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Nursing baccalaureate program receives 10-year reaccreditation

ISSUED: 7 December 2016
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University’s nursing baccalaureate program has been reaccredited for 10 years by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Dr. Sharon Mailey, chair of the Department of Nursing Education, said the CCNE Board of Commissioners issued the accreditation without making any recommendations.

The department had to meet a series of goals under four standards, which are mission and governance, institutional commitment and resources, curriculum and teaching-learning practices, and assessment and achievement of program outcomes.

“They praised us in terms of meeting the four standards,” Mailey said. “They were very objective in terms of the elements under each standard and how we had successfully met those criteria. It was very clean and very professional, just like you want it.”

Mailey said when considering mission and governance, CCNE looked at how well the mission and goals of the nursing program fit with those of the university and community.

“When you do accreditation it’s for the program but it’s not in a silo,” Mailey said. “It reflects the whole university and also our community of interest. We pulled those individuals in to give evidence of how this program contributes to the hospitals, to the clinics, to the health department, and all the agencies we work with. That community of interest is very important to our accreditation process.”

When assessing institutional commitment, CCNE looked at how well Shepherd supports the nursing program. This included an assessment of the facilities such as Erma Ora Byrd Hall, the Scarborough Library, and the Martinsburg Center. The quality of academic support services, faculty salaries, and the financial support the university offers were also taken into consideration.

CCNE reviewed the entire nursing education curriculum. Mailey said faculty evaluations, student evaluations, individual courses, and how well students do on the National Council of State Boards Exam (NCLEX-RN) were all reviewed. Nursing graduates must pass NCLEX-RN to become a registered nurse.

“It’s very significant in terms of how we map our curriculum to the NCLEX prep and our outcomes of that,” she said.

NCLEX-RN results are also taken into account in the fourth category—achievement of program outcomes. CCNE looks at the pass rate for students who graduate from Shepherd.

“For the last five years we have been over the benchmark of 80 percent,” Mailey said. “Right now we’re at 83 percent for 2016, so we’re very proud of our students in terms of their accomplishments.”

Mailey pointed out that 100 percent of the nursing students find employment after graduation.

“The hospitals give priority to our students because they really value that our students give quality patient care that results in good outcomes,” Mailey said. “It’s an honor to have this accreditation but it’s also a responsibility to society. As registered nurses, our number one obligation is to the safety of the public. Being accredited says we meet certain standards to protect the public and society.”

The nursing department, which is commemorating its 25th anniversary, is one of Shepherd’s largest degree programs with 438 undergraduate and 22 graduate students.

Listen to the interview HERE.

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