Nursing Students Join Frontlines of COVID-19 Battle

CWI Nursing student, Melissa Johnson
April 24, 2020

To help battle COVID-19, College of Western Idaho (CWI) Nursing students have entered the workforce early to join the fight during the pandemic.

The Idaho Board of Nursing has made unprecedented policy changes to allow both first- and second-year students to pave a path to begin working in the frontline of this crisis.

“Our students have really stepped up to meet the needs of our community during a critical time,” said Allison Baker, CWI Nursing Department Chair. "They are the future of healthcare in the valley, and I could not be more proud of them.”

First-year students who successfully passed their fundamentals class and skills class can obtain their nurse apprenticeship certificate and work in facilities as unlicensed, assistive personnel. Thirty-one of CWI’s first-year students volunteered to do this, and six are currently working in facilities.

Senior Nursing students are eligible for the RN New Graduate Temporary License – allowing them to work with direct supervision from a licensed RN while preparing to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). The College has a strong track record of producing successful students, with 96.5% of the 2019 cohort passing the NCLEX.

Eighteen second-year students have volunteered and have jobs in area facilities. Melissa Johnson is one of these students. Johnson is currently working in the medical field, and in June she will use her temporary license to begin working at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Nampa.  

“I am very proud to work in the healthcare field, and I am very eager to start working as a nurse in June to help support patients and staff in this fight,” Johnson said.

Careers in the healthcare field have some of the greatest need as our communities continue to grow. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment of healthcare occupations is projected to grow 14% from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 1.9 million new jobs.” Learn more about the healthcare programs available at CWI and career opportunities, as well as how to submit a competitive application, by participating in a Virtual Healthcare Information Session.