By Marlena E. Bermel

Esteemed Educator

UNM’s Carolyn Montoya Named New Mexico Distinguished Nurse of the Year

Every year, nurses from across New Mexico gather to honor their own and celebrate the most trusted profession in the country. This year was no different. 

esteemed-educator-montoya.jpgCarolyn Montoya, PhD, PC-PNP, associate dean for clinical affairs in The University of New Mexico College of Nursing, was honored by the New Mexico Center for Nursing Excellence with Distinguished Nurse of the Year. The award is given to a nurse who has been an exemplar through innovative leadership, fostering involvement in the nursing profession, or forming and engaging partnerships within the community.

While she claims that she is “only doing her job,” any one of Montoya’s multiple accomplishments would be enough to constitute a distinguished nursing career. 

In 1993, as president of the New Mexico Nurse Practitioner Council, she and her colleagues led the effort for nurse practitioners to have full prescriptive authority and independent practice in New Mexico. Many nurse practitioners across the country are still fighting for this today.

Montoya also served as president of the American College of Nurse Practitioners, as well as the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners. While leading these organizations, she advocated for renewal of the Children’s Health Insurance Program and for allowing pediatric nurse practitioners to be accepted into the National Health Service Corps

She has influenced health care for New Mexicans through her participation on the New Mexico Medicaid Advisory Board and as a member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Rural Health.

In addition, Montoya has had a remarkable 35-year academic career, with multiple leadership roles. In the past 10 years, she has brought in more than $6 million from foundations, federal agencies and other grants that support students’ academic and clinical education. Her commitment to education is so deep that she collaborated with Diane Viens, DNS, FNP, to create an endowment to support students with rural clinical site travel expenses.

As a faculty member and leader, she has worked tirelessly to increase diversity among students and faculty, promote policy reform to improve health care for rural and underserved New Mexicans and lead transformational change for interprofessional education and collaboration to support best patient care and outcomes.

Montoya’s compassion and dedication to the nursing profession has made a difference in the health care of New Mexicans. No matter the setting – clinic, classroom, committees, national boards or academic leadership – health care in New Mexico would not be what it is today without her passion and hard work.

Categories: College of Nursing, Education