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Nursing Program Strives to Gain Accreditation

Friday, September 21, 2007  
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By Guest Writer

Carly Darow

The nursing program at Oklahoma Christian University is seeking national accreditation.

Linda Fly, the director of nursing at Oklahoma Christian, said the university as a whole is already nationally accredited, but the programs within each discipline also strive for the designation.

Those within the program wrote a self-study report to make sure they went about the accreditation process the correct way. The department also hired a consultant to evaluate the program. Kay Elder, the assistant professor of nursing, said the program made revisions based off of the consultant’s advice.

To get accredited, the nursing program must go through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. CCNE officials will visit the Oklahoma Christian campus on Nov.12. During the visit, CCNE officials will evaluate the faculty, administrators, students and curriculum of the nursing program.

Multiple benefits come from a nationally accredited program. These benefits include scholarship opportunities, easier acceptance into graduate school and career advancement within a student’s future job. Accreditation also shows the community the program is sound.

“I want us to have a good reputation,” Fly said. “I want the community to hear Oklahoma Christian and think of an outstanding nursing program.”

Nursing students cite the benefits accreditation would bring. One student, Heather Wells, said being accredited is important when hospitals and graduate schools consider an undergraduate. Students also care how the community views them.

“It makes a huge difference.  As the first set of nurses and others go out, the community will be watching,” Wells said.

Fly said she wanted to make clear that all nurses, even graduates, must take the national exam issued by the Board of Nursing to work as a registered nurse. However, graduating from an accredited program adds prestige and shows the students were held to a national standard.

“It shows the community that we have a quality program and are graduating quality students,” Fly said. “Here is a program that has every ‘i’ dotted and every ‘t’ crossed.”

CCNE brings in three evaluators from different places to review the program. The nursing staff expressed no worries about the upcoming visit.

“We are new, but we are right where the standards need to be,” Elder said.

Faculty hopes the accreditation will lead to a larger program. Elder said the program hopes to accept 40 students from each class and construct a new building with more lab and classroom space.

The accreditation should also bring more transfer students into Oklahoma Christian. Currently, 108 pre-nursing and nursing students are enrolled on campus, and the number continues to grow.

While the accreditation process is ongoing, nursing students also stay busy with fund raisers aimed toward a pinning ceremony and graduation dinner. The fund-raisers should cover nursing pin cost and three guests per graduate at the program graduation dinner.

Many anticipate the application, which will be decided in November by CCNE. The nursing students will all have the opportunity to visit with CNNE officials and provide input as to what it is like to be an Oklahoma Christian nursing major.

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