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New nursing program aims to address gaps in anesthesia care

new graduate program in the NMSU School of Nursing has begun training nurses for careers as certified registered nurse anesthetists.

The program earned accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs in January 2024. It is the first program of its kind in New Mexico and one of only a few in the Southwest.

The program encompasses a three-year curriculum of didactic courses and requires students to complete a minimum of 2,400 hours of supervised clinical training. Students who graduate from the program will earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice in nurse anesthesiology and become qualified to take a national certification exam administered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists. 

“The NMSU School of Nursing developed the first nurse anesthesiology program in New Mexico to address the growing shortage of anesthesia providers in our state, especially in rural communities,” says Alexa Doig, director of the School of Nursing. “We are committed to developing a pipeline of highly qualified anesthesia providers to meet the state’s workforce needs.”

Before the program launched at NMSU, New Mexico students interested in the field often left the state to pursue their education. The closest programs were hundreds of miles away in central Texas and Arizona.




Students from the first cohort in NMSU’s new nurse anesthesiology program. It is the first program of its kind in New Mexico.