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Category: Miscellaneous

Autor: anton 05 April 2011

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Regulatory and Accreditation: The Effects on Nursing Faculty

Laurie Fishman, CRNP

University of Phoenix

HSN-548 Role of the health care/Nursing Educator

Emily Piercy, RN, MSN,

October 30, 2006

Regulatory and Accreditation: The effects on nursing faculty

Regulatory agencies and accreditation bodies have held a part in the nursing community for many years. The regulation of nursing began as a simple registry process to protect both nurses and the public alike. Today, the primary purpose of regulation is still the protection of the public, but also relates to defining nursing practices as well as nursing education (Flook, 2003). The roles that regulatory agencies play in the nursing educational setting are many. In order to understand exactly what function any of the participating regulatory or accrediting committees has, a simple definition needs to be understood.

A regulatory agency is empowered to create and enforce rules or regulations that carry the full force of the law. The ultimate goal of nursing regulation is to protect the public from harm (Flook, 2003).Regulatory agencies are in many aspects of life, not just nursing. Some familiar names are the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There are many agencies in the healthcare community that regulate areas within nursing education.

Accreditation is a voluntary, self-regulatory process by which non-governmental associations recognize educational institutions or programs that have been found to meet or exceed standards and criteria for educational quality (Barnum, 1997). Accreditation also assists in the further improvement of the institutions or programs as related to resources invested, processes followed, and results achieved. An accrediting organization evaluates and judges institutions to testify to the institution's achievements (Barnum, 1997). Several accrediting agencies in nursing education include the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) and the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Regulatory Agency

Many different agencies and individuals are involved in defining nursing competency. Five of these entities include the individual nurse, employers of nurses, the nursing profession, boards of nursing, and nurse educators. Each state has a state board on nursing. Each state board of nursing belongs to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). The NCSBN is one such regulatory agency whose mission it is to provide leadership to advance regulatory excellence for nursing practice (NCSBN, 2006). Nursing educators develop competency in students through the use of curriculum content including findings from current research, through evaluation of student performance, and as role models for students (Exstrom, 2001). Ensuring nursing competence is a combined partnership among all the above stated entities. As educators in higher educational settings, they are required to teach the curriculum which will produce competent nurses whom are eligible to sit for and attempt to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) exam. The educator is ultimately guided by the state board of nursing and subsequently the NCSBN to uphold the criteria necessary for the student to graduate and be considered competent. Educators can collaborate with the NCSBN's education department to help with mentoring, curriculum review, and graduate transition.

Accrediting Agents

Accreditation of institutions of nursing education began as far back as the late 1800's when a society was developed for "the establishment and maintenance of a universal standard of training" for nursing (NLN, 2006). Since that time, the National League for Nursing has focused on nursing education and upholding the profession to its highest standards. The National League for Nursing advances excellence in nursing education that prepares the nursing workforce to meet the needs of diverse populations in an ever-changing healthcare environment. The National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) was established and responsibility for all accrediting activities is its primary concern. The National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) is responsible for the specialized accreditation of nursing education programs, both post-secondary and higher degree (NLNAC, 2002). The NLNAC is accountable to the NLN directly through the NLN's Board of Governors (NLN, 2002).

The goals of accreditation for faculty working within the institutions are many. One is that the accrediting agencies are advocates of self- regulation in nursing practice. Promoting peer review is another goal of accreditation. A faculty member who is part of an accredited university or college is offered professional development and an opportunity for validation.

The NLNAC and faculty in higher educational facilities which educate future nurses in various programs are indirectly accountable to the standards for which the NLNAC has determined for such programs. Faculty educators are responsible to the institutions who have achieved accreditation, to uphold the information being taught to students. Since the NLNAC directly reports to the NLN, faculty members will be sure to know they are supported in their roles as educators and leaders who pursue excellence and innovation in teaching (NLN, 2006).

Similarities and differences between regulatory and accrediting agencies

The major similarity between the two aforementioned groups is that the main reason both are in place is to attain the ultimate goal of producing and monitoring competent nursing members. The educator is held accountable to both regulatory and the accrediting agencies to perform and deliver the optimal education to prospective students. The major difference between the regulatory agency and an accreditation group is that the regulatory agency upholds the laws of nursing practice. The accreditation agency upholds the nursing standards; the educator is responsible to uphold both.


In conclusion, assuring competent, nurses to care for patients in an ever changing health care system requires the ongoing involvement of nurse educators and the institutions for which they teach. Nursing educators are bound by the same regulations that all nurses in every aspect of healthcare are held. They are required to teach the newest members of our profession to uphold the standards of care set forth by multiple regulatory and accrediting agencies about regulations that affect their practice (Flook, 2003).


Barnum, B. (1997, August 13). Licensure, certification, and accreditation, Online Journal and Issues in Nursing, Retrieved October 23, 2006, from

Exstrom, S. (2001). The state board of nursing and its role in continued competency [Electronic version]. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 32(3), 118.

Flook, D. (2005). The professional nurse and regulation [Electronic version].Journal of Perianesthesia Nurisng, 18 (3), 160.

National League for Nursing. (2006). Retrieved October 25, 2006 from http//

National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. (2002). Retrieved October 24, 2006 from

National Council of state Boards of Nursing. (2006). Retrieved October 26, 2006 from

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