Fresno State’s nursing master’s program loses accreditation, won’t accept fall students

Fresno State on Wednesday announced its nursing master’s program lost its accreditation and, as a result, won’t accept students into the program this fall.

This is the second nursing program at Fresno State to face accreditation woes recently.

In a news release, Dr. Jody Hironaka-Juteau, dean of the College of Health and Human Services at Fresno State, said the master’s program did not meet certain documentation requirements from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

The decision was announced on June 5, according to the new release, and it won’t affect any graduates of the master’s program, such as those who received their degrees this spring.

The program usually enrolls 20 to 30 students each year. It had been accredited since 1968 and some 1,500 students have gone through the program.

There are currently 23 students enrolled in the program and 28 had applied for the fall, said Fresno State spokeswoman Lisa Boyles. Those students have been notified about the accreditation issue.

Hironaka-Juteau said she believes the program can regain its accreditation, allowing for the currently enrolled 23 students to continue in the program.

“We did not expect the commission to take this action, and we regret the temporary uncertainty this issue has created for our students,” Hironaka-Juteau said in the news release. “We are moving swiftly to restore accreditation to the nursing master’s program, and we are committed to minimizing any potential impact on our 23 currently enrolled students.”

The accrediting body had paid a visit to the program last September for an evaluation. The issue stems from CCNE’s determination that there wasn’t enough documentation or supporting data on the program’s methods for assessing and evaluating students’ outcomes, curriculum, clinical experience, faculty performance and overall program goals, officials said in the statement.

During an interview with The Bee, Hironaka-Juteau said the quality of the master’s program “is strong and it’s evident” based on the program’s past graduates.

CCNE will conduct another evaluation in September to consider reinstating the program’s accreditation. Fresno State will be notified of a decision in spring 2020. If accreditation is reinstated after the September visit, it would be retroactive and wouldn’t affect the 23 current students, officials said in the news release.

Fresno State is moving quickly to get the program reinstated, including hiring an outside consultant for the School of Nursing and staff and working with the university’s assessment coordinator.

“We are confident that we will regain that accreditation so that those students will complete and graduate from (the) program in May of 2020,” Hironaka-Juteau said.

If the program doesn’t regain its accreditation, Fresno State will work with the students and the CSU’s Chancellor’s Office to assess appropriate transfers for the 23 students to complete their degrees or identify other solutions.

“We would work with the students to identify remedies,” she said.

Fresno State is also working to fix issues with another nursing program. In March, it came to light that the Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program was not accredited.

University officials said the program was not accredited due to an “administrative misunderstanding with the application process and requirements.”

About 60 students were affected under that program.

That program will also undergo a review in September when CCNE officials evaluate the nursing master’s program, Hironaka-Juteau said. Fresno State will also be notified on a decision on the Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program in spring 2020.

Students in the Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program need to graduate from an accredited program in order to be eligible to take a certification test from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.