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New Mexico, NM - RN to BSN Nursing School Program

As part of a career ladder program, two universities in New Mexico currently offer RN to BSN programs: New Mexico State University and The University of New Mexico. Essentially, the RN to BSN program gives previously accredited RN’s the ability to expand their knowledge and skills already gained through previous education that led to RN licensure through programs such as an ADN.

A key element to RN to BSN programs in New Mexico is flexibility in schedule—available as an online degree, an RN to BSN allows nurses to keep working while they further their education at an accelerated rate and can be completed in one year once all the general education courses are completed. Accelerated completion is possible through NLN Nursing Acceleration Challenge Exams, which test knowledge in nursing processes and skills, medical and surgical processes and knowledge, pediatrics, mental health and maternal newborn care, and place currently working nurses for accelerated education. Essentially, they test current knowledge and skills to determine the educational development of accepted RN’s and allow them to move to higher level courses based on previously acquired knowledge through both formal education and the workplace. This allows currently employed Registered Nurses to tailor individual coursework to their needs and to reach career goals. Indeed, it is a targeted program towards nurses wishing to develop their career beyond that of their current practice.

Typically, admission requirements include a 2.5 GPA in prerequisite courses and prior nursing courses, but entry is competitive and the minimum is not always enough to gain acceptance. Prerequisites to a New Mexico RN to BSN program largely come from the courses completed during an ADN, such as English, math, pathophysiology, statistics and elective courses in the following areas: humanities, communications, lab science and social/behavioral sciences. Once prerequisites are completed and admission to both general studies in the university and the nursing program is achieved, students take courses in research, leadership, family and community health, community assessment and upper level electives that allow for further specialization of knowledge. Other specialized courses are also available; for instance, at New Mexico State, RN to BSN students take a course in bioterrorism.

Once all core courses and electives have been completed with a satisfactory grade (a C Average is the bare minimum), students are eligible for graduation with a BSN. A BSN opens up many opportunities for career advancement. Newfound research skills and broader scope community education and assessment knowledge can lead to both public and private sector research positions and community health programming beyond a hospital or clinical setting. Leadership and management skills offer the opportunity for advancement in current occupational settings as well. With an average Registered Nurse’s salary sitting around $63,000 (according to BLS.gov) in New Mexico, this can also mean that graduates of an RSN to BSN program have the opportunity to move to the higher end of the nursing salary scale, which in some cases can reach six figures.