It’s All Theoretical: Nursing Education in the Times of a Global Pandemic

Written by Vicki L. Ericson, DNP, ANP, FNP, Associate Professor at St. Catherine University

St. Catherine University was founded in 1905 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet as a Catholic liberal arts college for women. Located in St. Paul, Minnesota, St. Catherine University prepares nurses at the baccalaureate, master’s, and clinical doctorate levels and offers eight programs of study.

Sun shining through front Gates of St. Catherine University with lots of beautiful trees and flowers

Living in Helicy

Helicy is one of the homeodynamic principles defined by Martha Rogers in The Science of Unitary Human Beings. Helicy describes the ever-present condition of unpredictability and change (Butcher, 2021). The unpredictable, unfolding patterns of the COVID-19 pandemic and the coinciding unrest over racial inequality that consumed 2020 are exceptional examples of Rogers’ concept of helicy. During those unprecedented occurrences, nurses lived in the “heart of helicy” (Butcher, 2002, p. 6) by acting intentionally and compassionately in the face of significant uncertainty and unpredictability. For most of the year, designated by the World Health Organization as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, nurses joined the frontlines to provide care and comfort to patients suffering from an extremely contagious and deadly virus, not knowing what that meant for their personal safety. As of April 7, 2021, 562 nurses in the U.S. who contracted COVID-19 after caring for patients affected with the disease had died, and a disproportionate number were nurses of color (The Guardian, 2021).

Learning Virtually

While not all nurses faced the same life and death situations, faculty in the Department of Nursing at St. Catherine University also joined forces swiftly and efficiently to continue providing excellence in nursing education, safely and compassionately, during the pandemic. Faculty scrambled to transition courses to online learning platforms and were committed to the same relationship-based education while adapting to the moving target of pandemic constraints.

Nursing faculty identified alternatives to replace the traditional clinical education experiences that were not available in local healthcare agencies due to increasing restrictions for students. In prelicensure programs, more frequent and more intense simulation activities were developed—both virtual and (when possible) in person. When several of our clinical partners suspended student nurse practitioner clinical rotations due to the pandemic, faculty advocated for precepted telehealth encounters in their own clinical practices. Students were offered opportunities to learn along with everyone else about the intricacies of providing virtual primary care. And like most of the nation, Zoom became our primary connection to family, friends, colleagues, and our students.

Caring Virtually

Two other helicy-type events simultaneously confronted Minnesota nurses in 2020. On May 25, George Floyd was killed in broad daylight by Minneapolis police, and people around the world viewed the gut-wrenching video of his murder. It was evident by then, according to pandemic statistics, that there was a disproportionate risk of serious illness for Black Americans infected with COVID-19, confirming what we as nurses already knew about social determinants of health. Our city was burning, and we felt defeated in our efforts toward social justice. The university closed, and all non-essential employees were asked to take two days off to reflect, help, and begin to heal.

Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring promotes the practice of authentic presence for caring and healing (Watson, 2005). During these volatile times, expressions of care such as holding another’s hand, giving and receiving a hug, or gathering together in support were not possible. Dr. Watson importantly notes that our presence (human-to-human) need not take place in the same space and time and can, through cyberspace, often lead to “intense personal intimacy with strangers and friends alike” (Watson, 2005, p. 201).

Likewise, Rogers explicates the concept of pandimensionality, a non-linear and non-local process that allows for distance healing to create new energy patterns (Butcher, 2021). The need for caring as well as learning was considerable and was provided virtually by faculty both synchronously and asynchronously. Faculty held virtual listening sessions and were intentional in authentic presence to simply hear students. Synchronous courses opened with an emphasis on making time to listen and support the expression of both positive and negative feelings. Recorded lectures were developed with the concepts of authentic presence in mind. In similar ways, faculty and staff took care of each other virtually.

Watson (2002) asserts that one of nursing’s shared tasks is “finding meaning in our own life and health-illness concerns, as we reawaken to our profound compassionate, caring and healing service in the world” (p. 3). Organized volunteer work in COVID-19 testing clinics offered students opportunities to awaken to compassionate, caring, and healing service. Many faculty volunteered with students to be authentically present while providing COVID-19 testing. Ultimately, and certainly in a much more joyous setting, nursing faculty and students enthusiastically volunteered in large numbers to administer vaccines, first for the most vulnerable and then for all.

