This week Governor Susana Martinez signed a pair of bills aimed at addressing New Mexico’s nurse shortage by making more financial aid available for educators.
Registered nurses who will become medical instructors can now use the Nurse Educators Fund to get a higher degree.
One factor behind New Mexico’s shortage of nurses is a lack of educators qualified to teach nursing in local colleges and universities, according to New Mexico Hospital Workers Union President Lorie MacIver.
"This crisis is going to take a lot of work from a lot of different people in a lot of different areas," she said. "Education is a good first step."
The nursing shortage is most acute in New Mexico’s rural areas, and MacIver said more still needs to be done to train and hire local nurses who are invested in those communities. Currently, many rural nurses are hired from out of state on limited-term contracts.