NLNAC STANDARDS AND CRITERIA ASSOCIATE DEGREE PROGRAMS

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1 NLNAC STANDARDS AND CRITERIA ASSOCIATE DEGREE PROGRAMS I. Mission and Governance There are clear and publicly stated mission and/or philosophy and purposes appropriate to postsecondary or higher education in nursing. 1. Mission and/or philosophy of the nursing education unit is congruent with that of the governing organization, or differences are justified by the nursing education unit purposes. a. philosophy/mission of the program in nursing is congruent with the mission and purposes of the governing organization. b. program purposes and objectives/competencies are: congruent with the program philosophy/mission; clearly stated; publicly accessible; appropriate to legal requirements and scope of practice; and consistent with contemporary beliefs of the profession. c. commitment to cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity of the community in which the institution and the nursing education unit exist. d. programming for distance education is congruent with the philosophy and purposes of the governing organization and the nursing education unit. 2. Faculty, administrators, and students participate in governance as defined by the parent organization and nursing education unit. a. participation in the governance of the parent organization b. participation in the governance of the nursing education unit. 3. Nursing education unit is administered by a nurse who is academically and experientially qualified, and who has authority and responsibility for development and administration of the program. a. academic credential of the nurse administrator is a graduate degree in nursing; explain acceptance of other graduate credential for the nurse administrator. b. knowledge of the program type is reflected in the experience of the nurse administrator. c. authority and administrative responsibilities are documented within the position of the nurse administrator. d. nurse administrator has adequate time to fulfill the role responsibilities. Associate Degree Interpretive Guidelines 117

2 4. Policies of the nursing education unit are consistent with those of the governing organization, or differences are justified by nursing education purposes. a. congruency between policies affecting nursing faculty and staff and governing organization: non-discrimination; faculty appointment; academic rank; grievance procedures; promotion; salary and benefits; tenure; rights and responsibilities; termination; and workload. b. accessibility of nursing education unit policies. c. rationale for policies that differ from governing organization. SUGGESTED INDICATORS: Nursing unit and governing organization mission and/or philosophy statement Institutional policies Catalog Organizational chart and/or bylaws State Board of Nursing Regulations Curriculum vitae, transcripts, license of nurse administrator Position description of nurse administrator Institutional/faculty handbook/manual Regional accrediting body approval letter and report State Board of Nursing approval letter and report; other regulatory agency approval letter SUGGESTED TABLES: Comparison of governing organization and nursing education unit s mission and/or philosophy and purposes Participation on committees of the governing organization Participation on committees of the nursing education unit Policies which differ from the governing organization Associate Degree Interpretive Guidelines 118

3 II. Faculty There are qualified and credentialed faculty, appropriate to accomplish the nursing education unit purposes and strengthen its educational effectiveness. 5. Faculty members (full- and part-time) are academically and experientially qualified, and maintain expertise in their areas of responsibility*. a. nursing faculty are credentialed at a minimum with a master s in nursing degree. b. rationale for acceptance of other than the minimum required graduate credential. c. faculty credentials meet the requirements of the governing organization and any state agency which has legal authority for educational programs in nursing. d. academic and experiential preparation and variety of faculty backgrounds (full- and part-time) are appropriate for responsibilities of the nursing education unit. e. expertise of non-nurse faculty is appropriate to the area of their responsibility. f. maintenance of faculty expertise in their areas of responsibility, such as: teaching, service, clinical practice, and/or scholarship. 6. Number and utilization of full- and part-time faculty meet the needs of the nursing education unit to fulfill its purposes. a. faculty/student ratios in the classroom and supervised clinical practice are sufficient to insure adequate teaching, supervision and evaluation. b. utilization of full- and part-time faculty is consistent with the mission/philosophy of the governing institution and purposes of the nursing education unit (teaching, scholarship, service, practice, administration). c. number and type of faculty are adequate to carry out the purposes and objectives of the program. 7. Faculty performance is periodically evaluated to assure ongoing development and competence. a. process for faculty performance evaluation. b. evaluation of faculty is in keeping with the mission/philosophy of the nursing education unit and includes areas such as: teaching, scholarship, service, and practice. Associate Degree Interpretive Guidelines 119

