CCU's Nursing Graduates Boost Health Care Profession During Nationwide Shortage

On Thursday, March 4, Colorado Christian University will hold a pinning ceremony to honor the first graduates of its Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program (RN to BSN). The ceremony will be held from 4:00-6:00 p.m. at Canyon View Vineyard Church, 736 24 1/2 Road, Grand Junction, 81505. A reception will immediately follow.

CCU established both of its nursing programs to help meet a growing need throughout Colorado and the nation, in regard to one of the most trusted and essential professions serving the public. It's estimated that between 2002 and 2012 Colorado will rank fifth-highest among states with nursing shortages in health care facilities of all types. Among the reasons behind the problem some statistics cite an increased and older patient population, an aging nursing workforce (average age of 47), fewer new nurses entering the field, and mismatched nurses to meet the state's racial and ethnic diversity. While lately there has been heightened interest in entering the field, the vast majority of projected job openings are anticipated as new positions rather than replacements, indicating an ongoing gap between supply and demand. And similar trends in neighboring states also raise questions about competition for job candidates.

CCU's RN to BSN program provides bachelor's degrees in nursing to registered nurses already in the field. It offers an in-seat format alongside a globally available, online option. Yet what makes this program unique is CCU's emphasis on combining faith with physical care, recognizing the human totality of body, mind, and spirit in caring for patients during some of life's most vulnerable moments.

"The integration of faith, ethics, and moral reasoning is a valuable perspective for health care practitioners, which you would not normally receive in other educational institutions," said Jeanette Johnson-Pozonski, a registered nurse who enrolled in CCU's RN to BSN program at age 51. She went on to explain how not having a bachelor's degree had limited her professionally. "The knowledge and skills I gained in CCU classes...opened up new doors to professional opportunities I did not know even existed. I would never have thought I could come so far in so short a time." Currently, she's considering studies at the graduate level.

All of CCU's associate candidates this year reside in western Colorado and serve in Mesa, Delta, and Montrose counties, with the baccalaureate candidates dispersed between there, the Denver suburbs, and Florida. Most will continue their careers in acute-care facilities, and some in long-term, ambulatory, or other community-based health care settings.

The tradition of pinning nurses in the United States is a rite of passage that dates back to the late nineteenth century and the Nightingale School of Nursing, named in honor of wartime heroine Florence Nightingale. A nursing pin symbolizes the profession as both scientific discipline and ministry of compassion. CCU's pin reflects the University's historical emphasis on incorporating biblical truth and principles into higher education.

"Students participating in the pinning ceremony are taking part in a longstanding and symbolic tradition," affirmed Dr. Barbara White, Dean and Professor of Nursing and Sciences at CCU. "On the threshold of their professional careers, students receive their Colorado Christian University nursing pin and participate in a 'Blessings of the Hands' ceremony, commissioning them to compassionate service and moral leadership in nursing and health care."

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