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Denver Health employs 1865 nurses who have earned their RN certification or higher. They comprise the largest department in the organization (by far) and each and every one of them is critical to our success. Nurses can be found in traditional roles comforting patients at the bedside or giving inoculations in clinic exam rooms. They provide direct care to patients throughout the Denver Health system like delivering babies, regulating medications and assisting in the operating room. But beyond that, they also manage staff in Community Health Clinics, do research, train employees, coach nursing students, manage records and counsel families. They stabilize trauma victims, put broken legs in casts, start IV lines and monitor safety regulations.

It’s impossible to overstate their importance. And, we know that there is strong evidence that indicates a direct correlation between nurses with college degrees and better patient outcomes.

That’s why the Denver Health Foundation is committed to providing significant support for nursing scholarships in the coming years. We want to encourage nurses to advance their education and nursing scholarships are one of the most important forms of financial aid that current and future nurses have available to them. Denver Health’s commitment to nursing education began in 1887 when we opened the first school of Nursing west of the Mississippi. Our pride in our nurses continues, as well as the dedication to promote the professional development of the largest workforce at Denver Health. The Denver Health Nurses Care Scholarships are an opportunity to support the growth of nurses to assist Denver Health in reaching our vision: “To be the healthiest community in the United States.”

The purpose of the scholarships is to promote high standards of health care by facilitating the advancement of nursing through academic support. Through the promotion of nursing and the encouragement of excellence in nursing practice, the ultimate goal is to improve the quality of health care to all of the Denver Health community by advancing the profession of nursing.

The program will award scholarships to extraordinary employees, supporting the professional development of existing nurses and of other employees who aspire to become nurses. The average cost of tuition (only) for Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees in top Denver schools of nursing is $26,500 annually. This puts a BSN completely out of reach for many in our workforce.

In 2011, an Institution of Medicine report titled “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” recommended that 80 percent of nurses in the United States be baccalaureate-prepared in nursing (BSN) by the year 2020. Our goal would be for Denver Health to meet or exceed the IOM’s recommendations. Currently, Denver Health has an RN BSN rate of 71%. In addition, the scholarship program will work to recruit minority applicants whose ethnicity will more closely match that of our patient population.