Texas A&M International University's Dr. F. M. Canseco School of Nursing has received word from the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission that the Commission has upheld a March site recommendation and granted the School its initial accreditation for 5 years.
The accreditation is retroactive for the past year, meaning all School graduates have graduated from a fully accredited program.
Dr. Susan Baker, Canseco School of Nursing Director, said the grueling accreditation process signals the program's high quality and sets the stage for new efforts to address the area's critical shortage of advanced degree nurses.
"It is a major accomplishment to gain initial accreditation this early in the history of the School. It validates our confidence in the high quality of our program. Now we can assure all graduates of the program, even those courageous enough to be the first to enroll, we will move ahead to develop a master's degree program to help alleviate the critical shortage of nurses with advanced degrees in the region."
The National League for Nursing accreditation process is extensive and involves a three-phase review.
An initial application, 200-page report and supporting documentation were followed by a 3 1/2 day-intensive March site visit by Dr. Veta Massey of Brenau University and Dr. Sheila Green of Tennessee Technological University.
That visit scrutinized all aspects of the school, the University and the community. Drs. Massey and Green made special mention of the School's innovative curriculum, cultural sensitivity, community partnering, strong faculty, dedicated students and incredible community support in their review.
The second phase of review took place in New York City in July, when 20 nurse educators met as a peer review panel and discussed the merits of the program and the materials submitted by the School as well as the site visitors.
Dr. Baker, who was allowed to be present during that review, but not to ask or answer any questions, recalled that one reviewer was particularly impressed by the course offerings.
"She was reading the curriculum offerings to the rest of the group and said ' I'd like to take several of these courses myself." Another commented that the A&M International program is the only baccalaureate program she knew in the country to include certification in both Advanced Cardiac Life Support and the Trauma Nursing Core Curriculum as part of the degree requirements," Dr. Baker recalled.
The third and final level of review was a closed meeting of the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, a 13-member elected body of national nursing leaders. They met in New York City August 7-8 to debate and vote on all programs who had applied in Spring 1997. The Commission concurred with the Visitor's report and recommended a full five years of initial accreditation for the Dr. F. M. Canseco School of Nursing.
Dr. Baker said she is obviously pleased with the accreditation and the clear message it sends of the program's quality, but noted a recent visit by a May 1997 graduate truly personified what the School is trying to accomplish.
"John Fuentes, who was a remarkable student here, has gone on to become an honor student at Baylor Law School. He recently completed an internship with the County Attorney's Office here and said he credited the Dr. F. M. Canseco School of Nursing with preparing him for Law School."
"He said it was the critical thinking emphasis of the nursing curriculum that has prepared him to analyze issues and organize clear, concise summaries and arguments. When a student says something like that, it just brings everything into perspective," she said.
For additional information on Texas A&M International University's Dr. F. M. Canseco School of Nursing, please contact Dr. Baker at 326. 2450 or visit offices on the third floor of Canseco Hall.
Late registration for the Fall Semester at A&M International is Sept. 1 - 5. For registration information, call 326. 2001.
University office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.