The School of Nursing at New Mexico State University (NMSU) has selected Elizabeth Kuchler to serve in a newly created faculty role dedicated to preparing nursing, nurse practitioner and social work students for New Mexico’s workforce. Kuchler, who has a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, began serving in the position in August.
Kuchler’s role – officially called the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico Nursing Professor of Practice℠ — is part of a new partnership between NMSU’s College of Health and Social Services and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM).
The mission of the partnership is to develop and expand the workforce of nurses and social workers in New Mexico. Through a $500,000 gift from BCBSNM, the college created the new faculty position in the School of Nursing and funded 40 scholarships for seniors in undergraduate nursing and social work programs who have committed to working in New Mexico for at least one year after graduating.
As part of her new role in the School of Nursing, Kuchler will engage in community outreach that focuses on nursing workforce development. She will also work to expand the School of Nursing’s teaching capacity and increase undergraduate and graduate nursing student enrollment, thereby adding additional nurses to New Mexico’s workforce.
Kuchler will also continue her duties as a nurse educator in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program, said Alexa Doig, director of the School of Nursing.
“Dr. Kuchler is a dedicated teacher, student adviser and mentor,” Doig said. “The intended goal of this major donation from BCBSNM is to recognize a nurse with extensive professional experience and leadership in the preparation of nursing and nurse practitioner students for New Mexico’s workforce.”
Kuchler is a board-certified family nurse practitioner who has been a faculty member in the School of Nursing for the past five years, teaching in the doctorate- and bachelor-level nursing programs. She has nearly 40 years of experience as a registered nurse, 14 years as a family nurse practitioner, and has specialized in the care of children and adolescents as a nurse practitioner for the past 15 years.
“I am both proud and humbled by this opportunity to be the bridge between the College of Health and Social Services and School of Nursing and our community partners,” Kuchler said. “With our combined efforts, we will prepare nurse practitioners and social workers for the benefit of all New Mexicans. These health care and social services providers will be able to improve access to health care and related services in communities across the state.”
Kuchler serves as a key project team member on two federal training grants that focus on the education and training of nurse practitioners in the areas of substance-use disorder evaluation, treatment and recovery across the life span. She is also developing school-based drug use prevention programming with a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration Opioid Education Workforce Program.
For more information about the School of Nursing, call 575-646-3812 or visit schoolofnursing.nmsu.edu.