Idaho is a very interesting state to work as a nurse. Job opportunities are plentiful and demand is set to increase. Let’s take a look at how you can become a nurse in the state.
ENTRY LEVEL PRACTICE NURSES
STEP 1. CHOOSE WHICH PATH TO NURSING YOU WANT TO TAKE.
You can become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), which is a one year diploma, or you can become a Registered Nurse (RN), for which you can complete a two year associate’s degree (ADN) or a four year bachelor’s degree (BSN).
STEP 2. MEET THE PREREQUISITES FOR THE COURSES.
For an LPN, you usually only have to have completed high school or a GED. For ADNs and BSNs, you will usually need to take around five different prerequisite courses relevant to the field of nursing.
STEP 3. COMPLETE YOUR PROGRAM.
An LPN program looks mainly at patient care. RN programs go more in depth and if you choose the BSN route, you will also take more advanced classes, including such things as naturopathic health, bioterrorism and management.
STEP 4. PASS THE NCLEX EXAMINATION.
LPNs take the NCLEX-PN and RNs must take the NCLEX-RN examination. This is a challenging test, but between 85% and 90% of all graduates achieve a pass rate, which is just above the national average.
ADVANCED PRACTICE NURSES
To become an Advanced Practice Professional Nurse (APPN), you must complete the following steps.
STAGE 1. EARN A GRADUATE DEGREE.
This must be approved by the Idaho Board of Nursing, who have set a number of program requirements. The program must also be accredited by a national organization that is recognized by the United States Department of Education.
You must choose a competency during your APPN registration and the coursework should reflect this. Core courses for all specializations include advanced physiology/pathophysiology, advanced physical health assessment and advanced non-pharmacologic agents and pharmacology. The state recognizes four types of APPNs, and each of these must meet certain curriculum requirements. These are:
1. CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife), who has to complete courses in pregnancy, women’s health care, post-partum period, childbirth, well woman gynecological needs and newborn care.
2. CNS (Clinical Nurse Specialist), who has to complete courses in diagnosis, assessment, health promotion, planning and preventative care. They can choose a specialized practice area.
3. NP (Nurse Practitioner), who has to complete courses in diagnoses, comprehensive health assessment, management of chronic and acute illness and disease and health promotion.
4. RNA (Registered Nurse Anesthetist), who has to complete courses in ordering, selection and administration of anesthesia and
APPNs in Idaho may apply for prescriptive authority. For this, they must have completed 30 contact hours during their graduate degree in pharmacotherapeutics, and this must be in their specialization area. Additionally, these 30 hours must include how to use a pharmacological agent in order to maintain health, restore health and prevent illness; the principles and applications of pharmacokinetics; the state and federal laws in relation to pharmacological and non-pharmacological agents; choosing medications, administration routes and dosages; writing prescriptions; and interactions of drugs.
Although you must choose a specialization, Idaho does also recognize various dual degrees. Furthermore, you can take post-master’s certificate training in various areas of practice should you wish to change your specialization areas.
STAGE 2. BECOME NATIONALLY CERTIFIED BEFORE YOU CAN APPLY FOR YOUR STATE LICENSED.
These certification bodies have their own, individual requirements in terms of experience, education and examination. The Board recognizes the following national agencies.
• The ANCC (American Nurses Credentialing Center), who recognize Adult Nurse Practitioners, Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP), Gerontological Nurse Practitioner (GNP), Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), Pediatric Nurse Practitioner PNP) and the Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP).
• The AANP (American Academy of Nurse Practitioners), which recognizes the Adult Nurse Practitioner and the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP.
• The NCC (National Certification Corporation for the Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing Specialties), which recognizes the Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) and the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP).
• The National Certification Board of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and Nurses (NCBPNP/N), which recognizes the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP).
• The AMCB (American Midwifery Certification Board), which recognizes the Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM).
• The National Board on Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA), which recognizes the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).
STAGE 3. BECOME LICENSED IN IDAHO.
For this you must supply your Federal Tax ID number or your social security number. You will not be accepted without these numbers. There are different application forms you can use, depending on your personal situation. Your options are:
1. Application for APPN Licensure, Initial.
2. Application for APPN Licensure, Holds Compact License.
3. Application for APPN & RN Reinstatement.
4. Application for APPN Reinstatement, RN Compact.
5. Application for RN Reinstatement & APPN Initial License.
Each of these applications comes with requirements for documentation and fees.
If you want to have prescriptive authority, you must complete the application for this, which is included in your license application. An additional fee of $50 is required. If you also wish to dispense Schedule II to IV controlled substances and legend drugs, you must apply with the Idaho Board of Pharmacy as well.
When you apply for your APPN, you must complete a criminal background check. The Board will provide you with a fingerprint card, which you can have completed for free at your local law enforcement agency. You need to include this, as well as a $30 processing fee, in your license application.
STAGE 4. RENEW YOUR LICENSE.
Do this by August 31 of each odd numbered year. You can complete this online. When you renew your license, you must also go through another criminal background check. Additionally, an NP, a CNM and a CNS must go through peer review. You also need to demonstrate that you have completed 200 hours of nursing at advanced practice level.
The Board also requires continuous education (CE) of 30 contact hours. Those with prescriptive authority must complete 10 hours in advanced pharmacology. These 10 hours count towards the 30 overall hours of CE. You must keep records of this through the Advanced Practice Professional Nurse Continuing Education Activities Report. Furthermore, you must make sure that you meet the CE requirements of your national certification agency.
Idaho Board of Nursing
Idaho Board of Nursing
PO Box 83720
280 N 8th Street, Suite 210
Boise, Idaho 83720-0061