Registered Nurse (ADN)

We are pleased that you are interested in the Registered Nursing Program at College of the Desert. To learn more about our programs, please attend an Information Session. 

If you still have questions after reading through the materials below please feel free to contact either the Health Sciences/Nursing Office at (760) 773-2578 or the Nursing counselor. To make an appointment to see the Nursing Counselor please email or call 760-773-2578. Be sure to include your full name, availability, phone number and student ID (if applicable)

For specific questions about financial aid, FAFSA, BOG waivers, etc., please check with the Financial Aid Office at (760) 773-2532.

Table of Contents

Click on the topic of interest


The program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). (404) 975-5000

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
3390 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 1400
Atlanta, GA 30326

The program is approved by the California State Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). (916) 322-3350

Mailing Address: Board of Registered Nursing
PO Box 944210
Sacramento, CA 94244-2100

Physical Address: Board of Registered Nursing
1747 N. Market Blvd., Suite 150
Sacramento, CA 95834-1924

By the end of the program, the student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate accountability for the delivery of nursing care while influencing the behavior of others to achieve shared goals.  
  2. Demonstrate the professional identity of nursing.
  3. Assimilate clinical judgment, rooted in evidence-based practice, to provide nursing care at an entry level.  
  4. Design client-centered care for individuals that recognizes the client as a full partner with individual preferences and beliefs.
  5. Integrates communication principles to foster a respectful environment that supports shared decision-making in the efforts of improving client’s optimal wellness.
  6. Competently manages all aspects of safety for clients through system effectiveness, individual performance, and quality improvement to minimize risk of harm to clients   

We believe community college students bring a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, life experiences, learning styles, and developmental levels to the learning environment. The college community provides the opportunity for students and faculty to participate in cultural exchange; it encourages the examination and development of ideas through a balanced social forum and provides an environment for growth. We support self-development, including ongoing self-assessment and evaluation.

Philosophy of the Individual

We believe each person, regardless of race, creed, religion, or culture, is a unique, complex, holistic being and deserving of respect. All persons share with others common human attributes and basic human needs, adapting to physical and psychosocial experiences and stresses. Individuals have an inherent right to strive to attain optimal health and achieve their full potential in life. They possess dignity, and self-worth and have the right to information that will assist them to make informed decisions regarding health care. We believe that access to health care is the right of each member of society.

Philosophy of Health

We believe health and illness are relative, ever-changing states of being. Individuals exist on a continuum ranging from a state of optimal functioning to the absence of discernible disease, to obvious disease that can result in death. Illness occurs when there is an alteration in the function of one or more body systems. We believe the health care delivery system is changing quickly in response to societal demands, rapidly changing technology, and the increasing lifespan. These changes have resulted in a collaborative level of interaction between health care workers and the consumer.

Philosophy of Nursing

We believe that nursing is a dynamic profession in which nurses work collaboratively to provide safe, compassionate, client-centered, holistic health care. As members of the health care team, nurses have an evolving practice, based on innovations, emerging technologies, and changing societal needs based on the Art of Caring. Nursing blends evidence-based practice with the altruistic art of caring to promote, maintain, and restore wellness. Nursing demonstrates professionalism and caring for vulnerable individuals throughout their lifespan using cognitive, psychomotor, and affective skills. Nurses assist individuals to use their available resources to adapt to an optimum level of functioning.

