Healthcare reform is accelerating the transformation of the healthcare system, and some of the best nursing schools in Colorado are responding by offering the educational programs nurses need most to succeed in this new environment. In response to the increased authority and responsibilities nurses are being tasked with, many are seeking higher education in transitional RN to BSN programs in Colorado. In the past, nurses often took a backseat in providing care, and nurses are now leading many healthcare decisions across the state.
As employers look to hire Baccalaureate prepared nurses, many nursing schools in Colorado now offer RN to BSN programs in CO. These programs may help you complete a BSN and provide you with advanced credentials without interfering heavily with your work schedule. There are several ways to attend online nursing programs in Colorado as well, which makes the process of returning to school even more feasible.
With BestNursingDegree.com, you can pursue the next level to advance in your nursing career. We make it easy for you to request information about nursing programs in Colorado from multiple schools, to help you make the best decision for your future in nursing. Contact the schools that offer the BSN programs in Colorado that interest you by clicking on the school links and submitting a request for program materials.
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Online programs may not be available in all states
Colorado had nearly 41,860 RNs licensed in the state in 2013 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Colorado is a participant in the Nurse Licensure Compact, meaning that Colorado-licensed RNs can practice in 24 states. A survey of the Colorado RN workforce performed by the Colorado Health Institute (CHI) found about 61 percent of employed RNs work in acute care, with large segments employed in community-based care and extended care.
The CHI study also found Colorado RNs are better educated than the national average, with 50 percent holding a BSN degree or higher, compared with 37 percent nationally. Over one-fourth of Colorado RNs plan to obtain an advanced degree, whether from Colorado nursing programs or from online nursing programs in Colorado. Today, you have many convenient options available, as nursing schools in CO understand that the state's nurses want to be able to transition from RN to Baccalaureate preparation easily and affordably. Often, loans and grants are available, and many employers offer full or partial tuition reimbursement.
The Transitional RN to BSN Degree Program
Today, patients are sicker, older and experience complex chronic conditions. RN to BSN programs in Colorado provide educational courses in nursing science, theory and diagnostic reasoning for a wider scope of practice and knowledge. Courses in nursing assessment and evaluation require advance skills for interpretation of lab values and symptoms. The curriculum provided by BSN courses may contain some of the following:
- The transition to professional nursing
- Nursing theory, research and evidenced-based practice
- Healthcare ethics and legalities
- Informatics, medical technology and computer literacy
- Advanced practice in maternal, pediatric and geriatric nursing
- Imperatives for individuals, families and community health
- Organizational leadership courses related to professional nursing
Student nurses may complete an accelerated program in approximately 18 to 22 months. Pre-requisites are counted along with approximately 60 credits for a total of 120 credits for your BSN degree. Depending on the program, the length of the clinical practicum is 12 to 16 weeks of a full time class schedule.
Opportunities for Baccalaureate RNs in Colorado
RNs in Colorado experience above national-average salaries with opportunities for specialties, bedside nursing and management positions. Some of the following positions and specialties are available for the RN who has completed a BSN:
- Due to the urban sprawl of Colorado, hospitals such as Centura Health at Home are incorporating telemedicine and tele-health RNs and managers
- St. Luke's Medical Center needs transplant and research nurses to manage and care for their bone marrow project
- HealthONE requires BSN RNs to monitor and care for PACU in pediatric interventions
- Hematology/Oncology units in Colorado Blood Cancer Institute needs RNs to train and precept other nurses
- Occupational health and nurse educator positions are available at InnoVage in Denver
- The University of Colorado Hospital hires Clinical Nurse Specialists as patient and staff educators
- Non-hospital positions include physicians looking to mentor RNs for laser therapy, medical technology and specialty interventions
The Outlook for BSN Nurses in Colorado
Colorado is expecting a large increase in the over 65 population as aging boomers pour into the healthcare system. Healthcare reform will also add to patient load and requires that RNs possess a higher level of influence and autonomy in their scope of practice in patient care. Currently, trends in Colorado hospitals are requiring nurses to complete BSNs in preparation to meet these challenges. The average median salary for a Colorado RN is above $68,980 according to the BLS, 2013.
Some Colorado-based employers of Registered Nurses include University of Colorado Hospital, Exempla Lutheran Medical Center, North Colorado Medical Center, Memorial Hospital Central, and Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital.
Schools to consider
University of Colorado - Denver (Aurora). Schedules are flexible in this program, and courses are largely web-based or online. Required clinical experience may be scheduled at a dozen or more sites in the region. The program may be completed in three or four semesters. Courses include nursing research, bioethical and legal foundations and health assessment.
Colorado Mesa University (Grand Junction). This online program offers upper division nursing classes on a part-time basis over two years, or full-time over one year. Classes are also available on the CMU campus. Classes include family nursing, community health, leadership and nursing research. Some clinical time is required.
University of Northern Colorado (Greeley). This is an online program that takes five semesters or 16 months to complete. Students move through the program in cohorts that begin every summer. Two courses are taken each semester. Two courses (community health and professional roles) require clinical time that can be arranged near the student's home.