WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – There’s a new concern surfacing for the nursing profession in Kansas.
Hospital and doctors will tell you the demand for nurses remains high. Now, however, several nurse training programs in the state are being impacted by a loss of accreditation.
Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina learned this week its voluntary accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education was not accepted. This decision comes after the closure of ITT Technical Institute and Wright College, both of which had nursing programs. In addition, Pratt Community College is working to rebuild after it lost its national accreditation.
KSN reached out to local hospitals and educators at area colleges to find out about the importance of accreditation. They all say when it comes to students furthering their education, accreditation matters. That means it’s up to the student. But, either way, the demand for nurses continues to increase.
Kansas Wesleyan says its nursing program will stay in place.
Admidst accreditation issues with other nursing programs in Kansas, KSN wanted to know how Kansas Wesleyan’s problems impacts the nursing industry.
“Patient safety, all of that, that is an important aspect of a program,” said Alicia Huckstadt, the director of the graduate nursing program at Wichita State University. She says a degree from an accredited school does matter when students apply to further their education.
“We require accredited program for our BSN students to even apply and be accepted in our graduate programs,” Huckstedt said.
Local hospitals say they always need nurses. Via Christi and Wesley both told KSN there are always nursing positions open.
But, does accreditation matter in the hiring process?
It depends, said a spokesperson for Salina Regional Medical Center. The official said accreditation is not the main thing they consider.
But, one thing is clear. Local schools say there is a strong need for nurses, but they can’t accept enough students now to meet the demand for nursing degrees.
“We have a large number, there is definitely more than we are strict based on our resources that we have including faculty, clinical space, and all of those kinds of things,” said Huckstedt.
Kansas Wesleyan University officials say they already have made a string of hires and are planning to launch a new curriculum to begin working toward the approval of the school’s accreditation.