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4 Things to Know About Accreditation in Online Nursing Programs

Posted by Pat Magrath

Tue, Nov 08, 2016 @ 02:16 PM

what-can-you-do-with-a-nursing-degree.jpgIf you’re thinking about continuing your education or are just starting out with your Nursing education, we think this article might be helpful to you. Let us know what you think.

When Texas resident Barbara Chapman explored different online graduate nursing programs, she knew finding one that was accredited was key. 

Accreditation, experts say, ensures that an unbiased agency recognized by the Department of Education reviewed a program to validate its quality and rigor.

"It's the first thing that they ask when you're even applying for a job: 'Did you graduate from an accredited program?'" says the 56-year-old. Other universities, should a student pursue a higher-level degree, often ask the same question, she says.

After doing research online, Chapman chose the University of Texas—Tyler's hybrid nurse practitioner master's program, verifying its accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, or CCNE – one of two main nursing accrediting bodies recognized by the Department of Education, a status that also ensures students are eligible for federal financial aid.

Chapman might be onto something. When choosing an online nursing degree program, experts say, prospective students should check that it's accredited by either the CCNE or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, or ACEN. The former focuses on baccalaureate and graduate programs, including online; ACEN accredits nursing programs at all levels.

Accreditation for a specific nursing degree is separate from accreditation for the university as a whole, experts say. Prospective online students can usually determine the status of both on a school's website. The ACEN and CCNE also list the nursing programs they accredit online.

Here are four things prospective online students should know about accreditation in online nursing programs before enrolling.

1. Accreditation is particularly important to employers when it comes to online programs. Employers often want to verify the legitimacy of online nursing degrees, experts say. The Department of Education determines that agencies such as the CCNE and ACEN are reliable authorities on legitimate programs.

"It is very much a high, high mark of quality," says F. Patrick Robinson, dean of the school of nursing and health sciences at the online, for-profit Capella University.

Many potential employers will confirm that both an applicant's online nursing degree program and the overall institution it's a part of are accredited, says Jennifer Butlin, CCNE's executive director. 

When looking at the university's overall accreditation, prospective students should be aware that some online, for-profit schools hold national accreditation. But many experts say most employers historically prefer regional accreditation at the university level through agencies such as the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

 

2. The ACEN and CCNE hold online programs to the same standards as on-ground programs. Sharon Beasley, an associate director for ACEN, says the accreditation process for online programs has an additional layer of review focusing specifically on distance education.

For example, ACEN typically reviews whether faculty are trained to teach online and the ways learners and professors interact virtually.

Knowing that, prospective students shouldn't assume online learning is easier or less intensive than on ground, experts say.

3. Accrediting bodies require online nursing programs to have clinical or practicum components in person. Experts say accredited programs classified as online still require students to attend sessions in a health care facility or another face-to-face setting – sometimes near a student's home, though this varies.

"You do need to have access to professors who can show you how a specific procedure needs to be done," says Chapman, the UT—Tyler student.

At Excelsior College, almost every online nursing program has a clinical or practicum component mixing virtual labs and in-person experiences, says Barbara B. Pieper, associate dean for RN-to-bachelor's and master's programs. She says it's especially important for online learners to determine the time commitment and location details because many hold full-time jobs and can't travel far.

4. Online degree programs regularly undergo re-accredition and review. New online nursing degree programs are constantly springing up at universities, and prospective students need to keep in mind that each one gets accredited in its entirety, including if it has multiple tracks, Beasley says.
 

Butlin, of CCNE, says a review also takes place if there's a significant change in delivery – such as a blended program changing from 20 percent online to a majority online – to ensure it continues to comply with accreditation standards.

CCNE and ACEN require nursing degree programs to undergo re-accreditation every several years, officials say. Therefore, it's essential that prospective students look at a program's accreditation history, says Mary Jean Schumann, senior associate dean for academic affairs at George Washington University's School of Nursing.

Chapman says she knows of students who didn't do enough research beforehand.

"They were either promised that they would eventually become an accredited program and it did not, or they were in a program and it lost accreditation, and it was devastating to them," she says.

If you have questions regarding this topic or any other general questions, feel free to ask one of our Nurse Leaders!

