DENVER (KDVR) — On paper, there are more available nurses in Colorado than ever.

Colorado hospitals have been struggling with staffing shortages that then impact the number of available beds. On Jan. 18, the Colorado chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians sent a letter to Gov. Jared Polis saying the healthcare system is on the brink of collapse. Nurses have been quitting due to the burnout from waves of COVID patients or calling out sick with COVID symptoms themselves.

There were 81,151 active registered nurse licenses in Colorado as of Dec. 31, 2021, according to the National Council of State Boards of Nurses. That’s about 2,100 more RN licenses than there were a year prior, at the end of 2020.

In just a four-year timeline, Colorado added nearly 5,000 RN licenses.

Projections say the number should only go up. A SeniorList study said the demand for registered nurses in Colorado will grow by 29.5% between 2018 and 2028, while the demand for Nurse Practitioners will jump up by about 44.7%.