Visiting Angels: Need a job? Then it is good to be in Colorado

While reading a recent article from The Pew Charitable Trusts, my interest was piqued when I learned that “On a per capita basis, Colorado topped the list in math- and science-related job openings in 2013.” Jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics are called STEM jobs.

According to Boston-based Burning Glass Technologies, persons choosing to pursue jobs in the STEM fields can expect to enter these fields with starting salaries north of $66,000 per year compared to $52,000 for non-STEM jobs.

Perhaps it may be time to consider a job change? Or, perhaps for those young adults within our communities, Colorado Northwestern Community College and Colorado Mountain College should be on your list of places to visit this week.

Registration for summer semester at CMC already has begun, and at CNCC, the summer semester will begin in early June. While there is a plethora of courses to choose from, of particular interest to me and the medical practitioners in our community are the medical education courses.

Recently, I had written an article that provided light on the nursing shortage nationwide and within Colorado. The information I learned while writing the article was shocking to me. While I am well aware of the growth and demand within the home care segment of the medical industry (a very tiny segment), I was very much uneducated as to the state peril we as a state and country are in and will be faced with for quite some time.

This particular bit of information was particularly of interest to me: According to a Colorado Public News examination, some 50 hospital construction projects are in development throughout the state with a $3.4 billion price tag. It seems that our state is investing heavily in our economic future.

Take a look at the following stats provided by the Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence:

• Colorado has more than 61,000 licensed nurses.

• 59 percent of Colorado’s registered nurses are employed by hospitals.

• 32 percent (21,000) of Colorado’s nurses are older than 55.

• 2,000 nurses are expected to retire annually throughout the next 10 years.

• Separate and apart from the 2,000 retiring, Colorado has an annual total need of 3,300 new nurses.

Nursing school is tough, and it’s only going to become harder. Luckily for those persons considering a career in the medical fields, our local colleges are here to help. Our local colleges are offering affordable nursing and nursing preparatory classes.

We must significantly expand the pipeline of new nurses. Colorado no longer can rely on other states to educate our nurses. Students interested in nursing must be prepared academically to succeed in a demanding college curriculum. This means having college-level reading comprehension, grammar, vocabulary and math skills. Nurses must be proficient in verbal communication and writing, including grammar and vocabulary. Remember the STEM information mentioned earlier? For those who speak a secondary language, you may very well find that you are in even greater demand.

Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Routt and Moffat counties. He can be reached at www.visitingangels.com/comtns or 970-879-9400.

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