Purpose, Resolve, and Harmony

As we reflect back on the 2020 academic year, faculty were adapting to the “new normal” of the pandemic: students were allowed on campus only for simulation and laboratory activities; in addition, they were required to complete careful screening for potential illness, wear PPE, practice social distancing, and quarantine as necessary. Additionally, in late September 2020, the Department of Nursing completed a continuing accreditation review conducted virtually by the ACEN for the eight programs of study offered in our baccalaureate, master’s, and clinical doctorate degree programs. Preparing for a virtual accreditation visit during a pandemic is another exemplar of helicy.

At the time this article was written, 66.4% of the population ages 12 and older in Minnesota had had at least one COVID-19 vaccine (MN COVID-19 Response, 2021). The trial in Minneapolis for the murder of George Floyd concluded, and for the most part the outcome equaled justice. In Fall 2021, the university will welcome all employees and students back to campus, and COVID-19 vaccination is mandatory.

New energy patterns will evolve as we begin this academic year. Nursing faculty will return with a stronger commitment to social justice and a deeper understanding of the social determinants of health. Instances of “caring moments” will likely increase. Following our accreditation experience, the Accreditation Readiness Committee was created to continuously shepherd existing and new processes and procedures needed to maintain the integrity and quality of our nursing programs.

Helicy is ever-present. To live in the heart of helicy, nursing faculty must always engage compassionately and knowingly in the unfolding patterns of unpredictability to cultivate purpose, forge resolve, and recover harmony (Butcher, 2002).

Written by Vicki L. Ericson, DNP, ANP, FNP, Associate Professor at St. Catherine University

Correspondence regarding this article should be addressed to Vicki Ericson, 110 Whitby Hall, St. Catherine University, 2004 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105. Email: [email protected]


Butcher, H. K. (2002). Living in the heart of helicy: An inquiry into the meaning of compassion and unpredictability within Rogers’ nursing science. Vision10(1), 6–22.

Butcher, H. K. (2021). Martha E. Rogers’ nursing science: The science of unitary human beings 2.0.

Minnesota COVID-19 Response. (2021, July 26). Vaccine data.

The Guardian. (2021, April 7). Lost on the frontline.

Watson, J. (2002, January–March) Nursing: Seeking its source and survival. ICUs and Nursing Web Journal.

Watson, J. (2005). Caring science as sacred science. F. A. Davis.

The ACEN Announces New Board of Commissioner Members

Written by Jessica Gibson, BA, Executive Assistant at the ACEN

Please welcome the new members of your Board of Commissioners.

THE VOTES ARE IN! Effective October 1, 2021, there are newly elected and reelected Commissioners who will join the board.

Each Commissioner will serve a three-year term from October 1, 2021 through September 30, 2024. The 17 Board of Commissioners represent the following roles: 11 nursing education representatives, three nursing service representatives, and three public representatives. This diversification ensures your ACEN Board of Commissioners are able to give balanced representation from across identified constituencies insofar as possible.

The Board of Commissioners is and has the authority of a governing board, which is (1) to ensure the financial resources of the ACEN such as setting the fee schedule, budget, and reviewing the audit; (2) to set policy such as the policies found in the ACEN Accreditation Manual and in the Standards and Criteria; and (3) most importantly, to have the sole authority to determine the accreditation status of nursing programs. Members of the Board of Commissioners also serve as Chairpersons at Evaluation Review Panels, guiding the panelists through discussions and asking for status recommendations.

We are very excited to congratulate our new and returning members of the Board of Commissioners!

Nursing Educator Representatives:

Kristen Barbee, PhD, RN, CNE

Program Director & Associate Professor
Wingate University
Wingate, North Carolina

Joy Cole, PhD, RN
Assistant Professor of Nursing
Utah Valley University
Orem, Utah

Shari Gholson, DNP, RN, CNE
Dean of Nursing
West Kentucky Community & Technical College
Paducah, Kentucky

Cheryl Osler, EdD, MS-CNS, LMHC, MSL, RN, CNE
Associate Dean of Nursing
Spokane Community College
Spokane, Washington

Nursing Clinician Representatives:

Demica Williams, DNP, RN, CNE
Clinical Nurse Educator for IntermediateServices
University Healthcare System
Augusta, Georgia

Public Member Representative

Robert Sintich, EdD, MS
Hancock, New York

Creativity Is Key to Skills Training Amid Pandemic

Written by Cara Adney, Marketing & Media Relations Coordinator at Meridian Technology Center

When Penelope Harders and Candace Johnson left Meridian Technology Center in March 2020, the Practical Nursing students expected to see each other the week after spring break.

