Governor Susana Martinez visits San Juan College to discuss healthcare initiatives

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez discusses her administration's
healthcare initiative at San Juan College on January 16.

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez discussed her healthcare initiatives with numerous local officials, San Juan College nursing staff and faculty and many others at a press conference on Monday, January 16 at San Juan College.

Farmington Mayor Tommy Roberts introduced Governor Martinez, NM State Senator Steve Neville, San Juan Regional Medical Center Chief Nursing Officer Suzanne Smith and San Juan College Nursing Director Nisa Bruce to speak on a variety of aspects of the healthcare initiatives.

One of the Governors initiatives is to establish a common nursing curriculum across the state and incorporate new partnerships between universities and local colleges to offer Bachelors Degrees in Nursing at more New Mexico schools.

Other healthcare initiatives introduced by her administration, including doubling the number of annual awards provided through the Nursing Loan-For-Service and Health Professional Loan Repayment Programs as well as streamlining licensure requirements for nurses relocating to New Mexico, will make New Mexico a destination of choice for new nurses and nurse practitioners across the country. These nurses will help already overtaxed doctors and nurses in New Mexico when the states Medicaid program expands to an estimated 170,000 people.

Were facing unprecedented changes in healthcare, but I am confident that we can build an economy that is capable of leading through those changes, Martinez said. By streamlining the requirements for nurses seeking to bring their talents and skills to New Mexico, we can further ensure that more New Mexicans, especially those in rural and underserved areas, will have access to the high quality care our families and communities deserve.

The common nursing curriculum was developed by the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium (NMNEC), will allow New Mexico to meet looming needs of the future including a large number of retiring nurses and a growing, nationwide demand for healthcare.

Bruce spoke to the many advantages the common curriculum will have for future nursing students and the impact the improved education could have on the state. NMNECs curriculum will allow for community college nursing students to remain in their home community and complete a pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing through college and university partnerships. This provides a more efficient nursing educational pathway that will reduce duplicative coursework, diminish tuition costs, provide students a faster track to licensure and increase student enrollment.

Nursing is by far the largest healthcare profession in the U.S. with more than 2.6 million registered nurses practicing in hospitals and other settings nationwide, Bruce said during her speech. By 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that more than 1.2 million additional registered nurses will be needed to work in acute care hospitals, long-term care facilities, community health centers, nursing schools and other areas.

Smith pointed to the benefits the curriculum and partnerships provide to not only nursing students and nurses, but to the community as well.

The relationship between San Juan College and San Juan Regional Medical Center allows for 100 percent of nursing students to receive clinical education at SJRMC, Smith said. Quality nursing education, including the curriculum put forth by NMNEC, leads to quality nursing care. This, in no small measure, facilitated SJRMCs recognition by Healthgrades with a Distinguished Hospital Award. Additionally, SJRMC was recognized with five stars for excellence in orthopedics, cardiology and womens services.

San Juan College will introduce its Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) NMNEC Curriculum in Fall 2014 and implement a partnership with UNM in Spring 2015.

For more information about the nursing program at San Juan College, call 505-566-3224.

Farmington mayor Tommy Roberts, San Juan College Vice President for Learning Barbara Ake, SJC Director of Nursing Nisa Bruce, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, San Juan Regional Medical Center Chief Nursing Officer Suzanne Smith, NM State Senator Steve Neville, SJC President Toni Pendergrass and SJRMC Board of Directors Chairman Sandy Williams were all on hand to hear about Governor Martinezs healthcare initiatives at San Juan College on January 16.