Bachelor of science in nursing program receives accreditation

Hesston College nursing students in class

Hesston College’s nursing program has made another step forward by receiving accreditation for the bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree program. The baccalaureate degree in nursing at Hesston College is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE),

The accreditation comes following an on-campus visit by the CCNE in September 2016, and CCNE Board of Commissioners action in late April 2017.

“We were pleased to receive the official news of the accreditation of our BSN program,” said Bonnie Sowers, Nursing Education director. “The action acknowledges that our program has met specialized national nursing accreditation standards, and is very important to our students and graduates, as this accreditation offers a competitive advantage.”

Hesston College has operated an associate degree of nursing (ADN) program since 1966, which has held accreditation since 1970. Since 2015, Hesston’s nursing program has been evolving by adding programs in response to shifting industry demands. A 2010 report from the Institute of Medicine set a national goal that 80 percent of the nursing workforce have a BSN by 2020.

After receiving approval from the Kansas State Board of Nursing and the Higher Learning Commission, the college’s accrediting agency, Hesston welcomed the first group of BSN students in fall 2015. That first cohort of seventeen BSN students graduated on May 14, and are considered to have graduated from the accredited program. In January 2017, the program added an RN to BSN component for registered nurses with ADN degrees who want to complete the next step in their education.

Along with the 2016-17 year marking the 50th year of the nursing program and granting bachelor degrees to the first BSN graduates, it also marks the end of the ADN program.

“Our nursing faculty wrestled with the decision to close the ADN program,” said Sowers. “We experienced 50 years of excellent ADN education on our campus and graduated nurses who not only provide high quality care but are also the very reason that Hesston College nursing enjoys such an excellent reputation in our healthcare community.”

Sowers noted the difficulty in operating three separate, full capacity nursing programs – ADN, BSN and RN to BSN – on a small campus, and with the current trend toward BSN education, closing the ADN program was the right decision.

“We want to serve our students in the best way possible,” said Sowers.

Hesston College nursing has a long history of producing outstanding nurses who are focused on holistic patient care. More than 1,600 individuals have graduated from the program in the last 50 years, with more than 98 percent of those graduates earning RN licensure.

“Hesston College has a long history of quality nursing education, and we are now continuing the next chapter of that history with new leadership and a new accredited degree,” said Dr. Brent Yoder, vice president of Academics. “The faculty and staff in the department will continue to ensure that all nursing students receive a Christ-centered education that prepares them extremely well for a profession with a high demand for a caring workforce.”