SUNLAND PARK, N.M. (KTSM) The Doña Ana Community College Nursing Program announced its plans to expand to Sunland Park in order to reach residents and students of the southern county region.

“Doña Ana is not alone in facing a nursing shortage,” Cynthia Olivas, DACC Nursing Program Director, said. “This expansion will help with that by providing students an opportunity into getting admitted into a cohort and then graduate and be a provider in care.”

The Sunland Park Center, located at 3365 McNutt Road in Sunland Park, New Mexico, recently received approval from the New Mexico Board of Nursing to expand its program. The program, slated to begin in the fall of 2022 will offer instruction for students as part of the DACC Nursing Career Ladder Program.

This program offers LPN (licensed practical nurse) certificates and RN (registered nurse) degrees. 

Olivas said it will reach students in the Chaparral, Sunland Park, Anthony, Gadsden and Santa Teresa communities.

“It’s really in the best interest to have healthcare providers to advocate for the high-risk population,” Olivas said. Our Espina campus is nearly 40 miles away from those in the Sunland Park area and this allows us to meet the needs for so many more students.”  

Students enrolled in the Nursing Program at Sunland Park will be able to receive hybrid instruction, including online distance learning, along with in-person clinicals.  

Dr. Josie Carmona, Dean for the DACC Health Science Division, said Sunland Park was the focal point for DACC.

“We started discussing ‘how do we expand nursing’ but also respiratory therapy because we know there is a need for that as well,” Carmona said.

DACC also recently received approval from the Texas Board of Nursing to allow students to complete clinical training in El Paso. 

“What we’re trying to do is create a pipeline in healthcare in that community as the community starts to grow and hopefully at some point build a hospital there,” Carmona said.

The program is expected to open Fall 2022, with administrators hoping to hire and train faculty by July. The first 40 students are expected to come from Vista College, which abruptly closed last October, leaving many students stranded in their education programs.

“We were quickly moving to see how we can support the needs of students that have been negatively impacted by this,” Carmona said. “Long-term we have plans to apply to the Board of Nursing for a stand-alone LPN program in light of what happened in Vista College, so again, creating another option for our community members.”

For more information on the DACC Nursing Program and/or to apply, CLICK HERE.