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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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New doctoral nursing program at NMSU addresses shortage of nurses and nursing faculty

Classified sections in newspapers, magazines or online frequently lure nurses with promises of good salaries and benefits tied into a prestigious career. While the nursing shortage is an ongoing challenge, the shortage of faculty to teach nurses compounds the challenge.

Dr. Esperanza Villanueva-Joyce, director of NMSU's School of Nursing, welcomes the school's new nursing doctoral students (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

ico State University is addressing the nursing faculty shortage with a new doctoral program in nursing. The university's School of Nursing welcomed the initial class of eight doctoral students July 9.

Three of the students - Donna Bateman, Milledge Boyce and Mary Wofford - come from Las Cruces and another, Sherry Mendela, is from El Paso. The other four students are Margie Hair of Minot, N.D.; Jene Hurlbut of Henderson, Nev.; Debra Martinez of West Covina, Calif.; and Beverly Patchell of Oklahoma City, Okla.

The students will be taking classes through distance education. NMSU Interim Provost and Executive Vice President Robert Moulton cautioned them that "the distance delivery mode may be more convenient, but it's just as rigorous (as traditional classroom settings)." Calling the reward upon completion of the doctorate "great," Moulton advised the students to budget their time well and not to procrastinate in their academic duties.

"It's vital to keep folks like you in your communities," added Jeffrey Brandon, dean of the NMSU College of Health and Social Services. "It's important for us to recognize the nursing shortage and, even more so, the nursing faculty shortage."

Brandon said that even though NMSU is competing for students against larger universities with deeper financial pockets and whose doctoral programs have been established for a while, he is confident the doctoral program will boost enrollment in the College of Health and Social Services and New Mexico State University.

Esperanza Villanueva-Joyce, the associate dean for nursing education and director of the School of Nursing, told the students that the impact of having a doctorate is "far greater than you think." She advised the students to look at themselves and to find ways to increase their value to their peers and to the nursing profession.

The new doctoral program in nursing is part of the university's outreach efforts to help improve the lives of New Mexico citizens.