As the nursing shortage remains of national and statewide concern, 48 students have begun their first semester of clinical classes in the basic Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) program in the UNM College of Nursing. The students are on track to graduate and begin practicing in spring 2004.

Another 56 students will begin their clinical classes in January.

"Due to legislative support, this represents a 50 percent increase in the basic program alone," said College of Nursing Dean Sandra L. Ferketich, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N. "In addition, as part of that support, the RN/BSN option is now offered totally on the Internet, increasing the capacity for that group of students as well."

The RN/BSN option is a plan to accommodate the special needs of registered nurses who wish to return to school to complete a baccalaureate degree.

In addition, three concentrations of study at the master's degree level are also available online, increasing the capacity in those programs.

"These options are especially important for rural New Mexicans who would like advanced degrees but do not want to move to Albuquerque," Ferketich said. "Registered nurses can remain on the job in their local communities and have career ladder opportunities over the Internet."

Of the students who began their studies recently, 46, or 95.8 percent, are female and two are male.

The ethnic background of the new nursing class is:

  • White 27 students (56 percent)
  • Hispanic/Mexican American 16 students (33 percent)
  • Native American 2 students (4 percent)
  • Asian 2 students (4 percent)
  • Afro-American 1 student (2 percent)

The BSN degree provides a broad background in the sciences and liberal arts while preparing students for a lifelong career in nursing.

The basic BSN Program at the UNM College of Nursing covers four academic years. The program consists of foundation courses during the first two years and clinical courses for the last two years. The new students have just begun their clinical courses, during which they will experience hands-on learning in hospitals and the community under the supervision of nursing faculty.

The new students bring to 285 the number of students working toward their BSN in the UNM College of Nursing, including registered nurses taking advantage of the RN/BSN option.

For more information about the UNM College of Nursing, visit http://hsc.unm.edu/consg/


Contact: Lynn Melton, 272-3322