FAQ

GENERAL INFORMATION

1. Where is the District Nursing office located?

The administrative offices for the District Nursing programs are located on the Ankeny campus in Building 24. View the DMACCC Ankeny campus map. Take a virtual tour of a nursing classroom.

2. Is your nursing program accredited?

The Associate Degree Nursing Program is also approved by the Iowa Board of Nursing and in addition is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), 3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, GA 30326. All educational options are approved by the Iowa Board of Nursing.

3. I'd like printed information on your program. How can I get it?

You can download and print our program information. It contains: program locations, entry requirements, graduation requirements, prerequisites, a list of courses in the program (curriculum), estimated costs, estimated salary, skills and type of work in this career.

4. How long will it take me to complete the Associate Degree Nurse (ADN) program?

The ADN program is 5 semesters and takes 2 years to complete in the full-time standard format. A new accelerated option will launch in August 2018 at the Newton campus. Students in the accelerated program will take nursing courses during the summer, which reduces program completion time to 1.5 years. Beginning in March 2019, an Evening/Weekend option will be available at the Urban/DMACC Capitol Center. The Evening/Weekend program will include only one nursing course per semester. It will take 8 semesters to complete in 2.5 years and includes nursing courses during the summer.

5. Is there a way to complete the nursing program in less time?

Yes. The accelerated option for the Associate Degree Nursing program is available at the Newton campus beginning in August 2018. Accelerated students will be able to complete the nursing program in 1.5 years, instead of 2 years.

6. Are nursing courses offered in the summer?

Nursing-specific courses will be offered during the summer term only for those students admitted into the accelerated program option at the Newton campus or the Evening/Weekend program option at the DMACC Capitol Center/Urban campus. Many of the General Education courses (English, Math, Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology, Interpersonal and Small Group Communications, etc.) are offered in the summer.

7. I am an LPN and want to go back to school so I can become an RN. Is there a program for people like me at DMACC?

Those who are currently an LPN and would like to enter the RN program will be eligible for the Healthcare Professional Exemption. The exemption gives credit for Term 1 (ADN110 and ADN140) to qualified students, which allows the student to begin the nursing program in Term 2. Paramedics and some military medics are also eligible for the exemption.

8. Is the Nursing Program offered by distance education?

No, not at this time.

9. Are any of the required courses available on the Internet?

Some general education courses are available online. See the current directory of classes for specific course listings. Required Nursing courses are not available online.

10. Do you have classes every day once you are in the full-time nursing program?

You will usually have nursing class, lab, or clinical five days of the week.

11. I've heard people say they want to go to school and get their RN. What is the RN?

R.N. (registered nurse) is a legal license to practice as a nurse, not an education level. To be eligible to take the licensing exam for RN, you must be graduated from an accredited RN level program.

12. Can I take the Nursing Program part-time?

A part-time nursing program is not currently available, but will be offered at the Urban campus starting in March 2019.

Students enrolled in the full-time option can decrease their course loads by completing all the required liberal arts courses either prior to entering the program or during the summer breaks​.

Students enrolled in the program who encounter life issues that prevent them from continuing on a full-time basis, may visit with their program chair to discuss the possibility of continuing their courses part-time on a space available basis only. This option is not guaranteed.

13. Can I work full-time and be a full-time student in the Nursing Program?

It is not recommended.

We recognize that some students must work for financial reasons. However, we encourage those students to limit their work to part-time during the program to allow sufficient time for studying. Some semesters have 5 required courses (16 credits). For every 1 credit you take, plan to spend 2 hours on homework per week. For example, if you are enrolled in 12 credits, plan to spend 24 hours/week on studying outside of class. Students who deny themselves study time due to work, play, or other obligations, decrease the likelihood of their success in the nursing program.

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GETTING INTO THE PROGRAM

14. I am a mature student and do not meet the academic admission requirements. How do I get started?

You are only a click away! Start with a visit to the Requirements section of this website to learn about program requirements and the admission process.

In addition:
Contact an academic advisor for health programs and make an appointment or call for advice regarding a time-line of preparatory courses and which specific courses you should take first.

Seek out advice from Student Services regarding how to be successful, such as planning your finances, support systems, and study skills.

15. Where do I apply?

You may apply at any DMACC campus or online. All Nursing program applications are processed through the Admissions office on the Ankeny campus.

16. Where and when are the required Nursing Information Sessions held?

Applicants are encouraged to attend the required Nursing Information Sessions ASAP. They are held on the Ankeny, Boone, Carroll, Newton and Urban campuses.

17. Do I need to make a reservation to attend the Nursing Information Sessions?

It depends on the campus.

