Nurses are hands-on health professionals who promote health, prevent disease and help patients cope with illness. They have a unique scope of practice and can work independently, although they also collaborate with all members of the health care team to provide the care needed by each patient. Nurses develop and manage nursing care plans and instruct patients and their families in proper care. As educators, they help whole communities by teaching individuals and groups how to take steps to improve or maintain their health.
They are also in demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for registered nurses is predicted to increase by 12% from 2018 through 2028. Several factors are influencing this trend, including a growing aging population, more emphasis on preventative care, and advances in medical treatment.
There are many different career options within the field of nursing, such as Registered Nurse (RN), Nurse Midwife (CNM), Nurse Practitioner (NP or DNP), and Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). Students are encouraged to explore these different career options in order to determine which is the best fit for their personal aspirations. Information about nursing careers can be found here: Explore Health Careers - Nursing.
To get to this point, students must first complete their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and then need to take their state’s licensing exam. The BSN’s coursework also prepares many nursing professionals to return to school to pursue an MSN, a degree that advances and specializes your skills. From here, an MSN qualifies you to be a nurse practitioner, a position with 26% expected growth, based on predictions from the BLS.
Please note that the University of Idaho does not offer degrees in nursing. Instead, the Pre-Nursing program is designed to help students gain successful admission to accredited nursing schools.
Multiple pathways help students prepare to start a BSN, a degree providing a comprehensive introduction to the field of nursing that equips them with the advanced leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills needed to succeed in the profession. A typical BSN covers nursing research and public health topics and involves a strong leadership component that prepares you to not only meet existing demand for registered nursing professionals but to advance in the field.
Although positions in healthcare exist for individuals with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), nursing certificates, and diplomas, earning a BSN increases the opportunities available, commands a higher salary, and paves the way for a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or similar graduate healthcare administration program.
Admission to any nursing school involves meeting its entrance requirements, having acceptable scholastic records or a satisfactory score on the nursing admission test, and possessing essential personal qualifications for effective nursing. Along with relevant prerequisite coursework:
Maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA for all pre-nursing classes
Develop an application that is supported by volunteer work and multiple letters of recommendation
Take one of the following qualifying exams: National League for Nursing (NLN) Pre-Admission Exam (PAX), Nursing Entrance Test (NET), Kaplan Nursing School Admissions Test, Psychological Services Bureau (PSB) Registered Nursing School Aptitude Exam, Test of Academic Skills (TEAS), Health Education Systems, Inc. Admission Assessment (HESI A2), and/or PSB Health Occupations Aptitude Exam
Students should also complete the following tasks to better prepare for careers in nursing:
- Join the Pre-Health Professions Program and request to be added to the Pre-Nursing Email List
- Meet with the Pre-Health Professions Advisor each semester to make a professional and academic development plan and review your progress
- Attend Pre-Health Professions Program workshops and networking events
- Subscribe to NurseJournal
Nursing schools require candidates to complete certain prerequisite courses during their first and second years or seek out students who have an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), nursing diploma or certificate, or sufficient pre-nursing preparation in these subject areas.
With nursing school prerequisites in mind, the University of Idaho’s Pre-Nursing program recommends that students take courses in:
human anatomy and physiology
biology and microbiology
psychology and sociology
Depending upon a student’s course of study at the University of Idaho, these listed classes fulfill most of your general education requirements or overlap with other majors of study. As well, these areas are equivalent to ADN, nursing certificate, and diploma coursework, which fulfills many BSN prerequisites while establishing a fundamental foundation of the field.
Because nursing schools differ in their prerequisites and have a competitive admissions process, students should carefully investigate the requirements of their top choice schools.
Many nursing schools also choose to participate in NursingCAS, a centralized application service that allows prospective students to use one application and apply to multiple programs.