02 – ACEN’s Role as a Supportive Partner for Graduate Programs

ACEN’s Role as a Supportive Partner for Graduate Programs

Written by Sharon Beasley, PhD, RN, CNE, NEA-BC, Director at the ACEN

The ACEN accredits all levels of nursing programs, including graduate programs such as master’s/post-master’s certificate and clinical doctorate/DNP specialist certificate. The ACEN supports graduate programs by offering resources to facilitate success in the accreditation process. The first of these resources is the ACEN Graduate Program Crosswalk, which aligns the ACEN Standards and Criteria with various graduate standards, competencies, and guidelines for APRN options such as the 2016 National Task Force on Quality Nurse Practitioner Education (NTF) guidelines, the 2019 COA Standards for Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs, the 2020 Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education criteria, and the 2019 NACNS Statement on CNS Practice and Education. The ACEN provides a direct link to the most current criteria for evaluation of nurse practitioner programs (published by the NTF) for access to educational requirements for nurse practitioner program options.

The ACEN eCourse Understanding and Applying the ACEN Standards and Criteria highlights variations in the Standards and Criteria for graduate programs. This eCourse provides continuing nursing education, in-depth information regarding the ACEN Standards and Criteria, and robust examples that are applicable to graduate programs. The presenters emphasize current trends in graduate education that faculty can implement to gain or maintain accreditation. One of the most helpful resources for educators who teach and/or lead graduate programs is the ACEN Directors. The Directors are available to answer questions, assist faculty with curriculum development/revisions, review outcomes assessments, and explain other accreditation and leadership topics.

Most of the ACEN Standards and Criteria are written for all levels of nursing programs. Therefore, ACEN resources can be used for graduate and undergraduate programs. A complete list of program resources is below.