Nurses provide their patients with a high standard of care and fulfill their duties with empathy, honesty, and selflessness. They are key members of their patients’ treatment team–supporting doctors, advocating for patients, and providing direct care to those in need. In the wake of a global pandemic, nurses have never been more in demand. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects continued growth for registered nursing jobs, as more nurses retire and more patients demand quality care. It’s never been a better time to enter the field. However, before becoming a registered nurse, you’ll need to complete a BSN degree, specifically a BSN from an accredited university.
What is Accreditation?
Accreditation is an essential quality to look for in any postsecondary degree. It underlines the quality of the program, faculty, and outcomes of the evaluated degree, and ensures certain standards are met within the curriculum. In nursing and healthcare professions generally, accreditation is a must. It shows that the program has been approved by an external body of professionals whose mission it is to make sure that educational programs provide safe, reliable, and consistent training to students. In nursing, accreditation bodies ensure that degree programs meet the requirements needed to create successful and skilled clinical practitioners. Therefore, in many states, attending an accredited nursing program is required to pursue licensure.
How is Accreditation Determined?
In nursing, there are two main accrediting bodies. These are the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Both a school as well as a nursing program can receive accreditation from one of these two accrediting bodies. Accreditation is earned after an on-site evaluation. Representatives from the accrediting body are provided with a self-study document, a program information form, and an agenda. The accreditation team then pays the school a visit and determines whether their nursing program meets the accrediting body’s standards. This evaluation process helps to determine the level of success a nursing program will achieve in meeting its mission, goals, and outcomes. It also holds nursing programs accountable to the medical community and students. Additionally, it fosters the continued improvement of nursing programs, making sure that schools continuously update their curriculum to keep up with advancements in research and technology.
Benefits of an Accredited BSN Program
Accredited BSN programs offer students a variety of benefits that unaccredited programs simply cannot. Here are just a few examples.
Consistent, Quality Education
As mentioned previously, schools that have received accreditation are guaranteed to provide a standardized, high-quality education to their students. They are required by their accrediting body to offer a specific set of courses, provide their students with support and content, and to ensure that their teachers are using appropriate teaching methods. Additionally, the accreditation process helps to keep the nursing school curriculum up to date, guaranteeing that new graduates are prepared to handle the rigors of their future careers and to provide consistent and quality care to their patients.
Receive Federal Financial Aid
Only students attending accredited schools are eligible to receive financial aid from the U.S. Department of Education. This is one very important reason why pursuing a BSN degree through an accredited institution is essential.
Depending on the state you live in, if your program has received state approval, it is still possible to sit for your state licensing exams without having graduated from an accredited university. It should be noted that this is very rare. Additionally, many employers require that their applicants have graduated from an accredited and state-approved BSN program. If you’re interested in eventually working in health education or teaching future nurses, earning a degree from an accredited program is a necessity. A degree from an accredited BSN program can offer you a variety of career opportunities and, in many cases, ensure that a career in nursing is possible in the first place.
Nurses are the backbone of the American healthcare system. Dedication, hard work, grit, and empathy are all hallmarks of registered nurses. However, it takes more than hard work to succeed in nursing. In order to become a registered nurse in Connecticut, you must graduate from an accredited nursing program first. Graduating from an accredited university is the best way to guarantee your future patients quality care and to pave the way for a successful career.
Looking for an accredited nursing program in Connecticut? Learn more about University of Bridgeport’s Bachelor of Nursing program!