Because of COVID-19, one week turned into two. Then two weeks turned into three. Three weeks turned into four.

While they didn’t resume their on-campus training at Tech until June 1, the students relied heavily on their friendship and shared resources to make the school’s distance learning plan work.

Johnson quickly found out her only computer and her access to the internet, a wireless hotspot, weren’t enough to meet the technology needs for her and her two children. She was able to borrow a laptop from Tech, and Harders stepped in with a creative solution that would give both moms a place to safely study and their kids a place to play.

“At first I invited her to come to my house,” Harders explained. “Then I thought wait – she’s got two kids, and I have four. This isn’t going to work.”

Harders realized her family had access to the church where her husband is a youth leader. She contacted the church to explain the situation, and she was granted permission to turn Sunday school rooms into makeshift classrooms. Several times a week, Johnson made the 45-minute commute from her home in Pawnee to Johnson’s church in Perkins.

Since starting nursing school the previous August, juggling home, work, kids and school hasn’t been easy for the two mothers. The pandemic only made it worse. In addition to managing their remote learning requirements, each also had to facilitate distance learning for their children. This led them to focus on their training at odd hours.

“We would have conversations and study at midnight and even at 2 and 3 a.m.,” Harders recalled. “Sometimes, that was the only time we didn’t have kids running around and pets barking.”

Now that programs are back on the Meridian campus, social distancing and safety remain a priority. Rather than sitting at a table studying students are spread out. Some clinical rotations in local health care facilities were replaced with virtual training and skills demonstrations across campus. Instead of working directly with patients, Harders, Johnson and their fellow classmates distributed prescriptions of Skittles, M&M’s and Sprite to Meridian staff members for their program’s medical pass rotation component.

Dolores Cotton, the Practical Nursing program coordinator, indicated creativity was key in developing ways to teach hands-on skills while protecting students and staff.

“We feel good that we have a way to provide a positive experience for our students,” she said. “We couldn’t have done it without staff members patiently allowing us to interrupt their day.”

Written by Cara Adney, Marketing & Media Relations Coordinator at Meridian Technology Center

Cara Adney is the Marketing and Media Relations Coordinator at Meridian Technology Center. Meridian Technology Center has been a driver of economic development since 1975. With a mission to educate, enrich lives and secure economic futures, Meridian offers full-time career training programs, short courses, workforce and economic development assistance and entrepreneurial support to residents from the Agra, Carney, Glencoe, Guthrie, Morrison, Mulhall-Orlando, Pawnee, Perkins-Tryon, Perry and Stillwater school districts. Meridian is one of 29 schools within Oklahoma’s CareerTech system.

The Next ACEN Standards and Criteria: Volunteer Assignments

Written by Nell Ard, PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF, Director at the ACEN

In accordance with Policy #24 Assessment and Adequacy of Standards and Criteria, ACEN Processes, and Practices, the ACEN has begun the process of reviewing the 2017 ACEN Standards and Criteria. The review of the Standards and Criteria occurs every five years to ensure that the Standards and Criteria continue to be valid and reliable indicators of educational quality provided by accredited programs and that they are relevant to the educational needs of the students.

The process will be co-led by both the ACEN’s Chief Executive Officer, Marsal Stoll, who will co-chair the Steering Committee as the ACEN staff representative, and by Marilyn Smidt, MSN, RN. Ms. Schmidt has been an actively involved with the ACEN since 1994. She is from Grand Rapids, Michigan and taught in both associate and practical nursing programs. During her time with the ACEN, Ms. Schmidt has served as a peer evaluator, as an Evaluation Review Panel (ERP) member, and as a member of the Board of Commissioners. During her tenure with the ACEN, Ms. Schmidt has assisted the ACEN with previous reviews of the Standards and Criteria. While Dr. Stoll and Ms. Schmidt will co-chair the Steering Committee, there will also be team leads dedicated to reviewing certain areas of the Standards and Criteria. Each team has one or two members of the Board of Commissioners and the ACEN Directors serving as co-leaders for each team.

