SILVER CITY, N.M. (KRQE) – With a major nursing shortage in the state, one New Mexico veteran is taking a new approach to getting nurses trained.
“The concepts of how you treat a patient are the same whether you are on the battlefield, whether you are in an ER, whether you are an EMT on the street,” says Lorenzo Saenz.
An Army veteran, Saenz, was a combat medic in Iraq while he was in the service and used a simulator to train other medics. Taking what he learned from the Army, he’s now implanting those skills and teaching nursing students at Western New Mexico University with a mannequin.
“Simulation allows you to go in and look at the questions from a perspective of using your mind, using your hands, using the thought processes that are there,” says Saenz.
The mannequin allows students to practice what they learn and become experts at what they’re doing, without touching an actual patient. Saenz says this quick learning approach is important for the future of nurses.
“Statewide, by 2025, we’re looking at a shortage of nurses of over 3,400 that we will be short throughout the state,” he says.
Saenz hopes this hands-on experience will be the solution to getting more into the nursing field and ready to practice as soon as they graduate from their nursing programs.
“Educate more nurses, bring more nurses in. Whatever it is you do, there’s got to be nurses that are trained and ready to go in practice,” he says.
This December, seventeen nurses will be graduating from the nursing program at WNMU. Once they take their board exams, they’ll be ready to practice anywhere in the state.
The WNMU nursing program currently has four mannequins for students to train with.