Nursing Program Receives Full Accreditation

Bethany 2019 nursing graduates and professors in gowns.

Photo courtesy of Sara Traylor

Bethany Nursing graduates with faculty before the 2019 graduation ceremony. 

Bethany Lutheran College is pleased to announce its Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program has received full accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The CCNE Board of Commissioners acted at its meeting on May 7-10, 2019, to grant accreditation to Bethany’s nursing program for five years, extending to June 30, 2024. The accreditation action is effective as of September 10, 2018, which is the first day of the program’s recent CCNE on-site evaluation.

CCNE is the premier, nationally-recognized accrediting agency for baccalaureate, graduate, and residency programs in nursing. Acknowledged by the United States Secretary of Education, CCNE serves as the official accreditation arm of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. The CCNE Board uses four standards for accreditation status. Three standards are categorized under the theme of Program Quality and include: Mission and Governance; Institutional Commitment and Resources; and Curriculum and Teaching-Learning Practices. There is one category under the theme Program Effectiveness which monitors Assessment and Achievement of Program Outcomes. The Board determined that Bethany’s program meets all four accreditation standards, and also determined there are no compliance concerns with respect to the key elements.

Dr. Sara (Merseth ’96) Traylor was appointed Director of Nursing at Bethany in July 2014. During the past five years, Traylor has worked with the College administration, state, and national agencies to satisfy all of the requirements related to the development of the nursing program. The process began with the College producing a letter of intent for the Minnesota Board of Nursing which summarized why Bethany should be considered worthy to offer a nursing program. The initial state approval process was a three-phase program required to develop the BSN program. The benchmarks for the state and national processes included:

  • October 2015 – The State of Minnesota accepted Bethany’s document of intent for the development of a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program.
  • August 2016 – The Minnesota Board of Nursing completed campus and clinical site visits and granted formal approval for the launch of the BSN program.
  • August 2017 – Bethany offered its first bachelor of science in nursing courses and began clinicals for nursing students.
  • September 2018 – The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) visited the Bethany campus.
  • June 2019 – The CCNE Board of Commissioners granted accreditation to the baccalaureate degree program in nursing at Bethany Lutheran College for five years.

Traylor noted that “It is rare that a brand-new nursing program seeking initial accreditation accomplishes five-year accreditation on the first attempt without compliance concerns. By the grace of God, we have a strong, quality nursing program that guides students to be compassionate, Christian servant-leaders. We’re elated that the Board determined that our nursing program meets or exceeds standards and criteria for educational quality while preparing our students to work successfully as professional nurses.”

In addition to the accreditation news, the first cohort of graduates who received their BSN degrees from Bethany in May 2019 have either taken, or are about to take their licensure exams. Traylor reported that the first Bethany nursing graduate to take her licensure exam “passed with the minimum number of questions.”

Bethany’s Nursing Faculty also includes Cheryl Clendenin (adjunct), Emily Goetzke (Assistant Professor – Nursing), Deborah Matzke-Lewis (Associate Professor – Nursing), and Patricia Mortland (adjunct).

Accreditation Statement: The baccalaureate degree program in nursing at Bethany Lutheran College is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791.