Top New Mexico Nursing Schools, Colleges & Degree Programs
There is certainly a nursing shortage in New Mexico and this must be addressed. There are several reasons for this, not in the least the new Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion. New Mexico is putting stringent countermeasures in place but it seems that more are needed.
One statistic provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is that 27,000 jobs were added to the health care sector nationally in 2012. Yet this has now been reduced to just 17,000 jobs per month. Since the increase in demand is still very real, and since many of the current healthcare workforce is retiring, this is a worrying trend.
However, some strong initiatives are taking place in New Mexico to address future needs. One particular area of focus is in nursing education. Since 2011, educators and policy makers have been working on a common curriculum. This will allow students to move between various New Mexico colleges without any problem. Every school in the state, of which 5 are accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, have adopted the new curriculum. Additionally, this initiative allows students to get their bachelor’s degree by attending a community college, rather than one of the five big schools. It is hoped that this will solve the current problem of having to turn students away. Some 209 students have been turned away from the five schools so far.
It is hoped that, if students can study towards their BSN degree in the community, they will also stay in the community. If all goes to plan, the new common curriculum will be implemented by 2016 and this could significantly reduce the nursing shortage by 2020.
Additionally, more financial assistance will be given to nurse educators who want to enhance their qualifications. This assistance will also be given to those who want to become nurse educators. The lack of faculty is very much felt in New Mexico, as this role is only available to those with a master’s degree.
One particular issue that New Mexico is facing is that the mean annual salary is just $58,000, well below the national average. Salaries are higher for those with the highest levels of education, however, which does encourage nurses to obtain their master’s degree. However, at present, only 8.6% of this workforce is an advanced practice nurse, something that must be addressed very soon to serve the population of the state.