The Caring for Colorado Foundation recently awarded a $100,000 grant to the University of Colorado Foundation on behalf of the Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. The grant will improve access to nursing education programs and expand the health care workforce in southern Colorado through the use of innovative, high-fidelity patient simulation technology.
Beth-El has helped train southern Colorado’s health care workforce for nearly 110 years, and in 2011 initiated the Southern Colorado Rural Nursing Education and Practice Collaborative Program to transform nursing education in southern Colorado.
The program and the Caring for Colorado grant address a critical problem. The U.S. nursing shortage is projected to grow to 260,000 by the year 2025, and Colorado’s nursing vacancy rate is double the national average. Rural southern Colorado faces extreme challenges recruiting advanced practice nurses and nursing faculty. The associate nursing degrees the community colleges offer do not alone qualify graduates for teaching or nurse practitioner roles — impeding these communities’ ability to provide high-quality health care to their citizens.
Central to the Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences program is the use of Cisco TelePresence technology, which enables students to learn from electronically simulated patient encounters. Students at the community colleges take part in the classes being taught at UCCS and receive instruction through high-quality audio and the streaming of high-definition video.
Caring for Colorado’s grant will enable nurses and nurse faculty at University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Lamar Community College and Otero Community College to be trained using the high-fidelity patient simulation technology.
Caring for Colorado is a health grantmaking foundation working to increase health and health care access statewide. For more information, please visit www.caringforcolorado.org.