The Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN) has announced a unanimous decision in favour of the accreditation of Cape Breton University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. This was CBU’s first accreditation review as an independent nursing program. CASN is the national voice for nursing education, research, and scholarship, and represents baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in Canada.
During the past decade, accreditation has increased in importance and visibility for a number of reasons. The globalization of education, distance delivery, satellite and offshore programs and mobility of students and professionals has increased the importance of accountability for determining the quality of education programs. As well, the increasing cost of education for students, parents, taxpayers and institutions has raised the profile of accreditation as a tool for measuring the value of programs. Hence, accreditation assessments can guide important decisions about student enrolment, and changes in or continuance of programs within institutions.
“Approval from the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia (CRNNS) was also granted and is required to keep the program in operation, but accreditation further speaks to the excellence and value of our program at CBU,” said Evelyn Kennedy, Associate Dean of Nursing at CBU. “A lot of work was involved in preparation, including development of our own strategic plan, mission, values, core concepts, program goals and philosophy as well as in writing the required reports and submissions. It was truly a group effort”
A review team, with members from both CASN and CRNNS spent five full days on campus in late January speaking with students, faculty and administration, as well as spending time with officials from the Cape Breton Regional Health Authority and representatives of the nursing program’s many community partners.
“We were supported by our colleagues and our community, as well as the CBU senior administration,” said Kennedy. “There were challenges along the way and it was a learning experience for all of us involved, but everyone in this department worked together because it was very important to all of us.”
“We want to thank CBU administration, our non nursing CBU faculty colleagues, our community partners in health provision and especially our current and former students, all of whom have helped us achieve this recognition,” she added.
Having achieved their goal of approval and accreditation hasn’t stopped the Nursing faculty from continuing to build upon what is quickly becoming a tradition of excellence.
“Preparation for the next review starts now. We have already begun preliminary work on the recommendations made to us by CASN,” said Kennedy. “The program is always a work in progress, but we have developed a strong foundation to build upon as we move towards meeting our future goals.”