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School of Nursing

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program (PMHNP) Frequently Asked Questions 

Questions regarding PMHNP accreditation 

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) conducted their site visit on the Fresno State campus in September 2019. The visit was very positive. The CCNE has been provided all information and data they requested. We are anticipating notification of successful accreditation for the PMHNP program in May 2020. The accreditation would be effective for all students participating in the program as of the fall 2019 semester. 

Current students:  We offered a refund for the course(s) in which the students were currently enrolled. Some students accepted the refund and others elected to remain enrolled as we expect to be fully accredited before they complete the four-semester program.

Former program graduates:  When we first learned of the American Nurses Credentialing Center's (ANCC) decision, we worked closely with the certifying body, ANCC, to be certain that no immediate revocation of any former student’s certification occurred. ANCC granted a period of five years for those who have completed our certificate program and who have passed the certification exam, to maintain their certification. The former students were directed to complete an accredited program and we have been working to provide options to our former students to meet that condition.

We are developing a program that, in collaboration with another CSU accredited PMHNP program - CSU San Marcos - will be an option for graduates who have completed our program and are required by ANCC to complete an accredited program within 5 years to maintain certification. This will be free of cost to the graduates. This program will be offered with online classes in order to eliminate any geographical difficulties for participants. Clinical sites which meet the appropriate standards may be selected at locations which are convenient for the program graduate. 

The CSU San Marcos program is currently on schedule to accept twenty (20) program graduates for initial classes in January 2020. A second cohort of 20 students are currently scheduled to begin in Fall 2020. A final cohort will start in Fall 2021. This schedule will ensure all program graduates have an opportunity to retain their PMHNP credential well before ANCC’s five-year deadline, which expires in February 2024.

At this point, no graduate has lost their national certification. ANCC has provided a five-year period for graduates to complete an accredited program before their certificate is no longer valid. We have focused on developing a remedy and plan to assess any costs or expenses resulting from the remedy, and will reimburse graduates of all expenses. 

We are currently formulating a proposed plan for remedial compensation. We will provide appropriate updates to program graduates on the status of this plan, but the University anticipates that it will need additional time before it can provide any estimate on when it can offer payments and the amount of any such payments.

There is one lawsuit pending [Herington v. Board of Trustees of California State University, Fresno County Superior Court, Case No. 19CECG01465] which has been filed as a putative class action. There are no other lawsuits pending to our knowledge.  

Fresno State has been actively pursuing solutions to this issue since it first surfaced in fall 2018. For example, Fresno State’s legal representative has been in contact with CCNE and ANCC regarding proposed alternatives to meet the expectation that an individual complete a nationally accredited PMHNP program in order to take ANCC’s certification exam or retain certification.

Once the proposed alternative of having our program graduates enroll at CSU San Marcos was accepted by CCNE and ANCC, Fresno State and CSU San Marcos worked  to complete a programmatic gap analysis to identify any differences in classes and clinical hours between the programs. Once these gaps were identified, CSU San Marcos has needed to develop the classes for online instruction and establish standards for completing the clinical hours for the program graduates based on an individual gap analysis. Setting up this structure has taken some time to ensure compliance with CCNE’s standards.

Under the remedial plan with CSU San Marcos, the total number of hours may vary depending on both the total number of hours you completed in the program and the specialization category that some of your hours may fit. As a general rule, CSU San Marcos requires 580 hours and the Fresno State program has required 510 hours. In addition to the overall number of hours, CSU San Marcos requires the following number of hours in various specialty fields:

2 units, 90 hours, Child/Adolescent (determined by individual gap analysis of clinical logs); 2 units, 90 hours, Individual Therapy – Counseling (determined by individual gap analysis of clinical logs); 1 unit, 45 hours, Group / Family Therapy (determined by individual gap analysis of clinical logs).

Generally, as long as the program graduates’ clinical hours meet CSU San Marcos standards, the CSU San Marcos campus has agreed to accept transfer of these hours to minimize the burden of having to repeat clinical hours. However, the clinical hours program graduates completed at Fresno State will also have to comply with the hours required by CSU San Marcos in the specialty fields identified above. 

Given these differences, many program graduates will likely have a minimum of 70 overall hours to complete unless they exceeded the minimum hours while in the Fresno State program. For the specialization requirement, CSU San Marcos and Fresno State will do an individual gap analysis and match as many hours as possible that comply with the specialization categories. The total number of clinical hours needed for each individual program graduate will depend on this calculation and will obviously vary. 

Please be assured that this is a top priority for the University. We are deeply committed to addressing this issue on behalf of our students and graduates of the PMHNP program as quickly as possible. The University continues to work closely with the California State University Chancellor’s Office to identify all viable options. 

We are still looking at any other feasible options that would require less time and work from the program graduates if at all possible.  This approach includes ongoing discussions by the University’s general counsel with ANCC regarding any alternative plans that ANCC would find acceptable. We will keep you updated if there are any developments in this area. 

In addition, we will continue to look at other CSU campuses that have full CCNE accreditation prior to the fall 2021 semester. If we have approval from CCNE and ANCC, we will move forward with establishing these campuses as viable options for giving our program graduates a supplemental option to our current plan with CSU San Marcos if it can provide a more expeditious remedy than the schedule for our current remedial plan.

Question regarding accreditation at Fresno State 

This is the first occurrence of any Fresno State programs having accreditation withdrawn. Other programs at Fresno State have had successful accreditation reviews, and we are confident they will continue to do so. We are about to launch the Center for Accreditation on campus, in order to maintain all programs remain updated on all the requirements necessary to maintain accreditation.  

All schools and colleges fully appreciate the importance of their accredited programs. It is beneficial for those involved to attend workshops and education provided by the respective accrediting agencies and to have frequent correspondence with reviewing teams. The Center for Accreditation will coordinate all processes and resources to ensure a successful timeline and accreditation for all our programs.  

The University, under the Office of the Provost, is implementing a campus-wide Center for Accreditation. The Center will provide oversight and support for all nationally accredited programs.

We take great pride in the quality of all academic programs at Fresno State. All programs are periodically reviewed by our own program review procedures to maintain their quality. The success of our graduates in their careers is a further testament to the value of the education they received at Fresno State.

This is the first program to lose accreditation at Fresno State. The University graduates thousands of students every year with no such issues. This is a very limited, isolated problem that involves documentation of processes essentially - not the quality of instruction or the proven value of a Fresno State education. 

It is best to first talk with either the Department Chair, the Program Coordinator for undergraduate programs, or the Program Coordinator for graduate programs.  These individuals are best positioned to answer specific questions regarding accreditation.