At a glance ...
• Colorado Northwestern Community College’s nursing program has been accepted for initial accreditation from the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission.
• Program Director Kelly Martin-Puleo received word of the commission’s decision Monday.
• Receiving accreditation concludes a two-year candidacy process that began in 2009.
• Martin-Puleo: Receiving accreditation will make it easier for nursing students to transfer into baccalaureate and master’s programs.
“I was pleased, to say the least.”
— Gene Bilodeau, Colorado Northwestern Community College Craig campus vice president, about learning a national commission had granted initial accreditation to the college’s nursing program
Kelly Martin-Puleo was teaching a class at Colorado Northwestern Community College’s Craig campus Monday when the envelope came.
The piece of paper inside would reveal whether two years of work had paid off for the college’s nursing program, which was seeking a nod of approval from a national accrediting commission.
Martin-Puleo, the program’s director, opened the envelope and found the answer she was looking for: the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission had granted the program initial accreditation.
Receiving the distinction was a welcome conclusion to a two-year candidacy process that included a site visit in fall 2011.
“Of everything that’s happened this year, that’s the most validating thing ever because it really comes from your peers in nursing,” she said Wednesday.
She wasn’t the only one who greeted the news with enthusiasm.
“I was pleased, to say the least,” Craig Campus Vice President Gene Bilodeau said in an email.
Achieving accreditation was an aim at CNCC since the nursing program began, he said, but attaining the distinction isn’t easy.
“Schools must demonstrate a high level of academic integrity and success to even be considered for accreditation,” Bilodeau said.
He lauded instructors and students for their role in helping the college attain accreditation.
“There was a great deal of hard work that went into getting this accreditation and I'm very proud of the faculty and staff, both past and current, that have made this possible,” he said.
Accreditation will have an impact on CNCC nursing students now and in the future.
Nurses-in-training who graduate from an accredited program have an easier time transferring to baccalaureate and master’s programs, Martin-Puleo said.
The benefit applies to students who have graduated from the program since 2009.
“Every student who graduated from the program from the time of candidacy on … they have graduated from an accredited nursing program,” she said.
The commission noted several areas of strength in CNCC’s nursing program, which is rare.
“Typically a program will only get maybe one area of strength recognized,” Martin-Puleo said.
The commission gave special nod to CNCC’s partnership with The Memorial Hospital in Craig, the leadership of the program’s director, faculty and staff’s commitment to student success, and “state-of-the-art” equipment and labs offered at the new Craig campus, she said.
Now that the two-year project is successfully completed, nursing program staff members were planning Wednesday to celebrate the achievement with a dinner.
“There’s a lot to celebrate, and that’s wonderful,” Martin-Puleo said.
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