Nursing Accreditation Proves Challenging

Career College Central summary:

  • Several community colleges have reported challenges with the traditional nursing accreditation process and related educational standards, according to the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). To get a clearer picture of what’s causing members pain, AACC recently connected with about 75 member colleges that have had dealings with the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, the nation’s leading accrediting body for nursing programs.
  • Among the toughest challenges: meeting faculty education requirements, the colleges said. The accrediting body maintains that all full-time and half of part-time nursing faculty must hold a master of science in nursing (MSN) degree. Most nursing faculty hold master’s degrees or doctorates, but in other health fields, respondents said. In the past, such degrees were “viewed more favorably” by accreditors, says Roxanne Fulcher, AACC director of health professions policy.
  • The accreditation process is lengthy and takes time and money. Colleges reported having “insufficient budget and/or faculty levels” to support this process, according to AACC. Some respondents even questioned the value of traditional nursing accreditation at large. If colleges have to demonstrate program quality to state boards, should they also have to prove it to the accrediting body? In some instances, standards set by state boards of nursing are more rigorous than professional accreditation standards.

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