Imagine Colorado’s healthcare system as a collection of tall buildings …
In the upper floors are millions of Colorado residents visiting the over 12,000 health care facilities in urban and rural communities. Living deep within the building’s foundation, supporting the overall health care system, are the 300 full-time and 650 part-time nursing faculty which staff Colorado’s 35 schools of nursing.
Working with nursing students all around the state, these faculty graduate 1,900 new nurses each year. Between nursing retirements, population growth, an aging population and health care reform, Colorado needs between 2,500 to 3,000 new nurses each year just to keep its health care system operating.
Unfortunately, a growing shortage of nursing faculty is threatening Colorado’s capacity to educate nurses. Fifty-three percent of full-time faculty are over 55, and 40% of all nursing faculty are over 55. Retiring at a rate of 45 per year, if they are not replaced, the capacity of our nursing schools will drop by 25% in five years. Without an ability to educate our own nurses, all of Colorado’s health care providers — large and small, urban and rural — will be forced to recruit nationally for nurses, which will increase health system costs and limit capacity.
Co-sponsored by Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence and the Colorado Coalition for the Future of Nursing, we hope this website will help you understand the impact of nursing faculty shortages on Colorado’s health care providers, health care workforce and Coloradan’s access to health care.