Nursing program receives accreditation- makes big leaps towards development
Keene State College has a new nationally recognized program. The nursing program has received accreditation and can now continue to help students achieve more through their education at KSC.
KSC senior and nursing student, Heather Gosselin, said she has experienced more than she imagined in the program.
“Ever since I have been in this program… I always wanted to do maternity, and I was in maternity for the last six weeks. I got to see a live vaginal birth, and that was the most amazing thing,” she said.
“If I wasn’t in the program, I never would have experienced that, and that day just brought it all together for me,” Gosselin continued.
The nursing program has progressed and offers a wide range of experiences for its students.
“We are just growing and just improving every step of the way, every bit of feedback we get we take to heart—improving in any way we can,” Assistant Nursing Professor, Kathleen Forrister, said.
Official entrance into the nursing program begins in each spring semester of each nursing student’s junior year.
Until that point, students take the required classes, working toward the major before beginning clinical, where students spend time in the hospital or similar health service environments.
“It is a very integrative program. It deals with a lot of nutrition and additional science classes and kind of covers all the bases. We take languages and stuff, so it’s a well-rounded program,” sophomore Bridgette Normandin said, “it’s also very tightly scheduled.”
The work in clinical and at Cheshire Medical Center prepares prospective nurses in the program.
Director of the Nursing at KSC, Mary-Ellen Fleeger, said, “You get real-world experience. Our students are prepared to work.”
Junior nursing student, Gregory Nelson, is working at Cheshire Medical Center as a patient assistant.
“I sit in with patients, do one-on-ones, and get a lot of good experience with the nurses that talk to me and explain to me what they are doing. It’s a nice experience that I have right now. It’s also nice to have a job to go to as a college student,” he said.
Some nursing students agree that job security is an alluring aspect.
“I think it’s a stable major to go into, especially in the job field, so I feel I have a pretty good chance of getting a job after college,” Normandin said.
The same thought was echoed by Fleeger. “They can feel comfortable that they are going to get a job immediately and that they are well prepared to practice as a nurse, and I think it’s because they have so much clinical and the faculty, we are all credential so they get the best,” she said.
The positivity continued as the nursing program obtained full accreditation.
“Accreditation by CCNE [Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education] is a national recognition and indicates the program has exceeded the state requirements for a nursing program,” Fleeger said.
“It was a leap of faith,” Forrister said about the program.
Students and faculty had to wait a year to know whether or not accreditation would be approved.
“The new accreditation sets national standards that we can benchmark our successes against, so the CCNE national accreditation has accreditation standards that we strive to excel and meet those standards. So, it is a stamp of quality on the program, which is wonderful,” Nursing Professor Carolynn Ernst said.
Fleeger described opportunities and benefits made available for the students by this accreditation.
“If you go on to graduate school, for example, our students are prepared to do that because we have national accreditation. Some states won’t let you take your registered nurse exam without it. This state [N.H.] doesn’t have that, but it is really good for us in terms of attracting students, and the quality of our curriculum, so it’s big league. It says you are prestigious. We are proud of ourselves, we are proud of our students, and it will help in getting jobs,” Fleeger said.
“I think nursing is one of the greatest majors you can go with because you can branch off and do so many different things with a simple bachelor’s science degree,” Nelson said.
Ernst agreed and said, “I think nursing is a wonderful profession, so that would be the one thing, is that they realize that it is a thriving, growing, developing profession and that there are lots of opportunities.”
With the addition of accreditation, the simulation lab in Rhodes Hall and the progression of the program, students are finding new ways and using opportunities to finish their degrees.
“So much has changed but it’s all for the better. It is tough— I am not going to lie—but I just always tell myself it is going to be so worth it. So, I would just really suggest it to anyone who has any doubts, just try it, and if you don’t like it then you don’t, but at least you tried,” Gosselin said.”
Nicole Carrobis can be contacted at email@example.com