Judson Haims
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April 7, 2014
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Vail Daily column: What happened to my nurse?

Recently while researching for a location to hold staff training in Routt and Moffat counties, I came across some amazing information. The United States is in a nursing profession shortage.

Pick your source; they all indicate that we are in a nursing shortage. According to a study from Georgetown University, “the health care sector will create 5.6 million new jobs by 2020”. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that “registered nurses are a barn-burner profession and should result in 526,800 new positions created at a rate of 19.4 percent.” The government occupational handbook states that the job outlook for nursing from 2012 to 2022 will grow 19 percent faster than average. They also state, “growth will occur for a number of reasons, including an increased emphasis on preventative care, growing rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity, and demand for healthcare services from the baby boomer population as they live longer and more active lives.”

COLORADO LEADS THE WAY

If this piques your interest, then you will be relieved to know that Colorado is making great strides in addressing medical needs and the economics of medicine.

“We will build on Colorado’s unique strengths — including our strong health economy and infrastructure and our dedication to collaboration and innovation — to become the healthiest state,” Gov. John Hickenlooper announced last year in “The State of Health: Colorado’s Commitment to Become the Healthiest State.”

If you have been down to Denver in the past year, perhaps you may have seen some hospital redevelopment. According to a Colorado Public News examination, some 50 hospital construction projects are in development throughout the state with a $3.4 billion price tag.

SHORTAGE OF NURSING EDUCATORS

Wow, this is all great news, eh? Not so fast! The American Association of Colleges of Nursing conducted a report in 2012 that states that “U.S. nursing schools turned away 79,659 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in 2012 due to an insufficient number of faculty, clinical sites, classroom space, clinical preceptors and budget constraints.”

Further, the Bureau of Labor Statistics informs us that the percentage of nursing educators that are 50 years of age and older exceeds 60 percent.

ADDRESSING THE PROBLEM LOCALLY

Locally, Colorado Mountain College is on target by providing a number of courses in nursing at the Edwards, Glenwood Springs and Summit County campuses. The school’s nursing program is approved by the Colorado State Board of Nursing. Many of the school’s student’s not only are able to be introduced to a career in nursing at CMC, but they are able to obtain multiple levels of credentials and even employment within our mountain towns.

Last week, in the pursuit of both finding employees and a location to provide a training seminar, my area manager suggested that I call the Craig Campus of Colorado Northwestern Community College.

Without knowing whom to call, I blindly called Kelly Martin-Puleo, the director of nursing. I explained to her that I was looking for a location to hold my new hire training. Kelly was not only gracious enough to offer a classroom but also their teaching lab.

What I found there knocked my socks off. The newly constructed Craig campus of Colorado Northwestern Community College was amazing! The modern facility includes classrooms with smart boards, overhead projectors and exudes education. This campus sets the stage for success; in fact, it will graduate about 50 new nursing students this year.

We are fortunate to have our local community colleges to address our nationwide need so close to home. These colleges are creating new economies for the state and our local communities.

Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Eagle County. For more information, go to www.visiting angels.com/comtns or call 970-328-5526.


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The VailDaily Updated Apr 7, 2014 07:32PM Published Apr 8, 2014 10:40AM Copyright 2014 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.