Make Sure the Nursing Program is Accredited!
One of the most important points in finding the right nursing program is to make sure it is accredited. This cannot be emphasized enough. Just because there is a nursing shortage, does not mean that substandard nursing education will be accepted. Do your homework and don’t be mislead or pressured by programs! Make an informed choice.
Excelsior nursing programs are just one example of nursing schools that have questionable accreditation status throughout the U.S. Many states no longer recognize these schools often because they don’t meet the standard of required hours of hands on experience. Most recently, Georgia has decided not to allow licensure of recent grads of an Excelsior program. (See thread in the Forum.)
It is the duty of the state board of nursing to protect the public. If nursing programs within their jurisdiction do not meet the education standards set forth in the licensing criteria for that state, you will not be allowed to sit for the NCLEX and become a licensed nurse. This applies to LP/VN programs as well as all levels of RN programs.
Don’t waste your time and money attending a nursing school that is not accredited! Begin your search by finding accredited nursing programs and be sure that the state where you wish to practice accepts that program as well. Start with your state board of nursing. Find a listing for RN and LP/VN schools at the National Council of the State Boards of Nursing (http://ncsbn.org/515.htm).
The National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, Inc. (http://nlnac.org/home.htm) is the primary accrediting agency for U.S. schools of nursing. They publish a guide to undergraduate and graduate schools of nursing which is available on their website as well as from books stores and Amazon.com.
Peterson’s Guide to Nursing Programs 2009 (or Petersons.com) provides a listing of nursing programs in the U.S. which includes information as to the accreditation status of the program. New nursing programs may not be accredited yet, but their application status will be listed. Proceed with caution and understand that they may not be fully accredited by the time you graduate.
The American Association of Colleges of Nurses (AACN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) also offer accreditation for BSN, MSN and PhD nursing programs. Their website is http://www.aacn.nche.edu/.
Don’t be duped by recruiters and advertisers. Verify the accreditation status before you commit to any nursing education. This is your first big test in becoming a nurse.
By Kathy Quan RN BSN. Kathy is the author of The Everything New Nurse Book and the author/owner of TheNursingSite.com.
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