This spring of 2018, Black Hawk College’s nursing program received its most recent accreditation renewal from the ACEN national certification. The ACEN, which stands for Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, was founded in 1967. Black Hawk College’s nursing program has been a recipient of the national certification since 1971, marking a total of 47 wonderful years for the department. The nursing program’s renewal will last until 2023.
The ACEN expects its recipients to uphold six broad standards and 10 graduate outcomes. Some of these standards include a positive mission and administrative capacity, faculty and staff, and curriculum. Trudy Starr, Department Chair and Professor of nursing, explains that in order to earn the ACEN accreditation renewal, the college must submit a detailed report of how these standards are being met and exceeded. While there are six broad standards and ten graduate outcomes, each standard and outcome has about ten sub standards that need to be met and included in the report. These lengthy reports are submitted at least every eight years in order to be considered for renewal.
The ACEN accreditation renewal isn’t easy to uphold and maintain. The standards are strictly enforced, but the nursing program has managed to exceed every one of them since 1971. Starr illustrates that keeping up to date with the nursing program and maintaining the standards of the certification require the nursing staff and faculty to consistently consider what they’ve been doing correctly and incorrectly every eight years. Faculty and staff are able to channel their energy into the aspects of the nursing program that have proven to be challenging, or incredibly important in their final results. By gauging what factors determine their success, the nursing program at BHC effectively guides its students into earning the ACEN accreditation renewal every year.
For the nursing students at BHC, being a part of the ACEN accreditation certification is a great advantage, most especially for transferring students. Starr explains that there are some programs and schools that only accept ACEN graduates. As a matter of fact, in many cases, some highly-acclaimed schools only accept students who have graduated from schools like Black Hawk College that have received several accreditations.
When it comes to accepting transfer students, Starr states that employers actively seek out nursing graduates from BHC. Starr says, “Employers looking to employ nurses tell us that they want BHC students because they are better prepared, better organized, and better at thinking critically.” While the nursing faculty and staff have to work diligently together to ensure the eligibility of their school, the outstanding work the students do show that the nursing program at BHC has earned its ACEN accreditation renewal. Having the renewal helps the students to even further spread their wings because it offers the college the national recognition it deserves.
While it may seem like the perfect opportunity for the staff and students in the nursing program to throw their stethoscopes off to the side, pull their feet up, and relax, they’re still working just as hard as the year they received their first ACEN accreditation. The nursing staff at BHC has been nothing short of marvelous in guiding their students to achievement. On that same token, the students have impressed everyone with their passion for healthcare and have displayed their potential to eager employers. Decades of hard work, devotion, and dedication shown from the staff and students have proven to the Quad Cities that the nursing program at Black Hawk College has been one of the best in its region for almost 50 years, now. The rest of Black Hawk College couldn’t be more proud of its nursing program.