The Colorado Coalition for the Future of Nursing is composed of an expanding group of 30 nursing and health care related leaders, working together to transform health care through nursing in our state. The Coalition co-leads are the Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence and the Colorado Hospital Association.


Combining the facts that over 35 percent of Colorado’s 50,000 nurses are over the age of 55, health reform of one form or another is a certainty, and with state demographics rapidly changing, our need for a robust and high quality new nursing workforce has never been greater.


The Coalition is working on increasing the numbers of nurses with bachelors of nursing (BSN) degrees and to help resolve the shortage of nursing faculty.

Building on the momentum developed by Magnet-designated hospitals and other employers of nurses, the Coalition is working to support a range of education initiatives aimed at facilitating the ability of new nurses to attain a BSN degree. One such initiative promotes a seamless transition between a community college and a four year university BSN program. Another Coalition focus is the growing shortage of nursing faculty, how to make that issue more visible to key leadership and stakeholders, and how to support community based responses. Although affecting a small population (around 50 per year), the pivotal, high impact of a faculty shortage will significantly constrain Colorado’s ability to educate future generations of nurses.


In spite of being the largest single health care profession, nurses are too often absent from community and health care leadership positions. As the importance of preventative and chronic care increases, the role of nurses as active health care leaders will become even more important.


The Coalition is working actively to recruit nurses into positions of community leadership, and to help prepare them for leadership responsibility in practice and community positions.

Working in partnership with a state nursing leadership program, “Nurses Outreach for Access to Health,” the Coalition is helping to recruit and support nurses in community and health care leadership roles. A recent “Nurses on Boards” two day workshop brought national-level trainers to Denver to work with over 30 nursing leaders on a set of leadership and communication skills. The Coalition, in partnership with the Center, is working to recruit nurses to serve on public sector and other community-focused health care boards.


The Coalition and its partners are continuing to move forward with supporting an expanded nursing scope of practice, most recently with respect to certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA).


The statewide effort recently was the beneficiary of a supportive Governor’s position on opting out of CRNA restrictions, which was followed by a positive legal ruling in a suit brought against the Governor’s decision.

Interprofessional Collaboration

To ensure high quality, patient-centered care, nurses, physicians and other health professionals must collaborate in education and practice, and across all health care settings.


We are building partnerships with diverse stakeholders, including physicians and other health providers, to support, spread and implement models of interprofessional collaboration in education and practice.


Colorado’s population is becoming increasingly more diverse, and many residents have unique health care needs. The nursing workforce must evolve to reflect these changing dynamics.


We will work with our colleagues throughout the state to communicate the value of diversifying the nursing workforce to reflect the state’s population, while also looking to other successful programs as models for implementation.


Effective deployment of the health care workforce requires information – data to tell us what kind of health providers we will need and with what skills. Yet major gaps exist in the workforce data we now have.


We are exploring partnerships and examining models from other states to develop a plan for data collection in our state. Once developed, we will work to promote data-driven policy decisions that improve health care for patients and families in Colorado.





Karren Kowalski, President & CEO, Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence

Gail Finley, Vice President, Colorado Hospital Association (CHA)

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