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Minnesota West awarded nursing accreditation

Minnesota West Community and Technical College

WORTHINGTON -- The National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission Inc. has accredited Minnesota West's nursing program until 2015.

The associate degree nursing program, offered at the Worthington campus and online, prepares students to take the Registered Nursing licensure exam.

"Accreditation from the NLNAC affords increased job opportunities for our graduates. NLNAC accreditation also facilitates a smooth transition to schools that offer advanced degrees in nursing," explained Ruth Van Heukelom, director of the associate degree nursing program. "There are some health care facilities in the area that prefer to hire students that graduated from nursing programs accredited by NLNAC."

The National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission Inc. is the international agency for accreditation and approval of educational programs in nursing. After nearly two years spent on the accreditation process, the Minnesota West Nursing Program fulfilled all its requirements successfully.

The first step was for the program to complete a self-study to ensure it is meeting NLNAC-specified criteria, then a group of three nurses from around the country visited the campus in February. Their report and the self-study went to a review panel and then onto a board of commissioners, Van Heukelom detailed.

"I am very proud of the program and the hard work of the director and faculty," said Worthington Campus Dean and Director of Practical Nursing Dawn Gordon in a news release. "The excellence of the students at Minnesota West made this program accreditation successful. The NLNAC team commented during their visits that Minnesota West has technology-driven success in rural communities, our resources are quality, and we do a nice job working with diverse populations in southwest Minnesota."

The college was already approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing; its involvement in the NLNAC accreditation was voluntary.

"The nursing program is full and typically has a waiting list and our students are finding jobs when they graduate," Van Heukelom added. "The (program) achieved accreditation, but this is a stamp of approval for the whole college. They looked at our facilities and our technology and our library and academic resources center. It focused on the nursing department, but many people at the college worked hard to make this accreditation possible."