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Nursing Program receives ACEN accreditation

The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) has granted initial accreditation to the Associate Degree Nursing Program of Southside Virginia Community College. The recommendation of the ACEN is for initial accreditation as the program is in compliance with all accreditation standards with the next review set for 2020.

The ACEN supports the interests of nursing education, nursing practice and the public by the functions of accreditation. Accreditation is a voluntary, self-regulatory process by which non-governmental associations recognize educational institutions or programs that have been found to meet or exceed standards and criteria for educational quality. Accreditation also assists in the further improvement of the institutions or programs as related to resources invested, processes followed and results achieved. The monitoring of certificate, diploma and degree offerings is tied closely to state examination and licensing rules and to the oversight of preparation for work in the profession.

 “We have always known that our Associate Degree Nursing Program is excellent, but the accreditation by the ACEN further solidifies what we have always known to be true.  The accreditation process was a team effort by our entire organization but specifically I am so proud of the director of the program and the faculty who made the accreditation a reality for SVCC,” said Dr. Michelle Edmonds, DNP, MSN, RN, Dean of Nursing, Allied Health, and Natural Sciences.

Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC president, said, “Southside Virginia Community College has a history of delivering top-notch education to our students; the national accreditation of our Associate Degree Nursing Program is another example of excellence.  I am proud of this program and the team that works daily to make it one of the best around.”

The program consists of a five-semester, 67-credit curriculum that is designed to lead to an applied associate of science degree in nursing.  Successful completion of this degree allows students the opportunity to test for the national registered nurse licensure examination.  The program is offered at the Christanna and John H. Daniel campuses as well as the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston.  There are six full-time faculty members as well as a full-time program director teaching in the program. Approximately 110 students per year attend the program across the three locations and complete clinicals at area hospitals and other health care facilities.

The ACEN noted one of the key strengths for the SVCC program as “Significant community support and partnerships enhance the nursing program.”  Deliberations about the SVCC program centered on the self-study report, the catalog, the site visit report and the recommendation for accreditation proposed by the peer evaluators and the Evaluation Review Panel.

In 1982, Southside Virginia Community College began offering the first year of an Associate Degree in Nursing Program in affiliation with J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond. This affiliation was successful for 20 years, but in the summer of 2000, several local health care agencies’ representatives were quite concerned about the nursing shortage in the SVCC service area. They believed that traveling to Richmond for the second year of the program was a major hindrance to many potential nursing students, as well as to licensed practical nurses who wanted to become registered nurses.  Together, Community Memorial Healthcenter, Greensville Memorial Hospital, Halifax Regional Hospital, Southside Community Hospital and SVCC formed a partnership to provide funding for the second year of the program. In March of 2002, SVCC was granted provisional approval by the Virginia Board of Nursing to admit students to the new program for fall of 2002.

Today, officials say the program remains one of the most successful degrees that the college offers.  For more information about this or other nursing or allied health programs at SVCC  email www.southside.edu or call (888) 220-SVCC.