Shelly Fischer headshot

Faculty Member Shelly Fischer, PhD, to take the lead on FRCC’s RN-to-BSN completion program.

Front Range Community College has selected Shelly Fischer, PhD, as the new director of its nationally accredited Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) completion program—which is one of the first four-year degrees the college offers.

“Colorado desperately needs more nurses with bachelor’s degrees,” said FRCC President Andy Dorsey. The state is currently experiencing an annual shortage of at least 500 nurses with four-year BSN degrees—and this figure is expected to grow to a cumulative shortage of 4,500 nurses with BSNs by 2024. “Our new BSN completion program is designed to help alleviate that shortage.”

“FRCC has been providing outstanding nursing education for more than 50 years,” Dorsey added. “Dr. Fischer’s leadership will ensure that our BSN program continues to help meet the growing demand for highly-skilled health care providers in Colorado.”

“Health care employers in Colorado know that FRCC’s nursing graduates can hit the ground running in a professional environment,” said Fischer. “Our newly accredited RN-to-BSN completion program will allow more of these highly-skilled nurses to become leaders in their field.”

BSN students working on a mannequin

“FRCC’s BSN option offers registered nurses—and nursing students—a seamless transition to this more advanced nursing degree,” Fischer added. “This gives students an affordable route to better paying jobs right here in their home state while simultaneously improving patient outcomes.”

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing at FRCC recently received national accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Fischer’s Background & Experience

Before becoming a professor, Fischer served for more than 25 years in nursing leadership roles in both acute and long-term care. She now has almost 10 years of experience teaching nursing at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Fischer returned to the hospital acute care environment as a bedside RN to help address the related surge in patients. “This work has helped keep my nursing clinical skills sharp, refreshed my perspective on nursing practice, and has served as a strong reminder of why I was drawn to be a nurse.”

Fischer also took a lead role in developing the University of Wyoming’s master’s degree program and curriculum in nursing leadership. She helped develop the program’s admission standards and process to foster excellence, emphasizing the importance of equity and inclusion for individuals with diverse life experiences, perspectives and backgrounds.

“I’m passionate about engaging and supporting students, while also upholding high standards for academic progression,” Fischer said. “That’s how we prepare nurses to handle the current and future challenges of leadership roles and to help transform our health care system.”

More About FRCC’s RN-to-BSN Program

Many hospitals and other health care providers now require their nurses to have a bachelor’s degree. The demand for highly educated nurses is also increasing because many baby boomers in the profession are retiring.

FRCC’s RN-to-BSN completion option allows registered nurses who have completed an associate degree—or students enrolled in a nursing program—to finish their Bachelor of Science degree right at FRCC. The new program—which can be completed mostly online—started in late 2019, and has since awarded the college’s first bachelor’s degrees.

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing at FRCC is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

FRCC is currently accepting applications for its RN-to-BSN completion program. The deadline to apply for fall semester is July 16, 2021.

More About Fischer

Fischer has been on the nursing faculty at FRCC’s Larimer Campus since 2020. Before that, she taught at the University of Colorado and the University of Wyoming.

Her leadership roles in nursing practice have included serving as:

  • Clinical director for the Heart Center of the Rockies, and later for the Intensive Care Unit—both at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins;
  • Executive director for Life Care Centers of America;
  • Neuroscience director and stroke program coordinator for Swedish Medical Center in Denver.

Fischer holds a PhD in nursing and a clinical nurse specialist master’s degree from the University of Colorado. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Iowa.

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About Front Range Community College

FRCC offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs from locations in Boulder County, Larimer County, Westminster, Brighton, and online. FRCC is a member of the Colorado Community College System.

About the Colorado Community College System

The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is the state’s largest system of higher education, serving 138,000 students annually at 13 colleges and 39 locations across Colorado. Our open access mission ensures all Coloradans who aspire to enrich their lives have access to quality higher education opportunities.

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