Andrea Morris leads a class for neonatal nursing students in California.
UNM Hospital (UNMH) and UNM really gave me so much,” said Andrea C. Morris, a former hospital employee and alumna of the College of Nursing—and a planned giving donor to both. “I felt like Albuquerque was my home; I had moved around a lot, and it was the first place I spent any length of time.”
While employed in the billing department of UNMH, where she worked for three years, Morris pursued a graduate degree in guidance and counseling. “I was not real happy with it,” said Morris. “I thought, ‘What am I going to do now?’ Both my mother and sister had gone into nursing, and they told me: ‘Go into nursing!’”
Morris took their enthusiastic advice. She received her undergraduate degree from the former University of Albuquerque and started working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at UNMH in 1985, where she stayed for nearly 11 years. She chose UNMH because she already lived in Albuquerque and it was a hospital that had so much to offer in the way of nursing careers.
“The hospital really supported continuing education,” said Morris. “It was a real gift for me, I felt.” UNMH offered tuition reimbursement and she was able to attend UNM for her master’s degree in nursing.
One of the last students to complete the clinical nurse specialist program previously offered at UNM, Morris graduated in 1995 with her master’s degree in nursing. She then moved to California, where there were many opportunities in her field.
Morris now works as a clinical nurse specialist at a NICU in Southern California. Since her time at UNM, she has also been published and has spoken at national conferences. She went on to get her doctoral degree at Western University of Health Science in Pomona, CA.
“My UNM degree opened avenues for me,” said Morris. “There was so much happening at UNMH; when I moved to California, I was surprised that the care was so behind what I learned in New Mexico. UNMH is a very forward-thinking place and does a lot of research. UNM was a wonderful basis for my education and my career.”
After learning about Planned Giving at the UNM Foundation, Morris decided to pursue that option to contribute to the hospital and the college. “It’s a good way to give back,” said Morris. “It’s a way to help ensure the future.”
Morris encourages nursing students to keep studying and working. “A nursing career is exciting and challenging,” she said. “You have to be open to change, but it does offer so many different avenues for opportunity.”