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Coastal Alabama Community College Nursing and Allied Health Receives Key Accreditation

Nov 16th, 2021 FeaturedNursing

Coastal Alabama Community College’s Nursing and Allied Health division has been granted provisional accreditation for its Simulation Program by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. The college’s sophisticated simulation labs are housed on the Atmore and Fairhope campuses and were developed to help prepare graduates to be competent in providing safe patient care in complex, rapidly changing healthcare environments.

“This milestone accomplishment is official recognition that our team meets and exceeds rigorous expectations set forth by the accrediting agency,” said Dr. Tiffany Scarborough, departmental director of Nursing and Allied Health.

Simulation experiences provide access to a platform of guided, yet autonomous, learning in a safe environment that affords educational opportunities in the areas of critical thinking, clinical judgment, teamwork, communication, collaboration, delegation, and prioritization. Currently, the Society for Simulation in Healthcare only lists three other facilities in the state of Alabama as accredited: Samford University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and UAB Children's of Alabama.

Full accreditation is only possible for programs with at least two years of outcomes data to share. But the rigorous provisional process is a major step toward that final goal. Over the last year, Nursing and Allied Health educators, including Scarborough and Simulation Coordinator Carman Godfrey, developed their plan which addressed SSH’s 11 standards, which include 80 separate criteria.

“The Simulation Program has evolved into the learning environment that it is today due to Carman’s vision,” Scarborough said. “She worked countless hours ensuring that the standards and criteria were fully and adequately addressed, and her leadership in the Simulation Program is greatly valued and appreciated.”

In all, the provisional accreditation application spanned a 751-page document and resulted in a virtual site visit on Sept. 1, 2021, which critiqued the program’s processes and outcome development and subjected the simulation labs to a comprehensive peer review. The Simulation Program has been granted provisional accreditation through December 2023, with a July 2023 deadline to apply for full accreditation.

“The process of seeking simulation lab provisional accreditation led us to a greater understanding of how to advance the quality of simulation instruction at our institution,” Scarborough said. “Sim lab accreditation means that Coastal Alabama's program is committed to continuous improvement so we can meet our community's needs as effectively as possible. 

“We are confident that we are now a step ahead as it is anticipated that simulation lab accreditation will be a future requirement for healthcare education.”