A behind-the-scenes look at the changes in the Nursing Program

By: Jamison Wagner, Staff Reporter

Editor’s Note: This story is a follow up clarification to the article in Volume 19 Issue 1, “Nursing program drops vital courses.” 

CNM is partnering with UNM and NMSU in rolling out the new curriculum for the Nursing program the spring semester, 2014 said Diane Evans-Prior, Nursing Program Director.

The new program is state-wide; there are fifteen other public schools in New Mexico rolling out this new curriculum, and CNM is the first to do so at the community college level, she said.

The changes have been in the works since 2009 and are ready to be implemented, she said.

“The college has to adapt to changing trends in education, to what our community partners are looking for in an entry-level Nursing practitioner,” she said.

Nursing has changed from what it was ten years ago or even five years ago and the curriculum has to adapt and evolve to reflect those changes in Nursing itself, she said.

“The major change is not that we are eliminating requirements or lowering standards, but we are increasing accessibility to the program itself,” she said.

The current curriculum requires a lengthy number of required classes and the classes did not get removed, but are now integrated into the program itself to be done in later terms, she said.

“Students would drop classes and retake them, one, two, three times because their grade is not good enough. What is this doing for progression? By the time students finally start the program, the minimum number of semesters is eight. The reality? Twelve to fifteen. Students should be getting a master’s degree at the end of that, not an associate degree,” she said.

This is not unique to CNM and the model for the program is echoed throughout the country, she said. The new curriculum is intended to make the Nursing program a lot more accessible, she said. Students can now finish the requirements in two semesters, or one, but that is more difficult, she said.

The basic proficiencies have not changed, nor has the required percentage for the HESI exam, she said. If anything, standards have increased a bit since the GPA requirement was raised from 2.5 to 2.75, she said.

Now if the students have enough credits and have met the other requirements, they can register for the new classes, she said. As a result, it will be more like the other programs CNM offers, she said.

Students can now start the basic core courses and take Anatomy & Physiology II and Developmental Psychology concurrently with their Nursing classes, she said.

The core courses in the Nursing program historically have not been enough to make full-time so our students have had difficulty meeting their financial aid requirements, she said.

“The really exciting thing is that we are fully partnered with UNM and NMSU now so all of our classes that are applicable to a Bachelor’s of Nursing will transfer completely,” she said. That is a total of 96 credit hours that CNM offers that will transfer for a B.S.N. that requires about 120 credit hours, she said.

“Students can get those credits at CNM and may enroll at UNM, which means students will be able to graduate with both an associate and a bachelor’s,” she said.

“We will offer this with the first group in 2014, but there are a few fine details to finish,” she said.

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