Online RN to MSN Programs in New Mexico
You can get the full picture by reading the UNM profile in our school listings. Here’s a quick summary of important points:
- University of New Mexico: UNM’s RN to MSN tracks for candidates with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree come in two flavors. Specialties in Nursing Administration and Nursing Education are 100% online. APRN tracks, including the Nurse Midwifery option, are hybrid. Coursework will include synchronous, real-time learning and hands-on teaching & simulation. Bear in mind that the RN to MSN pathway is only open to New Mexico RNs.
New Mexico’s Healthcare Landscape
By most healthcare metrics, New Mexico is struggling. The New Mexico Department of Health publishes timely reports (e.g. State of Health in New Mexico) and posts state-related healthcare data on its website, but you’ll see the same problems reflected in national data:
- According to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), NM death rates from chronic liver disease/cirrhosis (think alcohol abuse), diabetes, suicide, drug overdoses, and firearm deaths are among the worst in the country. New Mexico can also have an alarmingly high violent crime rate.
- Although it agreed to Medicaid expansion, the state usually scores badly in the Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance, especially in areas such as Access & Affordability, Prevention & Treatment, and Healthy Lives.
- The state has a high percentage of children in poverty and low birthweights and preterm births are a perpetual problem (think inadequate prenatal care, smoking during pregnancy, food insecurities, etc.).
Poverty is a huge factor, especially in rural areas where ~33% of the state’s residents live. In the 2018 Rural Health Report Card, the poverty rate in rural New Mexico was 23.3%. But even cities like Albuquerque have been grappling with homelessness, mental health, and the opioid crisis. In 2018, the poverty rate for urban areas was 18.1%.
Overall, counties with the worst rankings in health outcomes & health factors tend to be in the northwestern part of the state, where you’ll also find the Navajo Nation and the Zuni Pueblo. In New Mexico, American Indians and Alaska Natives are the racial group with the highest overall death rates and the shortest life expectancy.
New Mexico Nursing Challenges & Opportunities
Healthcare providers are not sitting on their hands—efforts are being made in a number of directions. The Rural Health Information Hub (RHIhub) has examples of successful projects, as does the Office of Primary Care & Rural Health.
But one place where aspiring APRNs and NPs may find they’re most needed is filling the primary care gap. Outside of Taos, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe, physician shortages are common. Some counties may have next to no doctors. Without basics in care, most folks end up facing a medical crisis.
Fortunately, NPs have full independent practice authority and are recognized as primary care providers in New Mexico. Some experienced nurses say it’s one of the best places to practice. That means:
- FNPs can spearhead community-led initiatives, health intervention programs, and doctor-nurse public health collaborations in any part of the state.
- CNMs can help to address issues surrounding prenatal care and maternal health (e.g. travel nursing, telemedicine, free food markets, etc.).
- PMHNPs can contribute to mental health initiatives, drug & alcohol abuse recovery, and suicide prevention.
- Nurse leaders & executives can expand hospital programs, advocate for the underserved, and press for state legislation that addresses root causes of poverty.
Jobs for New Mexico RN to MSN Graduates
Career Outlook for RN to MSN Graduates
We’re pleased to report that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks career data for Nurse Practitioners and Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary. If you’re debating between areas, you can use the job & wage maps on each page to compare regions and states.
As you might expect, the largest market for nurse practitioners in New Mexico is usually in Albuquerque. The city employs around 45% of the state’s NPs. In contrast, Santa Fe and Las Cruces might employ ~12-14% (in each area). Annual mean wages tend to be comparable to Texas and Arizona.
- Hospital & Clinic Jobs: Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque has a good reputation among nurses—see the Best Hospitals in New Mexico for further proof. However, Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe, UNM Hospitals in Albuquerque, and Memorial Medical Center-Las Cruces are high performing. UNM also deals with a wide range of patients (e.g. uninsured) and care situations (e.g. pediatric sub-specialties, burn unit, designated stroke center, etc.).
- University Jobs: New Mexico only has a small number of universities, which means nursing instructor jobs can be scarce. But there are some options out there, especially at the ADN level. NMBON has a list of BON-approved nursing programs. UNM, NMSU, Brookline College, and WNMU have developed nursing degrees that are BSN-level and higher.
- Rural Jobs: Your work will be appreciated! APRNs and NPs are eligible for New Mexico’s Rural Health Care Practitioner Tax Credit and the Health Professional Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP). This is given to recipients who agree to a 2-year service commitment to practice full-time in a designated medical shortage area in New Mexico.
In 2019, UNM and Presbyterian Health Services also announced they were developing a nurse practitioner residency program that will focus on providing care in medically underserved areas. Priorities for NPs participating in the program will include combating the opioid crisis and addressing mental health issues.
Career Resources for Future APRNs
New Mexico Nursing Job Boards
- NMNA Career Center: Job listings for New Mexico nurses
- NMNPC Career Center: Job listings for New Mexico NPs
New Mexico APRN Salary & Wage Data
- Annual Mean Wages for New Mexico Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations: Categories can include “Nurse Practitioners,” “Nurse Midwives,” and “Nurse Anesthetists”
- Annual Mean Wages for New Mexico Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary
- AANP National Compensation Survey: Available to AANP members
New Mexico Nursing Organizations
State Board of Nursing
New Mexico Nursing Associations & Coalitions
- New Mexico Center for Nursing Excellence (NMCNE)
- New Mexico Hospital Association (NMHA)
- New Mexico Nurses Association (NMNA)
- New Mexico Nurse Practitioner Council (NMNPC)
New Mexico Nursing Specialty Organizations
- American College of Nurse-Midwives – New Mexico Affiliate (New Mexico ACNM)
- American Psychiatric Nurses Association – New Mexico Chapter (APNA New Mexico)
- Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses – New Mexico (AWHONN New Mexico)
- New Mexico Association of Nurse Anesthetists (NMANA)
- New Mexico Emergency Nurses Association (NMENA)
- New Mexico Organization of Nurse Leaders (NMONL)
- New Mexico School Nurse’s Association (NMSNA)
- PeriAnesthesia Nurses Association of New Mexico (PANANM)
Nursing School Overview
UNM is a public research university with a thoroughly respectable College of Nursing. It's considered to be the #1 school for nursing in the state. The College usually ranks in the top 100 of U.S. News & World Report rankings for graduate nursing programs, with a 100% certification pass rate for the FNP and CNM programs. It has a strong track record in faculty practice and rural health initiatives. It runs a Center for Health Equity & Preparedness that's focused on social justice and public health. And it's well-connected, with ties to 300+ clinical sites, including UNM Health and the Indian Health Service. Tuition for New Mexico RNs is very reasonable and nursing scholarships are available. As you might expect, competition for APRN spots is tough, so put your best foot forward in the application.
RN to MSN Admissions & Curriculum
UNM's RN to MSN pathways are open to New Mexico RNs with a non-nursing bachelor's degree. No BSN is awarded with this program. All applicants should have a current New Mexico RN license (or eligibility for state licensure), a minimum GPA of 3.0, three letters of recommendation, a letter of intent, and a resume. APRN tracks will have additional work experience requirements. RN to MSN programs in NP specialties are hybrid, with some synchronous coursework and hands-on teaching & simulation experiences. Any MSN track in indirect care is 100% online (e.g. Administration or Education). You'll need to complete three 400-level nursing courses before you can proceed to the MSN portion of the program. The master's degree typically takes 2 years/6 semesters to complete. Best of all, UNM faculty and clinical placement staff will select your clinical sites and preceptor placements.