21 NCAC 36 .0321             CURRICULUM

(a)  The nursing program curriculum shall:

(1)           be planned by nursing program faculty;

(2)           reflect the stated program philosophy, purposes, and objectives, pursuant to 21 NCAC 36 .0302(a)(2);

(3)           be consistent with Article 9A of G.S. 90 and the Rules in this Chapter governing the practice of nursing;

(4)           define the level of performance required to pass each course in the curriculum;

(5)           enable a student to develop the nursing knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for competent practice consistent with the level of licensure and scope as set forth in 21 NCAC 36 .0221, .0224, .0225, and .0231;

(6)           include content in the biological, physical, social, and behavioral sciences to provide a foundation for competent and effective nursing practice;

(7)           provide students the opportunity to acquire and demonstrate, through didactic content and clinical experience under faculty supervision, the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for effective and competent nursing practice across the lifespan; and

(8)           be revised as necessary to reflect changes and advances in health care and its delivery.

(b)  Didactic content and supervised clinical experience across the lifespan appropriate to program type shall include:

(1)           implementing safety principles and practices minimizing the risk of harm to clients and providers through both system effectiveness and individual performance;

(2)           using informatics to communicate, manage knowledge, mitigate error, and support decision making;

(3)           employing evidence-based practice to integrate the best research with clinical expertise and client values for optimal care, including skills to identify and apply best practices to nursing care;

(4)           providing client-centered, culturally competent care by:

(A)          respecting client differences, values, preferences, and expressed needs;

(B)          involving clients in decision-making and care management;

(C)          coordinating and managing continuous client care consistent with the level of licensure. This shall include a demonstrated ability to supervise others and provide leadership within the profession appropriate for program type; and

(D)          promoting healthy lifestyles for clients and populations;

(5)           working in interdisciplinary teams to cooperate, collaborate, communicate, and integrate client care and health promotion; and

(6)           participating in quality improvement processes to measure client outcomes, identify hazards and errors, and develop changes in client care.

(c)  Clinical experience shall be comprised of sufficient hours to accomplish the curriculum, shall be supervised by qualified faculty pursuant to 21 NCAC 36 .0318, and shall ensure students' ability to practice at an entry level.

(d)  All student clinical experiences, including those with preceptors, shall be directed by nursing faculty.

(e)  A focused client care experience with a minimum of 120 hours shall be provided in the final year of curriculum implementation for programs preparing registered nurses.

(f)  A focused client care experience with a minimum of 90 hours shall be provided in the final semester of the curriculum for programs preparing practical nurses.

(g)  Learning experiences and methods of instruction, including distance education methods, shall be consistent with the written curriculum plan and shall demonstrate logical curricular progression.

(h)  Objectives for each course shall indicate the knowledge, skills, and abilities expected for competent student performance. These objectives shall:

(1)           indicate the relationship between the classroom learning and the application of this learning in the clinical experience;

(2)           serve as criteria for the selection of the types of and settings for learning experiences; and

(3)           serve as the basis for evaluating student performance.

(i)  Student course syllabi shall include a description and outline of:

(1)           the course content;

(2)           the learning environments and activities;

(3)           when the course is taken in the curriculum;

(4)           allocation of time for didactic content, clinical experience, laboratory experience, and simulation; and

(5)           methods of evaluation of student performance, including all evaluation tools used in the course.

(j)  Each course shall be implemented in accordance with and evaluated by reference to the student course syllabus.

(k)  Requests for approval of changes in, or expansion of, the program, accompanied by all required documentation, shall be submitted in the format provided by the Board at least 30 days prior to implementation for approval by the Board. Criteria for approval shall include the availability of classrooms, laboratories, clinical placements, equipment, and supplies and faculty sufficient to implement the curriculum to an increased number of students. Approval shall be required for any increase in enrollment that exceeds, by more than 10 students, the maximum number approved by the Board. Requests for expansion shall be considered only for programs with full approval status that demonstrate at least a three-year average licensure examination pass rate equal to or greater than the North Carolina three-year average pass rate for program type.

(l)  The nursing education program shall notify the Board at least 30 days prior to implementation of:

(1)           alternative or additional program schedules;

(2)           planned decrease in the Board-approved student enrollment number to accurately reflect program capacity; and

(3)           changes that alter the currently approved curriculum.

(m)  For all programs using simulation experiences substituted for clinical experience time, the nursing education program shall:

(1)           demonstrate that simulation faculty have been formally educated and maintain the competencies in simulation and debriefing; and

(2)           provide a simulation environment with adequate faculty, space, equipment, and supplies that simulate realistic clinical experiences to meet the curriculum and course objectives.

(n)  Programs not holding national nursing accreditation shall limit simulation experiences to no more than 25 percent in each course, including the focused client care experience.

(o)  Programs holding national nursing accreditation shall limit simulation experiences to:

(1)           no more than 25 percent in the focused client care experience; and

(2)           no more than 50 percent of clinical experience time in each course.

(p)  External standardized examinations shall not be used to determine a student's progression or graduation in a nursing education program preparing students for initial nurse licensure.


History Note:        Authority G.S. 90‑171.23(b)(8); 90‑171.38;

Eff. February 1, 1976;

Amended Eff. June 1, 1992; January 1, 1989; January 1, 1984;

Temporary Amendment Eff. October 11, 2001;

Amended Eff. December 1, 2016; December 1, 2005; August 1, 2002;

Readopted Eff. January 1, 2019.