- Associated Press - Thursday, August 21, 2014

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) - The nursing program at Presentation College is getting a shot at regaining its national accreditation.

The school where nursing students make up 40 percent of the study body was denied a continuance of its accreditation last spring. The Atlanta-based Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing cited the fact that not every Presentation faculty member had at least a master’s degree.

The school received word this week that it will keep its accreditation through the fall semester if it goes through the review process a second time, the American News reported (http://bit.ly/1vlDjEO ). That means students graduating in December will still get a diploma from a nationally accredited institution.

The school will complete a self-study in about two weeks, and commission officials will visit by the end of October.

Presentation has raised salaries, worked with consultants to recruit staff, and recruited from broader pools, President Margaret Huber said. It has also provided tuition reimbursement for faculty members seeking higher education. The school has hired two new faculty members with master’s degrees, and the two faculty members still working toward their degrees will not be teaching but instead will handle other tasks.

“There’s always a lot of work,” Huber said. “There’s advising, there’s research on where nurses have gone … there’s a lot of things that we can get them to do, but what we really want them to do is finish their degrees.”

Presentation also might consider seeking national accreditation from a different body, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, which accredits many other programs throughout the state, Huber said.

The nursing program sought accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing because it accredits two-year programs in addition to four-year programs. However, Presentation has since dropped its two-year nursing degree.

The loss of accreditation did not affect the nursing program’s standing with the South Dakota Board of Nursing or graduates’ ability to become licensed nurses in the Dakotas or Minnesota. However, the school has lost some nursing students because of it and does not have as many new nursing students coming in, according to Huber.

“That accreditation is a very important thing for us,” she said. “It always was. It’s just that losing it makes you more focused on it.”

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Information from: Aberdeen American News, http://www.aberdeennews.com