Dr. Vincent was recently interviewed by Elle Pierson of The Network: Success Strategies for Nurse & Health care Consultants. In this podcast, Dr. Vincent discusses NCA’s consulting process and services and presents tips for preparing for curriculum development/revision and preparing for national accreditation. You can listen to the podcast for free on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/network-success-strategies-for-healthcare-consultants/id1447846413?mt=2
Drafting the self-study document is an opportunity for in-depth analysis of what is working well and what could be improved. Each degree program that will be evaluated by the accrediting body should be analyzed by the team responsible for developing the self-study. Gathering and analyzing existing documentation that supports self-study statements will help you tell your story, and provide evidence that your program is effective in fulfilling its mission and goals and in meeting the accrediting body’s expectations. Once you have reviewed existing documentation, you may find gaps and identify areas that need more documentation. For example, many nursing programs have collected student satisfaction data for MSN and post-graduate APRN certificate students in the aggregate. CCNE now reviews post-graduate APRN certificate programs as separate from MSN programs, and therefore, requires that outcome data be reported for each program. If you have aggregate MSN and post-graduate APRN certificate program data, you will either need to disaggregate the data or collect new data on your post-graduate APRN certificate program. While you may end up with small numbers for the post-graduate APRN certificate program, you still need to report these numbers separately from other programs.
Accurate and complete data on student achievement are critical to writing a strong self-study document. CCNE Guidelines for Assessment of Student Achievement (http://www.aacn.nche.edu/ccne-accreditation/Guidelines-for-Assessing-Student-Achievement.pdf) can be useful in identifying, analyzing, and summarizing data to address CCNE’s expectations with regard to program effectiveness. Several outcomes are mandated by the Department of Education. These include rates of completion, licensure, certification, and employment. Other outcomes can be set by the individual program, e.g., student and alumni satisfaction. Depending on your degree program level, you may wish to consider other outcomes that demonstrate program effectiveness such as course evaluation, student achievements within 1-year of graduation, and employer satisfaction with graduates. Maintaining strong relationships between the school of nursing and employers can aid in obtaining employer satisfaction data. Many DNP programs include student achievement measures such as dissemination of scholarly projects (publications or presentations), and number of students who are in work or community service leadership positions.
Regardless of what program effectiveness outcome data you choose to report, you will need a robust and systematic program evaluation plan to guide your evaluation process. NCA can assist you in developing or revising your master program evaluation plan and provide you with objective improvement recommendations.
Preparing for an accreditation visit by CCNE or ACEN is a great deal of work and can create anxiety for faculty and staff. A systematic approach to preparing for an accreditation visit can lower the stress levels, ensure the process proceeds smoothly, and provide an opportunity to engage in quality improvement analysis to improve student achievement.
The first step in preparing for an accreditation visit is to identify team members. These members oversee the gathering of data, review the analysis and trending of program effectiveness data, identify gaps or concerns in the program evaluation process, draft the self-study document, and gather supporting materials. One or more of the members should participate in training sessions offered by the accrediting bodies.
Writing the self-study document is time consuming and will generally take many revisions. Once a final draft document is developed, it can be helpful to have a faculty member who is not involved in writing the document review it for gaps, focus, and grammar.
An external reviewer can facilitate the preparation process and provide a critical review the self-study document and supporting materials. An external reviewer can identify narrative inconsistencies, missing data, and help you to prepare a high quality document that clearly addresses the standards of the accrediting body.
NCA will work with you to prepare for an on-site accreditation visit by: assisting with the development of the self-study document and materials for the self-study document and the resource room, guiding faculty to prepare for the accreditation visit, and conducting a mock site visit. At the end of the mock site visit, NCA will provide the leadership team with a report of findings and recommendations and met with the team for an in-depth debrief session.