The overall process toward achieving the 2023 iteration of the ACEN Standards and Criteria began with a call for volunteers in April 2021. The ACEN received over 100 applicants interested in assisting with the review process. Three teams have been formed to review the six Standards; the Standards have been grouped with Standards 1 and 2, Standards 3 and 5, and Standards 4 and 6. Volunteers were placed on the respective teams to ensure that each group was composed of relevant constituents. Each team has a representation of both graduate and undergraduate nursing programs across all six program types. Each group also has a nurse clinician, a public member, and a student. In addition to ensuring that each program type had representation, the ACEN wanted to ensure that the various groups had a broad geographic representation of programs. The table below provides a list of the volunteers who will be assisting with this initial component of the review process.

The various teams met August 13‒14, 2021 to begin the process. Each team will be meeting virtually each month to continue their review. During the review process, potential changes will be recommended for the Standards and Criteria.

The teams will have a proposed draft of the 2023 Standards and Criteria available for public comments during Spring 2022; all interested parties will have two 30-day public comment periods to provide feedback on any potential proposed changes. All public comments will be considered with each of the public comment periods.

A final draft of the 2023 Standard and Criteria will then be sent to the Accreditation Standards and Criteria Committee of the Board of Commissioners. This committee will review the final draft and make recommendations to the overall ACEN Board of Commissioners at the July 2022 meeting. When the 2023 Standards and Criteria are approved by the Board of Commissioners, the ACEN will begin the transition process. Programs will have the option in 2023 to use the new 2023 Standards and Criteria or continue to use the 2017 Standards and Criteria. Beginning January 1, 2024, all ACEN-accredited programs and programs seeking candidacy and accreditation with the ACEN will be required to use the 2023 ACEN Standards and Criteria.

Please be looking for announcements regarding your opportunity to participate in the Standards and Criteria review process by providing public comments in Spring 2022!

Program Partnership Leads DIY Training Kit for Nursing Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Written by Cara Adney, Marketing & Media Relations Coordinator at Meridian Technology Center

Last year, when students in the practical nursing program at Meridian Technology Center learned there might be more at-home learning in store, Program Coordinator Dolores Cotton, MS, RN relied on innovation that would enable her students to practice their skills, even if they didn’t have access to the school’s laboratories or actual patients.

Innovation is one of Meridian’s six core values. The integration of new ideas with courage is an integral part of the school’s guiding philosophy. Last year as the COVID-19 pandemic loomed on, instructors like Ms. Cotton led the way when they began to develop innovative, alternative learning plans.

Ms. Cotton, a veteran educator and former nurse, knew that the healthcare crisis had the protentional to severely limit her students’ abilities to work in clinical settings to get hands-on experience. Rather than focus on what her students weren’t able to do, Ms. Cotton and her team began to focus on what they could do to ensure students had the skills they needed for the workplace.

“If we ended up having to go virtual, the idea was that the student would already have a training box so they could practice their skills at home,” she explained.

The box, similar in size to a shoebox, was outfitted with a mannequin face, a built-in hole for a tracheostomy, wound care and injection pads, a nasogastric tube insertion area, a female catheter tube area, and an ostomy bag.

The cost associated with providing each student with a tracheostomy tube almost put an end to the project. The cheapest she could find were more than $70 each. Unsure of what to do, she approached her supervisor for direction. Together, they realized that the answer might not be purchasing the tool – it might be in getting it produced in-house.

Meridian Technology Center is a career training center in Stillwater, Oklahoma that provides hands-on training in more than 20 different career areas. One of them is Computer Aided Drafting. Students in this program specialize in the critical link between innovation and product development.

Ms. Cotton provided a sample of the tool she needed, and students went to work on creating a detailed design that could be produced on a 3D printer.

“We took and measured it all out, and we replicated it exactly the way that it was,” described Meridian Computer Aided Drafting instructor Russell Frick. “Through measuring it with micrometers and dicopaltors, we were able to design and print exactly what our nursing students needed.”

CAD students produced 15 tubes, saving the school more than $1,000 on the project. Cotton and Frick agree that the collaboration benefitted students in both programs.

“It was a great project. The students learned quite a bit from it,” Frick said. “The client interaction was something that I really wanted the student to focus on. Communication is just as much of a critical skill needed for this industry as technical knowledge. This was a great exercise in being able to communicate with a prospective client—in this case, it just happened to be the practical nursing Program Coordinator.”

