The Citadel’s nursing program secures 10 year reaccreditation, showcasing educational excellence

The Citadel’s Swain Department of Nursing is celebrating two major successes – one for the department as a whole and another for the outstanding accomplishments of its graduates. The department recently received reaccreditation with CCNE, or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, which will last for 10 years. This reaccreditation was important because it verifies the quality and integrity of The Citadel’s bachelor’s of science in nursing, or BSN, degree.

Accreditation standards from CCNE include the program’s institutional commitment and resources, curriculum and teaching-learning practices, program assessment, and the evaluation of program outcomes. To read more about CCNE’s accreditation standards, click here.

“The requirements from CCNE are significant in terms of resources, outcomes, and everything related to the education and curriculum, but also the infrastructure, the faculty resources, and so on that we have here at The Citadel. It’s a very comprehensive review. I think if you’re out there looking for a program and you have a choice between an accredited program and a program that is just a nursing program, you’re going to have more faith in the accredited program,” said Darin Zimmerman, Ph.D., dean of the Swain Family School of Science and Mathematics.

For the future of The Citadel’s BSN, this means that the foundation is set for the program to continue to grow. In addition to this, the reaccreditation makes the nursing program more marketable for students who are looking to start their education journey.

“Our reaccreditation from CCNE is an external validation which shows, thanks to everything we have in place, that our nursing program is a strong one. To have external reviewers look at our school from an external lens and say, ‘You’re meeting what we look for in schools,’ is a big accomplishment. The fact that we received reaccreditation for 10 years is very significant,” said Kim Subasic, Ph.D., head of the Swain Department of Nursing.

Another success for the nursing program was receiving the outstanding licensure exam results for the Class of 2023. The National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX, determines if recently graduated nursing students are academically prepared. Aspiring nurses are required to pass the national licensure exam prior to earning the title of a Registered Nurse and beginning employment in that role. The exam requires critical thinking skills and using information they have learned in their nursing program, with the goal of ensuring that each graduate can make quality nursing judgements and provide safe care to patients. The Class of 2023’s first-time pass rate was 86.7%, and 100% success rate for students who took the exam on the second attempt.

“This is all a testament to the hard work of Dr. Subasic and her faculty and shows how hard the faculty and students have worked. It’s a very difficult program, it’s a very challenging program. And it’s unique in the sense that it has this exam, the NCLEX, at the end that students must pass to work as a nurse,” said Zimmerman.

Both the reaccreditation from CCNE and the high first-time pass rates for the NCLEX show the tremendous work that the nursing faculty at The Citadel have done in the past three years, and speaks to the efforts, coordination and leadership of the department.

In 2018, brothers David C. Swain Jr., Citadel Class of 1980, and his wife Mary, as well as Dr. Christopher C. Swain, Citadel Class of 1981, and his wife Debora, gave a substantial gift to The Citadel to name the Swain Family School of Science and Mathematics. The Swain family’s advancement of the School of Science and Mathematics stems from their shared personal and professional interests. Together, the Swain brothers founded the OB Hospitalist Group (OBHG) in Mauldin, South Carolina, in 2006 with a vision to elevate women’s health care by providing quality medical care to expectant mothers.

Before this, in 2017, the Swain family provided a gift to The Citadel to establish the Swain Department of Nursing. The Swain brothers both married nurses, who also have a long-standing history of nurses in their family. Mary’s and Debbie’s careers as registered nurses inspired this generous gift.

The Swain Department of Nursing is building the next generation of professional nurses and nurse leaders through small class sizes, a caring learning environment and simulation experiences that support student success. At The Citadel, cadets and students learn in the classroom, simulation center and clinical settings. Through these diverse experiences, cadets and students are provided with the competencies that reflect the skill of a novice nurse by graduation. Throughout the curriculum, standardized testing occurs to enhance learning and further prepare cadets and students for the nursing licensure exam.

Cadets and veteran students can enroll in the traditional four-year program. There is also an evening program that provides the option to transfer credits from other institutions toward the completion of a nursing degree at The Citadel. Both the Corps of Cadets and evening students earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree upon completion of the program. To learn more, click here.

The Swain family, along with many other alumni and friends, continue to help secure the success and longstanding future of all programs housed under the Swain Family School of Science and Mathematics. Through this continued generosity, The Citadel is able to ensure that the goal of providing excellence in science and mathematics education is achieved.