The Standards: Divide and Conquer

Sunday, 29 October 2017: 3:05 PM

Laurie Pierce, MSN, BSN
Department of Nursing, Clarion Univeristy, Oil City, PA, USA

The purpose of this presentation is to describe the use of the Systematic Evaluation Plan (SEP) as a template for continuous quality improvement within Clarion University’s RN-BSN program. External accreditation standards provide the framework for continuous assessment and improvement of the program. All members of the Department of Nursing must be involved in this process and roles of departmental leaders and faculty must be clearly defined (Keating, 2015). ssignments and leadership roles must be clearly delineated. Adjunct faculty role requirements now include participation in the SEP.

The use of adjunct faculty has grown and faculty now teach across all programs within the Department of Nursing. Issues related to increased use of adjunct faculty include exclusion from curriculum development and , feelings of isolation, and a lack of orientation that may lead to decreased achievement of student learning outcomes (Kezar, Maxey, & Eaton, 2014). To ameliorate potential situations, adjunct faculty are now involved in the SEP including curriculum development, assessment, and revision. A faculty mentor is assigned to new faculty to guarantee that they are oriented to the program and the requirements of participation in the SEP.

Division of faculty into teams responsible for specific external accreditation standards provides the basis for active participation of all faculty in the SEP. Tenured and tenure track faculty are assigned as leaders for specific accreditation standards. Adjunct and junior faculty are assigned to teams based on program affiliation, interests, and knowledge. This design provides leadership opportunities for faculty, involvement in the SEP of all faculty, and a practical framework for division of labor. Through continous work on the SEP, faculty have identified strengths and weakness within the program and the curriculum.

The nursing curriculum must support the achievement of end of program student learning outcomes (Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing [ACEN], 2016). Continuous assessment of the curriculum must occur to ensure the robustness of the RN-BSN program. To this end, Standard IV of the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) guidelines are used as the template for assessment of the curriculum. Tools to evaluate individual courses and their integration into the curriculum have been developed and are utilized by the faculty. The data is aggregated and reviewed by the faculty to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses. Curriculum review is integrated into faculty meetings and ad hoc committees are utilized to develop strategies to address weaknesses. Documentation of these actions occur in meeting minutes and in SEP documentation. Documentation is open to all faculty in a specified online room.

Participants at this presentation will understand how the Systematic Evaluation Plan is used as a template for continuous quality improvement within the RN-BSN program. The success of this endeavor requires all faculty and departmental leaders to be actively involved in the process. The implementation of the continuous quality improvement processes based on external accreditation standards will significantly improve the understanding of the accreditation process.