By Jade Mardirosian
Baylor’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing has received accreditation for its new nurse-midwifery program by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education’s Board of Review.
Dr. Mary Ann Faucher, associate professor and coordinator of the nurse-midwifery program was extremely pleased to learn of the program’s accreditation.
“Accreditation is really a process of assuring quality and consistency in programs and in this case, in nurse-midwifery education programs,” Faucher said.
Faucher said the school graduated their first class of students from the nurse-midwifery program in May of 2010. The accreditation was given to the program after a site visit, self-evaluation report and additional materials submitted in October of last year.
Dr. Mary Brucker, professor and associate dean for academic affairs at the Louise Herrington School of Nursing, said the accreditation reflects well on the program and school.
“Accreditation is a very important process because it is the peer educators who look at our program and say that we have indeed hit the benchmarks,” Brucker said.
Brucker explained she was “very delighted” to learn the program had received accreditation.
“This way we are able to show to other people how excellent the program is and what quality it is,” Brucker said.
Faucher also said the accreditation will have a positive impact on the students.
“I think [the accreditation] provides the students with an assurance about the program’s excellence and its credibility,” Faucher said. “The fact that we have an accredited program builds upon graduate programs. I think that it definitely is a significant accomplishment for the graduate school at the Louise Herrington School of Nursing.”
Faucher said there are approximately 38 accredited nurse-midwifery programs in the United States. Brucker said that the program “is unique in the sense that it is the only program in the whole North Texas area, there isn’t another nurse-midwife program within 500 miles.”
Faucher explained midwifery practice as “the independent management of women’s health care focusing particularly on pregnancy, childbirth and the post-partum period.”
Brucker adds that a nurse-midwife is a professional who is able to deliver care to women throughout the entire life cycle and for infants up to 28 days old.
“The state of Texas has more women and children that are uninsured and in need [of care] than any other state,” Brucker said. “Nurse-midwives take care of women and babies — the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. If we can make a difference in women’s health care and women can have healthier babies, then we can have a healthier society.”
According to a Baylor press release, the accreditation letter to Baylor President Ken Starr praised the school’s program, coordinator and faculty members, “for an excellent program that will make important contributions to the underserved women and their families living in Texas, as well as those served by their mission work.”
The maximum amount of time for a program to receive initial accreditation is five years.
The next evaluation for the nurse-midwifery program at the Louise Herrington School of Nursing will be due in fall 2015 for review by the board in January 2016. The program was accredited in January.