LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Changes to the nursing curriculum will allow students to transfer into different programs at different higher learning institutions almost seamlessly while helping some pursue advanced degrees.
The New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium (NMNEC) announced that all of the nursing programs offered through New Mexico’s higher education institutions have agreed to establish and implement a common nursing curriculum throughout the state.
"By having a common core curriculum, that would permit students to move around the state," said NMSU Nursing Program Director Pamela Schultz.
Shultz said when the Dona Ana Community College nursing program lost accreditation, students pursuing Associate's Degrees in Nursing were admitted into the Bachelor Of Science In Nursing Program at NMSU and proved to be successful.
But for several students their credits did not transfer and extended their time going to school.
"If the schools would haveve had the same curriculum, I would have been graduating next semester," said Karina Estrada who has now spent four years in programs at DACC and NMSU.
She now has to wait another year rather than practicing her profession.
With nursing programs requiring countless hours of time studying and in the classroom, students rely heavily on loved ones to help them meet obligations.
"My husband helps me a lot," Estrada said.
With a uniform curriculum, students will be able to pursue their degrees in their hometowns and not have to move to a larger institution such as NMSU or the University of New Mexico.
Schultz said that will also open the door for students to pursue more BSN degrees as opposed to the associate's.
The curriculum changes will be implemented gradually and should all be consistent by 2017.