4 8. The collective talents of the faculty reflect scholarship through teaching, application, and the integration and discovery of knowledge as defined by the institution and the nursing education unit. a. scholarship is defined by the institution and the nursing education unit. b. faculty record of scholarship. SUGGESTED INDICATORS Credentials of faculty (i.e., curriculum vitae, transcripts, license) State Board of Nursing Rules and Regulations Faculty requirements of governing organization Faculty Profile form Faculty files/personnel records Documentation of faculty continuing education Institutional/faculty handbook/manual Faculty/student ratio Full-time/Part-time faculty ratio Samples of performance evaluation forms (i.e., student, self, peer, administration) Faculty and staff appointment to state, national, international panels Collective bargaining agreement, if appropriate Faculty participation in scholarly academies; attainment of awards; attainment of internal or external recognition for excellence in teaching, community or professional service or practice Number of faculty and dollar amount of scholarship support SUGGESTED TABLES Faculty continuing education Faculty/student ratio: classroom and clinical Full/Part-time faculty ratio * REQUIRED FACULTY PROFILE FORM TO BE INCLUDED IN SELF-STUDY REPORT Governing Organization: Nursing Program: Faculty Name FT/PT Date of Initial Appointment Rank Bachelor Degree Institution Granting Degree Graduate Degrees Institution Granting Degrees Area of Clinical Expertise Academic Teaching and Other Areas of Responsibility Associate Degree Interpretive Guidelines 120

5 III. Students The teaching and learning environment is conducive to student academic achievement. 9. Student policies of the nursing education unit are congruent with those of the governing organization, publicly accessible, non-discriminatory, and consistently applied; differences are justified by the nursing education unit purposes. a. congruency, availability, and accessibility of student policies with the governing organization and the nursing education unit, including but not limited to: non-discrimination; selection and admission; academic progression; student evaluation/grading; retention; withdrawal/dismissal; graduation requirements; grievance/complaints and appeal procedures; financial aid; transfer of credit; recruitment; health requirements; and validation of prior learning/articulation; b. rationale for policies that differ from the governing organization policies. c. process by which policies are changed and communicated to students. d. admission and academic progression policies are established by faculty who teach in the associate degree program and are congruent with nursing education unit purposes and governing organization. 10. Students have access to support services administered by qualified individuals that include, but are not limited to: health, counseling, academic advisement, career placement, and financial aid. a. availability of student support services. b. academic/experiential qualifications of individuals responsible for student services. c. distance education students have access to appropriate range of student services. Associate Degree Interpretive Guidelines 121

6 11. Policies concerned with educational and financial records are established and followed. a. procedures for maintenance of educational records. b. procedures for maintenance of financial records. SUGGESTED INDICATORS: Student handbook/manual Demographic profile of admitted students Published student academic and non-academic policies Catalog and other publications Satisfaction survey results of students, graduates, alumni, employer Curriculum vitae of student support personnel Annual campus safety compared to national average Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) American Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements SUGGESTED TABLES Demographic profile of student population Student policies which differ from the governing organization Associate Degree Interpretive Guidelines 122

