An organization has denied accreditation for Dona Ana Community College's nursing program. The National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission revealed this week that it had denied accreditation for the college's program, which offers up to an associate's degree in nursing. The college will try to regain its national accreditation, according to a letter sent to students.
Many students are scrambling to find out what the loss means for their academic and professional careers. Some students criticized college administrators for what those students characterize as misleading and unclear communication about the implications of the development.
College administrators didn't acknowledge around the time that accrediting organization officials visited Las Cruces that the certification could be in jeopardy, the newspaper reported.
Margie Huerta, the college's president, gave the impression that the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission was an extra accreditation and that a state-issued approval is the one that allows the program to operate, they said.
Some students said that message is misleading because while the New Mexico Board of Nursing does authorize programs to exist, it's not the same as an accrediting organization. They said graduating from an accredited nursing program is a pre-requisite for getting a job at most hospitals or being accepted into most four-year, nursing degree programs.
Nancy Darbro, executive director for the New Mexico Board of Nursing, could not be reached by the Sun-News on Friday.
Huerta said the criticism from the students is inaccurate.
"We have shared information with students and have been transparent about the information," she said.
In a four-paragraph letter sent to all nursing students Thursday, the college wrote that the program's students remain eligible to take the national licensing exam and seek employment as a registered or practical nurse after getting a license.
"Graduates still have multiple employment options (including hospitals) and multiple options to continue their education toward a bachelor's degree in nursing," the letter said.
In a text-message interview with the newspaper, Huerta said the college's main challenge "has been to find a sufficient number of full-time faculty, a problem for New Mexico and throughout the nation. There's a shortage of not only nurses but nurses who want to teach."
Huerta maintained that there are programs in the U.S. that don't require students to graduate from an accredited program. She noted the school's program has high pass rates on the national licensing exam that students take after graduating.
Information from: Las Cruces Sun-News, http://www.lcsun-news.com
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.