UNM West adds program, hopes to grow nursing workforce | KOB 4
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UNM West adds program, hopes to grow nursing workforce

Emily Jaceks
September 07, 2018 09:12 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Eight nursing students are doing something that's never been done before.

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“I’m excited about being the first class,” Sheena Stephenson said.

They're taking classes at the University of New Mexico West, a small, rural campus on the outskirts of Rio Rancho.

“It seems like a good opportunity to start something new,” Shane Goeckner said.

For this group, it's the perfect location.

“I applied initially for main campus and then for west. And when I got the news about west, I was ecstatic,” Stephenson said.

Classes will be web-conferenced from the main campus, with some faculty on site. But student's clinical experience will be in locations in Sandoval County and Albuquerque's Westside.

“It’s kind of a whole new frontier here for us,” Sue Koronkiewicz, Undergraduate Advisor for the UNM Nursing Program said.

And now, more than ever, their skills are needed.

“You know, more nurses are retiring faster than they're coming in, and there are all kinds of barriers as to how many nurses we can actually produce from nursing schools,” Koronkiewicz said.

According to the 2017 New Mexico Health Care Workforce annual report, 3,700 registered nurses are needed in our state. Rural communities are suffering the most.

“We want to also recruit students who are coming from those communities so they go back and bring the quality health care to those communities,” Koronkiewicz said.

University officials hope students like Goeckner, who’s from Farmington, will love the experience they gained working in the rural setting at UNM West, and will slowly fill that hole of desperately needed registered nurses, improving health outcomes for New Mexicans.

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Emily Jaceks

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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