CLARIFY, VERIFY, AMPLIFY

By Donna Meyer, MSN, RN, ANEF, FAADN  |  CEO  |  Organization for Associate Degree Nursing; And Cynthia Maskey, PhD, RN, CNE  |  Treasurer  |  Organization for Associate Degree Nursing
Bridges, Volume XIII – Issue 2, June 2019

As a nursing program prepares for an ACEN site visit, it is important to keep two things in mind. One, nursing program accreditation is an important subject for nurse educators in recognizing the importance of continuous quality improvement; two, be clear in the explanations of the information and let your light shine! Nurses are hard-working, organized, dynamic, and humble. Nurse educators and administrators, which comprise the Organization for Associate Degree Nursing’s (OADN’s) membership, achieve great things but too often do not take credit for their efforts and accomplishments. The peer evaluators will arrive in the ACEN mindset that their task is to CLARIFY, VERIFY, & AMPLIFY the information that your program has provided for them. Careful thought should be given as to how to assist in this task.

Full faculty involvement is imperative throughout the accreditation process. Faculty should be involved early in writing the Self-Study Report and, very importantly, helping to gather the evidence that supports what is written. Faculty and administrators should work together to review the documents for clarity. Documents should be viewed through the lens of an outside peer evaluator. This can be difficult when one is working within the program day-in and day-out, but an attempt should be made to make sure that information is comprehensive and, again, clear. Sometimes what makes perfect sense to someone working within a curriculum might take a little bit of explanation to someone unfamiliar.

Remember that the preparation for the site visit is the time to point out what makes the nursing program special, exceptional, and successful! Each program has unique challenges and achievements within their communities. Those should be noted and amplified. The site visit is the time to recognize areas where the program may need to do better, but also to celebrate those ongoing accomplishments and the needs met in the community.

OADN formed a partnership with the ACEN because we believe that “accreditation not only serves the public as a measure of quality for healthcare employers and academic partners of associate degree programs, but also is an assurance of quality educational standards applied to faculty, staff and students.” OADN believes in the quality of associate degree programs. The site visit is truly an opportunity to demonstrate all that your programs have to offer. Through individual program accreditation, we also take an important step in collectively recognizing the excellent nursing education delivered by associate degree nursing programs across our nation.