DENVER — A conference in Denver starting Wednesday will bring 11,000 nurses to Colorado, at a time when the state is facing a worsening nurse shortage. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) National Magnet Conference will highlight the work of magnet hospitals, which are specially designated, nurse-driven hospitals.
"Magnet nurses are very engaged in own practice and help direct how patient care is given," said
Jeff Doucette, vice president of the ANCC.
There are 475 magnet hospitals nationwide, but only 11 in Colorado. The ANCC said magnet hospitals have better RN retention, lower burnout and lower turnover.
Magnet hospitals may also offer better patient care because the nurses working at a patient's bedside have more involvement in decision-making and hospital policies.
"Physicians come in and out, therapists come in and out," Doucette said. "The constant you have is the nurse."
Creating a better working environment for nurses is a critical piece of solving a nursing shortage in Colorado. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing said a growing number of nurses are leaving the profession, citing insufficient staffing levels and job stress.
The ANCC predicts Colorado could face a shortage of more than 12,000 nurses by 2025. This comes at a time when Coloradans over the age of 65 is growing three times as fast as the rest of the population, and the average age of a nurse is 55. The aging population will require more nurses, at a time when more highly trained nurses are nearing retirement.
The ANCC National Magnet Conference is at the Colorado Convention Center Wednesday through Friday. The conference features a keynote speech by Aron Ralston on Friday. Ralston famously amputated part of his own right arm after becoming lodged in a canyon in Utah in 2003. Ralston graduated from Cherry Creek High School in 1993.