7 IV. Curriculum and Instruction The curriculum is designed to accomplish its educational and related purposes. 12. Curriculum developed by nursing faculty flows from the nursing education unit philosophy/mission through an organizing framework into a logical progression of course outcomes and learning activities to achieve desired program objectives/outcomes. a. integrity of the curriculum as evidenced by congruence among the philosophy, organizing framework, program objectives, curriculum design, course progression, and outcome measures. b. a logical, sequential curriculum plan where course content increases in difficulty and complexity. c. a set of guidelines for professional nursing practice approved by a nursing organization are utilized. d. courses in the sciences and humanities provide the foundation for the nursing curriculum. e. interdisciplinary collaboration is evident in the curriculum. f. didactic instruction and supervised practice follow a plan: Course syllabi: documents course content and learning experiences appropriate for the development of competencies required for graduation; and delineates instructional methods used to develop competencies. g. evaluation tools and methods: are consistent with course objectives/outcomes and competencies of the didactic and clinical components of the associate degree program; provide for regular feedback to students and faculty with timely indicators of student progress and academic standing; are consistently applied; and are written and available to students. h. technology used is appropriate to meet student learning needs, course objectives/outcomes and course requirements. i. regular review of the rigor, currency, and cohesiveness of nursing courses by faculty. 13. Program design provides opportunity for students to achieve program objectives and acquire knowledge, skills, values, and competencies necessary for nursing practice. a. curriculum provides for attainment of knowledge and skill sets in community concepts, health care delivery, critical thinking, communications, therapeutic interventions, and current trends in health care. b. program leads students to develop professional ethics, values and accountability. c. students can achieve the objectives in the established and published program length. d. total credits provide a balanced distribution of credits with no more than 60% of the total credits allocated to nursing courses. e. Total credits in the curriculum are within the generally accepted limits of semester credits or quarter credits (based on a 1:1 credit to contact hour ratio for theory, a 1:2 credit to contact hour ratio for campus lab, and a 1:3 credit to contact hour ratio for clinical learning experiences)*. * If credits for clinical learning experiences are allocated at a rate other than 1:3, for example 1:2 or 3:2, include a table in the self study that converts the clinical learning experience credit allocation to 1:3 to effectively demonstrate the total program credits based on the above stated assumptions. Associate Degree Interpretive Guidelines 123

8 Total Program Credits Course number Credits Theory credits Clinical credits Clinical credits based on a 1:3 ratio Total f. total credits in the curriculum are within the generally accepted limits of credits ( quarter credits). g. ratio of one credit for three hours of clinical/laboratory (1:3) is the generally accepted ratio; provide rationale for using other than the generally accepted ratio. Associate Degree Interpretive Guidelines 124

9 14. Practice learning environments are selected and monitored by faculty and provide opportunities for a variety of learning options appropriate for contemporary nursing a. agreements and contracts with practice sites are current and specify expectations and responsibilities for all parties. b. facilities used for clinical practice are adequate. c. clinical resources support sufficient numbers and varieties of associate degree level experiences. SUGGESTED INDICATORS Course syllabi Curriculum plan(s) Class/clinical evaluation tools Professional nursing standards Description of implemented interdisciplinary collaboration Description of alternative methods to deliver academic program Educational use of technology Student records Meeting minutes Survey results from selected constituencies (i.e., student, graduate, employer satisfaction) Sample of student papers and projects Class/clinical schedules Class/clinical observations Clinical agency contracts, affiliation agreements Faculty and student evaluations of clinical agencies SUGGESTED TABLES Curriculum plan Philosophy, organizing framework, program objectives/outcomes/competencies Clinical agencies and their approval status Associate Degree Interpretive Guidelines 125

10 V. Resources Resources are sufficient to accomplish the nursing education unit purposes. 15. Fiscal resources are sufficient to support the nursing education unit purposes and commensurate with the resources of the governing organization. a. fiscal allocations from institutional funds, not including grants, gifts, and other restricted sources are: comparable with other units in the institution; and sufficient for the program to achieve its goals and objectives. b. responsibility and authority of the nurse administrator and involvement of the nursing faculty in budget preparation are evident. c. resources are adequate to support faculty development and instruction. 16. Program support services are sufficient for the operation of the nursing education unit. a. administrative services are available as needed. b. clerical services are available as needed Learning resources are comprehensive, current, developed with nursing faculty input, and accessible to faculty and students. a instructional aids, technology, software and hardware, and technical support are: available in sufficient quantity and quality to be consistent with program objectives and teaching methods; and available to assist students and faculty experiencing difficulty using technology. b learning resources (library, skills laboratory, computer laboratory, etc.) are current and comprehensive to meet nursing education unit purposes. c d learning resources are adequate and accessible. mechanisms by which nursing faculty have input into the development and maintenance of learning resources. Associate Degree Interpretive Guidelines 126

