Accreditation Bodies

Accreditation Bodies

Anderson, Knestrick & Barroso (2016) considered ACEN (accreditation commission for education in nursing) and the CCNE (commission on collegiate nursing education) as the most authentic agencies in the United States. They also suggested that the accreditation bodies are the most influential in determining nursing eligibility in the nation. It is quite evident that financial aid agencies feel uncomfortable while funding non-accredited nursing programs while employers use the accreditation bodies to determine quality and credibility in nursing applicants. Therefore, this paper aims to find comparisons and differences among the two accreditation bodies.

In trying to ensure that their students find employment and secure adequate financial aid, both the accreditation bodies implement strict requirements on a wide variety of programs in which they provide. ACEN vs CCNE accreditation can be differentiated in the sense that CCNE does not offer accreditation in diplomas, LPN or ADN programs offered by ACEN. (Wittman-Price,Godshal & Wilson, 2013).  Graduate, baccalaureate and nursing residency programs which operate under CCNE function in accordance with approved national standards. So do the diplomas, nursing certificates and professional degrees functioning under ACEN which operate under nationally recognized standards. Participation of these accreditation programs to these programs is usually voluntary. (Anderson, Knestrick & Barroso, 2015).

Nursing programs that seek CCNE accreditation do so because the organization has a critical role in provision of employment and the provision of the financial aid processes. (Solheim & Sigma theta tau International, 2013). This implies that programs must adhere to specific rules placed by the organization. In trying to ensure that the programs comply with these set of rules, the CCNE only functions within specific set of goals. The organization performs these goals by allowing nursing programs have self-assessments aimed at improving their growth and improvement in the professional education in colleges. Therefore, schools which operate under the CCNE protocols are mandated to follow their internal missions and goals. This is done in accordance with additional periodic evaluations of performance and scrutiny in new student prospects offered by the accreditation body in an overall effort required to improve the quality of the programs. (Anderson, Knestrick & Barroso, 2015).

In addition to monitoring nursing programs, Wittman-Price, Knestrick & Barroso (2015) suggest that CCNE also monitors the health industry with an aim of determining the requirements needed for new graduates. This forms the basis of how the accreditation body uses information acquired from the health community in an attempt to review standards and form new policies when required. This information aids organizations evaluate their requirements and determine the effectiveness in their policies. The end result of this process is used in ensuring that schools provide stellar education programs. From this it is evident that most responsibilities required by the CCNE accreditation body is placed onto the schools rather than the body itself. Its quality assurance oversight therefore entails study methodologies, specific curriculums and testing procedures. The existence of CCNE ensures that these QA (quality assurance) oversight is free from bias of any kind. It does this by encouraging explorations and pursuing quality education.

ACEN on the other hand follows identical procedures and principles as the CCNE. The organization is responsible for accrediting nearly 200 new nursing programs annually with monitoring 1300 programs per year. (Anderson, Knestrick & Barroso, 2015). The organization formerly known as NLNAC (National league for nursing accrediting commission) was formed slightly ahead of CCNE therefore offers slightly more standards as compared to CCNE. Since CCNE puts most of its focus on standard enforcement, ACEN also provides unique student provisions. This is achieved by working in close relations with governmental agencies not offered by CCNE. An example used to emphasize on this point is the role of ACEN in title-IV HEA programs. This program gives hospital diploma and practical nursing programs authority in participating in DOE. The ACEN provides a range of nursing assistance programs in addition to financial aid programs due to its benefit from close relationships with government agencies which have a specific sets of standards. (Solheim, Godshal & Wilson, 2013). Therefore ACEN benefits from additional governmental support not offered by the CCNE.

Solheim & Sigma Theta Tau International (2015) therefore imply that the two accreditation bodies have identical criteria’s but differ in accreditation periods offered in individual schools. From Anderson, Knestrick & Barroso (2015) it is evident that accreditation is not important in qualifying for the NCLEX exams but caution is supposed to be taken when one wants to apply for a non-accredited school. This is mainly due to the fact that application to non-accredited programs can affect their eligibility in financial aid programs such as grants, federal and state financial aid, scholarships and employer tuition re-imbursement programs. This can also affect their eligibility in attending nursing graduate programs. Therefore it is essential that aspiring nurses attend accredited programs over non-accredited programs to receive the additional benefits.

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