Students at Meridian have returned to in-person training for the 2021‒2022 school year. While the pandemic is far from over, Ms. Cotton said students are still using the DIY skills boxes.

“When students want or need additional skill mastery, they can check out one of these boxes and take it home,” Cotton said. “Now, if we need to transition to virtual learning, we’re set.”

Written by Cara Adney, Marketing & Media Relations Coordinator at Meridian Technology Center

Cara Adney is the Marketing and Media Relations Coordinator at Meridian Technology Center. Meridian Technology Center has been a driver of economic development since 1975. With a mission to educate, enrich lives and secure economic futures, Meridian offers full-time career training programs, short courses, workforce and economic development assistance and entrepreneurial support to residents from the Agra, Carney, Glencoe, Guthrie, Morrison, Mulhall-Orlando, Pawnee, Perkins-Tryon, Perry, and Stillwater school districts. Meridian is one of 29 schools within Oklahoma’s CareerTech system.

Innovative Faculty Adjust to Students’ Needs during the Crisis

Written by Dr. Joan Slager, DNP, CNM, FACNM, FAAN

Just as Frontier Nursing University (FNU) teaches its students to understand and address the needs of the communities they serve across the country, the FNU faculty and staff are keenly aware of the needs of our student community. Those needs are ever-changing, never more so than during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am incredibly proud of how our faculty and staff acted with tremendous efficiency, professionalism, and care to ensure the best possible outcomes for our students.

As the first wave of COVID-19 grew and spread, FNU began receiving notices from many of our clinical partners that they were either limiting or eliminating clinical rotations for students. By April 24, 2020, 140 clinical organizations had suspended all student rotations and 13 clinical organizations had implemented restrictions but had not suspended all student rotations. Thus, 289 students had rotations impacted by COVID-19 restrictions or cancellations between March and July. Some of our students were about to travel to campus for a skills-intensive session to prepare for clinical rotations.

Some students were abruptly without clinical sites in the middle of their clinical experience, and some could see the finish line, but no longer had the opportunity to complete their final clinical hours. In the DNP program, carefully planned quality improvement projects imploded as patient visits decreased or priorities shifted in the sites.

Faced with these urgent issues, the FNU team rapidly went into problem-solving mode. As President Stone reminded us, with our expanding use of technology to develop and refine a quality education program for students all over the country, while maintaining a sense of community, we have prepared for this for years.

Within a few short weeks, the following programming and policies had been developed:

  • Regional clinical faculty and didactic faculty developed simulated and web-based activities that can be counted as clinical hours, thus allowing progress in clinical courses. Students who have met a minimum of 500 face-to-face clinical hours used these experiences to complete their clinical hours and graduate.
  • Policies allowing telehealth visits in the family nurse practitioner, women’s health nurse practitioner, and midwifery programs were approved.
  • The number of telehealth hours permissible in the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program was increased.
  • Virtual clinical preparation courses were developed for all programs. Students joined faculty via telecommunication sessions and practiced skills in preparation for clinical.
  • The DNP faculty developed four virtual quality improvement projects, allowing students to continue progress toward their Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees.

The efficient and well-planned development and implementation of these measures were vital to our students, many of whom would have had to go on hiatus or even drop out if these options were not available to them.

As the year continued to be challenged by the pandemic, the adjustments that were developed to enable students to continue to progress in their clinical education provided some valuable insight and lessons for the faculty and students. The faculty discovered that some of the skills taught during on-campus clinical sessions could be improved using the technology employed during the virtual clinical bounds. For example, demonstrating suturing techniques on a large display screen was more beneficial than when a single instructor circulated around a room of students practicing this skill. The simulated clinical scenarios that were taught in a virtual environment demonstrated the value of incorporating simulations into the clinical courses to enhance students’ exposure to infrequent clinical presentations or to facilitate evaluation or remediation.

In all tracks, the initial clinical courses were converted to a virtual format taught by a combination of didactic and clinical faculty. Students practiced foundational clinical skills such as taking a patient’s history, critical thinking, and clinical reasoning guided by expert faculty. The feedback from students and their preceptors revealed that students demonstrated more confidence and were better prepared for clinical experiences after completion of the virtual courses. As clinical sites began reopening to students, the tangible evidence that some clinical preparation beyond the one-week intensive clinical-bound week was beneficial led to the development of a hybrid approach to the clinical courses. Currently, all students receive 30‒60 hours of virtual clinical instruction led by faculty in a simulated environment, and the remainder of the hours are fulfilled in the clinical sites.

