Our nursing program was just recently up for accreditation. I have to admit that I was a bit ignorant to the specifics of the accreditation process. In reviewing the website of the organization that did our accreditation, Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN), I have learned a lot.
While CASN says it is not mandatory for all Schools of Nursing to be accredited, in order for our students to be Registered as RNs after graduation (with the provincial registration board, CRNBC), they are required to have received their degree from a recognized BC nursing education program (in other words, an accredited educational institution).
Many other professions (i.e. Physiotherapy, Occupational therapy, LPNs, etc.) have accreditation bodies and most of them belong to the AAAC including CASN. However medical schools are accredited by CACMS (The Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools).
The CASN (2017) website describes the many advantages of being accredited below:
“Accreditation is recognized worldwide as an important, objective method to review professional education programs to identify strengths, vulnerabilities, and opportunities for improvement. There is a need to assess the quality of education programs in light of the globalization of education (specifically, distance delivery, satellite and offshore programs), the mobility of students and professionals and with increasing education costs, students, parents, taxpayers and institutions want to be assured of program quality. Schools of Nursing use accreditation reviews to identify areas for development, to provide evidence of resource deficiencies to senior administrators, to guide important decisions about expansion of students, and to guide changes in, or the continuation of, programs.”
I learned that CASN (2017) “is the national voice for nursing education, research, and scholarship and represents baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in Canada.” I learned that CASN is not only involved in the accreditation of Nursing Schools in Canada but it also promotes nursing scholarship, the advancement of knowledge in the field, is a leader in public policy and is a national forum for issues in nursing education and research.
The accreditation process ensures credibility and quality control for professionals. I believe that this is especially important in professions like Registered Nursing because ultimately it helps to ensure the quality of RNs and thus protect the public from harm and promote health and wellness in our communities.
CASN (2017). CASN/ACESI mission. Retrieved at http://www.casn.ca/about-casn/casnacesi-mission/
CASN (2017). FAQs. Retrieved at http://www.casn.ca/accreditation/faqs/