Nursing Programs Earn Reaffirmation of Accreditation

The baccalaureate and master’s degree programs in nursing have received reaffirmation of accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

The CCNE’s Board of Commissioners granted a 10-year accreditation, extending the programs’ continuing accreditation to Dec. 31, 2021.

“The accreditation of our baccalaureate and master’s degree programs in nursing is important to communicate to the public the quality and integrity of the programs and the extent to which the programs meet the established standards, undergo continuous quality improvement, and meet their mission, goals, and expected outcomes,” said Dr. Judy Short, Foundation Professor of Nursing and chair of Department of Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing at EKU. “The reaffirmation of our accreditation with the maximum term of ten years emphasizes the excellence of our programs in preparing individuals for specialized/professional roles and providing a high quality baccalaureate or master’s education in nursing.”

Officially recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accreditation agency, the CCNE is an autonomous accrediting agency that contributes to the improvement of the public’s health by ensuring the quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate and residency programs in nursing.

As a voluntary, self-regulatory process, CCNE accreditation supports and encourages continuing self-assessment by nursing programs and supports continuing growth and improvement of collegiate professional education and post-baccalaureate nurse residency programs.

At its meeting, the Board determined that the EKU programs met all four accreditation standards: Mission and Governance, Institutional Commitment and Resources, Curriculum and Teaching-Learning Practices, and Aggregate Student and Faculty Outcomes.

Eastern’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program was established in 1971. Each year, nearly 200 students earn BSN degrees through a variety of options, including an outreach program delivered via ITV to Corbin, Danville, Manchester, Hazard and Somerset where RNs with an associate degree can complete a BSN degree while living and working in their home areas. Between 85 and 90 percent of those gradates plan to remain in Kentucky to work.

Each year, approximately 30 students earn a master’s degree in nursing; the program was established at EKU in 1995 and about 80 students are currently enrolled. The master’s program offers several options: Rural Health Family Nurse Practitioner, Rural Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Advanced Rural Public Health Nursing. It also offers post-master’s certificates for Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Public Health Nursing.

“The EKU Department of Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing has made and is continuing to make a significant impact on improving health care and access to baccalaureate and higher degree programs in the Commonwealth,” Short said.

The MSN (Master’s of Science in Nursing) program is a rural outreach program delivered via ITV with some Web-enhanced courses. ITV sites are Corbin, Danville, Manchester, and Hazard and a Somerset site is being added at the new EKU Center. Faculty members rotate driving to the sites to teach and supervise clinical work.

Almost all of the MSN graduates plan to remain in Kentucky to practice, Short added.

Earlier this year, Eastern’s Department of Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing earned placement in the 2012 edition of Best Graduate Schools, published by U.S. News Media Group.

The accreditation process, which began with a self-study and included a visit from the CCNE team in February and March, was definitely a collaborative project, Short noted.

“A successful accreditation/reaffirmation process always involves a team effort,” she said. “We wish to thank all those involved for their support, hard work, and dedication. The faculty of the Department of Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing, the students, the University administration and staff, the affiliated clinical agencies, CCNE staff and on-site evaluators and the Kentucky Board of Nursing all contributed to a successful self-study process and on-site evaluation.”

Published on December 06, 2011