Nursing program earns CCNE accreditation

Northwestern College’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program has received full accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The department received word of the accreditation in April, and the written report arrived in late May.

The accreditation is the culmination of four years of program planning and implementation by Dr. Ruth Daumer, department chairperson, and a growing nursing faculty. It also came just in time for Northwestern to award degrees to its first eight B.S.N. graduates.

A three-member team of nurse professionals from the CCNE visited campus last October. They interviewed nursing students, faculty, college administrators, community leaders and health care professionals. They also observed nursing and other science classes, labs and clinicals.

The evaluation results, described in a 22-page document, affirm both the college’s commitment to the nursing program and the nursing program’s “great fit” as part of the mission of Northwestern.

Northwestern’s nursing program met all 23 standard requirements in categories of evaluation including mission, resources, curriculum, teaching, student performance and faculty accomplishments.

Evaluators noted the program already is “part of the fabric of the college” and praised “the unique character of the students and faculty with respect to their Christian ethos and values.”

The evaluation is just one of many Northwestern’s nursing program will undergo in the years ahead. Next fall the Iowa Board of Nursing will be conducting a site visit. Rigorous oversight is typical in health care, says Daumer. “When you have a covenant with the public to provide graduates as capable nurses, professional evaluation helps ensure that,” she says.

The initial CCNE accreditation lasts five years. Between now and the next evaluation, Daumer and her health care colleagues will be gathering statistics about the success of Northwestern’s nursing graduates as they take their state board exams this summer and begin their careers.