College of Nursing students sharing a laptop
By Eleanor C. Hasenback and Jeffery Dubinski-Neesen

Elevating New Mexico Nurses

UNM College of Nursing Launching a Modified Post-Baccalaureate Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

The University of New Mexico College of Nursing is introducing a new, modified pathway to pursuing a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree – a post-baccalaureate DNP.

The program will provide graduate nursing students with increased breadth and depth of knowledge in clinical, leadership and health care systems thinking skills needed to address New Mexico’s growing and increasingly complex health care needs, especially in rural and under-resourced communities.

The College currently has a program that allows master-prepared RNs to obtain a DNP. The post-baccalaureate program will allow registered nurses who already hold a bachelor’s degree to become advanced professional nurses/nursing leaders in less than three years.

The College of Nursing will enroll its first post-baccalaureate doctor of nursing practice cohort in Fall 2023. Admissions applications will be available in August 2022 and are due December 1, 2022. Nurses must hold a current RN license to be admitted to the program. Students can enter the post-baccalaureate program after one year of practice as an RN or work in another relevant health care field.


This program is designed to meet the needs of working nurses across our state to ensure they don’t need to go far from home to develop their skills and advance their practice.

Christine E. Kasper, PhD, RN, Dean, College of Nursing

“New Mexicans deserve high-quality health care providers who are prepared at the highest level,” said Christine E. Kasper, PhD, RN, dean of the College of Nursing. “Nurses deserve to be able to access the tools to get that preparation without leaving the state. This program is designed to meet the needs of working nurses across our state to ensure they don’t need to go far from home to develop their skills and advance their practice.”

Post-baccalaureate DNP students will develop expertise in one of six advanced practice concentrations: adult-gerontology acute care, family, pediatric and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners, nurse midwifery and nursing administrative leadership. As the state’s flagship institution, clinical and classroom coursework at the UNM College of Nursing incorporates the most advanced clinical knowledge within each concentration, emphasizing the needs of diverse populations, advancement of health equity, addressing inclusion and justice in the delivery of care. 

The three-year hybrid DNP program culminates with a practice-oriented project that addresses pressing issues in clinical and administrative settings to improve outcomes and improve care across health systems.

“Amid a shortage of nurses, New Mexico needs nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives and nurse administrative leaders prepared at the highest level to address the health care needs of our rural and under-resourced populations, as well as those disproportionately affected by disparities,” Kasper said. “Our leadership team has thought long and hard about how the College can better meet these needs and serve our communities, and determined that the best way forward was to move to a post-baccalaureate DNP.”

New Mexico has a long history of elevating the role of nurse practitioners, as well as nurse-midwives, and the UNM College of Nursing has been on the forefront of that work.

“Our faculty, in concert with the New Mexico Nurses Association and the New Mexico Nurse Practitioner Council, led the charge over 25 years ago to obtain full-scope of practice for nurse-practitioners and nurse-midwives in the state,” Kasper said.

“Moving to the DNP will help our students better develop these advanced practices. Our MSN-prepared alumni will still practice to the fullest scope of their license. Our future DNP-prepared graduates will be better prepared to empower our communities, promote evidence-based health system change, and improve health equity in New Mexico and beyond.”

Learn more and apply to the new post-baccalaureate DNP

Categories: College of Nursing, Education, News You Can Use, Top Stories