An accreditation review includes an on-site visit conducted by a team of peer reviewers. The team is led by a team leader who is an experienced reviewer and acts as a first among equals. The number of reviewers on a team depends on the number of Educational Units and Nursing Education Programs being assessed.
Role of Reviewers
Reviewers are critical to the success and credibility of the Accreditation Program. They collect data assessing the Educational Unit and Nursing Education Programs against the CASN Accreditation Standards and provide the CASN Accreditation Bureau with a written report of their findings. CASN reviewers are experienced educators, recommended by the Heads of their respective School, and undergo CASN reviewer training. They represent CASN while participating in the accreditation process and sign a form guaranteeing their commitment to the accreditation policies and procedures, including professional and ethical conduct, confidentiality and respect for the intellectual property of the program.
Selection of Reviewers
CASN solicits nomination of reviewers annually to maintain a pool of qualified, trained, anglophone and francophone reviewers. Reviewer must meet the following selection criteria:
- a full-time nursing faculty member or retired from the same within the past three years;
- recently involved in teaching or administering baccalaureate or graduate programs in nursing;
- experienced teachers with at least five years in a baccalaureate or graduate program in nursing;
- actively involved in nursing scholarship;
- educated with at least a Master’s degree in nursing; and
- willing to participate in the accreditation process for at least two consecutive years.
Reviewers are selected for specific reviews according to their previous accreditation experience, and language skills. In addition, they must not generally be employed by a Unit/Program in the same province as that of the Unit and Program to be reviewed, and must also be free of any other potential conflict of interest with the Unit and Program.
Interested applicants who meet the above criteria must participate in an orientation program for Reviewers. CASN provides a web-based generic education on accreditation developed by the Association of Accrediting Agencies of Canada (AAAC), as well as a modular reviewer preparation program delivered by distance in real time in both English and in French. Reviewers are also provided with written information about the role.
Competencies required by reviewers include:
- professional maturity;
- ethical behavior;
- knowledge of and commitment to the accreditation process;
- commitment to quality improvement in nursing education;
- ability to be objective and respectful of differences;
- ability to observe, to interview, to analyze and synthesize information into concise, factual written statements;
- ability to match individual pieces of evidence with standards, descriptors and key elements; and
- ability to provide informed and constructive feedback.