The Arizona Western College (AWC) nursing program has received continuing accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) for 8 years and continued approval from the Arizona State Board of Nursing (AZBN). The AZBN will follow up in 2 years to review changes that AWC’s program has made.
The AWC nursing program faculty and staff worked diligently over the last accreditation cycle of 8 years to ensure that their program met the rigorous AZBN rules and the ACEN standards and criteria. The visit their program just completed was over 3 days in February 2016 and was considered a combined visit with the ACEN and the AZBN. The program completed 2 separate self-studies, 1 for the ACEN and 1 for the AZBN. Through a process of a systematic plan for evaluation (SPE), the AWC nursing program faculty and staff were able to ensure compliance with the 6 standards the ACEN evaluates nursing programs by.
The AZBN approval provides graduates of our program eligibility to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN®), leading to licensure and employment. Through national accreditation, AWC’s graduates are assured they have completed a program that has been peer evaluated for educational quality. This peer review process further provides graduates the opportunity and mobility in nursing education to pursue higher levels of nursing education, through the ACEN’s and AZBN’s strong promotion of partnerships with institutions for educational pathways.
“The AWC nursing program is providing our community with a nursing population that is educationally prepared to care for our growing population and capable of meeting the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation to transition the nursing workforce to at least 80 percent Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) through building these partnerships,” according to the AWC Director of Nursing and Allied Health, Alison Casebolt.
The AWC nursing program has multiple partnerships that promote excellence in nursing education, enhance the profession, and benefit the community. The program has educational partnerships with various institutions to provide seamless articulation to the RN-BSN programs offered. The current agreements are with Arizona State University (ASU), Grand Canyon University (GCU), and Northern Arizona University (NAU). Furthermore, the AWC nursing program has been granted approval from the AZBN for concurrent enrollment plans with ASU and NAU that allow for qualified students to complete their Associate Degree at the same time they complete their BSN.
Ms. Casebolt states, “The AWC Nursing program has been part of this community since 1967 and has held national accreditation for over 45 years. The program’s faculty and staff have 100 percent buy into the process. We are excited and committed to continue maintaining the high standard of nursing education that our program has historically held and to continue working to improve the program.”