  • Boone: to schedule a session in Boone email Ann Hull at alhull@dmacc.edu.
  • Carroll: to schedule a session in Carroll call 712-792-1755.
  • Ankeny/Urban: you do not need a reservation. All you need to do is show up a little early on the day of the session and be sure to sign in.
  • Newton: to schedule a session in Newton call 641-791-3622​ 

Nursing Information Sessions

18. Where do I go to take the ACCUPLACER ® tests?

You can take the tests at any DMACC campus Assessment Center. You will need to call to make an appointment and to get directions.

19. What are the ACCUPLACER test questions like?

Sample questions are available at: https://accuplacer.collegeboard.org/

20. How are students selected for the nursing programs?

Completion of all program entry requirements ensures acceptance into the program. However, because the number of applicants sometimes exceeds the number of seats, students may have to wait for a seat to become available before they can enroll and register for nursing courses. Students can use this time to take required general education courses.

21. I took Biology 733 (Health Science Anatomy) and received a grade of C- . Can I be accepted into the Nursing Program?

No. You must earn a grade of at least C or higher in all required courses. You will need to re-take the course and earn a C or better and complete all other entry requirements before you will be eligible for acceptance into the program.

22. I have been accepted into the Nursing Program but I deferred my seat. Do I need to re-apply?

No. You can defer/delay until the next admitting date. However, you are allowed to defer only once. If you defer a second time, your name will be placed at the bottom of the waiting list.

23. I applied to the Nursing program and received a letter telling me I've been accepted to "pre-nursing." Does this mean I'm in the Nursing program?

No it does not. Acceptance to Pre-nursing means only that you've been accepted by DMACC and can enroll in courses that will prepare you to meet the entry requirements for the Nursing program.

You are considered to be a "Pre-nursing" applicant until you complete all entry requirements for the Nursing program. When all entry requirements are met, Admissions will send a letter telling you that you have been accepted into the Nursing program and the approximate semester you can anticipate starting the program.

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THE WAITING LIST

24. When can I apply to the Nursing program?

Your application should be your first step. Then you complete the entry requirements. When your application and entry requirements are complete, you'll be placed on the standby (waiting) list for the Nursing program. Not all campuses have a standby list; check with an academic advisor on your campus for information on the next available seat.

25. How long is the waiting list for the DMACC Nursing program?

Most campuses do not have a waiting list. For a campus which does have students on standby, you can expect to wait approximately one semester after completing all entry requirements. During this time, students enroll for required general education courses.

26. What if a large number of students satisfy the entry requirements all at the same time? In what order do they go on the list?

Their names are put on the waiting list according to the date of their Nursing application.

27. Can I be admitted sooner if I go to another campus?

There is a possibility. However, please keep in mind that programs on other campuses may only begin in the fall term. Both Ankeny and Boone have fall and spring starts. Carroll, Newton, and Urban campus begin cohorts each fall.

28. Can I put my name on more than one waiting list?

No.

29. If I enroll in the Nursing program in Ankeny can I change my mind and later enroll in the program at Boone or Carroll?

No. Once a student is admitted to a campus they must complete their nursing education on the campus where they started. Transfers are not permitted.

30. I'm currently on the DMACC waiting list. If I am accepted into another Nursing program in town and decide after a semester that I want to enroll in DMACC, can I transfer in at that time?

No. You could not enroll until your name came up on the waiting list which provides a seat at the beginning of the program.

Transferring between schools mid-program usually results in a loss of credits and time and is not advised.

31. Can I take a nursing course while I'm on the waiting list?

No. Only students accepted into the program can register for nursing courses.

32. Are there courses I can take while I'm on the waiting list?

Yes, you can take any non-nursing course. We suggest taking the liberal arts courses that are part of the nursing program of study. See the pre-nursing curriculum for suggested courses to consider taking while you are waiting. When you are accepted into the program all you will need to take are the nursing courses. This will lighten your course load and make the nursing program more manageable.

However, if insurance or financial aid requires you to be enrolled as a full-time (12 credits or more) student, you'll need to take this into consideration in planning how many courses to take.

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CNA REQUIREMENT

33. Does either the Med Aide certification or the Home Care Aide certification satisfy the Nursing program entry requirements?

No.

34. I am an EMT. Does this satisfy the CNA requirement?

No. The curriculum and competencies for EMT, while critical to those receiving the service, are not the same as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).

35. Does completing the 75-hour Advanced Nurse Aide course since 1992 meet the Nursing program requirement?

No, not unless the 75-hour C.N.A. course is also documented.

36. I've completed a 75-hour approved Nurse Aide course but didn't take the Nurse Aide Registry Exam. Do I need to take it before I can be accepted into the DMACC Nursing program?

