(a)  Definitions.

(1)           Continuing education in nursing is a planned, organized learning experience taken after completion of a basic nursing program which prepares a nurse to perform advanced skills.  Types of learning experiences that may be considered continuing education as defined in Subparagraph (a)(3) of this Rule include:

(A)          a non‑degree oriented program;

(B)          a course(s) or component(s) of a course(s) within an academic degree‑oriented program; or

(C)          an advanced academic degree‑granting program which prepares the registered nurse for advanced practice as a clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife or nurse practitioner.

(2)           Programs offering an educational experience designed to enhance the practice of nursing are those which include one or more of the following:

(A)          enrichment of knowledge;

(B)          development or change of attitudes; or

(C)          acquisition or improvement of skills.

(3)           Programs are considered to teach nurses advanced skills when:

(A)          the skill taught is not generally included in the basic educational preparation of the nurse; and

(B)          the period of instruction is sufficient to assess or provide necessary knowledge from the physical, biological, behavioral and social sciences, and includes supervised clinical practice to ensure that the nurse is able to practice the skill safely and properly.

(4)           Student status may be granted to an individual who does not hold a North Carolina nursing license but who participates in a clinical component of a continuing education programs in North Carolina when:

(A)          the individual possesses a current unencumbered license to practice nursing in a jurisdiction other than North Carolina;

(B)          the course offering meets one of the following criteria:

(i)            is part of an academic degree‑granting nursing program which has approval in a jurisdiction other than North Carolina or national accreditation; or

(ii)           is offered through an in‑state academic institution which has Board approval for basic nursing education program(s) or national accreditation for advanced nursing education program(s); or

(iii)          is approved by the Board as a continuing education offering, thereby meeting the criteria as defined in Paragraph (b) of this Rule;

(C)          the individual receives supervision by a qualified preceptor or member of the faculty who has a valid license to practice as a registered nurse in North Carolina;

(D)          the course of instruction has a specified period of time not exceeding twelve months;

(E)           the individual is not employed in nursing practice in North Carolina during participation in the program; and

(F)           the Board has been given advance notice of the name of each student, the jurisdiction in which the student is licensed, the license number, and the expiration date.

(b)  Criteria for voluntary approval of continuing education programs in nursing.

(1)           Planning the educational program shall include:

(A)          definition of learner population; for example, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, or both;

(B)          identification of characteristics of the learner; for example, clinical area of practice, place of employment, and position; and

(C)          assessment of needs of the learner; for example, specific requests from individuals or employers, pre‑tests, or audits of patient records.

(2)           Objectives shall:

(A)          be measurable and stated in behavioral terms;

(B)          reflect the needs of the learners;

(C)          state desired outcomes;

(D)          serve as criteria for the selection of content, learning experiences and evaluation of achievement;

(E)           be achievable within the time allotted; and

(F)           be applicable to nursing.

(3)           Content shall:

(A)          relate to objectives;

(B)          reflect input by qualified faculty; and

(C)          contain learning experiences appropriate to objectives.

(4)           Teaching methodologies shall:

(A)          utilize pertinent educational principles;

(B)          provide adequate time for each learning activity; and

(C)          include sharing objectives with participants.

(5)           Resources shall include:

(A)          faculty who have knowledge and experience necessary to assist the learner to meet the program objectives and are in sufficient number not to exceed a faculty‑learner ratio in a clinical practicum of 1:10.  If higher ratios are desired, sufficient justification must be provided; and

(B)          physical facilities which ensure that adequate and appropriate equipment and space are available and appropriate clinical resources are available.

(6)           Evaluation must be conducted:

(A)          by the provider to assess the participant's achievement of program objectives and content and will be documented; and

(B)          by the learner in order to assess the program and resources.

(7)           Records shall be maintained by the provider for a period of three years and shall include a summary of program evaluations, roster of participants, and course outline.  The provider shall award a certificate to each participant who successfully completes the program.

(c)  Approval process.

(1)           The provider shall:

(A)          make application on forms provided by the Board no less than 60 days prior to the proposed enrollment date;

(B)          present written documentation as specified in (b)(1) through (b)(7) of this Rule; and

(C)          notify the Board of any significant changes relative to (b)(1) through (b)(7) of this Rule; for example, changes in faculty or total program hours.

(2)           Approval is granted for a two year period.  Any request to offer an approved program by anyone other than the original provider must be made to the North Carolina Board of Nursing.

(3)           If a course is not approved, the provider may appeal in writing for reconsideration within 30 days after notification of the disapproval.  If the course is not approved upon reconsideration, the provider may request, within 10 days, a hearing at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board, or no later than 90 days from the date of request, whichever shall come first.

(4)           Site visits may be made by the Board as deemed appropriate to determine compliance with the criteria as specified in Paragraph (b) of this Rule.

(5)           The Board shall withdraw approval from a provider if the provider does not maintain the quality of the offering to the satisfaction of the Board or if there is misrepresentation of facts within the application for approval.

(6)           Approval of continuing education programs will be included in published reports of Board actions.  A list of approved programs will be maintained in the Board's file.


History Note:        Authority G.S. 90‑171.23(b); 90‑171.42;

Eff. January 1, 1984;

Amended Eff. October 1, 1992; October 1, 1991; October 1, 1989; January 1, 1989.