Choosing an online RN to BSN program that fits your specific needs and goals can be an important factor in completing your degree successfully. In addition, selecting a program that has been recognized for its academic standards and has earned accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) can reassure students of the program’s educational quality and its ability to prepare nurses for the workforce.
What Is CCNE Accreditation?
In 1996, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) was created by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). AACN members recognized the need for an independent accrediting body to ensure that baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs were producing highly skilled nurses capable of meeting the increasing challenges of patient care and navigating a complex healthcare system.
According to the agency, the “commission serves the public interest by assessing and identifying programs that engage in effective educational practices. As a voluntary, self-regulatory process, CCNE accreditation supports and encourages continuing self-assessment by nursing programs and supports continuing growth and improvement of collegiate professional education and entry-to-practice nurse residency programs.”
Today, CCNE offers this accreditation for a wide range of nursing degree programs, including bachelor’s, master’s, Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), and nurse residency programs.
What Is the Value of CCNE Accreditation?
Entering a degree program that has earned CCNE accreditation offers several advantages for students, both during the course of the program as well as after graduation.
Comprehensive curricula. When you are selecting a nursing program, it is important to find one that provides a well-rounded experience, both in terms of coursework and clinical encounters. CCNE accreditation holds online degree programs to the same strict standards as on-campus programs, requiring face-to-face clinicals as well as similar course offerings. Choosing an accredited online degree program can help students achieve their professional and educational goals while still benefiting from the greater geographical and scheduling flexibility afforded by online learning.
Employer preference. Many healthcare employers prefer to hire nurses who have earned their degree through a CCNE-accredited program. Because accreditation relies on an independent evaluation of the nursing program’s educational quality, goals and expected outcomes (as well as how well students are meeting these standards), employers view graduates of such programs as better prepared to face the challenges of working in nursing.
Continuing education. For BSN-prepared nurses interested in applying for graduate-level nursing programs, a common requirement for entry to those programs is that the nurse has earned a bachelor’s degree through an accredited program. Choosing a CCNE-accredited RN to BSN program from the start can fulfill this requirement and save nurses both the time and money; they won’t have to repeat coursework or clinical rotations to qualify for a graduate program.
Regular reaccreditation reviews. Accreditation is not a one-time event. Colleges and universities that have met all initial CCNE accreditation guidelines are subject to reaccreditation and repeat in-depth evaluations. This allows CCNE representatives the ability to confirm that the program continues to meet or exceed the rigorous academic standards to maintain accreditation.
Peace of mind. It can be overwhelming for students to weigh all of their education options and decide on a suitable online RN to BSN program. However, the CCNE accreditation can serve as a distinguishing factor and offer prospective students peace of mind regarding the quality of the curriculum. Students can even verify that their school and degree program have an active accreditation status by searching CCNE’s online directory.
Deciding to pursue your BSN can be a significant decision that impacts virtually all areas of your life. By selecting a CCNE-accredited degree program, you can not only protect the investment in your education but also have confidence that the program has met academic quality standards and can prepare you to enter the workforce with a desirable skillset.
Learn more about Mississippi College’s RN to BSN online program.