Yes, students admitted to the Nursing program need to pass both parts of the Direct Care Worker's Registry exam. This includes the written and the skills exams for nurses aides.

37. I took a C.N.A. course, but not at DMACC. What do I need to do to see if it was an approved program and satisfies your requirements? What happens if my CNA course is not approved?

Certificates of Completion from State of Iowa approved CNA courses display a "T" number on the certificate. Take a copy of your certificate of completion to Admissions and they will make the determination.

Completion of a state approved 75 hour CNA course, completed January 1992 or after, is a pre-requisite for the Advanced CNA course at DMACC, and an entry requirement for DMACC's Nursing program. If the 75-hour CNA course you took was not State approved, you will not be able to enroll in the Advanced CNA course at DMACC or meet the entry requirements for the Nursing program. Students who have not completed an approved CNA course, should plan to enroll in one if their goal is to enter the Nursing program.

38. I completed the Nurse Aide course since 1992, but have now let my Registry certification expire. What do I have to do to meet the entry requirements?

You will need to submit proof of successful completion of both the Nurse Aide written (NRAO858) and skills test (NRAO859) for placement on the Direct Care Worker Registry. A transcript indicating you passed both tests or a Registry card will serve as verification. In addition, you will have to complete the Advanced CNA course (HSC 182/NRAO 333) or a combined equivalent 120 hour or more course. A transcript of your course grade or certificate of completion will serve as verification.

Please note that if you want to work in Long Term Care, you will need to take the Nurse Aide Competency testing again to demonstrate your competency and skills.

39. Will a copy of my Nurse Aide Registry card satisfy as proof that I successfully completed an approved 75-hour C.N.A. course?

No it won't. Since it is possible to take the Registry exam without completing an approved course (page 14 "Your Guide to the Iowa Nurse Aide Registry) you need to supply a copy of your certificate of completion or a transcript.

The registry provides an important service to the public by assuring that those who successfully pass the testing can provide minimally safe care to vulnerable (elderly, dependent) health care recipients. This is not the same as passing the course, including all skills and theory exams.

40. What is successful completion of the C.N.A. requirement?

Your transcript with a grade of C or better or a CNA certificate is proof of completion of the CNA requirement. The course must be State approved and this is indicated by the presence of a "T" number on the State of Iowa completion certificate. If the course was taken outside of Iowa, it is the students' responsibility to provide proof the course was approved by the State that awarded their certificate.

41. I'm confused about the difference between DMACC's requirement for C.N.A. and the requirements for getting on the state Nurse Aide Registry (Direct Care Worker's Registry). Are they the same?

No they are different as outlined below:

DMACC Nursing Program Requirement:
Complete a State approved 75 hour C.N.A. course January 1992 or after. Effective Fall 2008 students will also have to successfully complete the Advanced CNA course. Any questions regarding admission into the Advanced CNA course, please visit the CNA website at: www.dmacc.edu/programs/health/cna/.

Certification for the Iowa Nurse Aide Registry (Direct Care Worker's Registry) Requirement:
Complete a written exam and a skills test. It is possible to take the Registry exam without completing an approved CNA course.

Certification for the Nurse Aide Registry is for a different purpose. The DMACC Nursing program needs validation that you are knowledgeable regarding the basic nursing protocols included in an approved 75-hour CNA course and the Advanced CNA course. Your C.N.A. certificate(s) of completion or a transcript validates this. Once you are in the Nursing program, no time will be spent updating your basic nurse aide skills. You must be ready to perform all of these skills on entry.

42. I completed the 75-hour CNA course but didn't take the Direct Care Worker tests. Is there a time limit between completing the 75-hour CNA course and taking the Direct Care Worker written and skills tests?

No. You may test at anytime.

43. I passed the Nurse Aide Registry (Direct Care Worker Registry) tests but my card has now expired. Will an expired card satisfy the new entry requirements?

Yes. A registry card, even though expired, shows proof that you successfully completed the written and the skills tests for placement on the Registry.

44. I took a Nurse Aide course prior to 1992, but I've been working. Do I have to repeat the course or is there some way I can challenge it?

If the class was taken prior to 1992, you must retake the Nurse Aide/Orderly class as the entire curriculum changed at that time. To clarify nurse aide requirements and challenge test information, contact Pat Carey, Coordinator at (515) 965-7095.

45. If I have completed a higher level Nurse Aide course, like the 120 hour Nursing Assistant course, will this satisfy the new DMACC Nursing Program entry requirement?

As long as you can document completion of an approved Advanced course with at least the minimum of 75 hours since 1992 the requirement will be met. You would also need to take and pass the Nurse Aide written (NRAO858) and skills test (NRAO859). There is not a separate Registry test for the Advanced CNA level.