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Topics: nursing programs, online nursing programs, accredited

10 Nursing Programs With High Acceptance Rates

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Aug 24, 2016 @ 11:13 AM

download_2.jpgNurses are always learning. Whether it’s on-the-job with practical experience or continuing your formal education, you are always on a quest to learn more. Perhaps you’re trying to figure out how to do something better, earn your next degree, improve your relationship and listening skills, or how the latest electronic medical records program works. You are determined to move forward and be your best. If you’re looking to advance your formal education, we offer this article as a source of information on Nursing schools and acceptance rates.

There may soon be more nurses than there are jobs.

By 2025, there will be nearly 3.9 million full-time equivalent registered nurses compared with the nationwide demand of 3.5 million, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Nurses with a master's degree, however, shouldn't have a problem finding a job. Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners, for example, are expected to see employment growth of 31 percent from 2014 to 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And some schools are helping just about every aspiring nurse who wants a master's degree reach his or her goal. 

At eight nursing master's programs – including the programs at Clemson University and Regis University – 100 percent of applicants were accepted in fall of 2015. The programs had the highest acceptance rates among 228 institutions that submitted these data to U.S. News in an annual survey.

Among the eight schools, the average number of applicants was 42. Many schools with low acceptance rates – such as Seattle University and University of North Carolina—Charlotte, which each accepted just 21 percent of applicants – had much larger applicant pools. Seattle received 344 applicants and UNC—Charlotte had 298.

Below are the 10 schools that accepted the highest percentage of nursing master's students for fall 2015. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.

 
School name (state) Number of applicants Number of applicants accepted Acceptance rate U.S. News rank
Clemson University (SC) 21 21 100% 149 (tie)
Nebraska Wesleyan University 45 45 100% RNP*
Northwestern State University of Louisiana 103 103 100% 133 (tie)
Prairie View A&M University (TX) 33 33 100% RNP
Regis University (CO) 52 52 100% 168 (tie)
Southeastern Louisiana University 38 38 100% RNP
University of Central Arkansas 23 23 100% RNP
University of North Carolina—Pembroke 22 22 100% 192 (tie)
Monmouth University (NJ) 80 79 98.8% 124 (tie)
University of Kansas 47 46 97.9% 48 (tie)

*RNP denotes an institution that is ranked in the bottom one-fourth of all master's nursing programs. U.S. News calculates a rank for the school but has decided not to publish it.

Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News Nursing School Compass to find acceptance rate data, complete rankings and much more. School officials can access historical data and rankings, including of peer institutions, via U.S. News Academic Insights.

If you have any questions about Nursing programs, feel free to ask one of our Nurse Leaders! 
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Topics: nursing programs

Report finds enrollment growth in BSN programs slowing in 2013

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, Jan 31, 2014 @ 01:32 PM

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing released preliminary survey data showing that enrollment in entry-level baccalaureate nursing programs increased by 2.6% from 2012 to 2013, which marks the lowest enrollment increase in professional RN programs over the past five years. 

Findings are based on data reported from 720 of the 858 schools of nursing in the U.S. with baccalaureate or graduate programs. Although RN enrollment increased for the 13th consecutive year, nursing schools have identified a shortage of faculty and clinical education sites as potential barriers to realizing future growth and meeting the nation’s need for healthcare providers.

“Given the calls for a more highly educated nursing workforce from the Institute of Medicine, the Tri-Council for Nursing, nurse employers and other stakeholders, we are pleased to see at least modest growth in the pipeline of new baccalaureate-prepared nurses,” AACN President Jane Kirschling, RN, PhD, FAAN, said in a news release.

Preliminary AACN data also show a strong enrollment surge in baccalaureate nursing programs designed for practicing nurses looking to expand their education in response to employer demands and patient expectations. 

The number of students enrolled in baccalaureate degree completion programs, also known as RN-to-BSN programs, increased by 12.4% last year (among 512 schools reporting). This year marks the 11th year of enrollment increases in these programs and offers further validation of the desire among nurses to advance their education to remain competitive in today’s workforce, according to the AACN.

Looking ahead, AACN plans to work collaboratively with stakeholders to ensure that enrollment in both baccalaureate and master’s level degree completion programs for RNs expands even further to meet the recommendations outlined in the 2010 “Future of Nursing” report prepared by the Institute of Medicine, including a goal of 80% of nurses having BSNs by 2020.

Enrollment changes since 1994: www.aacn.nche.edu/Media-Relations/EnrollChanges.pdf

Fact sheet: www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/fact-sheets/nursing-workforce

Source: Nurse.com 

Topics: increase, AACN, nursing programs, RN-to-BSN

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