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Former combat medic and military contractor heads WNMU nursing lab

Former combat medic and military contractor Lorenzo Saenz teaches nursing students at Western New Mexico University. (Courtesy of Western New Mexico University)

SILVER CITY – Nursing students at Western New Mexico University learn through scenarios created by former combat medic and military contractor Lorenzo Saenz using high-fidelity manikins that he can program to breathe, bleed, wheeze and sweat.

The technology Saenz implements ensures WNMU is poised to integrate the big changes in nurse training that he believes are just around the corner. “It’s an exciting time to be in the field,” he said.

A native of southwest New Mexico, Lorenzo’s military career took him from as nearby as El Paso to as far away as Afghanistan. The Army veteran was a contractor working for the Australian Defense Force in Dubai when he decided to move back to the Land of Enchantment.

“I missed green chile, and the open blue skies and juniper,” he said.

Saenz graduated from the WNMU nursing program in 2018 and worked in the Gila Regional Medical Center emergency room for a year before being recruited to work at his alma mater.

“You always hope you get these full circle moments. Now I get to influence the training of these nurses who are treating people in my community,” he said.

Saenz is also working toward a bachelor’s of interdisciplinary studies focused on, yes, nursing, but also music. “When I was here the first time around, I was a music major. I play guitar, saxophone, piano, and sing a little bit,” he says.

After Saenz graduates this spring, he’ll apply to the new Master of Science in Nursing program at WNMU.

“I’ll be a three-time graduate from WNMU,” he said.

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