Nursing Program Accreditation: Fueling the fire to serve

Posted by Janae Melvin on September 29, 2015 in CCNE, Nursing A nursing career begins with an internal spark—a desire to help others. However, that spark might go out without proper training and experience. Ottawa University’s nursing program also began as a spark. In 2009, a feasibility study was conducted and by 2012, with proper funding and approval, the first nursing director, Kathy Kump, RN, MSN, MHSA, CWOCN, FNP-C, was hired. As program director, Kump is responsible for all academic, financial, operational and marketing activities related to the nursing program. Barely three years into her position at OU, Kump also had the honor of guiding the program through its accreditation process. That initial spark is now a blazing success.

“It has always been the plan, from the inception of the program, to obtain specialized accreditation of our nursing program from a well-respected and nationally-recognized organization, which is the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education,” said Kump. “This means that we (the program and the University) have been carefully evaluated by a team of experts in nursing to ensure that we are meeting the quality and standards of nursing to ensure the public’s safety and trust. Not every program gets accredited.”

OU’s nursing program is structured into eight-week terms to increase flexibility for working students. Individuals who want their Bachelor of Science in Nursing take 37 credit hours as well as eight liberal arts hours to complete the major. This degree is only offered to those who come to OU from an associate degree or nursing program and who have passed their National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) board exam allowing them to practice as Registered Nurses. Many nurses want to further their education not only as a way to increase their earning potential but because the Institute of Medicine and the American Nurses Association both advocate BSN-prepared nurses for patients.
Jennifer Imel, nursing student and clinical coordinator for a cardiac cath lab and outpatient/observation unit, has worked for Western Plains Medical in Dodge City, Kan., for five years.

“The highlight of the nursing program was the success and leadership skills that I gained from the courses,” said Imel. “I specifically appreciated the leadership in nursing course. I stepped into a new professional role just as I started that course and it helped me mold myself into the new position. It could not have happened at a better time!”

In true OU fashion, nursing professors have a minimum of a master’s degree in nursing, considerable practical, hands-on experience and many have or are working on their doctoral degrees. OU professors teach from experience, not just textbooks. Imel highlights the professionalism of the faculty as a true asset to the OU program. “I chose OU because the staff was so welcoming andaccommodating,” said Imel. “They were always willing to help me with any and all questions.”

Pat Giffin, a nurse manager, agrees. “I am an older nurse and it had been years since I had taken college courses so I felt I needed some hand holding in order to get back into the swing of classes. I also needed help navigating the idea of online classes since I had never taken an online course before.” OU met her needs perfectly.

While the CCNE accreditation is voluntary, it is extremely important. It demonstrates that the program meets national standards and most graduate programs will not accept candidates whose BSN was not conferred from a CCNE-accredited program. OU strives to provide the most comprehensive degrees possible and the CCNE accreditation not only recognizes those efforts but is a gift to students even after they leave the University.

Keep the fires burning, OU.