Despite facing many challenges over the past few years, the Keene State College Nursing Program has received ten full years of national accreditation.
Director of Nursing Patricia Shinn said that national accreditation: “Is a symbol that you have a quality program. If you have national accreditation… you have an external body of experts in nursing looking at your curriculum and looking at every aspect, the college, and how the program fits in the college, the students, how we service the students, not just as nursing students but college students.”
President Melinda Treadwell said that by giving the college the full ten years of accreditation, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is expressing its full confidence in KSC’s nursing program.
“The national CCNE accreditors have said, not that we get a five year review, but they are so confident that our program meets their professional criteria, the students are going to be well prepared, they like what they see, they give us a full ten years of accreditation acceptance. If our program showed any concerns for them, they would give us a shorter period of accreditation, so to get a full ten years is a statement that our program looks great from a nursing licensure prospective, and the state board of nursing checks us every year to make sure we’re meeting the requirements of the state and they’ve also said they’re very pleased with where we stand and where we’re headed,” Treadwell said.
The progress, effort and resources put into the program by the college are some factors that Shinn said she thinks helped earn the ten year accreditation.
Shinn said that nursing graduates will benefit from the national accreditation when they apply for positions or graduate schools requiring that they come from institutions with national accreditation: “They could find programs that didn’t expect that national accreditation, but they’re becoming fewer and far between at this point. Most nursing programs are accredited, so the graduate programs are looking that you have that assurance of that good, solid education before you go on to the master’s.”
This comes as good news for the program, especially as it has been under probation due to low National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) test scores from previous years.
“We’re still on probation by the New Hampshire State Board of Nursing, and we will be for another year. The law says two years of above national pass rates, and we’re hoping the May ‘18 class made that benchmark. We don’t know yet until January when the final numbers for 2018 are in, and hopefully our group had an 88.24 percent pass rate, and usually national is not that high, it’s somewhere in the low to mid 80s. So I’m pretty sure we made it with last year’s graduates, if we make it with this 2019 group we’ll be off probation for the first time in the history of this program,” Shinn said.
The ten years of accreditation comes as good news for nursing students as well. Senior nursing major James Halkiotis said, “This is great news for us because our program is now recognized to be not on the rocks anymore, we’re good to go. They did a lot of changes, our professors are fantastic, our head of nursing means business, she’s great, she puts up with us freaking out all the time because we’re a stressful bunch.”
Shinn said that the nursing program is vital for the college: “There’s just no way we could lose this nursing program in Keene. We need it, desperately, for the shortage of nursing that’s just going to get worse and worse as we go through the decade.”
Vincent Moore can be contacted at email@example.com