The state of Colorado recently passed new legislation enabling 13 institutions in the state’s system of community colleges to offer four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees. The bill passed 12 to 1 in the Colorado House of Representatives Health, Insurance and Environment committee, setting a landmark example for other states looking for solutions to nursing shortages.
The new legislation seeks to address an imminent healthcare crisis in Colorado. Community colleges already teach and train high quality registered nurses, and with an acute shortage of nursing professionals with four-year degrees, the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) sees this as a scalable solution to address the overwhelming shortage of bachelor-prepared nurses.
System President Dr. Nancy McCallin tells GlobeNewswire.com, “We greatly appreciate having had the opportunity for a thorough and forthright discussion of the merits of this legislation. Our colleges have made significant investments in state-of-the-art equipment and simulation labs to create robust nursing programs that can be scaled to offer four-year BSN degrees. Thus, this legislation provides a cost-effective way to expand the number of BSN nursing graduates in Colorado.”
Three community college students testified in favor of the bill, all wanting to pursue BSN degrees but concerned about the cost and logistical issues of transferring to another school. This legislation is important for current nursing students and for future generations who will benefit from local and affordable programs. Nursing students come from a diverse range of socioeconomic backgrounds, so it is also important that they have an equally diverse range of opportunities to acquire additional education and training.
To learn more about Colorado’s new legislation to allow community colleges to offer four-year BSN degrees, visit here.
In collaboration with the University of Colorado, Denver (UCD), the University of New Mexico (UNM) College of Nursing will be launching a post-master’s certificate program to become a psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner. The program which is expected to begin in Spring 2017 is designed for master’s prepared nurse practitioners and nurse midwives to add the knowledge and skills for assessment, diagnosis, and management of mental illness to their scope of practice.
The program, titled Collaborative Advanced Psychiatric Education Exchange (CO-APEX), is funded by a $1.94 million Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant to address disparities in mental health practitioner distribution around New Mexico. Web-based program courses will be offered in collaboration with UCD, but UNM nursing faculty will provide clinical oversight to students and students will receive their degree from UNM.
Several factors are driving the initiative to place a mental health nurse practitioner program in New Mexico specifically. People suffering from psychiatric mental illness are vastly underserved, especially in rural areas, and rural New Mexico populations have some of the poorest access to behavioral health providers in the country. New Mexico also has a suicide rate 59 percent higher than the US average, and rates of alcohol-related deaths and drug overdose deaths are also much higher.
Michael Rice, PhD, director of the CO-APEX project at UCD, says the HRSA grant is based on the reality that there is no health without mental health care. Behavioral health care needs in Colorado and New Mexico are highlighted by death statistics: Colorado ranks sixth for adolescent suicide and New Mexico has the fourth highest suicide rate overall. Mental health services are often not readily available in these two states due to the vast distances of rural populations so the CO-APEX grant will directly focus on training culturally competent psychiatric nurse practitioner to meet the mental health care needs of the underserved.
Faye Hummel, Director of the School of Nursing at University of Northern Colorado (UNC), is one of 17 distinguished nursing educators in the United States selected for induction into the 10th class of fellows of the National League of Nursing’s (NLN) prestigious Academy of Nursing Education. She will be honored along with the other selected fellows at the NLN Honors Convocation on September 23rd in Orlando.
Hummel has been a teacher at UNC since 1986, and began directing the nursing program in 2013. She holds a master’s degree in community health nursing, a PhD in sociology, and is certified as an advanced transcultural nurse. In 2015, Hummel was selected for UNC’s M. Lucile Harrison Award which recognizes professional excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service.
Other recognitions include Professor Honorius Causa from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Ho Chi Minh City for Hummel’s contributions to Vietnamese medical education and tutoring nursing students over the past two decades. In addition, Hummel is a volunteer and co-director of the Friendship Bridge Nurses Group, an organization partnered with Vietnamese educators and policymakers to advance the profession of nursing and improve health care in Vietnam.
The National League for Nursing is the premier organization for nurse faculty and leaders in nursing education. With 40,000 individual and 1,200 institutional members, NLN members represent nursing education programs across higher education, and health care organizations and agencies. All NLN members are offered professional development, networking opportunities, testing services, nursing research grants, and public policy initiatives.
Assistant Professor of Nursing at the University of North Colorado (UNC), Audrey Snyder, was recently named to the American Academy of Nursing for her significant contributions to the field of nursing and health care. Snyder was one of 164 nursing leaders to join the 2016 class of academy fellows who will be honored at an induction ceremony at the annual policy conference in Washington, DC this October.
Along with teaching in UNC’s School of Nursing graduate program, Snyder is also coordinator of the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program. Prior to her work at UNC starting in 2014, Snyder taught in the University of Virginia School of Nursing for 16 years.
Academy fellows are selected based on evidence of significant contributions to nursing and health care, as well as sponsorship by two current academy fellows. The American Academy of Nursing currently includes more than 2,400 nurse leaders in education, management, practice, policy, and research. The fellows include hospital and government administrators, college deans, and renowned scientific researchers. With the addition of the newest class, the academy fellows represent all 50 states and 28 countries.
Denver School of Nursing (DSN) is offering a $4,000 tuition scholarship to Colorado Community College System (CCCS) nursing graduates who have been accepted into DSN’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) degree program.
This is the first time the scholarship has been offered to CCCS nursing graduates, and DSN is proud to start offering the scholarship that will give a great opportunity to RNs in the state and local communities. An agreement was decided last year between DSN and CCCS to allow graduates of the 13 CCCS institutions with Associate of Nursing Degrees to be eligible for DSN’s online RN to BSN program.
In addition to helping bring more BSN nurses into the state and local communities, the scholarship DSN is offering will also encourage Colorado nurses from diverse backgrounds to enhance their nursing education and increase their career opportunities.
The online program is specially designed so that nursing students don’t have to quit their jobs or leave their communities while completing their BSN. Students take two courses per term and have breaks between terms to allow students with families or work responsibilities to balance their personal lives with their education. CCCS is grateful for the opportunity to help push their students to the next level in their nursing education and careers.
Denver School of Nursing is a private post-secondary college providing education and clinical training for nursing professionals both on-site and in online distance-learning BSN academic programs. The Colorado Community College System is comprised of 13 colleges across Colorado, serving more than 151,000 students per year, making it the state’s largest higher education system. CCCS promotes an accessible education environment that embraces academic excellence, diversity, and innovation.