Registered nurses play a vital role in providing medical care to patients. They often collaborate with physicians and other staff to ensure that patients receive the best possible care in a variety of settings, from hospitals and clinics to residential care facilities. Registered nurses with experience and additional education can become a nurse practitioner. Applying their additional knowledge, nurse practitioners can prescribe medication without physician approval, which makes them an excellent resource to rural communities with few doctors.
Nursing schools in New Mexico offer both on-campus and online nursing degrees. You can choose the level of degree that best suits your career aspirations, whether that’s an associate, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree from a nursing college in New Mexico. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 15% growth in the nursing field between 2016 and 2026. As the demand for nurses increases in areas where there are more elderly citizens, New Mexico’s growing population of residents 65 and older indicates that the state is a great location for your future nursing education and career.
How to Become a Nurse in New Mexico
Nursing students have similar educational experiences no matter their state of residence. For example, all nursing students must pass the NCLEX-RN, an exam that assesses students’ knowledge and skills. However, the requirements to become a nurse in each state differ slightly. For example, some states use other licensure exams in addition to the NCLEX-RN. Also, states’ licensure fees differ, meaning that nursing students in one state may pay more than nursing students in another state.
Choose the Path That's Right for You
At the very minimum, you must earn an associate degree in nursing to become a registered nurse. Many nursing schools in New Mexico offer this one-to-two year long program, as it is the quickest way to enter the nursing workforce. Another path to becoming a registered nurse involves completing a BSN program in New Mexico. As this degree takes longer to complete and provides additional training, graduates with a BSN are more in demand than nurses with only an associate degree. Many colleges and universities in New Mexico offer online BSN programs. Online RN to BSN programs in New Mexico give registered nurses with an associate degree the option to further their education and increase their salary. Finally, you may wish to consider an accelerated nursing program in New Mexico.
After gaining experience as a registered nurse, you may want to become a nurse practitioner. To advance to this level, you must complete an online MSN program in New Mexico. Some registered nurses aspire to become university professors, teaching the next generation of nurses. These nurses earn their doctorate, which provides them the education necessary to teach at the college level.
Earn Your Nursing Degree
There are two paths you can take to earn your nursing degree. The first is completing an online nursing degree. Online programs provide flexibility to students with families or full-time jobs. Full-time students without other obligations tend to prefer on-campus RN programs in New Mexico. On-campus or online, your future program may require prerequisites such as college credit, work experience, or a degree. Depending on your program, you may need to complete an internship or clinical experience. Before committing to a program, you must ensure that you can fulfill these requirements. Lastly, the amount of time you spend in school depends on your program. An associate degree may require only 18 months to complete, while a doctoral program may require three to six years to complete.
Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License
All accredited New Mexico nursing schools prepare their students to take the NCLEX-RN. The exam costs $200. Other fees may apply depending on the state where you test. Many nursing students preparing for the test purchase test-prep materials, such as flashcards and study guides. A computer-adaptive test, you answer at least 75 questions. However, the test may ask you up to 265 questions before the test’s algorithm determines your score. Once you pass the NCLEX-RN, you may have to pass other exams to receive licensure in your state. Once you attain licensure, you must still go through a standard job application process before starting work.
Nursing Licensure in New Mexico
To become a registered nurse in New Mexico, you must pass the NCLEX-RN exam. An accredited associate or bachelor’s program prepares you to perform well on this test. Depending on your state of residence, you may need to fulfill other academic requirements before receiving licensure. Once licensed in New Mexico, your license automatically qualifies you to work as a registered nurse in 25 other states due to the nurse licensure compact. As long as you work in one of these 25 reciprocal states, you do not need to pay extra fees or complete additional education or exams. To work as a nurse in a non-reciprocal state, you may need to complete some if not all of the requirements mentioned above.
To learn more about nursing licensure in New Mexico and licensure reciprocity, please visit the New Mexico Board of Nursing official website. There you can explore detailed information about working as a registered nurse in New Mexico.
Nursing Licensing Costs in New Mexico
Testing Fee $100
License Fee $60
Renewal Fee $100
Career Outlook for Nurses in New Mexico
New Mexico offers a variety of opportunities for nurses at different career levels. Newly licensed registered nurses may begin their careers at one of the state’s many large hospitals. Around New Mexico, registered nurses and nurse practitioners provide care to the state’s growing population of senior citizens. In fact, the BLS states that recent graduates of online nursing degree programs with experience or certification in a specialty area, such as gerontology, have better employment prospects. As of May 2016, the Albuquerque area contains the largest concentration of registered nurses in the state, indicating that Albuquerque boasts many job opportunities for students who have graduated from a nursing school online in New Mexico.
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Biggest Hospitals in New Mexico
After completing your online nursing program in New Mexico, you may want to consider employment at one of the state’s largest hospitals. Large hospitals routinely hire recent graduates. These hospitals also offer mentoring programs that can help you hone your skills by working with a more experienced nurse. Before you graduate, it would be wise to research local hospitals to discover potential internship and fellowship opportunities. An internship or fellowship can advance your career after graduation, making your resume stand out when you apply for your first nursing position.
- University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH): UNHM boasts the distinction of having the state’s only level-1 trauma center. Its Albuquerque facility contains over 600 beds and treats nearly 160,000 people every year. UNHM prides itself on the excellence of its nursing staff, who have won national awards for their work.
- Presbyterian Hospital: In 2017, U.S. News & World Report rated Presbyterian as the best hospital in New Mexico. With over 450 beds, Presbyterian serves the Albuquerque area. Over 2,900 nurses work to treat approximately 150,000 patients every year. Through its employment portal, nurses of all experience levels can discover employment opportunities.
Additional Nursing Resources in New Mexico
New Mexico Nurses Association (NMNA)
The New Mexico chapter of the American Nurses Association, NMNA advocates for the rights of nurses and the patients they care for. Membership fees go toward state lobbying efforts. Membership includes discounts on professional, home, and auto insurance. Nursing students can apply for a limited membership.
American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA)
APNA gives both registered nurses and nurse practitioners who specialize in psychiatry the opportunity to collaborate with their peers. APNA provides its members with many professional development opportunities at the state and national levels. Other benefits include local chapter meetings and discounts on professional publications. Nursing students may join with no restrictions.
New Mexico Nurse Practitioner Council (NMNPC)
The NMNPC provides many benefits to its members, including professional development opportunities and online networking. To assist students attending a nursing school in New Mexico, NMNPC awards a $500 scholarship to four student nurse practitioners every year. Students do not have to join NMNPC before applying for a scholarship.
New Mexico School Nurses Association (NMSNA)
Public schools around New Mexico employ nurses to treat injured and sick students. NMSNA lobbies for improved nursing services in New Mexico schools and increased funding for health education. The association’s activities include collaborating with New Mexico’s other nursing associations to advocate for the rights of the state’s 16,000 nurses.
New Mexico Center for Nursing Excellence (NMCNE)
NMCNE also awards scholarships to students attending a nursing school in New Mexico. The center provides nurses with professional development opportunities. Each year, the center recognizes approximately 20 New Mexico nurses for their professional excellence.
Accredited Online Nursing Programs in New Mexico
Accredited nursing programs in New Mexico provide you with the education needed to begin your nursing career. Fortunately, New Mexico offers accredited associate, bachelor’s, and master’s programs. The following list includes all accredited online nursing degree programs in the state. You can use this list to learn about the degrees available to you and choose your future online RN program in New Mexico.