Western University of Health Sciences’ innovative College of Graduate Nursing (CGN)

has received a five-year accreditation for its programs from the Commission on Collegiate

Nursing Education (CCNE), the U.S. Secretary of Education-recognized

nursing program accrediting agency. The CGN’s five-year professional

accreditation is the longest initial accreditation the Commission grants.

The CGN was the first of its kind to offer advanced practice nursing

degrees and/or certificates in a Web-based curriculum, which combines on-

line learning with on-site seminar sessions. This allows working nurses

the opportunity to continue their employment as they pursue a graduate

education. Program tracks include a Master of Science in Nursing/Family

Nurse Practitioner degree/certificate combination (MSN/FNP), a Master of

Science in Nursing degree (MSN), and a Post-Master’s FNP Certificate.

In a time of an acute nursing shortage throughout the nation and

especially in California, the CGN allows working professionals an

alternative and flexible way to advance their careers while continuing to

work in their field.

“”We are very pleased to receive professional accreditation from the CCNE,””

said Karen Hanford, MSN, FNP, PA-C, dean of the college. “”Professional

accreditation provides validation to the student as well as to the public

to the high quality and rigor of our programs.””

An accreditation team visited the college in March 2001 and noted several

areas with which team members were particularly impressed, Hanford said.

These areas included:

* The information technology infrastructure is “”exceptional.””

* Faculty and staff “”have created a dynamic learning environment that is

very well organized and contributes to the success of the adult learner.””

* The “”intensive on-campus seminar weekends foster direct communication,

learning and feedback/evaluation between faculty and students.””

* To attest to the rigors of the curriculum, all graduates have

successfully passed the national certification exam.

The CGN is working to become the program of choice for nurses seeking an

advanced practice degree in the Western United States, Hanford said. The

college also intends to become nationally recognized for its excellence in

preparing nurse practitioners as well as continue as a leader in Web-based


According to Hanford, on-line learning promotes high-level learning. In

addition, the CGN’s faculty-led small-group discussions create a learning

environment that cannot be duplicated in a traditional large lecture


While the majority of their work takes place via the Internet, Western

University’s advanced practice nursing students also complete clinical

assignments under the supervision of a preceptor in their own communities

and are required to attend eight three-day working visits to the Pomona

campus per year.

Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs) are registered nurses whose educational

and clinical practice experience extends beyond basic nurse training. They

can perform physical examinations, diagnose and treat acute illnesses,

order and interpret laboratory tests and provide patient education. Health

planners increasingly rely on FNPs as the providers of choice for a range

of front-line services.

Western University started the advanced practice nursing program in

January 1997. It became a college in March 1998 and quickly received a

five-year approval from the California Board of Registered Nursing.

For more information on the College of Graduate Nursing, call (909) 469-

5523. For admissions information, call (909) 469-5541.