Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing Grants Highland Specialized Accreditation

The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) has granted the Highland Community College LPN to RN Completion Program initial accreditation at its September 2019 meeting. While all academic and technical programs at HCC operate under accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, several programs also seek to achieve accreditation with specific program-related agencies to further enhance their status within their fields. The Highland Nursing programs are also approved by the Kansas State Board of Nursing.

β€œACEN accreditation is a great achievement for all those surrounding our nursing program. We strive to offer our students quality experiences and coursework. This goes above and beyond to make sure that HCC is doing just that,” commented Deborah Fox President of Highland Community College.

ACEN is the entity responsible for the specialized accreditation of nursing education programs. They support the interests of nursing education, nursing practice, and the public by the function of accreditation.

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Fox continued, β€œthis additional program accreditation is voluntary and requires a sophisticated process including years of preparation and at least three years of program-related data from our faculty and staff. The process is intense. Accreditation assists with further improvements of the institutions or programs as related to resources invested, processes followed, and results achieved.”

β€œIn addition to accreditation, HCC nursing students are succeeding. Our graduating nursing classes have achieved excellent first-time pass rates on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for RNs and PNs. The first-time pass rates in 2017 and 2018 were 100% for the LPN to RN Completion Program and 100% and 89% for the Practical Nursing Program,” noted Highland Community College Director of Nursing Jane Zaccardi.

In addition to the Associate Degree in Nursing: LPN to RN completion program, Highland offers allied health courses for Certified Nurse Aide (CNA), Certified Medication Aide (CMA), Emergency Medical Technician (EMT-Advanced and EMT-Basic), and Home Health Aide. To learn more, visit

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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