Home / World News / Bill takes aim at nurse scarcity, would let Colorado community colleges offer 4-year degrees – The Denver Post

Bill takes aim at nurse scarcity, would let Colorado community colleges offer 4-year degrees – The Denver Post

A looming nurse shortage statewide is prompting bipartisan support for a proposal to allow Colorado community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing.

Currently, there about 1,100 students pursuing their two-year associate’s degree in nursing at Colorado’s 13 community and technical colleges. House Bill 1086 would let them continue on to earn four-year degrees at the same schools.

But that doesn’t come close to solving the worsening nursing shortage, especially in the state’s hospitals, bill proponents say.

Colorado is already short about 490 nurses with four-year degrees each year, and that could rise to a cumulative shortage of 4,500 nurses by 2024, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The shortages of nurses is projected to be especially acute in Grand Junction, Pueblo, Colorado Springs and Fort Collins, all areas served by two-year institutions that could offer four-year degrees if the bill passes, according to the Colorado Community College System.

The legislation “will have a significant positive impact on health outcomes in Colorado,” said Rep. Janet Buckner, a Democrat who introduced HB 1086 along with Republican Rep. Paul Lundeen on Friday.

Sens. Tim Neville, a Republican, and Democrat Irene Aguilar are sponsoring the bill in the other chamber.

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