Philosophy of Nursing Education

Nursing education occurs in a variety of settings and prepares graduates with different levels of expertise. The nursing faculty uses a systematic approach to instruction that builds on previously learned knowledge from related disciplines and life experiences. We believe that sound nursing education is based upon concepts relating to the individual, health/illness, environment, and nursing. Nursing education values and adheres to professional standards and regulatory guidelines and incorporates knowledge from a variety of disciplines including the humanities, social, physical, and natural sciences. nursing education facilitates students gathering the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that provide the framework for students to assume responsibility and accountability as nurses. Nursing education provides the environment which fosters students to become managers of care, learn to anticipate the needs of their patients, and how to advocate for health promotion and risk reduction. nursing education provides students with the tools necessary to become change agents for the individual as well as for the profession of nursing. We believe that nursing education provides students with the foundation for safe nursing practice. We believe nursing education is a transformative process that builds upon past learning and serves as the beginning of a journey of lifelong learning for the professional nurse. A variety of caregivers are educated at different levels to provide health care services to the public. The Vocational nurse is educated to be a responsible member of a health care team, performing basic therapeutic, rehabilitative, and preventive care. The role of the Vocational nurse is an evolving one and encompasses providing specific services to patients under the direction of a licensed physician and/or registered professional nurse. Registered nurses with an Associate Degree in nursing function as designers, providers, managers, coordinators of care, and are members of the profession. They utilize critical thinking and clinical reasoning processes in their practice, including the establishment of priorities, performance of therapeutic interventions, and evaluation of client outcomes.

Philosophy of Teaching and Learning

We believe that learning results in a change in behavior that can be measured, and which persists. Optimum learning for a diverse student body occurs in a non-threatening, supportive environment, in which frequent feedback is an essential element. Learning is a life-long process. We believe that optimal learning occurs when multiple evidence-based teaching methodologies are utilized in an environment with mutual respect and collaboration between learners, faculty, and healthcare team members. We as nurse educators believe that accountability, ethical standards, moral values, and high-level integrity lead to a successful nursing graduate. Learning is maximized when the student feels a need to learn and accepts a share of the responsibility of planning and implementing the learning experience. The engaged, motivated learner enters the educational process with valuable life experiences, personal initiative, commitment to the profession, and a belief in the worth and dignity of all persons. Through passionate engagement, critical reflection, and multiple ways of knowing, relating, and learning, students will apply theory to ensure safe nursing practice. We as nurse educators are an expression of the profession and facilitate a safe, collaborative, interactive learning environment. In an environment of student-centered learning, faculty foster and stimulate critical thinking, clinical reasoning and judgment, and an appreciation of social, ethical, and cultural diversity. In collaboration with the student, the nurse educator utilizes a multi-level curriculum moving from simple to complex concepts to develop safe, competent, caring, professional nurses. We believe that a curriculum producing well-educated nursing professionals should include the following program concepts holistic patient-centered care, evidence-based practice, professionalism, safety, caring, and collaboration/communication.

Adopted: 02/20
Revised: 05/22
Reviewed: 05/22


Admission to the RN program requires application to the program. Admission is based on completion of eligibility requirements and points earned through the multi-criteria points, after eligibility criteria has been met. 

Students must apply to the College of the Desert prior to applying to the nursing programs. Information on application can be found on the Admissions and Records webpage

If you are a past COD student, who has not enrolled in a course over the last academic year, you will be required to reapply to COD. 

*When the application asks you for a major, you will not have an option for "nursing". Please select "health sciences", once accepted into the nursing program, we will manually change your major to Nursing. 

While Social Security Numbers or ITIN are not required to take classes at COD, the facilities used by the Nursing Program for clinical instruction DO require them as part of their security clearance process. Social Security Numbers or ITIN are also required for licensing and/or certification examinations at the completion of the various healthcare programs. If you do not have a Social Security Number please contact the HS/Education office for further instructions. 

Eligibility criteria for the RN program includes: 

  • Science GPA 2.5 (no grade less than C)
  • Science courses must be within 10 years
  • No more than two repeats in the sciences in the last 7 years.
  • BIO-013: Anatomy and Physiology w/lab-4 units
  • BIO-014: Anatomy and Physiology II w/lab – 4 units
  • BIO-015 Microbiology w/lab – 4 units
  • ENG-001A: College level transferable English course that includes a research component – 4 semester units

Although not required for eligibility, the multi-criteria worksheet is used to establish points for each applicants. The higher the points, the more likely the applicant is to gain entrance to the program. 

Transcripts can be evaluated by a counselor to ensure equivalency of courses at other institutions. For a list of courses, already evaluated and deemed equivalent, click here to use our equivalency database.

