LEWISTON, Idaho – Although they always have been close, sisters Shelby and Madison Salois never planned on attending the same college, let alone choosing the same career path.
Yet here they are at Lewis-Clark State College, ready to embark on a new adventure. While Shelby, 21, and Madison, 19, took much different routes, they will start the college’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing Basic Track program this spring semester.
The two received their acceptance notifications last month into the highly respected program. To be considered for the LC State nursing program, students must meet application requirements, including a minimum 2.75 GPA in various science classes and a 2.50 GPA overall, and have certification as a nursing assistant or meet LC State equivalency options. The pre-requisite courses compose 56 credits and usually take four semesters to complete before a student can apply to the program. The BSN basic track program is another four semesters and 64 credits.
For the 2021 spring semester, the LC nursing program had 98 applications and the sisters were among the 41 who were accepted.
The two agree they are excited to begin the next step of their career path.
“I was looking at dental hygiene and the nursing program,” Shelby (pictured left) said of her decision. “I was accepted into both this semester so I started writing a pros and cons list about each and ultimately just decided to start with the BSN program. I think long term it’s going to be more beneficial to me. I enjoy a variety of things, staying busy, and not just doing the same routine. I think you can say this career path will best suit my personality.”
Madison said she has always wanted to be a nurse since she and her sister helped take care of their grandmother after a bad accident that left her with several injuries, including a broken femur and broken bones in both shoulders.
“I’ve always thought being a nurse would be fun,” Madison said. “I like doing different things every day and I love to help people. I thought nursing would be the best fit.”
The sisters are the daughters of Jason and Shan Salois and grew up in Athol, Idaho, about 20 miles north of Coeur d’Alene and near Lake Pend Oreille. Being outdoors and outdoors activities were a natural part of life. They enjoyed 4-H together but the real passion was softball, a sport they played nearly year-round.
Both made varsity their freshman years at Timberlake High School and each made four trips to the state 3A tournament where the team finished second in Shelby’s senior year. The two were connected during their two years together because Shelby was a pitcher and Madison (pictured left) a catcher.
“It’s funny because in high school we both hit our only grand-slam home runs at Clarkston (both came during their senior years) and here we are now in Lewiston,” says Madison, who holds the Timberlake single-season home run record with 14 during her senior year in 2019.
Shelby graduated from Timberlake in 2017 and decided to continue her softball career at Wenatchee Valley College where she played two seasons.
“But I quickly realized it was going to be difficult to do nursing and be a student-athlete,” she said. “It’s a big-time commitment to be a student-athlete, so I decided to transfer to NIC (North Idaho College) to finish my degree.”
The problem for Shelby, however, was that Wenatchee Valley was on quarter system while NIC is a semester system, and not all of her Wenatchee Valley credits would transfer. She took classes at NIC and some summer school classes online through Boise State to meet the nursing admission requirements.
“It took me longer so that’s how we ended up on the same time frame here,” Shelby said.
Madison took a different route to get where she’s at. During her senior year at Timberlake, she took advantage of dual enrollment classes, which allowed her to earn high school and college credits at the same time.
“I took all of my classes at NIC so the only thing I went back to Timberlake for was to play softball my senior year,” Madison said. “I came to LC this last year, so although I have enough credits to be a junior, this is technically my sophomore year.”
Madison said being able to get started on her college credits during her senior year made the transition smooth. She was able to take a couple of science classes and took a summer class to meet application requirements.
The sisters, who share an apartment in Lewiston, say they don’t have second thoughts about picking nursing, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They need more people to care for others, whether it’s the COVID room or the emergency room,” Shelby said. “Some people are willing to do it, but only a handful really want to do it. We really want to do it.”
Shelby said she is open to a certain nursing specialty, but also likes being able to bounce around to different departments.
“I like that there are so many opportunities to work in different departments,” she said. “You don’t get bored doing the same thing every day. There’s just a wide variety of opportunities.”
Shelby said she will likely move to Virginia. She became engaged last month and her fiancé is a Marine stationed in Marine Corps Base Quantico there.
Madison said she has always wanted to be a flight nurse, who provide patient care during air transportation to a medical facility.
“I like to travel, which is why that, or being a travel nurse, is appealing to me,” Madison said. “You see something new all the time.”
Both said they would eventually like to end back up in the Coeur d’Alene area. They said they loved growing up in the area because of all it offers and still enjoy the year-round activities of water skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and hiking.
“We just love being outdoors,” Shelby said.
For more information on the nursing program at LC State, visit www.lcsc.edu/nursing.