October 19, 2012
By Bob Romantic
GCU News Bureau
With a new program, a small initial student base and a humble campus building, the College of Nursing cohort program in Albuquerque has been one of the best-kept secrets in New Mexico during its infancy.
|Renovation of a 16,249-square-foot building in a prominent Albuquerque location has begun, giving the cohort program a larger campus space that will allow it to expand enrollment when it opens in January.
"We can educate more bachelor's-prepared nurses and address some of that need," Gary Gum, program director for the GCU's College of Nursing in New Mexico, said of the new building.
"It also gives students who are looking into nursing as a career another option.
"There is such a need for quality education at a Christian university in New Mexico."
|The cohort program was conditionally approved by the New Mexico Board of Nursing (NMBN) in 2011 to admit 24 one-time students per year to start. In August GCU received full approval from NMBN, which allows the Albuquerque cohort to expand to two admissions per year.
The cohort program has already accepted 24 nursing students for the January admissions period and plans to admit another 24 in August with the addition of a fall semester start-up period.
"We will have plenty of qualified applicants," Gum said.
The building, located on the corner of Jefferson Street and Osuna Road in the Conejos Office Park near Interstate-25, will include prominent signage and an Antelope Reception Center similar to the one on GCU's main campus in Phoenix.
|The mock apartment is especially invaluable in New Mexico, which is more rural and has a need for nurses who specialize in home health care.
"The mock apartment is very unique," Gum said. "We can do mock home health simulations that will allow us to prepare our students for home health/community nursing practice above and beyond what is currently taught.
Health care is moving more and more in that direction. ... Nurses that do home health care have to be very strong and very autonomous because they're out there by themselves."
The Albuquerque cohort program began in May of 2011 at a time when Gum said the University of New Mexico was the only school that offered a pre-licensure bachelor of science nursing (BSN) program in Albuquerque.
"There is a need for more BSN nurses in New Mexico," Gum said. "The Institute of Medicine (IOM) report sets a standard that 80 percent of all nurses will be BSN-prepared by 2020. The big challenge is to increase the number of BSN-prepared nurses in both the rural and metropolitan settings and assist health care systems and providers to meet the IOM standard."