Successful 10-Year accreditation validates academic quality of MC School of Nursing’s B.S.N. program

Published 10:45 am Thursday, December 22, 2022

The Mississippi College School of Nursing has received a full 10-year cycle of renewal for its Bachelor of Science in Nursing program from a nationally respected accrediting agency, confirming that the courses the school offers its students are among the finest in the nation.

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education’s Board of Commissioners extended accreditation of the baccalaureate degree program in nursing at MC to Dec. 31, 2032. Using its Standards of Accreditation of Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing Programs, the CCNE board determined that the program met all four accreditation standards and found no compliance concerns with respect to key elements.

According to Kimberly Sharp, dean of the MC School of Nursing, the decade-long seal of approval from the CCNE indicates the school has met or exceeded quality benchmarks set forth by the organization.

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“It’s a big deal for the School of Nursing to receive affirmation that our work is meeting national standards,” Sharp said. “To have CCNE say they have no compliance concerns regarding programming is a tremendous affirmation of our faculty.

We’re grateful the Lord is blessing what we are doing in working with students to help them meet their academic goals.”

Along with setting minimum standards for educational programs preparing nurses for practice at all levels, accreditation of nursing education programs grants official recognition to those who meet established standards. It ensures that graduates are prepared for safe, current, and appropriate practice relative to their type of nursing education program and state laws governing nursing, and encourages continuing program improvement through assessment, evaluation, and consultation.

MC School of Nursing leaders hosted a site visit Feb. 16-18, 2022 from the CCNE, an autonomous accrediting arm of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Sharp said the report from the site visitors was “very positive.”

“They identified areas that will help us as we grow and strengthen our program,” she said. “It’s a good, reflective exercise for us. It’s a major piece of work, and while I’m very thankful to have the site visit behind us, I’m also looking forward to seeing how we can add to our portfolio of offerings in the School of Nursing from year to year.

“We’re excited about where we stand with CCNE.”

Sharp credited the School of Nursing faculty for helping obtain the excellent accreditation review.

“The site visitors were impressed with how committed the faculty is to our student population,” she said. “The cohesiveness of our faculty stood out. It was a great example of how we approached preparing for the site visit: the faculty came together and supported one another.

“Affirming accreditation is a group activity, and it was evidenced by the site visitors, who picked up on how well we worked together to address the needs of the group.”

With more than 15 years of educational leadership experience, Sharp has been involved with accreditation site visits for some time. Her work with the CCNE gave her insight into how best to address site visitors’ concerns.

She also praised faculty/staff from other schools and departments at MC for their dedication to helping the school achieve its accreditation goals.

“The site visitors want to make sure that we are moving forward with efforts to help serve our community,” Sharp said. “They were impressed by the comments they received from faculty and staff in other departments who collaborate with us and contribute to the nursing program. A number of core faculty members took part, and virtually every department on campus was represented.

“The site visitors spoke highly of the representatives from all academic areas who value nursing as an integral part of our community. That was evident in how everybody responded and how well the site visit went. It was great.”

Accreditation is a continuous process, so the School of Nursing won’t be resting on its laurels. School administrators prepare and submit an annual reports each fall; compliance reports explaining any changes or trends within the program; a five-year report; and an interim report – among other requirements – to ensure things continue progressing within the program.

Challenges still loom: new standards for competencies in nursing education, approved last year, will keep Sharp and her team on their toes. Nevertheless, the CCNE accreditation remains a brilliant feather in the school’s administrative cap.

“The requirements for School of Nursing competencies has shifted,” Sharp said. “We will continue to look at what we are doing in the school and make sure we meet the updated requirements that were published in 2021. We have a limited amount of time to adjust our undergraduate and graduate competencies to meet these new essentials.

“We will make sure to address the competencies of our students and to show that our learners, whether beginning students just starting to enter the practice of nursing or advanced students who are nursing professionals, have clear expectations and are moving into higher roles.”

Recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accreditation agency, CCNE ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate, and residency/fellowship programs in nursing. It serves the public interest by assessing and identifying programs that engage in effective educational practices.

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