Biola nursing program awarded 10-year accreditation

The Biola nursing program was granted a 10-year accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Jackie Grade, Writer

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education officially granted Biola’s nursing program a 10-year accreditation last month, according to Susan Elliott, director and a professor for the department of nursing.

During spring 2011, reviewers from the Western Association of School and Colleges visited campus, reviewed exhibits and met with president Barry Corey, provost David Nystrom and other faculty in order to evaluate the overall excellence of the nursing program, Elliott said.

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education sets the national benchmark of recognizing colleges and just awarded Biola with the maximum certification for its professional program in October. Biola only allows 40 nursing students in the program each year out of about 60 applicants. Those who receive a nursing degree are recognized as certified by a highly validated university program, said Rachel Van Niekerk, assistant professor in the nursing department.

Biola’s nursing program prestige 

“The 10-year accreditation allows prospective students, hospitals, donors and employers to recognize Biola for its nursing program that reaches highest mark possible in the country,” Elliott said. 

As of 2010, the Institute of Medicine set the national goal for nursing schools in 2020 to increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree from 50 to 80 percent.

The faculty is also under constant evaluation, Elliott said. The accrediting process pushes Biola to survey the faculty, alumni and surrounding hospitals on how prepared students are when they begin working within the medical field. 

Junior nursing student Jessica Leach explained through an email how the nursing department’s accreditation was much deserved. 

“The faculty and staff work very hard to make this program outstanding and they truly care about impacting the world for Christ through nursing,” Leach wrote in the email. “They spend countless hours teaching materials and practicing the skills with us so that we are better equipped for the world of nursing.”

The university provides resources for learning to ensure the state licensure of Biola’s nursing programs as well as instill the profession of lifelong learning, Elliott said.  For example, nursing students have the ability to practice their skills on manikins that have blood pressures, pulses, breath and the ability to replicate birth.

The simulation-learning lab contains a variety of manikins with different ages and races for the students to grow in their range of practiced and applied knowledge.

Nursing program gives students hands-on experience

Biola's program for a bachelor's degree in nursing requires a five-year commitment.

“The Bible minor for nursing students unfortunately pushes back the graduation date,” Elliott said. “But the students who persevere are readily hired and ingrained with a good doctrinal standard.”

During their five years in the nursing program, students practice applicable skills, graduate and become registered nurses after they pass the NCLEX, or the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, said senior nursing student Heidi O’Dell.

“Not only are we very well prepared with our skills as nurses, but we are also extensively trained on how to provide spiritual, emotional and psychosocial care,” O’Dell wrote in an email.

Biola may be a smaller school, but the high standards, expanding technology and proficient faculty all offered within a safe environment assist Biola in its validation and accreditation, Van Nierkerk said.

“Biola’s nursing program stresses the excellence of professional nursing and calls its students to model Christ,” Elliott said. Christian caring and professionalism prepares Biola’s nursing students for a job within the medical field in which they can assist others and glorify their savior, she said.

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