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Idaho State to Grow Idaho’s Nursing Workforce With Accelerated Program

May 31, 2021

Idaho State University's Accelerated Bachelor of Nursing (ABSN) undergraduate program is expanding to the Pocatello campus.

The program is currently offered at ISU-Meridian, with 50 seats available each year for the 12-month program. Students hold a bachelor's degree in another discipline, and enter the program following completion of prerequisite courses.

This program expansion to Pocatello and surrounding area addresses a growing demand in Southeast Idaho for nurses graduating with a baccalaureate degree, who are prepared to take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCEX-RN) and move directly into practice as a registered nurse. 

Twenty students will be admitted to the accelerated program on the Pocatello campus at Idaho State in May 2022. An additional 10 seats will be added in 2023 for a total of 30, and 10 additional seats will be added in 2024, for a total of 40. 

Baccalaureate-prepared nurses are in high demand in Idaho. Employers in Eastern Idaho and across Idaho’s rural areas have experienced difficulty filling vacant positions because of a nursing shortage in the state, and in the nation. Temporary, traveling nurses have been increasingly hired to fill nursing shortages in Idaho. More registered nurses are needed to support staffing and safe patient outcomes across clinical settings.

A report compiled by the Idaho Nursing Workforce Center at the Idaho Center for Nursing projects Idaho’s shortage of RN’s ranges between 106-523 annually until 2024. Compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and the strain it has placed on all health care sectors, Idaho’s nursing profession also faces retirements of a large number of the incumbent workforce, adding to the shortage. This population currently includes 29% of RNs 55 years or older, with 3% of those being 65 years or older. There is an ever-increasing population of older adults also, with more than 10,000 people turning 65-years old every day nationally, which further increases the demand for compassionate and caring nursing care. 

Increasing enrollment is one key strategy to address this growing issue in the state. 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. This program is three semesters (one year) in length, including one summer semester. Courses are delivered on campus, online, and in clinical settings. Clinical learning opportunities will be provided to students across the southeast Idaho corridor including urban and rural placements.

The accelerated baccalaureate nursing program started on the Meridian campus in 2002 with 20 students, expanding to 50 students admitted for the May 2021 start. Over 487 students have graduated from the program since its inception, many of whom remained in the area, helping to fill part of the shortage for nurses.

To learn more about the ABSN program, visit



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