Four people at a table with laptops
By Kayleen Schenk

Online Excellence

UNM College of Nursing Online MSN Programs Ranked Amongst the Nation’s Best

The University of New Mexico College of Nursing’s master of science in nursing online programs have been rated 21st in the nation and fourth in the Mountain West region in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings.


Nancye Cole, DNP, MS, RN
The rankings show we have programs designed to help students apply learned skills and knowledge to improve the nursing profession
Nancye Cole, DNP, MS, RN

“The rankings show we have programs designed to help students apply learned skills and knowledge to improve the nursing profession,” said program coordinator Nancye Cole, DNP, MS, RN. She, along with Tamara Shannon, DNP, RN, leads the two online concentrations.

U.S. News assesses programs based on curriculum quality, faculty credentials and training, peer assessment and technological services. Cole and Shannon’s leadership contributes to the College’s strong standing in these categories.

Cole, former chief nursing officer at Lovelace Medical Center and program coordinator for the MSN Nurse Administrative Leadership concentration, attributes her personal leadership qualities to “years of learning, reflecting and growing through experience,” punctuated by the challenges she met and overcame during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A sound nursing curriculum should be well-rounded and “prepare students for all aspects of nursing,” she said. “It involves mastering curriculum, health care finance, finding a strong voice and a knowledge of how to use the tools the program gives them in a practical way. This is what future nursing leadership needs.”

UNM’s nursing programs are distinguished from other online programs because they provide a “roadmap for students, not just a list of instructions”, Cole said.

Shannon, a U.S. Air Force veteran, serves as program coordinator for the MSN Nursing Education concentration. “UNM’s online nursing programs are unique because of the personal connection between students and faculty,” she highlights.

Just as in the military, effective nursing leaders provide stability, a quality that her students can depend on from her during their time at UNM.

“I know all of my students by name,” Shannon said. “I know what community they come from and I know how to make the curriculum fit the needs of the community they serve. These programs are very personalized.”

The UNM College of Nursing is home to multiple nationally ranked programs and is ranked the No. 1 nursing program in New Mexico. The College offers additional master of science in advanced practice programs for family nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners.

The College prides itself on the sustained practice of meeting the diverse health care needs of New Mexico’s underserved and rural population, preparing future leaders of New Mexico health care and existing as a hub for innovation and research.

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