November 21, 2014  

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Southern Miss College of Nursing Receives Important Accreditations

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College of Nursing Dean Dr. Katherine Nugent

The momentum that has been building within the College of Nursing at The University of Southern Mississippi received a significant boost recently with accreditations granted/renewed for several programs.

A historic benchmark was achieved when the new Nurse Anesthesia Program received initial approval earlier this month from the Council on Accreditation. Currently, there are no other recognized nurse anesthesia programs in Mississippi. The new program will welcome its first class of doctoral candidates in January, 2013.

“Accreditation of our education programs is important to Southern Miss nursing as the process validates the quality of our programs, ensures that our programs meet the standards of the nursing profession through documented outcomes and provides an education that facilitates the graduation of competent nurses for practice at the entry level of prepared and for the advanced practice of nursing,” said College of Nursing Dean Dr. Katherine Nugent.

Other accreditations by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) include the following:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs – full continuing accreditation for 10 years
  • Masters of Science in Nursing programs – full continuing education for 10 years
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree – full initial accreditation for five years

Nugent pointed out that accreditation is achieved through the writing of a self-study in which the College of Nursing describes compliance with the standards of accreditation and provides an assessment of the College’s strengths and weaknesses. The second component is on-site visitation by a review team which validates the documentation supplied in the self-study.

Dr. Vickie Stuart, director of the Nurse Anesthesia Program at Southern Miss, notes that many other programs in the country have transferred from a masters-level program to a doctoral, but the Southern Miss program is the first to start at the doctoral level.

“We had to demonstrate to the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs that we had the resources to offer a quality didactic and clinical curriculum to prepare nurse anesthetists to provide safe and effective anesthesia of all types and in all settings,” said Stuart. “It is my vision that our students, faculty and practitioners will generate a wealth of knowledge that contributes to healthcare in our community, state and beyond.”

Approximately 60 students applied for the new program and 20 were accepted into the inaugural class.

The accreditations come on the heels of exciting developments within the nursing program in recent months. In January the Southern Miss Foundation announced a fundraising campaign to construct a new nursing building on campus. The campaign began with a $4 million commitment from the Asbury Foundation for the building, which will be named Asbury Hall. In April, the program was restored to a College of Nursing from School of Nursing status.

To learn more about the College of Nursing at Southern Miss, call 601.266.5454 or visit: http://www.usm.edu/nursing