| Dear Colleague,
Just this past Friday, the NLN issued a series of recommendations for the nursing education community for dealing with Ebola and other infectious diseases. We have gathered a number of resources for educators, administrators, and nursing students (which we update regularly), and we are offering a free, live FAQ webinar that I will conduct tomorrow with infectious disease specialists from the Georgetown University School of Nursing. The webinar will be available online for your continued reference as we go forward.
And on Monday, the Tri-Council for Nursing (the NLN along with American Association of Colleges of Nursing, American Nurses Association, American Organization of Nurse Executives) issued "Engaging the Nursing Education Community in the Local Response to the Ebola Virus," a statement that encompasses nursing education, practice and research.
The last few weeks have been extremely challenging for all medical personnel, within the United States and abroad. This past Thursday, a young physician who had worked with Doctors Without Borders in Guinea was diagnosed with the disease in New York City. As you address the issues surrounding the response to Ebola with your nursing students, I hope you will find our recommendations and resources useful. This is certainly a "teachable moment" for us all.
NLN president Dr. Marsha Adams - who, by the way, was just inducted as a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing - has said that "we must stand up for nurses in our hospitals and in the community." I second that sentiment. Nurses are on the front line of care. Let us hope that all our colleagues get through the Ebola crisis safely.
And now to accreditation. In my travels around the country - and I do get around - I've been asked by faculty and administrators over and over again when the NLN Commission for Nursing Education (CNEA) will be able to accredit their school of nursing. It's been very gratifying to know that our members, in all types of nursing programs, are eagerly looking forward to having a new alternative in the accreditation process. And I am happy to report that we anticipate beginning program accreditation activities late 2015/early 2016.
This requires an explanation. According to US Department of Education regulations, the CNEA must be in existence a minimum of two years prior to seeking voluntary recognition from the department. And prior to seeking Department of Education recognition, the CNEA must engage in accreditation activities. So, it is important to understand that we are engaged in a process that takes time.
When making the decision to create the new accrediting division, the NLN Board of Governors understood that this would be a process requiring great skill and sensitivity. What spurred us on was our sense that there is a need for an alternative accreditation service in the nursing education community that supports the League's core values and emphasizes a culture of continuing quality improvement in our nursing programs.
I think the CNE mission statement says it all: The National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (CNEA) promotes excellence and integrity in nursing education globally through an accreditation process that respects the diversity of program mission, curricula, students, and faculty; emphasizes a culture of continuous quality improvement; and influences the preparation of a caring and competent nursing workforce.
Of course, our sense that there is a need must translate into specifics. For this reason, we are issuing a very brief survey with open-ended questions about your general perceptions of the accreditation process in nursing education. Some of you already responded to the survey at our Education Summit in Phoenix. If you were not at the Summit, please use this survey to share your thoughts. In this way you will help NLN CNEA staff and Steering Committee determine how best to develop resources to meet your program's accreditation needs. Please look for the link to this survey to arrive in your email inboxes this week.
At this time I once again want to thank NLN CNEA executive director Dr. Judith Halstead and the members of the Steering Committee for the work they are doing to launch our new accreditation division. I must also acknowledge the individuals who are working to develop accreditation standards for the NLN CNEA. The Standards Committee - Sharon Cannon, Robert Davis, Nelda Godfrey, Kathleen B. Hill, Versie Johnson-Mallard, Mary Lou Morales, Laurie Peters, Patricia Castaldi, Joan Darden, and Anne Belcher - will have a draft ready for your comments in November 2014.
Time has a way of passing very quickly. At some point in the future, the NLN CNEA will be fully established and doing the important work needed to create "a culture of continuous quality improvement" within nursing education. In the meantime, be sure to check the NLN CNEA FAQs regularly. I thank you for your patience and your support.
One final bit of news before I close. I am excited to announce that videos of the plenary sessions at the Phoenix Summit are now online. Be sure to (re)visit them and learn. And for fun, photos from the Summit are also available. Naturally, we are already planning NLN Education Summit 2015, "Bridging Practice and Education: A New World of Innovation and Technology," September 30 - October 4 in Las Vegas. The abstract submission process has already begun.
All best wishes,
Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN
Chief Executive Officer