In addition to eligibility and prerequisite requirements, once a student is registered, further items are required to begin courses and clinical rotations. You will receive information on how to complete these items once admitted to the program.

  • Valid Social Security card

  • Clear background check

  • Malpractice Insurance

  • Communicable disease clearance (titers and Vaccinations)

  • Meet core performance standards

  • iPad, iPad pencil, iPad keyboard (more information provided upon admission)

  • Valid Government ID

  • Clear drug screen

  • Physical Exam

  • Current American Heart Association CPR card

  • TEAS exam with a score of 62 or greater

College of the Desert Kinesiology offers American Heart Association (AHA) CPR courses for both the first time certification and for recertification. 

For first time certification, students can register for KINE-001

For recertification, students can register for KINE-302

KINE-001 and KINE-302 will be offered during Summer and Winter sessions based on enrollment numbers. 

CPR cards are required prior to the start of the semester, please plan accordingly. 

Please note that costs are estimated. Depending on insurance coverage and financial assistance, costs may vary. Total cost of the program is estimated at $6,080.00 Click here for a detailed list of associated costs.

All grades must be posted and included with the application in order to receive points.

Effective Spring 2020, the Nursing Program is accepting online/hybrid prerequisite courses until further notice.

Courses receiving emergency withdrawals (EWs) will not be counted as repeats under our repeat policy (two in seven years).

​Pass/no Pass or Credit/no Credit courses will NOT be accepted for any pre-requisite or degree courses.

All applicants will utilize the updated multi-criteria found here


Spring 2025 - Application open August 1-August 30, 2024

All future applications for the RN program will be available in February for fall admissions and in August for spring admissions.

Applications will be digital with automated responses. Please make sure to read the instructions thoroughly before beginning the application. The application will take approximately 1 hour to complete and must be completed at one time (no save option). 

Applicants with a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree from the US will have certain courses waived. 

  • General Education courses already completed will be waived.
  • Courses Required:
    • Science Prerequisites
    • Statistics
    • Psychology 001 or 003
    • English Composition ENG 1a
    • One of the following: Communication 001, 013, or 017
    • One of the following: Sociology 001, 014, 015 or Anthropology 002, or 007.

See the Statistical Information tab

Once admitted to the program, students will take all of the following courses in the following sequence:


Term Core Course: 16-week Courses Specialty Course: 8-week Courses
First Semester

NRN 110: Foundations of Nursing Practice

NRN 110C: Foundations of Nursing Practice: Clinical

NRN 130: Concepts of Nursing: Mental Health

NRN 130C: Concepts of Nursing: Mental Health Clinical 


NRN 140: Concepts of Nursing: Gerontology

NRN 140C: Concepts of Nursing: Gerontology Clinical

Second Semester

NRN 120: Alterations in Health

NRN 120C: Alterations in Health: Clinical

NRN 120L: Alterations in Health: Lab

NRN 130: Concepts of Nursing: Mental Health

NRN 130C: Concepts of Nursing: Mental Health Clinical 


NRN 140: Concepts of Nursing: Gerontology

NRN 140C: Concepts of Nursing: Gerontology Clinical

Third Semester

NRN 210: Chronic Alterations in Health

NRN 210C: Chronic Alterations in Health: Clinical

NRN 210L: Chronic Alterations in Health: Lab

NRN 230: Pediatric Health and Wellness

NRN 230C: Pediatric Health and Wellness: Clinical


NRN 240: Health and Wellness in the Growing Family

NRN 240C: Health and Wellness in the Growing Family: Clinical

Fourth Semester

NRN 220: Acute Complex Alterations in Health

NRN 220C: Acute Complex Alterations in Health: Clinical

NRN 220L: Acute Complex Alterations in Health: Lab


NRN 230: Pediatric Health and Wellness

NRN 230C: Pediatric Health and Wellness: Clinical


NRN 240: Health and Wellness in the Growing Family

NRN 240C: Health and Wellness in the Growing Family: Clinical


NRN 250: Transition to Practice