Western Nevada College's Associate Degree Nursing program has received high praise by a group of evaluators from the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. WNC's Associate of Applied Science Degree program passed the preliminary stage of its eight-year accreditation evaluation with many accolades, and now awaits a final decision from NLNAC Board of Directors, which is expected to vote on the recommendation during a January meeting.
A team of nursing and allied health professionals from around the country pored over a report submitted by WNC, then spent three days personally examining the college's Associate Degree Nursing Program. Curriculum, student policies and procedures, leadership, faculty, equipment, resources, and evaluation processes were all scrutinized. The evaluators spoke with students, faculty and staff, as well as community health care leaders. When the visit concluded, faculty and staff listened to a preliminary appraisal from the evaluators that gave them reason to smile.
The use of a systematic evaluation plan for both students and the curriculum has helped the program achieve a 100 percent first-time pass rate on the national licensing exam for the graduating class of 2012, one evaluator noted.
"With a 100 percent pass rate, you know you are doing something right," she said. "This pass rate speaks loudly for the program. Students are complimentary, and they select this school because of its reputation and what you stand for."
Additional responses from evaluators reflected their respect for the program. On policies and procedures, "Your college has a culture of commitment to students, and it is evident everywhere," another evaluator said.
The evaluators said they were impressed with the program's well-equipped learning laboratories, including interactive life-size manikins that prepare students to provide safe care for patients in the clinical setting. They also admired the testing stations where student skills can be assessed individually throughout the program.
The program also drew accolades from the availability of computer labs, library research materials, free research workshops, and the college's Academic Skills Center, which provides tutoring to struggling students.
"You care," one evaluator said. "It is evident in how you respect one another, as well as how you treat your guests on campus."
WNC's Nursing and Allied Health Director, Dr. Judith Cordia, said she credits the program's success, in part, to the commitment of the Nevada System of Higher Education to WNC, strong scholarship support for nursing students by many individuals and organizations, donations from Carson Tahoe Healthcare, the Betty and Locke Lesche Foundation, and Banner Churchill Community Hospital, and to articulation agreements with colleges and universities, including the University of Nevada, Reno, Orvis School of Nursing.
"We also depend on our regional health care providers who provide clinical sites where students from the nursing program are enriching their educational experiences," Cordia said. Partners include Carson Tahoe Regional Healthcare, Saint Mary's Regional Medical Center, Renown Regional Medical Center, Sierra Surgery Center, Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services, Carson Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Ormsby Post-Acute Rehabilitation Center, and LifeCare of Reno.
The glowing accreditation review won't slow the continual self-evaluation and commitment to progress in the program, Cordia said. "The college will continue to provide a quality program to serve students who are seeking professional education in nursing."