11 18. Physical facilities are appropriate to support the purposes of the nursing education unit. a. physical facilities include classrooms, laboratories, multi-media facilities, conference rooms, and office space. b. physical facilities, instructional and non-instructional, are adequate for the nursing education unit at whatever site the associate degree program is offered. SUGGESTED INDICATORS Financial statements and other documents and financial records (i.e., program budget) Instructional and non-instructional space Visit to library, computer center, study skills center, learning laboratories, facilities, etc. Access to library, information systems, and communication systems SUGGESTED TABLES Nursing education unit budget Nurse administrator and faculty salaries Associate Degree Interpretive Guidelines 127

12 VI. Integrity Integrity is evident in the practices and relationships of the nursing education unit. 19. Information about the program, intended to inform the general public, prospective students, current students, employers and other interested parties, is current, accurate, clear, and consistent. a. policies and procedures are published for all educational activities that have implications for the health and safety of clients, students, and faculty. b. published documents about the program are current, accurate, clear, and consistent. c. accurate representation of the program to its public(s) and provision of sufficient information to insure accountability and consumer choice is stated in the catalog/published documents: reflecting the mission and/or philosophy and purposes of the program; providing current and accurate information about admission policies; tuition and fees; financial aid; graduation; licensing requirements; academic policies; academic calendar; student services; and program length; clearly representing the program and career opportunities through program documents and publications, advertising, website, recruitment, admission materials, and course syllabi; and providing clear statements of institutional accreditation status; name, address, and telephone number of the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission as the accrediting agency of the nursing program. d. communication of accurate and consistent information about: definition of clock and credit hours for lecture, clinical experiences, independent study, and other activities; ratio of clock hours to credit hours; and specific credit hours required for each course. 20. Complaints about the program are addressed and records are maintained and available for review. a. complaints about the program are documented indicating number, type, and resolution of the complaints. b. Process of complaint resolution is available for review. Associate Degree Interpretive Guidelines 128

13 21. Compliance with Higher Education Reauthorization Act Title IV eligibility and certification requirements is maintained. a. a written, comprehensive student loan repayment program addresses student loan information, counseling, monitoring, and cooperation with lenders. b. students are informed of their ethical responsibilities regarding financial assistance. SUGGESTED INDICATORS Catalog Recruitment materials Student handbook/manual Most recent accreditation/approval reports Published tuition and fees NLNAC Annual Report Record of notification to NLNAC of any substantive change Record of student complaints within the nursing education unit or to NLNAC Annual report of ombudsperson Evidence that students are made aware of their ethical responsibilities regarding financial assistance they received from public or private sources Comprehensive student loan repayment program SUGGESTED TABLES Tuition and fees Type, number, and resolution of formal complaint(s) Associate Degree Interpretive Guidelines 129

14 VII: Educational Effectiveness: There is an identified plan for systematic evaluation including assessment of student academic achievement. 22. There is a written plan for systematic program evaluation that is used for continuous program improvement. a. program evaluation of the nursing education unit, as defined by the institution and the unit, demonstrates how and to what extent the program is attaining NLNAC standards and criteria. b. plan contains, at a minimum: expected levels of achievement, time frames, and assessment methods. c. data are collected, aggregated, trended, and analyzed. d. evaluation findings are used for decision making for program improvement. e. strategies are taken or will be taken to address the area(s) identified as needing improvement. 23. Student academic achievement by program type is evaluated by: graduation rates, licensure/certification pass rates, job placement rates and program satisfaction. a. measurement by graduation rates of students who complete the program within a defined period of time. b. measurement by performance on licensure examinations of program graduates. c. measurement by job placement rates of associate degree graduates within one year after graduation. d. measurement by program satisfaction as determined by graduates and/or employers. e. data are collected, analyzed, aggregated and trended. f. evaluation findings are used for decision making for program improvement. g. strategies are taken or will be taken to address the area(s) identified as needing improvement. SUGGESTED INDICATORS In self-study report, include systematic plan for program evaluation and assessment of outcomes with documentation of use for program improvements. SUGGESTED TABLES Graduation rates NCLEX pass rates Job placement rates Program satisfaction Associate Degree Interpretive Guidelines 130

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