In Colorado, the number of people aged 65 and over is growing at a faster pace than across the rest of the country. Due to this, Colorado will soon experience a surge in demand for RNs because nurses are the best at providing this type of healthcare.
The situation is complicated by the fact that nearly a third of Colorado’s nurses are over 55 and will soon retire. The U.S. Health and Human Services predict that nearly 13,000 nursing jobs will go unfilled in Colorado by 2025.
Those who graduate from accredited nursing schools in Colorado should have no problem landing a great job, especially if they specialize in primary care.
It can be challenging to choose the best nursing school in Colorado. The key to making this process easier is choosing a school that will support its students from the first steps of the program through licensure and beyond. This can be determined by examining a variety of different factors.
Many of these schools and universities have factors that make each one unique, which is what we will explore in this article.
Top Schools in Colorado for Nursing
1. Colorado State University
As part of Colorado State University’s School of Nursing, students are prepared to become competent and safe practitioners who are sensitive to the health needs of diverse populations both in rural and urban areas. Colorado State University has been designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the federal government.
Before 2017, nursing programs at the university were a department within the College of Education, Engineering, and Professional Studies; now they are a separate school.
Students from the nursing program are actively involved in Pueblo community events like health fairs, which offer free health screenings, and healthy events, which educate parents about health.
In addition to classroom instruction, students rehearse and demonstrate competency in selected bedside skills in practice labs that simulate virtual outpatient and hospital environments.
Mannequins in these labs mimic human physiological responses through high-tech programming. The students rotate through various hospitals, community clinics, and medical facilities throughout the central Colorado area once they have gained experience and confidence.
Despite the fact that Colorado State University does not offer scholarships specifically for nursing students, nursing students are encouraged to apply for any of the more than 100 institutional scholarships offered by the university.
Freshmen at Colorado State University are automatically awarded merit scholarships if they meet certain academic requirements. In addition to state and federal grants and loans, students may be eligible to receive state and federal loans based on the information they have provided on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications.
2. University of Northern Colorado
As a school of nursing at the University of Northern Colorado with high academic standards and a commitment to patient rights, the school has earned a great deal of respect across the country. It may be a good idea to consider this school if you want to be the type of nurse who empowers patients to make their own health decisions.
The University of Northern Colorado School of Nursing has a dual enrollment agreement with Aims Community College in Greeley, which allows Aims students who have earned two-year nursing diplomas to continue their education.
Using programmed mannequins to simulate strokes, heart attacks, seizures, and other medical emergencies, simulation labs prepare students for the real-life situations they will encounter once they begin working in hospitals.
Once they have mastered the fundamental skills, students will rotate through hospitals, nursing homes, industrial settings, schools, and community clinics throughout northern Colorado to gain hands-on experience.
While the University of Northern Colorado’s Office of Financial Aid does not list nursing-specific scholarships on its website, it does link to third-party scholarships intended for nursing students.
Depending on the information on their FAFSA application, students in the University of Northern Colorado’s nursing programs may also qualify for state and federal aid.
3. University of Colorado
Colorado Springs, Colorado
You should consider Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing if you want an education that will prepare you to stay at the forefront of nursing practice throughout your career. Health promotion and disease prevention are among the top priorities of this nursing school in Colorado, according to US News & World Report.
For many years, the Colorado Conference Deaconess Hospital and Training School for Nurses (as it was then called) served as a training school for nurses who went on to work for Memorial Hospital. The hospital occupied five tents when it was founded in 1904.
Today, Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College occupies the 87,000-square-foot University Building, located half a mile east of the main campus, which was merged with the University of Colorado in 1997.
The Simulation Learning Center offers nursing students an environment in which they can learn key assessment skills and bedside techniques like drawing blood and starting IVs.
Throughout Colorado Springs, students experience clinical rotations in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Aside from the Lane Center for Academic Health Sciences in the Center for Active Living, students can also take part in the Nurse-Family Partnership, Peak Nutrition Clinic, Nurse-Family Partnership, and Primary Care Clinic at the University of Colorado to gain valuable hands-on experience.
Students attending Beth-El College of Nursing can apply for thirteen dedicated scholarships. The deadline for most of these scholarships is March 1, when you must submit a separate application. The FAFSA can also be used to apply for federal and state financial aid based on need.
4. Colorado Christian University
Students at Colorado Christian University will be asked to sign a “Lifestyle Covenant” before beginning their classes. It indicates their commitment to integration of their Christian faith with their education. Among the nursing schools in Colorado, Colorado Christian University School of Nursing combines evidence-based practice with a spiritual ministry.
