Johns Hopkins Gazette: December 5, 1994

Nursing Aces Accreditation Test by NLN
By Karen Lynn Gray

     The School of Nursing earned the highest possible
recommendation for accreditation from the National League for
Nursing, the national accrediting agency for nursing education.
     NLN program evaluators spent four days on campus in
mid-November scrutinizing the curriculum, faculty, physical
facilities, student services and administration of both the
graduate and undergraduate program. At a November 18 faculty
meeting, the evaluators announced not only that the school fully
meets all the criteria of the evaluation process, but also that
they could discover no area in which to make recommendations for
improvement. Their report to the NLN Board of Review recommends
that the school be accredited for the maximum time period, eight
years, when the board meets in March.
     "The school didn't just make the grade, it received the
highest marks possible--a perfect score," said Sue Donaldson, the
school's dean. "This is a rare accomplishment for any program and
especially noteworthy, given that the school is only 11 years
     Considered a mark of quality, accreditation assures that the
school has met specific national criteria for excellence. Also,
federal services and most graduate programs require NLN
     Accreditation by the NLN is a three-step process. First, the
School of Nursing wrote and submitted an extensive self-study.
Then, program evaluators visited the school to "verify, amplify,
and clarify" the information included in the self-study.
     Finally, the evaluators sat in on at least part of every
class, reviewed the curriculum, visited clinical sites and
inspected the physical facilities. To verify the university's
full support for the School of Nursing's plans, the evaluators
met with university president William C. Richardson and vice
provost for academic planning and budget Steve McClain. They also
interviewed faculty members and students, as well as staff from
Student Services, Financial Aid, Admissions and the Registrar's
     "They were extremely positive and commented numerous times
how much they enjoyed the classes that they attended," noted
Stella Shiber, associate dean for the undergraduate nursing
program. "The report includes a description of both the physical
and emotional climate and the content being covered in every
class, and that was very positive." The evaluators were also
impressed by the excellence of the student clinical sites and the
collaboration between the School of Nursing and other units of
the university.
     Typically, during the accreditation process, which takes
place every eight years, evaluators will make recommendations to
improve the quality of the school. For instance, although the
school received accreditation after the last evaluation in 1986,
the representatives offered several suggestions, including a
recommendation that the school strive to increase the diversity
of the faculty.
     This time, the evaluators could find no area in which to
suggest improvements. The school's leadership, however, had
already presented a clear idea of where it will be concentrating
its efforts for the next few years, including plans to expand the
space and facilities in order to deal with ever-increasing
enrollment. A site has been chosen, architectural drawings
prepared and fund-raising begun for the new building, which is
slated to open in the fall of 1997.
     "Everyone was very pleased, needless to say, to hear a
confirmation of some of the things we hoped we were doing," said
Dr. Shiber. "We knew that we had been working really hard and
hoped that we were headed in the right direction. Also, this
evaluation is a reflection of what goes into the process because
it does require the work of all faculty. Mostly, though, we were
relieved that this wouldn't occur again for eight years."
     The School of Nursing is also accredited by the Middle
States Association of Colleges and Schools and approved by the
Maryland Board of Nursing.  

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