In 1977, a branch campus of Flathead Valley Community College, destined to become Salish Kootenai College was opened. The same year, the tribal council passed a resolution to have a tribal college in Pablo and the reservation branch of Flathead was chosen. The branch campus operated under Flathead but under a consortium of other 12 other colleges of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium. Four years down the line, the reservation college broke ties with Flathead Valley Community College to be the first fully accredited Tribal College on the Northwest. With this came the change of the name to Salish Kootenai College (SKC).
Nursing at Salish Kootenai College
The nursing department at the college has two nursing programs on offer. The programs prepare students to become registered nurses (RNs) via the Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) and the Bachelor of Science Nursing (BSN) programs. The baccalaureate program is a completion program which enables RNs to earn a bachelors degree. Both programs are approved by the Montana State Board of Nursing and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. It is worth noting that the college recently stopped offering the LPN to RN advanced placement option. Further details are provided below:
Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN)
The ASN program at Salish Kootenai College is open to both nursing and pre-nursing students. The nursing students start on their nursing courses early while the pre-nursing students tackle the general education courses first. The program is open to all citizens of US but as a tribal college, preference is given to American Indians during the selection process. As a prerequisite, all students must possess a Certified Nurse Assistant certificate to be allowed to apply for the program.
Students who are admitted in the pre-nursing category take three full load semesters of one academic year to take general education courses before being allowed to take the nursing courses. Those who have completed their general education prerequisites courses take six full load semesters; including two winters to complete the program. A total of 76 nursing credits are required for eligibility to apply and write the NLCEX-RN exam to become registered nurses.
Bachelor of Science Nursing (BSN) Program
This degree program at Salish Kootenai is designed for RNs who want to advance their nursing skills by earning a bachelor degree. The coursework for the program builds on prior nursing experience from the ASN program. To be qualified for admission into this program, students must show proof of having practiced as a RN in the last two years whereby, they must have had a minimum of 800hours of supervised RN roles. Those who do not meet the above requirement may be admitted if they graduated from an accredited RN program in the last 9 months and possess a current RN license.
While enrolled in the BSN program, Salish Kootenai college department of nursing makes it mandatory for RN colleagues (students) to maintain their employment as RNs. For this requirement, students must show prove with documentation from their supervisors of at least 8 hours/ week of RN roles.
The program is available on both full time and part time study plans and all students cover their courses in a hybrid format. In this case, general education courses for the BSN can be offered online or on-site. Courses with an online component require a mandatory 1-3 times on-site activities per semester. To be eligible to graduate with a Bachelor of Science Nursing Degree from Salish Kootenai College, RNs must complete 47 nursing major credits, 78 general education credits.
Salish Kootenai College
58138 USS Hwy 93, Pablo,