New Funding Targeted at Nursing Program Expansion

© Western New Mexico University

The Western New Mexico University School of Nursing will put a nearly $1.1-million-award from the New Mexico Higher Education Department toward the expansion of its programs.

“Teamwork was essential to this success,” said Dr. Kimberly Petrovic, who is Associate Dean for the WNMU School of Nursing and Kinesiology. Key to the process of requesting and ultimately securing this grant funding, she said, were a host of nursing faculty members, university leaders, and supporters from across the entire WNMU academic spectrum.

A portion of the funding is designated for technology in the simulation labs at the main campus and WNMU | Deming, a percentage earmarked for faculty and staff compensation and professional development, and more concentrated on developing holistic coaching, mentoring, instructional and tutoring systems to recruit, retain and prepare pre-nursing students for successful completion of their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and entry to the workforce.

Regarding the holistic model for student retention and success, “our objective is to address many of the barriers to success that exist for our student population, many of whom face challenges such as inadequate academic preparation, lack of relatable experiences, socioeconomic challenges, and the ongoing collective toll of adverse childhood events,” the project proposal, co-authored by Dr. Petrovic and WNMU Assistant Professor of Nursing Angie Cox, stated. “We believe that the WNMU School of Nursing faculty provide exceptionally compassionate and supportive instruction and care. Still, many of our pre-nursing and pre-licensure students need more support.”

An estimated 250 to 300 students declare pre-nursing as a major upon admission to WNMU. “If 16% of these students were qualified to apply to the pre-licensure BSN track, then between 40 and 48 students could become part of full cohorts of 40 students per academic year; and, the maximum number of students per cohort could increase from 40 to 48,” the proposal continues. “This creates the potential for an additional 40 to 48 nurses per year to join the nursing workforce in New Mexico.”

If faculty recruitment and retention were improved through incentives and stipends and the WNMU School of Nursing were to complement its current one cohort per year with a second, then there’s the possibility of adding a total of 80 pre-licensure BSN students and, subsequently, 80 potential nurses to the workforce annually, according to the proposal.

“Given the underserved nature of the rural/frontier areas here in the southwest region, the holistic nursing student success model intends to address geographic diversity while expanding education opportunities for all qualified pre-nursing students to apply to the pre-licensure BSN track of the WNMU nursing program,” the WNMU School of Nursing argued in their proposal.

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