February 26, 2021
(Feb. 3, 2021) – The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (OADN) are strategically collaborating to assist the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination effort. Together, the organizations will advocate for an increased role for nursing education programs in the vaccine rollout to help meet the goals set forth by the Biden Administration. Through this collaboration, the ACEN and OADN will disseminate information and approaches that can assist nursing programs in identifying how students and nursing faculty can safely and effectively support vaccination education and efforts in their communities. ACEN accredited programs and OADN member schools can be found in every state, as well as U.S. territories and abroad, and these programs are poised to assist in the scaling of vaccine delivery.
The ACEN and OADN strongly encourage nursing programs to actively identify how they can support vaccine delivery in their communities. For full engagement in the vaccine effort, our organizations urge nursing students and faculty to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to them.
“OADN believes that nursing education programs have an important role to play in the unprecedented effort to vaccinate the entire population. Nursing students and faculty have expertise and skills that should be engaged to safely accelerate the vaccine rollout,” said Donna Meyer, Chief Executive Officer of OADN. “The Biden Administration’s National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness encourages states leveraging practical and registered nursing students to surge their vaccinator workforce. OADN and the ACEN believe that this one important strategy towards achieving the Administration’s vaccination goals and ensuring vaccine equity.”
“The ACEN is dedicated to ensuring the highest standards in nursing education. Our broad community of over 1200 accredited nursing education programs is well-prepared to help the nation meet the herculean task of wide-scale vaccination, while simultaneously continuing to prepare the nursing workforce for the future. The ACEN supports students participating in the COVID immunization efforts, as these efforts could be considered Clinical/Practicum Learning Experiences as defined in the ACEN Glossary. Nursing program engagement in the vaccination effort can take many forms, including vaccine administration, patient education, community outreach, and contact tracing, among others,” said Marsal Stoll, Chief Executive Officer for the ACEN. “In a letter to the nursing administrators of ACEN accredited programs on February 1, 2021, the ACEN shared how the Georgia Department of Health is engaging nursing students and faculty to support mass vaccination sites in the state. We encourage all stakeholders to consider this strategy, which includes just in time training and memoranda of understanding, when developing an approach in your state or area.”
“The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has stipulated that clinical trainees, including nursing students, can be trained and utilized as vaccinators at VA vaccine administration sites. Local nursing program deans and directors are encouraged to reach out to local VA nursing leadership to identify the best way to get involved. We will also continue to closely monitor the Biden Administration’s vaccination policies and regulations. This includes any amendments made by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to the Declaration under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act),” continued Stoll.
“Additionally, the National Student Response Network (NSRN), an interprofessional collaborative of health professions students, is seeking nursing student volunteers for various roles in mass vaccination. Students interested in volunteering are encouraged to contact their regional or state coordinator,” noted Meyer.
“On the vaccine education front, the American Nurses Association is developing a coordinated vaccination messaging campaign which will provide COVID-19 vaccine information, encourage all nurses to be vaccinated, and promote vaccine education and uptake by consumers,” added Meyer. “OADN is participating in the development of this messaging campaign and will be sharing the communication tools and related resources once they are completed.”
The ACEN and OADN have joined the COVID-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project which aims to promote equitable access to authorized and approved vaccines through equitable access to information and dialogue. The Project will foster dialogues to address and reduce vaccine skepticism, with the goal to promote equitable vaccine distribution and improved health outcomes for communities hit hardest by COVID-19.
Nursing education programs are encouraged to share how they are supporting the mass vaccination effort; please, share your stories here. Continue to follow the ACEN’s COVID-19 News and Announcements and OADN’s COVID-19 Resources for more information and further developments.
About the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
ACEN supports the interests of nursing education, nursing practice, and the public by the functions of accreditation. Accreditation is a peer-review, self-regulatory process by which non-governmental associations recognize educational institutions or programs that have been found to meet or exceed standards and criteria for educational quality for all levels of nursing education and transition-to-practice programs located in the United States, U.S. Territories, and internationally. Online at www.acenursing.org
About the Organization of Associate Degree Nursing (OADN)
OADN is the national voice and a pivotal resource for community college nursing education and the associate degree pathway. We work to expand networks that promote leadership, collaboration, and advocacy to further enrich nursing education and the communities we serve. Online at www.oadn.org