A flurry of activity surrounded the patient as nursing students prepared injections and started compressions to resuscitate him after his heart stopped.
This is one of the many training scenarios where students in College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) Nursing Program use state-of-the-art equipment, like the computerized simulator in this exercise.
“We have a lot of toys!” said Alison Baker, Nursing Department Chair. “There are simulators that give birth, respond to questions, blink, and make breathing sounds. The lab is a safe place for students to make mistakes and learn from them.”
CWI’s Nursing program began in August 2009 and has more than 350 student graduates. The two-year program teaches critical thinking, clinical judgment, and integration of best evidence into practice.
One of the many nursing students who had an impact in the classroom was Jeremiah Nabarrete-Stuart. Graduating in 2016, he now works for St. Alphonsus Medical Center Nampa as a Registered Nurse.
“Jeremiah is awesome, he was the leader of the class,” said Baker. “He really jump-started the Student Nurses Association and helped the homeless with foot care clinics and sock drives.”
Jeremiah served in the United States Air Force, as an Air Police officer, and attended a theological seminary before enrolling in CWI’s Nursing Program. He thrived in the intense classroom environment as instructors prepared him and fellow students to work in the field as nurses. Jeremiah said instructors, like Baker, did a good job of recognizing and empathizing with students, as they dealt with the pressure and helped them to succeed. The program, with a 97 percent pass rate, has an impressive ability to impart knowledge and develop a foundation students will use in their careers.
“A very distinct honor comes with being a nurse—when people are sick, dying, or giving birth to their child, not everybody gets to be there for that,” Jeremiah said. Sometimes it’s just literally you and the patient, being there when that baby takes its first breath or a family’s loved one takes their last.”
The College’s two-year program is highly sought after and a great launching pad for a career in nursing. Upon completion, students are eligible to take the state board test for a nursing license—the same as four-year institutions. The median hourly earnings for Registered Nurses in Idaho is $30, and demand for nurses is expected to grow by 27 percent from 2015 to 2024, according to EMSI.
“I would recommend nursing to students who are not only interested in medicine, but who think they may have the internal fortitude to answer the call and be that port in the storm,” said Jeremiah.