Now that you are a candidate for ACEN accreditation…

Congratulations on achieving Candidacy for your program! Here are essential further steps in the process:

Initiate the Self-Study Report process:

Any program seeking initial accreditation must undergo a thorough self-review and evaluation to determine the extent to which the program meets the ACEN Accreditation Standards and Criteria and prepare its Self-Study Report. Programs should engage the nursing faculty and administrators, the administrators for the governing organization, students, staff, and other members of the program’s communities of interest in the self-study process. The amount of time needed for the Self-Study Report process varies for each program.

Participate in the ACEN Self-Study Forum:

The nurse administrator and as many faculty members as possible should plan to attend an ACEN Self-Study Forum. Forums are scheduled in the spring and fall. Faculty members do not have to attend the same Forum. Information about upcoming Forums is available at all times on the ACEN website.

Address any and all areas of non-compliance identified during the Candidacy process:

A program seeking initial accreditation must meet all Accreditation Standards and Criteria at the time of the visit. Non-compliance identified at any level of review will result in a denial of initial accreditation; therefore, you must be sure to address and correct any and all areas of noncompliance
brought to light during the Candidacy process.

Ensure compliance with all Standards and Criteria:

Remember that Candidacy only considers elements of four (4) Standards, and programs must fully meet all six (6) of the Standards and their respective Criteria at the time of the visit.

Determine the timing of the onsite visit:

The professional staff can help you determine the best timing of the visit, but please note that an onsite visit cannot occur until the program has a group of students in the final academic term at the time of the visit. When planning the site visit, allow time for the Self-Study Report process including participation in a Self-Study Forum. Programs should postpone scheduling the visit if the program will not be in compliance with all Standards and Criteria at the time of the visit.

Note: Accreditation is not retroactive for students who graduated prior to the semester/quarter/term in which the initial site visit occurred.
Apply for a site visit: To schedule a site visit, submit a site visit application for the Cycle in which you plan to have the visit. Applications are available on the ACEN website approximately one year in advance. The deadline for submitting an application for a spring visit is November 1st, and the deadline for submitting for a fall visit is July 1st. The ACEN staff will use the information you provide on the site visit application to schedule your visit and assign your team.

Prepare and submit the Self-Study Report:

The Self-Study Report is the primary document used by the site visit team, the Evaluation Review Panel, and the Board of Commissioners to review the nursing program. The completed Self-Study Report is due to the site visitors and to the ACEN office no later than six (6) weeks prior to the date of the site visit.

Prepare for the site visit:

Resources for nurse administrators to use when planning a site visit are available on the ACEN website. In addition, your assigned team chair will help you plan the agenda and guide you in the preparations for the site visit. Colleagues in nearby programs who have recently undergone accreditation reviews can be an outstanding resource to you as you prepare for the visit.

Address special considerations as necessary:

Please note that all program documents must be submitted in English. Programs for which all or part of the curriculum is delivered in a language other than English should make provisions for an interpreter to be present throughout the site visit and to make certain that all program documents are available in English for review by the site visitors. These arrangements are necessary to facilitate the work of the site visit team and ensure a comprehensive and accurate review of the program.

Contact the ACEN staff with any questions:

The ACEN staff are available to assist you with questions about your program’s compliance with the Standards and Criteria or your visit. The staff can be reached as follows:

Questions about compliance:

Nell Ard, PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF

Questions about your site visit dates or team:

Sharon Beasley, PhD, RN, CNE