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COCC nursing program gains national accreditation


Central Oregon Community College’s nursing program recently attained candidacy status from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, a national accrediting body, putting the college on the path to take its associate degree in nursing to a new level of recognition.

Nationwide, nursing education is undergoing an accreditation shift, moving toward a system that operates more and more under national review. “The​ ​National​ ​Council​ ​of​ ​State​ ​Boards​ ​of​ ​Nursing​ ​​has recommended​ ​that​ ​state boards​ ​of​ ​nursing​ ​require​ ​national​ ​accreditation​ ​for​ ​nursing​ ​education​ ​programs​ ​by​ the year ​2020,” explained Julie Downing, instructional dean at COCC.

Though neither the ​Oregon​ ​Legislature​ ​nor​ ​the​ Oregon State Board of Nursing–the college’s current accrediting body–have set parameters for updating accreditation, the college is making a proactive move to be on the front end of this shift. The new programmatic accreditation for COCC will expand upon the integrity of the school’s nursing program and promote more employment opportunities for graduates.

Already, several Oregon border states have revised their own accreditation systems in the nursing education field. Washington​ updated ​its​ nursing​ ​requirements​ ​to a national​ ​standard with a legislative change two years ago and Idaho hospitals​ now stipulate that​​ ​students​ ​performing clinical rotations be​ ​enrolled in​ ​a​ ​nationally​ ​accredited​ ​nursing​ ​program.

Approval by ACEN will involve a site visit (sometime next year, following a self-study report by the college) and a program evaluation. ACEN requires that nursing faculty hold the degree specified by their state approval body, a requirement already met under COCC’s current accreditation. COCC’s nursing program, which started in 1954, today graduates roughly 48 RNs each year.

For more information, contact Julie Downing, instructional dean, at 541-383-7238 or or Jane Morrow, nursing department chair, at 541-383-7417 or

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