First Group of Nursing Students Graduate Using New Statewide Curriculum

September 3, 2015 -- Eight CNM nursing students recently graduated with Bachelor of Science Degrees and Associate of Applied Science Degrees in Nursing during a ceremony held at the University of New Mexico.
September 03, 2015

They were among 65 graduating nurses who completed new statewide nursing curriculum developed by the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium (NMNEC), a collaborative of nursing programs in state-funded universities and community colleges. The new common nursing curriculum allows community college students to obtain an associate degree or pursue a bachelor’s degree in partnership with a university.

CNM students who are dually enrolled in the ADN/BSN track are on a progressive pathway. This approach, unique to New Mexico, allows for concurrent degree completion.

“Most ADN/BSN programs are considered a 2+2, where students earn their associate degree and then move on to a BSN completion track. With the NMNEC program, this happens simultaneously,” said Diane Evans-Prior, Academic Affairs Director of Nursing in CNM’s School of Health, Wellness & Public Safety (HWPS). She further explained that the NMNEC approach to academic progression in nursing is being recognized as the emerging model for nursing education at national levels.

 “We are really proud of this first cohort of CNM students who completed the newly adopted curriculum,” Evans-Prior said “There is a shortage of nurses throughout the state, especially those with BSN degrees in more rural areas. We know that CNM can help, directly and indirectly, to fill that gap through our partnership with both UNM and NMNEC.”

She noted that what this curriculum offers is two-fold. It provides seamless transfer for nursing students if they find themselves needing to relocate in another part of the state before their nursing education is complete, and it offers access to a BSN degree for qualified students at the two-year institutions. Besides lower cost, the CNM nursing program is highly desired because of its reputation, small class size and focus on student success.

“Those dually enrolled students get the benefit of pursuing the university degree in the familiar and comfortable environment of their community college,” Evans-Prior said.

CNM was the first community college to partner with a university and adopt the NMNEC curriculum. Today, this degree is offered in seven state-funded schools in 10 communities. NMNEC students can complete their BSNs in their home communities without having to travel to the universities. The desired result is that they meet the healthcare needs of the smaller towns like Farmington, Hobbs, Grants and Gallup, where nurses are needed most.

Evans-Prior noted that another benefit of students beginning their nursing careers at the baccalaureate levels is that these students are statistically more likely to pursue advanced degrees in nursing. This will provide a pipeline to increase the numbers of nurses in primary care, education, research, management and policy discussions.