Photo: Nurse smiling. Message: Over 50 years of service. Photo: Nursing graduates in caps and gowns. Message: Outstanding students. Photo: Nurse in scrubs and mask. Message: Generating nursing science. Photo: Woman reading a book. Message: Educating leaders in healthcare. Photo: Nurses reviewing a medical chart. Message: Teaching critical thinking. Photo: Nurse holding stethoscope smiling. Message: Healing our community. Photo: Nurse examining child with stethoscope. Message: Advocating for patients. Photo: Nurse graduate in cap and gown. Message: Distinguished alumni community. Photo: Nursing graduate shaking hands with faculty in cap and gown. Message: Promising graduates.

The History of New Mexico's First College of Nursing

At the end of the 1940’s nurses in New Mexico, most of whom were educated in other states, voiced concerns about inadequate supply of registered nurses to meet the health care needs of the state. In 1952 a report by Edythe G. Barnes, a consultant from the Division of Nursing Resources, recommended that the state consider the establishment of a four year degree program in nursing be considered.

In the spring of 1955 $60,000 was approved as a line item in the University’s budget during the state legislative session to establish the College of Nursing. This also marked the creation of the first Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program in the state of New Mexico . In September of 1955 Dr. Eleanor King arrived to assume the position of Dean and two weeks later, 17 students registered for the four year course; all but one were from New Mexico.

In June of 1959 the University of New Mexico awarded twelve Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees to the first graduates. By the end of that year the college received full accreditatio n from the Accrediting Service of the National League for Nursing.
In addition to being the first College of Nursing and having the first Bachelor of Science in Nursing, the College has paved the way for nursing education in the state by offering the first advanced practice Master’s programs and the state’s first Doctorate of Philosophy in Nursing.

After 60 years and more than 6000 alumni, approximately 500 students are currently enrolled across Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral programs and following in the footsteps and traditions laid by many visionary and dedicated nurses who shaped the rich history of the College.

Timeline of 60 Years at the College of Nursing