Colorado's health care needs are changing, and it's up to health care practitioners to keep up! More and more people are getting health insurance every year, leading to a great need for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) in the state. If you have a BSN and you've been working as a nurse for at least a year, you may be considering an MSN program in Colorado. There are several Master’s in nursing programs available in CO, all of which can give you the opportunity to develop your skills in advanced clinical care, nursing education, nurse administration, and health care policy.
Contact the schools you find on our site to learn more about which types of programs are available to you.
Before you decide that an MSN is the right choice for you, make sure that your learning goals are in line with your school's learning outcomes. Colorado nursing schools aim to make well-rounded, highly-educated nurses, and they do so by targeting several learning goals. They'll expect you to develop an understanding of evidence-based practice and how to put it to work for you in a clinical setting. In addition, you should harness your leadership skills and be able to take on managerial positions in different health care settings. You may need to demonstrate your dedication to learning and continuously advancing your nursing career through scholarly research and dissemination of findings.
You will likely begin with core courses before you start your specialty classes. Courses that may be expected of all MSN students include Clinical Pharmacotherapeutics, Nursing Research, Philosophical Foundations in Nursing Practice, and Applied Clinical Research. Once you have the core skills taught in these classes, you can move onto courses that focus on your graduate-level nursing specialty.
If you're interested in working with patients on a more autonomous level, you may choose a specialty like becoming a nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, or a nurse practitioner. If you'd rather use your education to affect nursing on an administrative level, you may consider a field like nursing administration or nursing education.
Attending graduate nursing school in Colorado for two years can be a financial challenge for some nurses, which is why there are so many types of financial aid available for graduate nursing students. Though you may be eligible for federal student loans and grants, you may also wish to look into the many private options in Colorado. The Colorado Nurses Association offers many nursing scholarships in conjunction with local nursing schools. The Colorado Society of Advanced Practice Nurses funds grants for those going into advanced clinical practice. Popular options available at selected local schools include the Dorothy A. Beck Scholarship, the Mordecai Nursing Endowment Scholarship, and the Karina W. Chu Nursing Scholarship. Other options may include the Barbara Rhomberg Excellence in Nursing Scholarship and the Hansen Nursing Scholarship.
Licensure is required for many advanced practice nurses in Colorado. In fact, Colorado has some requirements that other states do not. The Colorado Board of Nursing requires that advanced practice nurses create a Healthcare Professions Profile and register with the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.
Salaries in Colorado are often in line with national averages, so you may earn a competitive salary as an advanced practice nurse in Colorado. Nursing instructors claim a median salary of $59,800 per year in Colorado (O*Net, 2013). The highest-paid nursing professionals in this state are nurse anesthetists, who earn an average of $167,700 per year (O*Net, 2013). Average salaries for other nursing professions fall in between these two salaries.
Anticipated job growth in certain fields exceeds the national average, reflecting Colorado's need for graduate-level nursing professionals. Between 2012 and 2022, O*Net expects job openings for nurse anesthetists to increase by 21%. Job growth is most impressive for nurse instructors; in this field, O*Net anticipates a 45 percent increase in job openings (O*Net, 2012).
As an advanced nurse practitioner, nurse researcher, or nurse educator, you can help make health care more accessible, affordable, and evidence-based in Colorado. In the Denver Post, a surgeon notes the caring nature and professionalism of Colorado nurses. No matter where your interests lie, getting an advanced nursing education can help you advance and improve nursing in Colorado.