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Idaho State University

ISU Boise Center Will Graduate First Fast Track Nursing Class

December, 2, 2003

Boise - Idaho State University Boise Center will confer degrees on 10 Fast Track nursing graduates during a graduation and pinning ceremony starting at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 9, at Hillcrest Country Club in Boise.

This is the first graduating class for the Fast Track Nursing program started in January 2002.

"ISU had a vision that we could prepare individuals that already had bachelor's degrees in another field to become nurses," said Dr. Sharon Job, program coordinator. "This journey started almost two years ago and I'm pleased our effort to bring this opportunity to the Treasure Valley has culminated in this first graduating class."

Ceremonies will include remarks by Robin Dodson, chief academic officer, ISU Boise Center, Dr. Linda Hatzenbuehler, dean, Kasiska College of Health Professions, Dr. Ron Mitchell, chair, department of nursing, Kasiska College of Health Professions, and Dr. Jonathan Lawson, vice president for academic affairs.

Graduates will be pinned by Judy Nagel and Rita Miller, faculty members for the nursing Fast Track Program in Boise. Graduates are Annette Allen, Teri Barker, LeAnna Fischer, Jennifer Howard, Timothy McKeon, Teresa Neiwert, Emily Patterson, Rachel Schaffner, Ronald Sandow, and Alysha Van Hooser. A reception will follow the ceremonies.

"Most of the students are already employed by area hospitals, and the others are in the interview process," said Job. "These individuals are high achievers and will be an asset to any staff."

ISU Boise Center's Fast Track program attracted students from area colleges and universities as well as various institutions from around the country, including: BYU- Hawaii; Boise State University; Northampton County Area Community College-Bethlehem, PA,; Chapman University-Orange, California,; Oregon State University; Quinsigamond Community College-Worcester, MA,; South Florida Community College Community College of the Air Force; Carroll College-Helena, Montana; and the University of Idaho.

Over the next 20 years the nursing shortage in Idaho is expected to increase rapidly as the population ages and more people move in. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, by 2020 Idaho will have the second-most acute shortage in the nation.

"We are trying to attract the attention of people who would like to go into nursing but don't want to spend an additional four years to get the degree," said Job. "The 14-month Fast Track program is perfect for individuals who already have a degree and perhaps want to change careers or like the job security that nursing offers."

The profession is also attracting more and more men into a career field traditionally dominated by females. "We will be graduating two men and eight women this month, but our next class is 40% men," said Job.