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Leading Hundreds of Nurses in Nampa – Misti Leavitt

Misti Leavitt at her desk

Misti Leavitt almost didn’t become a nurse. Now, she’s in charge of the work of hundreds of nurses — and has the chops to back up her leadership.

Leavitt, who received her bachelor’s of science in nursing from Boise State in 2012, is now vice president of operations and chief nurse officer for Saint Alphonsus’ Nampa hospital.

She’s also a homegrown success story, a Jerome native who only left Idaho for a few months in high school for a quick family detour to Colorado. She loves it, she’s making a difference — and she’s staying put.

Nursing wasn’t always in the cards, however. She received an earlier associate’s degree at the College of Southern Idaho, thinking of accounting, pharmacy, social work … pretty much anything but nursing.

“I kept thinking I really couldn’t handle blood,” she recalled.

Multiple experiences with health care — her mother’s own cancer journey, her stepmother’s guidance, shadowing nurses in the hospital setting — ultimately convinced her the field was for her.

“In the end, you’re so involved, the blood didn’t even bother me,” she said, recalling thinking, “‘This is totally something I could do.’”

She juggled work at Saint Alphonsus, and young children, while she attended Boise State; the online bachelor’s degree, relatively new at that time, was invaluable. She and a colleague persevered and Leavitt’s career took off; she has moved through a variety of roles, from med/surg nurse to charge nurse to supervisor, then with the bachelor’s, manager of med/surg, then director of nursing. She and her colleague went on to obtain master’s degrees from Western Governors University in leadership and management and in May of 2023, she was named to the Nampa CNO position.

Misti Leavitt in a standing meeting with Saint Alphonsus staff
Misti Leavitt, lower left corner, in a standing meeting with Saint Alphonsus staff

Leavitt now manages, directly and indirectly, 14 managers and about 700 employees, including all types of nurses and clinicians and others in ancillary and support services, including lab, respiratory and other therapies, case management, imaging and pharmacy. She estimates that about 30 percent of the members of her various teams have Boise State degrees.

And she, and the others, leave their mark in additional ways, with children in the public schools, volunteering through school activities and jumping into other opportunities; Leavitt is now involved in Leadership Nampa. And like other Boise State grads, she sees the interconnections between the education students get on campus, the value of professionals who work in hospitals, clinics and classrooms — and the value the state and patients get as the result.

“I love Idaho overall, and I love Saint Alphonsus,” she said. “I love how we take care of our community, and I love the culture that we have here and the friendly environment … It’s just such a warm, welcoming community.

“This area is growing, and you see Boise State everywhere, even some of the education team at Boise State and some of the colleagues who are educators now used to work at the hospital. They work to collaborate, and how they can support. It’s just been such a welcoming environment and the collaboration has been so great. I could see myself staying here until I retire.”