The following article is an editorial written for the Summer 2006 issue of Nursing News & Views, the Official Publication of the New Mexico Board of Nursing, by Karen Cummings, Chair of the New Mexico State Board of Nursing. Karen also serves as the Director of the New Mexico Junior College Nursing Program in Hobbs, New Mexico.


THE STORY IS NOW ALL TOO FAMILIAR. Practically every human resource manager in our hospitals, physician offices and nursing facilities spends their day frantically searching for qualified nurses to fill positions that have been open too long. As the crisis continues, it seems there is no end in sight to the shortage of healthcare workers. But there is hope. I’m proud to represent a state board of nursing that is dedicated to seeking out solutions to the nursing shortage.

In a practical sense, the New Mexico Board of Nursing staff is responding to the urgent call of getting nurse licensure applications processed in a timely manner. The average turn-around time for a license by endorsement is 10 days (if all requirements are met and the application is complete). A graduate nurse candidate applying for a new license by exam is able to view their unofficial pass/fail result status within 48 hours, in most cases. Renewal licenses are processed within approximately 14 days (if all documentation is provided and accurate). In meeting the growing demand for foreign-trained nurses wanting an initial license in New Mexico, the board staff has evaluated nearly 3000 transcripts year-to-date.

From a long-term view, our Board of Nursing is close to concluding a year-long effort of drafting a strategic plan. We feel it is important to build our plan by joining forces with other key stakeholders including our Governor’s office, legislature, healthcare associations and nursing organizations in seeking practical approaches to urgent problems in working conditions, academic bottlenecks, recruitment and practice issues. Also, our membership in the National Council of State Boards of Nursing allows us to implement national initiatives within our state. Identifying the educational preparation of nurses as a key strategy in our planning, the Board of Nursing Education Advisory Committee members are leading a statewide effort to develop common transfer and articulation agreements among the schools of nursing.

Really making a difference in our communities in the decades to come will require relentless commitment from all health care providers and associates. Please know our Board of Nursing is dedicated to doing our part to relieve the healthcare shortage, address the issues of nursing education and licensure in New Mexico. Stay tuned for more details as our plan begins to develop and create a change for nursing in New Mexico.

New Mexico Junior College, 5317 Lovington Hwy, Hobbs, NM 88240
Phone: 575.392.4510, 1.800.657.6260

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