Prior to the pandemic, the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) students spent about 10% of their clinical time providing care via telehealth. Although discussions about including telehealth in the other program tracks had occurred, no provisions for this had been developed. Many clinical practices rapidly converted to providing some visits via telehealth, which accelerated the development of policies and procedures that allowed students in all tracks to participate in telehealth visits with their preceptors. In the PMHNP program, the utilization of telehealth increased to 70%.

While telehealth as a care delivery modality preceded the pandemic, its utilization has expanded exponentially, especially in rural communities. Recognizing the need to prepare our graduates to deliver care via telehealth, software was purchased that will facilitate the incorporation of simulations into our programs across the curriculum as well as enable us to teach students how to provide healthcare via telehealth.

While many universities struggled with the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, FNU seized the opportunity to adapt, learn, and improve our programs. These examples of flexibility, creativity, and resilience are part of our heritage.

Dr. Joan Slager, DNP, CNM, FACNM, FAAN

Written by Dr. Joan Slager, DNP, CNM, FACNM, FAAN, Dean of Nursing at Frontier Nursing University,

COVID-19: Lessons Learned Today with Implications for Education Tomorrow

Written by Jo Ann Donnenwirth EdD, MSN, CNE and Dianne Gibbs, DNP, RN, CNE

Aultman College of Nursing and Health Sciences is a hospital-based college located in Canton, Ohio. The roots and proud history of Aultman College date back to 1892 with the founding of the Aultman Hospital School of Nursing. Over the past century, the college has undergone local crises, state emergencies, national catastrophes, and epidemics. In March 2020, college leaders were challenged with the COVID-19 pandemic, a public health emergency of international concern.

The college initiated a COVID-19 Task Force to determine the impact this pandemic would have on the college with the focus being the safety and health of students and employees. As a hospital-based college, college representatives participated in planning meetings with Aultman Hospital, Aultman Health Foundation, local health departments, and Ohio Department of Health. The Task Force met several times a week to address the ever-changing environment. Support was provided to academic programs with a focus on those including a direct patient care component. At times information was confusing, as the various individual organizations provided conflicting recommendations. The collaboration between the Task Force and the experts in the field resulted in a plan that was acceptable for all entities involved.

At the College Level

The Fall Convocation consisted of dialogue linking the COVID-19 pandemic to the college mission statement . The convocation academic jigsaw activities consisted of three components. Individual faculty conceived jigsaw activities to provide participants a metaphor through which they could demonstrate learning outcomes and engagement. In addition, each member of our community (students, faculty, and staff) was asked to read Communicating Science in the Time of a Pandemic (Saitz & Schwitzer, 2020). The third activity included viewing a recorded session of the college president, Dr. Jean Paddock, interviewing Dr. Susan Goekler, a public health expert. The jigsaw puzzle was completed during the second week of the semester, when all college employees were invited to a meeting. This moderated conversation encouraged dialogue of their personal perspectives and reporting of student responses. The academic and student support departments worked to determine what would practically be needed in general during the semester to support the mission of leading our community to improved health. It was then that we recognized how the jigsaw fell nicely together.

At the Program Level

Prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the associate nursing program delivery model consisted of face-to-face courses supported by the learning management system (LMS) and face-to-face clinical experiences. This delivery model was suspended as the program transitioned to a 100% online format with virtual clinical experiences. The instructional designer assisted nursing faculty in converting course content to an online format while virtual clinical products were purchased. The greatest challenge was transitioning nursing laboratory requirements. The nursing faculty were asked to be creative and “think outside the box” while respecting accreditation regulations and requirements. The faculty came up with several creative ideas, including recording a video the sterile dressing change competency. The nursing faculty and administrative team filled manila envelopes with competency supplies (see the table below), which were sent to individual students. The laboratory faculty watched and graded the individual YouTube videos as satisfactory or unsatisfactory. In response, nursing students creatively represented the patients they were caring for. The student pictured below used the face of Danny DeVito for her patient.

