The Northern Wyoming Community College District's nursing program goes through a voluntary accreditation process with the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing every eight years. The review looks at curriculum, performance and other factors.
The district earned its re-accreditation from the national accreditor after undergoing a self-study and review process earlier this year.
The district's Nursing Director Louise Posten said students and employers look for accredited programs.
"It aids in recruitment and enrollment of students. Employers are looking they want to make sure they're hiring graduates that have that stamp of approval that they've met that higher quality of nursing education," she said.
Posten said the process also benefits faculty and requires the program to keep up with the latest practices.
"Because it's a continuous quality improvement process, we're always striving to do better, to stay on the cutting edge of current nursing practice and education so that we're not stagnant," she said.
District President Walter Tribley said he's proud of the program receiving its re-accreditation.
"This achievement would not have been possible without the hardworking nursing faculty and staff at Sheridan College and Gillette College, members of our advisory boards, administration, employers within our service area and the entire college community working together," he said in a press release.
The district offers associate degrees in nursing at its Gillette and Sheridan campuses. Thirty-two students are admitted to each college's program every fall.
Posten said the program partners with the University of Wyoming to make it easy for nursing students to transfer and take classes that count towards four-year nursing degrees.
The colleges also have certified nursing assistant (CNA) courses.
Posten said the program helps to fill a lack of nurses in the area and makes sure those nurses are prepared to enter the workforce.
"Many of our students are recruited to the Billings, Montana area, the Rapid City area, and as well into the Casper area, so we serve the needs of a region," she said.
Posten said the district's program averages a 96 percent placement rate for students within six months of graduation. She added more and more students are getting hired before finishing the program.
Posten said she suggests to local hospitals to start recruiting nursing students earlier to keep up with demands across the region. She said those hospitals have asked if the district can start admitting more students to help keep up with demand.
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