11/18/13 — WCC nursing programs achieve re-accreditation status again

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WCC nursing programs achieve re-accreditation status again

By From staff reports
Published in News on November 18, 2013 1:46 PM


Nursing instructors Jennifer Sugg and Billy Tart and Sue Beaman, chairman of the Licensed Practical Nurse and Associates Degree in Nursing Department, observe and ask questions while freshman Leila Gillette checks the heart rate of a simulated patient at Wayne Community College. The college's programs recently earned re-accreditation.

The two nursing programs at Wayne Community College have received re-accreditation status.

The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing granted continuing accreditation to both the Associate Degree and Practical Nursing programs through spring 2021, the maximum allowed between evaluations, which is eight years.

Both were initially accredited in 2008. At that time, WCC's Practical Nursing program became the first in the state to be accredited. It is still one of only five in North Carolina. ACEN is the only agency that accredits practical nursing programs.

There are 19 accredited associate degree nursing programs in the state and 15 of those are in the community college system.

"The nursing faculty are tremendously proud of this accomplishment," said Patty Pfeiffer, Allied Health and Public Services division chair at the college. "It took a lot of hard work over the last two years preparing for the accreditation visit and review of the Associate Degree Nursing and Practical Nursing programs. The nursing faculty are to be congratulated for this extraordinary success."

The accreditation is a voluntary peer preview process to enhance quality improvement in nursing education. Accreditation provides recognition that a nursing education program has been evaluated and periodically re-evaluated by a qualified, independent group of respected and competent peers who have found it to be meeting appropriate post-secondary and higher educational purposes in a satisfactory manner.

It was an in-depth and rigorous experience, said Sue Beaman, chairperson of the college's nursing department, which produced a 387-page document addressing six areas -- mission and administrative capacity, faculty and staff, students, curriculum, resources and outcomes.

"The self study looks critically at quality," Mrs. Beaman said. "It makes you examine all of the standards."

"We looked at every aspect of the program, from retention to ways to improve and strengthen the curriculum," Mrs. Pfeiffer added.

Also part of the process was a three-day on-site visit by a four-member ACEN evaluation team. The team's evaluation included review of the self study; inspection of the facility; observation of class and clinical instruction; and meetings with college administrators, faculty, students, clinical agencies and community members. The evaluator's report was reviewed by a panel of experts from the accrediting agency.

Mrs. Pfeiffer serves as a program reviewer and evaluation review panel member for the ACEN. Mrs. Beaman will soon be attending the ACEN program reviewer training, held in Atlanta, in February.

Being accredited gives the college several advantages, including strengthening the program's quality and holding students and faculty to very high standards, Mrs. Beaman said.

Mrs. Pfeiffer said the college has much to be proud of, including the academic achievements of its faculty.

"We have a 100 percent master's prepared faculty (full-time) with two in doctoral programs and three nationally certified as nurse educators," she said.

WCC's Associate Degree Nursing Program is a five-term program that leads to eligibility to apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination. Its Practical Nursing Program is a one-year diploma program that prepares students to take a required to become a licensed practical nurse. Admission to both programs is limited.