Nursing program receives 10-year reaccreditation

November 7, 2023
By: Deborah Alvarez O'Neil

Worcester State’s baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs have earned 10-year reaccreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

The Nov. 2 notice of full reaccreditation followed CCNE’s February 2023 site visit to the Dr. Lillian R. Goodman Department of Nursing. Recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accreditation agency, CCNE ensures the quality and integrity of nursing programs. Worcester State met all four of CCNE’s program quality standards for mission and governance, institutional commitment and resources, curriculum and teaching-learning practices, and assessment and achievement of program outcomes.

“The reaccreditation really signifies to the department, the university, our community, and our stakeholders our commitment to a high-quality, rigorous nursing curriculum,” said Associate Dean of Nursing Dr. Catherine Thomas, who joined the university in July. “I think it is a strong indicator to future employers and our practice partners that our students are graduating from a program that is consistently going through a quality improvement process of being student centered and student focused to be sure they are meeting or exceeding our program outcomes.”

The Department’s self-study, written in preparation for the CCNE site visit, highlighted the program’s high pass rate for the famously difficult nursing licensure exam. Ninety-one percent of Worcester State’s 2022 graduates passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) on the first try. That exceeds both the state and national averages of 82 percent and reflects the quality of the curriculum, says Thomas.

“Our high pass rates, full accreditation, as well as our high employment rates, really are helpful for students while they are trying to find jobs post graduation,” Thomas said. “Our program’s reputation, based on all those things, opens a lot of doors. We as a department are in a position to continue that and preserve this long, strong reputation.”

Thomas said the department was especially pleased that the reaccreditation is for 10 years, to be renewed in 2033. CCNE can award reaccreditation for either five or 10 years. “After the visit, you’re waiting. Is it five or 10? When I got the news, I couldn’t get the email out fast enough.”

With the reaccreditation in place, Thomas said, the department of 10 faculty and four staff members will now consider future opportunities for one of the university’s most highly regarded programs. The reaccreditation comes in a year when the department also received a $1 million Nursing Pathways Grant from the state aimed at strengthening the region’s nursing talent pipeline and improving career pathways for the nursing profession. The grant also provides $400,000 for equipment upgrades to the program’s nursing labs.

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