Nursing Schools in Colorado
In addition to the tourism industry in Colorado, the nursing sector also experienced considerable growth over the years. This has been attributed to the reforms in Colorado's healthcare sector as a whole as well as the impending retirement of nurses belonging to the baby boomer generation. The aging segment of the population is also contributing to the demand of nurses, especially in nursing homes. Furthermore, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment has projected that there will be an additional demand of around 27,000 nurses in the period from 2008 to 2018. This figure includes registered nurses, licensed practical vocational nurses (LPNs) as well as nursing aides, attendants and orderlies. The various nursing schools in Colorado are expected to play an important role in meeting the shortage.
Role of Colorado Nursing Schools
The healthcare related education system of Colorado forms the backbone of the state's nursing sector. Most of Colorado's nursing schools are located in Denver and other major urban centers, especially when considering the fact that this is where the demand for nurses is highest. Many of Colorado's 30 odd colleges and universities that offer nursing programs do so for awarding associate, bachelor, master of post-graduate degrees. However, before you enroll in any of these programs, you have to verify that it is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) as well as the State Board of Nursing. Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence, an organization that works with more than 175 entities concerned with both the clinical and educational aspects of nursing, has recommended that Colorado nursing schools gear themselves for developing the resources to contribute to the healthcare workforce. Some of their observations are:
Nursing schools should streamline their programs so that there is a seamless integration of successful candidates into the job market.
Redundancy in coursework has to be reduced so that a positive effect can be brought about in the development of both the providers of primary care as well as the related faculty.
Avenues should be created for collaboration amongst nursing professionals and ensure that nursing schools have sufficient resources to target various healthcare subsectors with their degree programs.
Job Sector Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in its State and Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates that the average annual income of nurses in Colorado ranges from $27,000 to $157,000. The bottom tiers were occupied by nursing aids, LPNs and LVNs, the middle by registered nurses, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners, whereas nurse anesthetists took home the highest salaries. Moreover, the highest level of employment within various healthcare institutes across the state was enjoyed by registered nurses, who were over 41,000 in number, with nursing assistants coming in at a distant second with 16,700.
Meeting Demand for Nurses
In the past, Colorado's healthcare system had relied on other states to supply the thirty percent or so new nurses that it required each year. However, in the coming years, Colorado has to develop self-sufficiency for addressing the requirements for nurses, with the nursing schools in Colorado coming under the spot light.