COD’s Innovative Approach to Nursing Education

The Coachella Valley is renowned for its impressive healthcare facilities. However, with recent healthcare shortages, community leaders have joined forces to support the future scope of healthcare professionals. Over the past 56 years, COD has been a key player, producing 4,000 skilled nurses with a 100% job placement rate within six months of graduation and an 85% local placement rate within the Valley.

COD’s Registered Nurse (RN) program is highly competitive, with 130 applicants for 30 spots each semester. While hospitals need 400 nurses each year, COD’s 60 nursing graduates are in high demand. The Vocational Nursing (VN) program graduates 35 students yearly. Once they attain their LVN, they can come back and transition to become RNs, graduating 60 students annually.

By May 2026, COD is focused on hiring faculty and expanding resources to accommodate 100 open RN positions per semester, doubling its nursing graduates. COD has been collaborating with local healthcare stakeholders to make this a reality.

COD nursing graduates significantly contribute to local hospitals, maintaining continuous partnerships with local healthcare institutions such as Eisenhower Heath, Desert Healthcare District and Desert Care Network. When COD nursing students graduate, they are equipped with a tremendous skillset and a passion for serving their community, encompassing all ages, cultures, races, backgrounds and conditions of health and wellness.

Ben Farber, Chief Nursing Officer of Eisenhower Health shares, “I can’t imagine healthcare in this Valley without COD; it wouldn’t be able to exist. We benefit from a long work history and a strong relationship with COD, particularly with the nursing department, working hand in hand on innovations and looking toward the future of healthcare in this Valley.”

The COD Foundation has been integral in ensuring that its Nursing Department is supported with scholarships, state-of-the-art equipment and resources. Recently, the Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation purchased two additional high-fidelity mannequins for a total of four, providing a life-like simulation of patients for students to experience. It’s critical for students to hone their technical skills while instructors run and record patient scenarios to assess their strengths and weaknesses.

On staff since 2012, Sarah Fry, MSN, RN, PHN, Director of Nursing and Allied Health at COD believes, “Technology has significantly transformed the landscape of nursing education, expanding the resources available to our faculty and enhancing the learning experience for our students. The COD Nursing department faculty are dedicated to staying at the forefront of these advancements, ensuring that our future nurses are equipped with both the knowledge and technical expertise required for excellence in their field. By continually investing in innovative tools, we provide our students with immersive learning experiences under the guidance of expert instructors, preparing them for real-world challenges. Enrollment growth in the upcoming fall semester, coupled with our commitment to innovation, promises an exciting chapter for our Nursing department. Our goal is to give back to our generous community by nurturing compassionate, skilled, and safe healthcare professionals.”

“I am constantly in awe of how generous our community members are,” praises Fry. “Our program is largely donor-funded by philanthropists like the Auen Foundation, Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation, Eisenhower Health, Desert Healthcare District and countless others who understand the critical need for nursing graduates.” Strategic partnerships, collaborations and community generosity has allowed the nursing program to develop into what it is today.

The COD Nursing department is committed to expanding our offerings and enhancing student opportunities. Future goals include:

  • Enrollment growth to meet the community’s need
  • International learning opportunities
  • Additional healthcare career programs
  • Virtual hospital
  • Nursing lab national accreditation
  • Dual enrollment for CNA program
  • Learning clinics
  • BSNs at the community college.

Support these healthcare champions by advancing COD’s Nursing program. Donate to, call 760.773.2561 or email

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