Sterile Dressing Change Envelope Contents Includes enough supplies to practice and demonstrate competency
4 pair clean gloves
2 pair of sterile gloves
2 sterile ABD pads
8 sterile 4×4 gauze pads
2 red biohazard bags
1 3 cc syringe (to represent normal saline)
1 role paper tape
1 laminated picture of an abdominal dressing with staples
Sterile dressing change competency checklist
Assignment instructions (due date, video recorded, uploaded to YouTube, nursing uniform and badge required, verbal confirmation of all steps in the competency)
Student Nurse YouTube Video

Statistics in Ohio

During 20 days in July 2020, the Ohio Department of Health and Ohio State University measured the prevalence of current and past COVID-19 cases in a representative sample of 727 Ohio adults. Participants provided a nasopharyngeal swab for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) detection of current COVID-19 infection, and they provided a blood sample for detection of antibodies indicative of past COVID-19 infection. Using a Bayesian latent class model with multilevel regression and poststratification, the statewide prevalence of current COVID-19 infection was 0.9% (95% credible interval, 0.1% to 2.0%). The statewide prevalence of past COVID-19 infection was 1.5% (95% credible interval, 0.3% to 2.9%).

The findings of this project agree with expectations for prevalence of current and past COVID-19 infection in Ohio and is similar to what has been reported in nearby states. Whereas 0.9% of Ohio adults with current infection and 1.5% with past infection reflect relatively low prevalence, these figures correspond to hundreds of thousands of Ohioans who have contracted COVID-19 during 2020. Community spread is ongoing, and millions remain susceptible. The continued embrace of prevention measures is essential to keeping Ohioans safe.

Transitioning to a “New Normal”

The nursing faculty have continued to improve online learning, better utilize virtual clinical scenarios, and further develop simulation education. In Fall 2020, nursing students returned to campus for laboratory and select clinical experiences. The geriatric, mental health, and pediatric clinical experiences remained virtual. This small, transitional step to a “new normal” was welcomed by students and faculty. The COVID-19 Task Force remained intact, meeting less frequently. As Ohio lifted social distancing requirements and mask mandates, the college made plans for the student body to return to campus for the Fall 2021 semester. The “new normal” included courses offered in a variety of modalities, face-to-face with LMS support, hybrid, and 100% online.

Then, along came the Delta variant. At the time of publication, the college plans to move forward to our “new normal.” However, if the situation should worsen, the college is prepared to return to the COVID-19 delivery model. We are in a better position today knowing what we did in the past worked well. The “new normal” delivery model is ultimately in service of our student’s success and is based on the lessons we learned transitioning to online delivery.

Written by Jo Ann Donnenwirth EdD, MSN, CNE, Dean of Nursing
and Dianne Gibbs, DNP, RN, CNE, Chair of Accreditation and Quality

Open Applications for the Conference Program Planning Committee

Written by Greg Donaldson, BA, Editor at the ACEN

The 2021 virtual conference was a success, but it is never too early to start planning for 2022. The Conference Program Planning Committee is always seeking volunteers to plan the next conference, including making decisions related to speakers, presentations, and networking opportunities. Should you find yourself interested in joining this committee, just click on this link to submit a letter of interest and résumé. If you would be more interested in reviewing 2022 conference content as opposed to aiding in planning the overall event, please read here and consider joining the Council of Readers. The deadline to apply for the Conference Program Planning Committee and the Council of Readers is November 15, 2021.

Fall 2019‒Spring 2020 ACEN Report to Constituents

Written by Corwyn Bellavich, Operations Manager at the ACEN

Each year, the ACEN strives for data transparency regarding nursing education accreditation program statistics through our Report to Constituents. This allows the ACEN to discuss the accreditation process, share accreditation decisions from that year, and present analysis of data collected from ACEN-accredited programs. With this information, your nursing program should be able to contextualize itself in the greater field of nursing education as a whole. To read the most recent report, click here.

All Moved In!

Written by Lori Sharpe, Operations Administrative Assistant at the ACEN

Who moves during a pandemic?

We do! The ACEN moved to our new location, 3390 Peachtree Road Northeast Suite 1400, Atlanta, GA 30326.

Let’s have a look. Come inside.

No matter what location, the ACEN will always be your supportive partner in nursing education accreditation.

How does our move impact your ACEN-accredited program?

According to ACEN Policy #9 Disclosure of Information About an Accredited Program, your nursing program must have accurate, updated information when citing the ACEN on communications to nursing students, the website, printed materials, on social media. If you have not done so, please be sure to share our new address (only 2 city blocks from the previous address) with your billing department or business office.