HANCEVILLE, Ala. — The Wallace State Community College Department of Nursing recently received affirmation of accreditation for both its Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) and Practical Nursing programs by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

Deborah “Pepper” Hoover, chair of the Department of Nursing, said they chose to work on the accreditation process for both programs at the same time, in conjunction with the concept curriculum implementation that occurred in 2016. “We chose to do the Associate Degree accreditation early to get both programs on the same cycle with our 1+1 combined curriculum,” Hoover said. The nursing programs earned continuing accreditation through Fall 2025.

In their remarks, the accreditation visiting group noted the Nursing program’s multi-disciplinary simulation center as its greatest strength. “A modern facility that mirrors the ICU of a local, regional medical center, it is used as a model for simulation and has attracted state and national attention,” the report states.

The accreditation process is a lengthy one, with the faculty and staff beginning a self-study of the program about a year in advance of a site visit by the accreditation committee. That visit lasts several days, with inspection of facilities and records and interviews of students, faculty and staff.

Hoover said one of the biggest tasks in the process was a complete revamp of the program’s systematic plan of evaluation to meet new accreditation standards. “We had an option to use the old standards but decided to go with the brand-new standards because we wanted to keep up-to-date,” Hoover said.

Accreditation benefits the students in multiple ways. It not only insures the quality of the programs of study based on national standards, but that it will qualify students to be considered for admission to a mobility program for a bachelor degree, should they choose to do so, or in some cases students who already have a baccalaureate can advance to a graduate level degree.

Over the last 10 years, from 2008-2017, the program graduated 222 Practical Nursing students, with a 99.5% NCLEX passing rate. In the same period, the ADN program graduated 1,398, with a 90.62% NCLEX pass rate. Both pass rates are much higher than national averages.

The Nursing program instituted its new 1+1 concept curriculum in the Fall of 2016, which presents students who successfully complete their first three semesters in the Nursing program a certificate in Practical Nursing and gives them the opportunity to sit for the licensure exam. Successfully completing the next two semester earns students an Associate Degree in Nursing and the opportunity to sit for the licensure exam to become a registered nurse.

The Wallace State Department of Nursing is recognized as a Center of Excellence by the National League for Nursing. Applications for Spring 2109 entry are being accepted through Sept. 1. For more information, visit www.wallacestate.edu/nursing, call 256.352.8199 or email nursingapplicant@wallacestate.edu.