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SFCC is proud to have established a Nursing Associate (AAS) and Bachelor's (BSN) cohort.

Local media have been following the success of nursing programs In their localities. The New Mexican did a nice photo spread and article about the nursing program graduates and pinning at Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) in December. Recently there was also a picture of SFCC nursing students during the first White Coat Ceremony for the co-enrolled students who are working towards both their Associate in Applied Sciences (AAS) and Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees while staying at SFCC.

What has not been publicized is the fact that SFCC is making history for the Santa Fe community, the state of New Mexico, and the nation. In December, SFCC had its first associate (AAS)/bachelor's (BSN) cohort graduate (6 students) in collaboration with New Mexico State University. SFCC was the second community college in the state to make this happen. As referenced in the last issue of the NM Nurse, Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) graduated the first UNM cohort. In addition, there are now over 90 students in the pipeline at SFCC working on their associate and bachelor's in nursing at the same time. The next group of 34 AAS/BSN students will graduate this December. The impact of these collaborations is significant because it means that students can stay in their communities, get a bachelor's degree, and then work in their communities. Research shows that many students who leave their communities for education do not return after completing college. This fact means that the traditional BSN model only at the university level results in fewer nurses returning to their home communities and healthcare agencies continue to have vacancies and travelers.

In 2011 The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a publication called The Future of Nursing in which four significant recommendations regarding nursing education were made. One of these recommendations was to increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree to 80 percent by 2020. Only 50 per cent of all nurses across the nation in 2010 held a bachelor's degree. In New Mexico that percentage is lower. The IOM report notes that the reason for concern and need for change, is due to the growing complexity of care which requires nurses to be able to use all the advancing technology and become better critical thinkers to handle the challenges of an evolving healthcare system. There is clear evidence that in general, higher education of nurses is correlated with better patient outcomes. While this recommendation came out in 2011, nursing educators in New Mexico began working on this same issue in 2009. The collaboration across the state resulted in the formation of the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium (NMNEC) with membership that includes representation from nursing programs from all state-funded public institutions of higher learning. For the past seven years, NMNEC members have been collaborating on the challenge of producing more nurses with bachelor's degrees without losing the students from their home communities and to more expensive proprietary programs.

Many states have taken up the challenge and are working on a variety of academic progression in nursing models. New Mexico's shared baccalaureate curriculum model is unique in that a statewide curriculum is used at the community college and university level which results in an associate and bachelor's degree in nursing at the same time. While some states have struggled to get the curriculum approved at the state and national level, New Mexico has been successful and the leadership of nursing faculty must be noted. This success which represents seamless articulation and transfer could not have been implemented without the support of administration from the colleges and universities, the New Mexico Higher Education Department (HED), and the New Mexico Board of Nursing.

With New Mexico at the bottom of so many significant health indicators, the people and nurses of this state can be proud of nursing education innovation--it has put the state at the top of the list of states making progress in this arena. NMNEC leaders are being asked to speak at national meetings to share the model and its success. In July of 2015, the Institute of Medicine invited NMNEC to a public proceeding to share their story. At a recent national meeting on Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN) held in Washington, DC, a nursing education leader from Kansas publicly announced during a panel discussion on nursing education progression that she was sitting on the shoulders of giants as she was seated between a nurse education leader from Oregon and one from New Mexico. As New Mexico is being looked at as a successful nursing education model nationally, SFCC is proud to be the second community college in the state to establish a nursing associate (AAS) and bachelor's (BSN) cohort.

Jenny Landen, R.N., M.S.N., FNP-BC Dean, Santa Fe Community College School of Sciences, Health, Engineering and Math School of Fitness Education

Caption: SFCC White Coat Ceremony hosted by NMSU! Provided by Jeffrey Atwell.
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Title Annotation:Santa Fe Community College
Author:Landen, Jenny
Publication:New Mexico Nurse
Geographic Code:1U8NM
Date:Apr 1, 2016
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