SANTA FE, N.M
The New Mexico Higher Education Department has awarded $3.5 million to support nursing programs at 17 of the state’s public colleges and universities. The grants ranged from $50,000 to $500,000, the department announced.
Increasing the number of nurses serving underserved populations and nurses from underserved populations – particularly Hispanics and Native Americans – is one of the goals set by the Nursing Enhancement Task Force.
The funds are intended to help address a critical nursing shortage that is part of a national trend that is expected to worsen. According to the department, in New Mexico, the nursing shortage is projected to be 36 percent in 2010 and 57 percent in 2020.
The department said nursing education programs in the state have waiting lists for student applicants, but some nursing faculty positions are vacant, fewer graduates are going into nursing education and many experienced nurses leave the state for higher paying jobs.
The task force also wants to prepare 11,000 new Registered Nurses in the next seven years; increase the number of bachelor of science in nursing degrees earned and educate new nurses for innovations in practices within the field.
“Our New Mexico colleges and universities recognize the need for qualified nursing educators to better serve the health needs for our state,” said Dr. Reed Dasenbrock, New Mexico’s Cabinet Secretary of Higher Education. “This is just one example of how the higher education community works to prepare for and address the New Mexico’s social and workforce needs.”
The Education Department said New Mexico’s public colleges and universities would use the state’s Nursing Enhancement Funds for the recruitment and retention of quality faculty, staff and students; student stipends; lab equipment; and professional development, among other needs.
In addition, the department received $500,000 for institutions to provide a supplemental compensation package for nursing faculty and staff.
–Diverse Online Staff
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