Dona Ana Community College Nursing Program Review

Dona Ana Community College (DACC) was established in 1973 as part of the larger New Mexico State University (NMSU).  DACC was specifically opened to meet the vocational and technical education needs of Las Cruces, Hatch and Gadsden; the 3 school districts of Dona Ana county. The college is therefore nationally accredited as part of NMSU. As a branch of NMSU, it also directly governed by the board of regents of the university. It offers 2-year degrees, vocational training and adult education through 2 campuses and 5 off-campus learning centers of the county.

Nursing Programs at Dona Ana Community College

DACC offers qualified students a chance to become registered nurses through a ladder of career mobility tracks. The college allows students to choose from starting their nursing career from a very basic level in the certified nursing assistant program. Such students can then go further and become certified health care assistants. Students can also decide to start from the practical nursing program and progress to take the associate degree in nursing (ADN). Graduates of the ADN program can also complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from NMSU online. The programs are accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission and approved by the New Mexico Board of Nursing.

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

This program consists of 2 short courses equivalent to 8 credits. The program trains students on the basics of direct patient care in health care and long term care settings.  Students may wish to add a few more classes in phlebotomy and electrocardiogram in order to complete the whole package of courses needed for certification as a Health Care Assistant. However, those who take the 8 credits only are still eligible to take the state exam to become a CNA.

LPN Program

This program is in the form of a mobility program which culminates with licensure to become registered nurses. Candidates for the program are required to have completed a state-approved nursing assisting course to be eligible to apply. Prior to admission, candidates are also expected to have finished all prerequisites courses totaling between 27-35 credits. Those without the prerequisites courses will take an extra semester. New students for the program are admitted every fall and spring semesters.

Upon admission, students take 23 nursing credits which are part of the 1st and 2nd semesters of the ADN program followed by a separate 6-credit maternal nursing course.  After completion of this 29 nursing credits, students become eligible to take the NCLEX-PN exam to become licensed practical nurses. They are also awarded a Certificate of Completion in Practical Nursing and are free to exit the program at this point.

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)

DACC offers this program as a choice for traditional students with no prior nursing experience or those willing to move-on from the LPN exit point.  For traditional students, the program accepts new students every fall and spring.  Traditional students take 27-35 general education credit in addition to 44 nursing credits. This means that a minimum of 71 credits are required for eligibility to graduate with an ADN degree. For this group of students, four semesters are required to meet graduation requirements.

On the other hand, LPNs seeking advanced standing must have valid LPN licensure to be eligible to apply. Graduates of DACC LPN exit option do not need to reapply afresh as it is part of the career mobility. Since 29 nursing credits had already been covered at the LPN exit level, such students take only 15 credits to complete the ADN graduation requirements.  Upon completion in both cases above, students become eligible to take the NLCEX-RN exam to become registered nurses besides earning the ADN degree.

RN to BSN Program

As part of NMSU, graduate students of DACC have the opportunity to complete the BSN degree from NMSU. It is an online RN to BSN program that allows students from associate degree programs to transfer up-to 41 credits for lower division BSN requirements. Classes begin in the summer semester going forward for 1 year on a full time basis- for students who do not have outstanding general education courses. The program requires 128 credits some of which can be transferred from the associate degree program. It is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Dona Ana Community College
3400 S. Espina Street, Las Cruces
NM 88003