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NM colleges/universities agree to establish common nursing curriculum

Easier credit transfers and more BSNs expected from streamlined statewide efforts

Monday December 9, 2013
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All of the nursing programs offered through New Mexico’s higher education institutions have agreed to establish and implement a common nursing curriculum throughout the state, according to a Nov. 7 news release by New Mexico’s Gov. Susana Martinez and leaders of the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium.

Making the curriculum consistent across New Mexico will allow credits to transfer more easily between institutions in cases where a student has to move within New Mexico. Previously, such a move might have meant losing precious time, credits and money for students, according to the release.

Due to these changes, more nursing students throughout New Mexico soon will be able to pursue a BSN degree without having to physically attend large universities like the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque or New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, according to the release.

For the first time, local community colleges will be able to partner with one of these universities to offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing. This will help translate to more nurses practicing in rural and underserved areas, where they are greatly needed. In conjunction with the New Mexico Higher Education Department, NMNEC worked to standardize and streamline the clinical and academic training requirements for nursing candidates in New Mexico.

By the next academic year, 63% of nursing students at New Mexico higher education institutions will learn from the same curriculum, with that percentage rising each year to reach 100% participation for the 2017 school year. New partnerships between institutions will be formed to allow for bachelor’s degrees to be offered in more locations throughout the state, instead of requiring nurses who want to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing to leave their homes and families for two years.

“These reforms that Gov. Martinez has instituted are essential to both current and aspiring New Mexico nursing professionals, as well as to the communities we serve,” said Terry Keller, RN, PhD, a nursing educator who teaches at New Mexico State University.

“For too long, New Mexicans seeking to put their talents and passions to work serving their communities as nurses have had to deal with undue hardships when transferring credits from one institution to another due to the circumstances of everyday life. Now, aspiring nursing students will be able to pursue their dreams of serving as healthcare professionals much easier, in more underserved areas across our state. In turn, this will ease the burden on current healthcare professionals, who are already in short supply.”

New Mexico faces a shortage of primary care and family practice healthcare workers, especially in rural areas, according to the release. For details, visit, http://nmnec.org/curriculum/.