As the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) continues to recruit nurses, it said Wednesday that it is now offering thousands of dollars as a sign-on bonus for mental health nurses to work at the state's two psychiatric hospitals.
The United States as a whole is facing a nursing shortage. From 2020 to 2021, Colorado saw a decline of more than 100,000 registered nurses.
The state is also facing an expected increase in demand — as much as 10% — for mental health nurses, the CDHS said. Twenty-seven states are projected to be unable to meet the total hiring demand for mental health workers, according to Mercer research, with current trends showing about 55,000 mental health jobs will go unfilled. The states most heavily affected will be Massachusetts, Illinois, Pennsylvania, California and Colorado.
Nearly half of Colorado's rural counties are without a mental health provider
The CDHS said it is offering several benefits for nurses that come to work at the state's two mental health hospitals: the Colorado Mental Health Hospital in Pueblo (CMHHIP) and the Colorado Mental Health Hospital in Fort Logan (CMHHIFL) in Denver.
The CMHHIP is an acute care psychiatric hospital that provides inpatient behavioral health services for adults, adolescents and geriatric patients. The CMHHIFL is a psychiatric hospital helping residents with acute mental illnesses or court-ordered inpatient restoration treatment, according to CDHS.
That includes the sign-on bonus, a retirement plan, and generous state benefits, the CDHS said. The bonuses come in three payments, starting with within two pay cycles, then again on the 180-day anniversary, and lastly on the 270-day anniversary.
“CDHS is committed to empowering Coloradans to thrive through bold and innovative health and human services,” said CDHS Executive Director Michelle Barnes. “We value our exceptional nursing staff's hard work and dedication, and invite you to join them and call Colorado home.”
To learn more about a nursing career in Colorado, click here. Other nursing positions are offering bonuses of $7,000.
Colorado is one of about 40 states that is a part of the Nurse Licensure Compact, where nurses can practice in the other participating states without needing to obtain a new license.