The Holzer School of Nursing faculty and staff. First Row: Amy Swango-Wilson, Donna Mitchell, Jessica Neff and Karen Jones. Second Row: Bethany McFann, Lucy Williams, Michelle Young, Kathy Carlisle and Mat Brown. Not Pictured: Sunita Dayal, Lisa Theiss, Kristie Seagraves, Kim Stevens and Lacey Bailey. Submitted photo.

Rio Grande – The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College are proud to announce the Holzer School of Nursing in the College of Professional and Technical Studies has received reaccreditation. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) has approved Rio’s associate degree nursing program for full accreditation through 2024. Dr. Donna Mitchell, Dean of the College of Professional and Technical Studies, said this means the school’s next ACEN visit will be in eight years.

“Receiving our reaccreditation for the maximum eight years is a wonderful honor. It shows the hard work and dedication of our faculty to provide our students the best education possible to prepare them for the workforce,” Mitchell said. “To go through the process and have no follow-up report required is an accomplishment. It’s something of which the nursing program and the nursing faculty, staff and administration can be very proud.”

Mitchell said accreditation is a process where outside organizations determine if a program is meeting the professional standards set by the industry.

“The ACEN is an international accrediting agency. This means they do not just work with schools in this country, they evaluate schools abroad as well. This makes our accreditation so much more special because it shows our program is reputable and should be recognized anywhere in the world,” Mitchell said.

Dr. Amy Swango-Wilson, director of the Holzer School of Nursing, said the reaccreditation shows the work the faculty put into making the program a valuable experience for students.

“This was a tremendous effort from our entire faculty. They worked on the report as a team and are actively involved in the value of the program,” Swango-Wilson said. “We have an outstanding faculty who are truly concerned and have at heart the quality of the education they give our students. This accreditation is not only a reflection of our program, but of our faculty. We are extremely proud of them.”

Swango-Wilson said the eight-year accreditation is a huge benefit for Rio’s nursing students.

“When students apply for jobs in the nursing field, they will be asked if they graduated from an accredited school. The VA, military and government health programs will only hire graduates from programs with accreditation, and many graduate schools around the country will only accept applicants with a degree from an accredited school,” Swango-Wilson said. “This ensures our students reach their full potential in the field and have the opportunities to further their education.”

Rio President Dr. Michelle Johnston said she is eager to see the nursing program continue to move forward in positive ways.

“Our Holzer School of Nursing faculty and staff go above and beyond to give our students the best possible education. I’m so pleased to see their excellence and dedication recognized on an international level. With so many of our nursing graduates employed and in demand within our community, this reaccreditation assures that Rio will continue to educate quality nursing professionals who will go on to serve communities far and wide. I congratulate them for their tremendous efforts and know we can expect even more great work to come from the students, faculty and staff of the nursing program in years to come,” Johnston said.

The Holzer School of Nursing was reapproved by the Ohio Board of Nursing last fall and received the Board’s initial approval in 1980. The bachelor’s degree nursing program received the same eight-year accreditation in 2013, with the next visit in 2021.