The UNM College of Nursing (CoN) was recently recognized by the Vision 2020 Program for the collaborative clinical programs it has developed across the state.
“The UNM CoN has a middle name and it is “Community,” said Art Kaufman, M.D., Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs. Kaufman said CoN faculty and staff have been with working with the New Mexico community for many years in innovative projects providing primary care services covering the lifespan, from the Family Health Partnership midwifery clinic, an Early Head Start Clinic, school based health clinics like Mustang Valley in Mountainair and finally Geriatric Education and Health Maintenance clinics (GEHM) in Albuquerque.
The CoN’s leadership is also involved in increasing workforce diversity and access to baccalaureate nursing education through the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium (NMNEC).
The Family Health Partnership, a CoN faculty practice site located in rural Sandoval County, is a HRSA-funded nurse-managed faculty practice center functioning in partnership with El Pueblo Health Services. It is funded to develop faculty, increase access to quality care from first trimester through the postnatal year and decrease health disparities. It also aims to ameliorate the impacts of chronic diseases such as obesity and its link to gestational diabetes, all while teaching positive parenting skills to participants. They provide services to decrease health disparities and increase access to prenatal care. Certified nurse midwives (CNMs), nurse practitioners (NPs), a mental health NP and community health workers (CHWs) combine their multidisciplinary skills to meet the needs of the community. From June to December of 2011 they have served 42 families.
Continuing services as children grow, the CoN directs a City of Albuquerque funded Early Head Start clinic serving the most vulnerable children three years old and younger. Faculty and students provide preventive and primary care services like developmental assessments, health screenings, health promotion, immunizations, parental education, as well as referrals for early intervention to families.
As children age into adolescents, the CoN continues to serve them with four active school based health centers in schools across New Mexico, serving hundreds of students. These are diverse schools where CoN faculty and students work to provide preventive and primary health care services to under-served communities, from Mustang Valley to Jemez Pueblo and Jemez Valley Public Schools to the new Albuquerque charter school- the ACE Leadership High School.
Finally, in the last phase of the life cycle, the CoN works with Albuquerque’s Department of Senior Affairs to provide early screenings, health promotion and referrals in more than five senior centers and meal sites throughout the area. These Geriatric Education and Health Maintenance Clinics (GEHMs) provide opportunities for faculty and students to learn about and gain valuable insights from our aging population. With the issue of increasing poly-pharmacy in the aging, the CoN has partnered with the College of Pharmacy and their faculty and students to provide education on medication management.
N ot resting on its laurels by any means, the CoN continues to innovate and expand its community collaborations and is opening the inter-disciplinary Atrisco Heritage Center for Family and Community Health in the southwest mesa area in Albuquerque in November 2012. This health center will serve both as a school based health clinic and a community clinic in this under-served and vulnerable area with high teen pregnancy and poverty rates. This collaborative model will include nursing (CNMs, NPs, RNs), medicine (Family Medicine, Psychiatry), Pharmacy, Dental and students from all these disciplines working together to serve the community.
Another community activity at the CoN, led by Executive Dean, Jean Giddens, PhD, RN, FAAN, is increasing access to baccalaureate nursing education and workforce diversity by partnering with universities and community colleges throughout the state through the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium (NMNEC).
The goal is to improve the quality of the nursing workforce by increasing the number of BSN prepared nurses from the current 37% to closer to the 80% by 2020, suggested by the Institute of Medicine/Robert Wood Johnson seminal report, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.”
Research by Nurse Linda Aiken, PhD and others show better clinical outcomes with a better educated workforce. This is especially important in a state where there is a diverse population scattered over a largely rural area. This coupled with an aging population makes it imperative to have highly qualified nurses in urban and rural areas in New Mexico that are working with the community to provide quality health care.
Increasing numbers of BSN prepared nurses also increases the likelihood of nurses returning to school to seek advance nursing degrees, like the MSN or PhD. These future nursing scholars will become nursing faculty and the next generation of primary care providers in rural communities around New Mexico.
Contact: Cindy Foster, 272-3322