It's the news everyone involved in the Associate Nursing Degree program at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College was hoping for – the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) has recommended continuing accreditation for the ADN program for another eight years.
"We are thrilled," said Nica Cason, Gulf Coast ADN chairperson. "The NLNAC was here April 19-21, and they were very thorough. But we did a great job. It's out of our hands now."
Cason said there are two more steps before accreditation is complete. First, the NLNAC will send its recommendation to an ADN panel in June. That panel then sends its recommendation to the NLNAC commissioners in July.
The news comes a critical time for the ADN program. The Mississippi Department of Employment Security projects a 21 percent employment growth for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) by 2012.
In fact, of the 30 fastest growing occupations, 17 are health-related. The ADN program at Gulf Coast features locations at the three main campuses, with 353 students enrolled. Some of them said the program's continuing accreditation isn't surprising.
"It's a tough program," said nursing student Kim Bartlett, as she studied with fellow nursing students Carrie Moran and Jeanne Nicholson. "They set the standards higher than the other schools. Making it through this takes a huge sacrifice, but it will be worth it in the end."
"It's very intense," Moran said. "They don't play around. I like that, because I really want to be a nurse and help people."