The school aims to prepare the next generation of Christian nurses with skills that will enable them to become competent practitioners and moral leaders. The School of Nursing at Colorado Christian University is located just west of Denver on the university’s Lakewood campus.
Throughout Colorado, the school collaborates with more than two dozen hospitals and healthcare facilities to provide hands-on clinical experiences for nursing students. Embracing a new 4,600-square-foot Simulation Center, the university opened its doors in January 2019.
In addition to classroom space, there are two high-tech simulation rooms with hospital equipment and computerized mannequins available to students.
The Colorado Christian University Financial Aid Office can help you find external scholarship opportunities if you are eligible for them, although Colorado Christian University does not offer university-sponsored scholarships for nurses.
As a federal Title IV partner, the university may also provide needs-based state and federal aid to students who submit a FAFSA application.
5. Colorado Mesa University
Grand Junction, Colorado
In 1925, Colorado Mesa University was founded as a junior college, but by 1974, it offered four-year degrees as part of its curriculum. A nursing program is one of four professional programs available through the university’s Department of Health Sciences.
In addition to addressing the nursing shortage in rural areas of Colorado, this department provides nursing students at this institution with an education that will prepare them to succeed in any healthcare field they choose.
In MASH Camp, nursing students participate in a unique education program for middle schoolers that teaches basic skills such as First Aid, infection control, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to young teens, creating interest among young teens in pursuing healthcare careers.
University clinical and simulation labs enable nursing students to develop fundamental patient skills. Students studying nursing learn alongside those learning emergency medical response and phlebotomy.
Throughout northwestern Colorado, clinicals will be held at inpatient and acute care facilities, long-term care facilities, community-based agencies, and primary care providers.
A total of 17 scholarships specifically for nursing students have been endowed by donors associated with Colorado Mesa University.
Applications for the fall semester beginning the following fall are accepted between October 1 and December 31. Depending on the information contained in their FAFSA applications, students may also be eligible for federal and state grants and loans.
6. Regis University
Among the top schools in the western United States, Regis University has been ranked by U.S News & World Report for 10 straight years. The Loretto Heights School of Nursing at the university follows a 450-year-old Jesuit tradition of preparing its students for careers in service.
In addition to attending classes in Peru and Nicaragua, students can also participate in a Global Health Pathway concentration. On the list of the top 75 colleges for nursing in the United States, this school is included on the list of the American Society of Registered Nurses.
The small class size provides students with many opportunities to receive mentorship from faculty members. At the north end of campus, St. Peter Claver Hall houses the Loretto Heights School of Nursing Clinical Learning Center and nursing classrooms.
In the Clinical Learning Center, high-tech simulators facilitate the development of critical thinking skills and clinical competency.
As part of the school’s clinical rotation program, students participate in clinical rotations in some of the most respected acute care hospitals, ambulatory care clinics, and community agencies in the Denver metropolitan area.
Undergraduate nursing students are invited to apply for the university’s institutional merit scholarship, whereas graduate nursing students may apply for a RegisInspired Scholarship or an Alumni Scholarship.
Regis University does not offer specific nursing scholarships. Completing the FAFSA application can also lead to federal and state financial aid opportunities for financial aid.
7. University of Colorado College of Nursing
In addition to the University of Colorado campus in Aurora, the College of Nursing at the University of Colorado campus is another outstanding nursing program in Colorado, cited by U.S News & World Report.
A number of interdisciplinary collaboration and learning opportunities are available at Anschultz Medical Campus, which is one of six professional schools. A top-notch research program, as well as a highly regarded educational program, are among the school’s strengths.
Nursing faculty members are engaged in a wide range of research projects aimed at improving bedside nursing care through the application of research findings.
The Health Simulation Center at the University of Colorado is located in Leprino Building. Using mannequins with a high degree of realism, it simulates virtually every kind of clinical experience, from heart attacks to allergic reactions.
Most clinical rotations for nursing students are scheduled at medical facilities within the boundaries of the Anschultz Campus, such as the University of Colorado Hospital, Children’s Hospital Colorado, and the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center. Nursing students don’t have to travel far to complete their clinical rotations.
Several institutional scholarships are available to nursing students at this school, both undergraduate and graduate. There are two deadlines for submission of applications: September 15 – October 15 or March 1 – April 1. FAFSA applicants may also qualify for Pell Grants, work-study, and other types of federal and state financial aid.
Written by Joanne Potter
Joanne, BSN and RN, is a writer that specializes in health and wellness. She has fifteen years of experience as a Registered Nurse in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). Her years working at the bedside and extensive neonatal knowledge enable her to write with a deep understanding of what patients and families want from their communities. Visit her LinkedIn page.