To the Leading Edge
Author: Ayişe Karadağ, PhD, MSN, RN, ET/WOCN, Dean, Koç University School of Nursing
Published August 2023
I would like to express my pleasure and honor as the Dean of Koç University School of Nursing (KUSON) to be an accredited member of the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), which is the most prestigious and established accreditation institution in the field of nursing.
KUSON aims to continue to be a leading institution that expands the impact of nursing in the healthcare system at national and international levels by pursuing excellence in nursing education, research, and practices through a continuous assessment and improvement with the integration of current technological and scientific development in the program. The ACEN first accredited KUSON Undergraduate Program for the years 2016–2021, and it has been renewed for eight years until 2030, which is the maximum period for accreditation by the ACEN. While achieving KUSON’s mission and vision, accreditation processes, as a part of continuous quality improvement, became a guide for us to improve our activities with international standards, especially in education, and to ensure the continuity of our contemporary work and achievements.
At KUSON, there are 14 full-time and one part-time academic staff members who are highly qualified in nursing education. The total number of students currently enrolled is 163, and the overall faculty-to-student ratio is 1:8. This ratio allows the faculty to facilitate better classroom dynamics, use interactive and discussion-based teaching methods, attend to the individualized learning needs of students, follow up on progress, and provide rapid feedback to students regarding academic performance. In this respect, we are in an excellent position in terms of the ratio compared to many schools in Türkiye and European countries.
KUSON’s mission is to advance the boundaries of science by reaching excellence in nursing education, research, and practice and to make a significant contribution to the promotion of individual and community health by educating competent nurses with leadership qualities. With this mission, KUSON continues to be a leading school as the first and only internationally accredited institution in Türkiye in nursing with a contemporary education program ensuring qualified professionals, an infrastructure, and resources to ensure compliance with international standards, high post-graduation job placement rates, and faculty and administrators dedicated to providing excellence in nursing education with international standards.
Since the ACEN accreditation is a process that aims to continuously improve the quality of nursing education, KUSON is reviewed under six standards, which are mission and administrative capacity, faculty and staff, students, curriculum, resources, and outcomes. The ACEN strengthened our reporting and archiving system to ensure the continuous quality improvement of processes related to each standard. Besides securing these standards, the ACEN accreditation ensures the methods used to measure the end-of-program student learning outcomes (the EPSLOs), with an ongoing assessment of the extent to which students attain each EPSLO. At KUSON, assessment data is analyzed and documented to use program decision making to maintain and improve students’ attainment of the EPSLOs. Both direct and indirect assessment methods are used to evaluate the EPSLOs. Clinical assessments and Comprehensive Exit Exam (CEE) are direct assessment methods for the EPSLOs. Although not used for the EPSLO evaluation, the portfolio is also used as a formative evaluation throughout the Undergraduate nursing Program. The portfolio provides a holistic and individualized follow-up of students’ professional development throughout their education. It is also used to contribute to program improvement. To the best of our knowledge, KUSON has been the only nursing School administering the CEE since 2021. Considering there is no licensure examination for nursing graduates in Türkiye, we believe the CEE might lead to a national licensure exam in nursing.
In addition to these valuable contributions of the ACEN accreditation to our institution, as the only ACEN-accredited school in Türkiye, KUSON provides consultancy to other universities and shares its experiences with different institutions including the Association for Evaluation and Accreditation of nursing Education Programs (HEPDAK). KUSON will continue its pioneering role to ensure the quality of education and improvement in an ever-changing world through continuous self-assessment, planning, and improvement in national and international nursing in the light of the ACEN.