Rio Grande Nursing extends accreditation through 2020

April 20, 2015

RIO GRANDE, Ohio – The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College announced its Holzer School of Nursing baccalaureate program’s accreditation has been extended through 2020.

The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) notified Rio Grande officials this week of its action taken during their March Board of Commissioners meeting.

“On behalf of the Board of Commissioners, we thank you and your colleagues for your commitment to quality nursing education,” ACEN Chief Executive Officer Marsal P. Stoll, Ed.D., MSN, wrote in a letter addressed to Rio Grande Dean of Health & Behavioral Sciences Donna Mitchell, Ph.D., RN.

Accreditation review takes place every eight years, with this week’s announcement the culmination of more than two years of work from Rio Grande’s entire Nursing faculty and administration.

“Its really a continual process that never stops,” Rio Assistant Professor of Nursing Kathy Carlisle said. “We have four subcommittees – Outcomes, Curriculum, Resources and Students – that constantly evaluate the (Ohio Board of Nursing) and ACEN standards. So it’s really fluid. It’s never complete. There are always areas for improvement.”

According to the ACEN’s website, its accreditation program is founded on the belief that specialized accreditation contributes to the centrality of nursing for the public good and provides for the maintenance and enhancement of educational quality through continuous self-assessment, planning, and improvement. Accreditation indicates to the general public and to the educational community that a nursing program has clear and appropriate educational objectives and is working to achieve these objectives.

The review process focuses on six standards: mission and administrative capacity, faculty and staff, students, curriculum, resources, and outcomes.

The mission and administrative capacity standard ensures that the nursing education unit reflects the governing organization’s core values and is congruent with its mission and goals.

The faculty and staff standard ensures that qualified and credentialed faculty are sufficient in number to ensure the achievement of the student learning outcomes and program outcomes.

The students standard ensures student policies and services support the achievement of the student learning outcomes and program outcomes of the nursing education unit.

The curriculum standard ensures the curriculum supports the achievement of the identified student learning outcomes and program outcomes of the nursing education unit are consistent with safe practice in contemporary healthcare environments.

The resources standard ensures fiscal, physical, and learning resources are sustainable and sufficient to ensure the achievement of the student learning outcomes and program outcomes of the nursing education unit.

The outcomes standard ensures program evaluation demonstrates that students and graduates have achieved the student learning outcomes, program outcomes, and role-specific graduate competencies of the nursing education unit.

Carlisle, who has taught for nearly 15 years at Rio, said the accreditation announcement is something to celebrate for all faculty and students.

“It gives validity to our program, to make our RN to BSN students more marketable,” Carlisle said. “And some of our students have the long term goal of going on to graduate school, and it prepares them for that.”

Rio Grande will graduate 13 students from its BSN program this May. Rio graduates have enjoyed a 100 percent employment rate since 2011, according to surveys administered nine months post graduation. Results from 2014 surveys are not yet complete.

“The accreditation announcement reflects the outstanding caliber of the entire faculty and staff throughout the Holzer School of Nursing here at Rio Grande,” Mitchell said. “Their outstanding commitment and dedication are what make this program such a tremendous resource to our region, as well as a strong foundation toward successful careers for each of our students.”

Founded in 1876 and nestled in the beautiful rolling hills of southeastern Ohio, the University of Rio Grande serves as an oasis of learning, innovation and technology. The 190-acre residential campus strikes a balance of liberal arts and experiential learning to prepare students for successful lives as responsible citizens in a culturally diverse, global community. An epicenter of cultural enrichment, Rio offers students a nurturing environment focused on the needs of the individual with a student-faculty ratio of 19:1 and a plethora of extracurricular activities ranging from Student Senate to Greek life, and intercollegiate athletics.