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WIU School of Nursing Earns CCNE Accreditation for BSN Degree Program

November 30, 2010

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL – Western Illinois University's School of Nursing recently achieved status as a Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)-Accredited Nursing Baccalaureate Degree Program.

"Earning accreditation from the CCNE means that we have met the quality standards set forth by the profession of nursing to educate nurses," said P. Lea Monahan, professor and director of Western Illinois' School of Nursing.

The CCNE is the accrediting body for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), of which Western is a member. WIU's School of Nursing also holds membership in the Illinois Association of Colleges of Nursing (IACN).

"Western has been trying since 1980 to get a nursing program in place. I'm excited that we have developed a program at Western Illinois University that is approved by the Illinois Division of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) and accredited by the CCNE," Monahan said.

"We received the maximum a program can get in its initial accreditation, five years," added Monahan.

Western Illinois University's School of Nursing program for pre-licensure students is one of only two programs accredited by nursing within a 50-mile radius: the other is Graham Hospital School of Nursing in Canton (IL), which is accredited by the National League for Nursing (NLN).

The CCNE set four standards on which nursing programs are judged for accreditation. These include: mission and governance, institutional commitment, curriculum and teaching-learning practices and aggregate student and faculty outcomes.

"Our goal is to educate nurses who can provide safe, quality, up-to-date care engage in evidenced-based practice, and who can pass the state licensing exam," Monahan said.

"We are pleased that Western Illinois University's School of Nursing received its initial CCNE accreditation, especially with CCNE's maximum five-year length for a first-time accreditation," said WIU Provost and Academic Vice President Jack Thomas. "This program fulfills one of our University's goals to positively impact our region by meeting the educational needs of our communities, as well as helping fill a nationwide demand for nursing professionals."

WIU's School of Nursing currently has 16 RN-BSN completion students at the WIU-Macomb and WIU-Quad Cities campuses, 38 pre-licensure (basic BSN) students and 180 freshman and sophomores in pre-nursing. Students use simulators that represent a variety of age groups to learn complex nursing care and work through situations that may not be safe for students in a real practice setting, Monahan added.

"Our students become proficient with all skills a baccalaureate-prepared registered nurse must have before they go into the workplace. In addition, the students are taught research and how to engage in evidenced-based practice; legal-ethical issues related to nursing; nursing care of populations; and the management of nursing units, including finance and personnel management," Monahan said.

In addition to practicing with simulators, junior-level pre-licensure students have clinical practice at Macomb public and private schools as well as two senior residencies, operating room and recovery-supervised clinical practice, and various clinics in the community and on campus. Junior- and senior-level pre-licensure students also have clinical practice at McDonough District Hospital, Macomb; St. Mary's and Cottage hospitals, and Knox County Health Department, Galesburg; and Blessing Hospital, Quincy.

Western's nursing program also includes a Student Nurses Association and an honor society.

On Sunday, Dec. 12, the School of Nursing will hold its first "Celebration of Nursing" for five graduating students, who will receive their School of Nursing pin, and 11 students who will be inducted into the honor society.

For more information about Western Illinois University's School of Nursing, contact Monahan at (309) 298-2571, or e-mail

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