The first day of classes at Eastern New Mexico University on Wednesday was also the first day of a new program that takes students from their early general education requirements to their bachelor of science degree in nursing.
“Freshman 2 BSN” is starting this semester with a federal grant and, thus far, eight students, said ENMU Nursing Education Coordinator Dawn Wolf-Taylor.
With the program, a cohort of freshmen take general education classes at ENMU, and then in their fourth semester, attend Clovis Community College to receive an associate degree in nursing. After earning their CCC degree, the students become part of ENMU’s online BSN-Completion program to finish their bachelor’s degree.
Wolf-Taylor said the students would still be enrolled at ENMU during their time at CCC and could live on campus. She hoped to provide transportation to Clovis and keep the students together.
“We’re still working out a lot of the kinks,” Wolf-Taylor said.
Sept. 15 is the application deadline for this semester, and the program can take up to 35 students.
Evie Taylor, a non-traditional student in Freshman 2 BSN, said she chose the program because the university experience appealed to her, ENMU was in town and the university staff was helpful and professional.
“I have always kind of had a heart for caregiving and things like that,” she said.
Taylor’s dream to become a nurse solidified eight years ago when her son was born prematurely and she visited a hospital every day for three months. Now, with support from the New Mexico Christian Children’s Home Single Parent Program, she expects to finish her degree in 4 1/2 years.
Taylor, whose previous work has included long-haul trucking and advertising, said she’s excited about the rigorous, specialized program as well as just studying reading, writing and arithmetic at the college level.
For funding, Freshman 2 BSN is receiving more than $1 million from a federal grant to ENMU and CCC. ENMU advisers have helped students move between the two schools to become nurses for years, Wolf-Taylor said, but now the arrangements have been formalized.
Wolf-Taylor said Freshman 2 BSN would include mentoring from BSN-Completion students, working registered nurses who have returned to school for their bachelor’s, and monitoring of students’ progress. She also hopes it will give students a chance to see if they really want to become a nurse before entering a regular nursing program.
“So basically they get to explore nursing through Freshman 2 BSN,” Wolf-Taylor said.