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CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS

Criminal background checks will be completed on each student. Criminal convictions or documented history of abuse may delay or prevent students from participating in clinical education experiences. Students unable to participate in clinical education will be unable to complete the nursing program.

Results of the criminal record/child and adult abuse registry checks will be released to the Department of Human Services, who will determine if the crime or founded abuse warrants prohibition from clinical education experience. Students unable to participate in clinical education will be unable to complete the Nursing program. In accordance with DMACC's contract with affiliated agencies, results of the criminal record/child and adult abuse registry checks will be released to contracted agencies only upon their request.

Students accepted into the program complete the background check paperwork at the required Nursing Registration meeting on their campus several weeks prior to the start of classes.

46. Can an individual with a felony become licensed?

See the Iowa Board of Nursing website's FAQ section.

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TRANSFER STUDENTS

47. I took some courses at another college. Will they transfer in to DMACC?

Transfer credit is not automatically granted. You must have your official transcripts mailed to the Admissions Office in Ankeny for evaluation. It is important to first:

  1. submit an application to DMACC,
  2. then arrange to have an official transcript from the other college you have attended mailed to the Ankeny campus Admissions Office

When your transcripts arrive, the Credentials office will evaluate the courses you've taken for the program you've indicated on your application. It can take 5 weeks or more to evaluate your transfer credit depending on the time of year, the age of your coursework, and if we need to request additional information from the transfer institution. You will receive a letter and a copy of your DMACC transcript indicating which courses have been added to your record once the credit has been applied. File these with your important papers.

48. I was enrolled in a Nursing Program at another educational institution, can I transfer to DMACC?

Nursing programs vary significantly in curriculum, design, courses and content. This makes it very difficult to determine what knowledge base a student has or what gaps there would be when coming from another institution into our program. By requiring all students to take our entire program, we can insure what is included in the curriculum for each student. This also insures that our graduates meet all of our established competencies.

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CPR CERTIFICATION

49. There are a lot of different CPR courses. Which one do I need to meet the nursing program entry requirements?

When you inquire about CPR courses, tell them you are going to be a nursing student and need a course for Health Care Professionals (American Heart Association) or CPR for the Professional Rescuer (American Red Cross).

50. Where can I go to get certified in CPR?

The American Heart Association and the American Red Cross offer CPR certification courses. Call them for a schedule.

The American Heart Association website offers help in locating providers of certification courses in your zip code area. www.americanheart.org/

DMACC's Continuing Education department offers monthly Basic Cardiac Life Support CPR Certification and Renewal courses for Health Care Professionals that comply with American Heart Association guidelines.

51. How soon do I need to be certified in CPR?

Proof of current CPR certification is required by the first day of nursing school. You must maintain current certification throughout the program.

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NEW ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

52. How can I sign up for the Nursing Admissions Test (ATI TEAS), where do I go to take it, what are the scores I need to pass? What does it cost? How many times can I take the test?

For step-by-step instructions on how to prepare to take and pass the ATI TEAS click here: ATI TEAS
Fact Sheet for Students
. Information on the required scores, how to sign up, cost of the test, how to pay to test, and answers to other commonly asked questions are included on this fact sheet. Print a copy as you will be expected to carefully follow the instructions on this fact sheet.

A schedule of test dates on the Ankeny, Boone, Carroll and Newton campuses is available at: ATI TEAS Test Schedule

The Study Manual for the ATI TEAS is available for sale in the Ankeny, Boone, Carroll, Newton and Urban campus bookstores. A copy is also on reserve in the Ankeny, Boone, Carroll, Newton and Urban campus libraries. It can be purchased online at www.atitesting.com Further information on the Study Manual and other helpful resources may also be found on the ATI website.

How many times can I test?
You may attempt the test three (3) times at DMACC. Students who are unsuccessful after three attempts at DMACC will be ineligible for admission into DMACC's Nursing program.

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Licensure Issues

My Nursing license was denied, suspended, surrendered, or revoked

Individuals who may not take a nursing course with a clinical component

655 Iowa Administrative Code 2.5(5) requires that we notify students and prospective students that nursing courses with a clinical component may not be taken by a person:

  • who has been denied licensure by the Iowa Board of Nursing;
  • whose license is currently suspended, surrendered or revoked in any U.S. jurisdiction;
  • whose license/registration is currently suspended, surrendered, or revoked in another country due to disciplinary action.

Individuals seeking enrollment or currently enrolled in nursing programs who are not eligible to take a course with a clinical component because of disciplinary action in any state should contact the Iowa Board of Nursing Enforcement Unit at (515) 281-6472 as soon as possible.

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