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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Pilot program to graduate first class of nursing students

With nurses in high demand, New Mexico State University has responded by introducing an accelerated nursing program which will be recognizing seven new graduating nurses who have spent the past 16 months in an intense academic and clinical nursing environment. The Roadrunner Program: A Fast Track to Nursing, which began at NMSU in May 2004, will graduate its first participants at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10, in the Gerald Thomas Hall Auditorium.

, the Roadrunner Program was funded by a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in response to the need for more creative ways to increase student capacity in nursing programs. It provides to students who have bachelor's degrees in any field, the ability to obtain nursing degrees on the fast track, taking larger class loads and attending school year round. The program will allow 48 students to obtain nursing degrees on the fast track during a three-year period.

Teresa Martin is finishing 150 hours of clinical experience during NMSU's second summer session to complete her nursing degree and will graduate with the rest of the program's participants. Teresa is the mother of eight children, biological and adopted, who range in age from 2-year-old twins to an 18year-old. She said balancing the program and her family was difficult, but rewarding.

"At times, I elected to settle for B's when I could have had A's, because I made conscious decisions to spend time with my family," Teresa said. "My husband is a very active parent and he helps a lot when I have homework or clinicals."

Teresa, who has a master's in social work, said she was interested in the program because it goes hand in hand with a social work degree. After graduation, Teresa plans on using the skills from both of her degrees to find a job that allows her to work in a community setting.

Teresa describes the program as being a serious learning environment. She said many of her classmates were also managing spouses and children along with school and described them as "adult learners who could bring a larger world view to the class."

The pinning ceremony will be a unique part of the graduation, as each graduate will choose who they would like to pin them and give their reason for choosing that particular person. Teresa will be pinned by her mom, who has worked as a registered nurse for as long as Teresa can remember.

Teresa's husband, Tim, said when she decided to go back to school, her family was there to support her.

"She worked very hard to juggle schoolwork, the kids and taking care of the house," Tim said. "This is what she wanted to do. We knew the sacrifices we would have to make, but we made it through."

The program requires its participants to have a 3.0 overall grade point average in their undergraduate degree and a nursing assistant certificate before participating. Other pre-requisite requirements include six hours of anatomy and physiology and three hours of another science.

"I look forward to changing the world," Teresa said. "I want to effect positive change in some way."

For more information about the Roadrunner Program or the recognition ceremony, contact the Roadrunner Program office at (505) 646-4793 or Alison Mann at (505) 646-1919.