Chipola College in Marianna has been offering classes in nursing since back in 1984 when it was still Chipola Junior College. The program earned regional accreditation soon afterwards but there was still one giant step left to make the Chipola college of nursing one of the finest programs in the country—national accreditation. During the past two years, the college has undergone a special effort to receive national accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). And Monday morning, August 18, 2014, Chipola officials made the announcement at a press conference—the Chipola Nursing Program has earned national accreditation.
Dr. Vickie Stephens, as dean of the School of Health Sciences which oversees the nursing curriculum, has helped lead the effort. She’s an alumnus of Chipola and earned her doctorate in nursing from the University of Southern Alabama in 2012. After working at Sunland for 23 years, she was hired at Chipola as director of health sciences by former Chipola President Gene Prough in 2009. She made dean after getting the doctorate and returning to Chipola.
According to a press release issued by the college Monday evening, “ACEN conducted a site visit to Chipola in January with the team recommending both Chipola’s Associate Degree Nursing and Baccalaureate Nursing programs for national accreditation for five years.”
“This ACEN accreditation is a testament to the professionalism of our educational team,” Dr. Stephens said. “We embrace the opportunity to provide quality health education through innovative teaching and partnerships with our community.”
Chipola College President Jason Hurst added: “National accreditation by ACEN will greatly expand the career and educational opportunities for our nursing graduates. I congratulate Dr. Stephens, the Chipola nursing faculty and staff for their diligent work on this initiative. It’s an important milestone in the life of our health science programs.”
Chipola’s very popular nursing programs produce about 40 nurses each year. There are usually twice as many applicants as can be accepted, officials said last year. Monday’s new release added that “Chipola offers the RN to BSN Degree with all upper level classes available online. The Associate Degree Nursing program provides training to prepare students for certification as registered nurses.” For more info about the programs, call 850-718-2316 or visit www.chipola.edu
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