This past June, the University of New Mexico College of Nursing brought a class to the Southeastern part of the state for rural area nurses seeking advanced degrees. 

 What came out of that class were nine nurses: one a nursing instructor at New Mexico State University and one a nursing instructor from Eastern New Mexico University who took information back to their students, and seven other working nurses from the Carlsbad/ Roswell area; who not only furthered their education but took back what they learned to enrich their practice of nursing.

The UNM College of Nursing, brought a master's level course to these working nurses because of the shortage of not only nurses, but also nurses with advanced degrees in rural areas.  "This is important since smaller communities just like the rest of the nation are facing a nursing shortage," said Susan Fox, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs & Community Partnerships at the UNM College of Nursing.

The college also took the course to Carlsbad because the course, Advanced Health Assessment is a pre-requisite for the Acute Care Nurse practitioner course in the master's nursing program. Darla Bannister, RN, of Carlsbad, went to Pat Gillett, a clinical instructor with the UNM College of Nursing, requesting that it come down to Carlsbad. "It is difficult living in a rural area to pursue degrees beyond what we have," Bannister said. "For us to get to Albuquerque to complete a 16-week class would take us a six hour drive each way and lodging while in town."

Most prerequisite classes for the Acute Care Nursing Practitioner Master's Degree can be completed over the web, but this particular class requires physical presence, Gillett said. So by being flexible and working around the nurse's work schedules, the class was held for two days on two weekends. "It was a condensed course, the students did well and had great study habits," Gillett said.

This fall, Bannister along with two of her classmates, are beginning the masters program for Acute Care Nurse practitioners at the UNM College of Nursing. "Pat was willing [to come to Carlsbad] and I appreciate it. I could have never have done it otherwise."

The UNM College of Nursing provides nursing education, research, service and leadership in nursing for the state of New Mexico. With baccalaureate,  master's and doctoral level education and web-based programs in such areas as BSN completion for RNs, nursing education, and community health, the college focuses on asking and answering the most difficult questions about nursing care and how nurses can design and manage health care delivery to meets the needs of the state.


Contact: Angela Heisel, 272-3322