New Mexico State University's College of Health and Social Services will receive $269,989 for each of the next three years to train nurses in comprehensive geriatric education. The project, Enhancing Capacity for Aging on the Border, is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
"Currently 13 percent of the population of New Mexico is over 65 years of age, and between 2010 and 2020 the population 65 and over is projected to grow 74 percent," said Wanda Borges, an associate professor in NMSU's School of Nursing and the principal investigator for the project. "This growth emphasizes the need for a health care workforce that is knowledgeable and skillful at caring for the projected numbers of older state residents."
"Most nursing students will find themselves working with a geriatric population when they complete their training; that is the demographic reality of New Mexico as well as other states around our aging nation," added Donna Wagner, associate dean in the College of Health and Social Services.
The new project aims to enhance geriatric education for students in the college's nurse practitioner and master's in nursing programs by infusing the curriculum with geriatric content, establishing linkages with a geriatric education center and establishing traineeships. The grant will allow NMSU nursing faculty to train nursing students in gerontological practice concepts and increase the capacity of graduates to provide needed services in the community when they complete their training.
"In a rural state like New Mexico it is of critical importance to the well-being of older adults that nurses receive geriatric training," Wagner said. "We are excited about this opportunity to strengthen our work in gerontology and to contribute to the quality of care received by New Mexico elders."
The program also will provide inter-professional learning experiences for graduate students through interdisciplinary team learning, which will use innovative technologies created through the development of a gerontology graduate certificate program and by partnering with a geriatric education center.
Additionally, it will increase capacity for delivering geriatric education, including geriatric palliative care using a "train-the-trainer" approach with self-learning modules and quarterly workshops for faculty. The project will also establish an advisory board for geriatric health education needs and health care priorities for aging populations in Southern New Mexico.