School of Nursing receives coveted accreditation

For the second time in its history, York’s School of Nursing, along with its collaborative partners, has received accreditation for seven years with no interim report required. It can’t get any better than that.

“It was delightful news. It definitely speaks to the quality of the programs. This means all the programs are strong, the partnerships are working well, the courses are meeting the requirements and standards are in place,” says nursing Professor Beryl Pilkington, interim director of the School of Nursing in the Faculty of Health. “Adeline Falk-Rafael, former director of the school, led the accreditation team, which worked so hard writing unit reports and preparing students, faculty and clinical partners for respective site visits. A great deal of work goes into being accredited.”

But that work paid off. The Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN) Board of Accreditation granted York University and it partners, Seneca College and Georgian College, the highest possible standing to the collaborative baccalaureate nursing degree programs. “This was not only York’s accomplishment. Our collaborative partners were integrally involved in the preparations as well as our clinical partners,” says Pilkington.It’s a very comprehensive review. There were four accreditors assigned to review the three programs over one week.”

Right: Beryl Pilkington

As part of the process, administrators, staff and students are questioned by the accreditors to help gauge the quality of the program. “The process reveals if any issues need to be addressed and also points out program strengths and areas for growth,” says Pilkington.

The school’s first accreditation in 2003 was “considered quite an accomplishment” because it was the first nursing collaborative initiative in the province. Since then, the school has added two more programs of study. In addition to the collaborative four-year bachelor of science in nursing degree (BScN), York offers a BScN for internationally educated nurses and a second entry BScN for students who have completed or partially completed a university degree in another discipline. All three programs received the same seven-year accreditation terms with no required interim reports.

“It’s a source of pride for students to know they have graduated from a seven-year accreditated school,” she says.

Without accreditation the students wouldn’t be eligible to write the licensing examinations from the College of Nurses of Ontario to become Registered Nurses. CASN assumed responsibility for accreditation of university nursing programs in 1972 and in 1987 instituted a national, voluntary process, supported by all members.

There are four broad criteria that guide the accreditation process – relevance, accountability, relatedness and uniqueness. Only Canadian schools of nursing that are CASN member schools are eligible to participate in a CASN Accreditation peer review and are eligible to receive accredited status from the CASN Board of Accreditation. The purpose of accreditation is to encourage excellence in nursing education according to fundamental qualities and standards. These standards are established by academic nursing to best meet the nursing health-care needs of the Canadian population and to ensure graduates meet minimum standards of competence to practice.

For more information about the accreditation process, visit the CASN Web site.

For more information about York’s nursing programs, visit York’s School of Nursing Web site.