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Editorial: UNM colleges train front-line health-care providers

For more than half a century, the University of New Mexico has been training the front-line medical professionals New Mexicans see most often:

Your nurses and your pharmacists.

While physicians are the care providers most mentioned when someone says they have a health concern – as in “Did you see a doctor?” – it’s nurses who most frequently take vitals, administer vaccines, even prescribe medications and deliver babies. It’s pharmacists who ensure medications don’t interact negatively, help you navigate the complex system of prescription insurance coverage and deal immediately with possible poisonings. It’s nurses and pharmacists who are trained to listen to, and sift through, your health concerns, then address them directly or pass that information on to a doctor.

Since 1945 (for pharmacists) and 1955 (for nurses), UNM has been a leader in ensuring New Mexicans have these front-line providers.

However, UNM does more than simply educate tomorrow’s nurses and pharmacists. It has started training them together, embracing the medical team approach where two heads are better than one in determining treatment. It provides advanced degrees in these disciplines, which in turn provides New Mexicans with more options for care providers. And it is on the forefront of pharmacological research and patents.

With 930 students in pharmacy and nursing, the colleges have spent the past 50-plus years becoming vibrant programs essential to ensuring New Mexicans have front-line health-care providers. Here’s to the next half century.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.