By Tim Leeds
The College of Nursing at Montana State University-Northern has graduated from its review with highest marks.
Patricia Goudie, dean of the college, said the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC) gave the college eight-year accreditation, the most a college can receive. She said the program has also recently been approved by the state for four years.
Goudie said the accreditation was a pleasant surprise, since the on-site inspection team only recommended a five-year accreditation. She said the accreditation by NLNAC, the most respected organization in the nation for nursing accreditation, will give graduates of the college much more opportunity. She said some institutions won't even admit students for continued or advanced work if their previous institution isn't accredited.
Goudie said she is feeling pretty good that they have not only been approved, but given the highest accreditation possible. She said when she started as dean last year, the program was under review, and it has taken a lot of effort to come this far.
"The faculty has worked very hard this year," she said. "I've worked them very hard."
Goudie said now that the accreditation process is over, the members of the college can move ahead and do some things they've been wanting to do.
She said the online bachelor of science in nursing, which eCollege.com is supporting, is one such program. The online bachelor of science in nursing should start this fall, she said. eCollege.com made a contribution of more than $82,000 to start the online nursing program.
Goudie said the program will allow more practicing nurses to continue their education and receive their BSN without having to leave their job. She said MSU-Northern already has the largest RN to BSN program in the state, and the online services will increase their capacity.
Goudie said MSU-Northern had been doing the same thing over the Northnet distanced education broadcast, but many areas haven't had access to the program. With the online classes, she said, they will be able to reach more students throughout the state.
Goudie said they are also doing feasibility studies for other new programs. She said one is for a pilot program involving the hospitals at Cut Bank, Shelby and Conrad which would allow LPNs to become RNs while they continue to work.