwards of $50,000 per year (according to BLS.gov) in less populated parts of the state. A full time job as an RN entails 40 hours of work per week, but this can take place at odd hours. Nights, split shifts, and more are common because patients need care throughout the day and night.

There is rarely a similar day in the life of an RN in Idaho, as they must respond to changing patient needs and different health programs on a regular basis. However, it is safe to say that normal duties include the creation and management of care plans, working closely with doctors and giving direction to LPNs and CNAs in patient care.

Whether working in a hospital—as do more than 60 percent of Idaho RNs—or in retirement homes, physician’s offices, private clinics, public health departments or elsewhere, becoming a Registered Nurse in Idaho can be a great career for a motivated individual.