Education providers are becoming increasingly subject to external agencies to determine the calibre of the courses that they provide. These external agencies are accountable to government and are required to report on, for example, the quality of the degree standards within and across education institutions. It is therefore vital that education institutions embrace the quality assurance process and adopt a transparent approach that will demonstrate engagement at all levels of the organisation to ensure credibility of the final product and ultimately confidence in the ability of the institution to deliver.

This level of engagement becomes even more challenging when there are two or more external quality assurance agencies involved. The education institution must adhere to their quality control procedures and regulations and are ultimately accountable to government for the quality of the programmes provided. However there is also a requirement to meet the specific standards of the other agencies involved and for courses such as nursing, medicine and dentistry this means meeting the requirements of their specific professional accrediting bodies. These accrediting bodies have professional standards that must be met and these standards are in place to provide protection to the public to ensure that at the point of graduation candidates possess a set of competencies that renders them eligible to provide safe and effective care in their specific discipline. The challenges associated with joint accreditation for professional courses are explored in this chapter using the discipline of nursing as an example.