Hi there -
I see that you posted this some time ago; hopefully you are still out there!
Colorado Springs' nursing climate is mixed. There are only two hospital chains - the city (county?) hospital and a private, Catholic hospital. (Read: Very little competition with pay, environment, LOTS of competition if you're trying to branch out into a specialty area). As an RN with almost 9 yrs experience I make $25.00/hr, and that includes my PRN "bonus". Our floor is almost always short RNs or CNAs, on the dayshift that means up to 7 pts (usually 6), 3-4 of which usually are high acuity.
By competition in the specialty areas, I mean that there are fewer spots, and usually you have to sign a contract for night shift work, say for 2 years or so, if you are willing to work there. (Because of the turnover)
Both systems are opening up another hospital in the northern part of town; one in the beginning of 2007 and one in 2008. I have no idea how this will affect pay or staffing; I'm not even sure where they'll find RNs since we're already short. But maybe they will - the staffing grid already short-staffs us ("What do you mean you're short? The grid only calls for 4 RNs for 28 pts...")
Hope this helps.