ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – If you’ve ever thought about a new career, now might be the time.  The University of New Mexico is launching a new accelerated program aimed at turning out nurses in just 16 months. 

The Interim Dean of the UNM College of Nursing said this program will cast a wider net to hopefully attract more students. 

According to the College of Nursing, New Mexico is short more than 6,500 nurses. A shortage that got worse during the COVID pandemic.  

“Nurses were very much, all health care workers were the heroes during the pandemic, and I think it may have changed the minds of some people about just how much of an impact they can have as a nurse,” said Interim Dean of the UNM College of Nursing Carolyn Montoya.

The new program is called the “Accelerated Second Degree.” It would allow students who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field to apply to the nursing program. 

Students at UNM think it’s a great idea. 

“Definitely, there is a big need here in New Mexico for nurses. During the pandemic we faced, the challenges were the travel nurses. We were in a big shortage here,” said UNM Psychiatry Resident Hugo Gomez. 

Dean Montoya said the nursing shortage has steadily increased over the years. 

UNM has been addressing the issue by increasing the number of students in the college of nursing. Their student body has increased by 35% in the past three years, but that’s still well below the number of students they are aiming for.  

In order to qualify, applicants will need a minimum of 59 credits depending on a prerequisite evaluation. 

Story continues below

Students would be taking anywhere from 19 to 22 credits per semester. Applicants can start applying on December 15. The program will accept about 24 students and start in the fall of 2023.