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About Accreditation

What Is Accreditation?

Accreditation is the process by which a voluntary, non-governmental agency or organization appraises and grants accredited status to institutions and/or programs or services which meet predetermined structure, process, and outcome criteria.

The ANCC Accreditation program includes:

Please Note: Accreditation for organizations is distinct from certification for individual nurses. For information on continuing education requirements for nursing certification, visit the ANCC Certification Center or email certification@ana.org or call 1.800.284.2378.

 

What is Primary Accreditation?

Primary Accreditation recognizes organizations which demonstrate excellence in the ability to deliver continuing nursing education (CNE) or approve organizations or individuals that have demonstrated excellence in the ability to deliver CNE. The Accreditation Program ensures the integrity of the accreditation process through systematic, evidence-based evaluation of application materials submitted by qualified applicants for Accredited Provider or Accredited Approver status. ANCC's Primary Accreditation Program contributes to improving healthcare outcomes by providing a voluntary peer-review process that defines standards for high performance in providing quality CNE and measures compliance with those standards for organizations that elect to apply for accreditation.

Learn More

Find an ANCC Accredited Organization

 

What is Joint Accreditation?

The Joint Accreditation Program is an organizational credential for organizations planning inter-professional continuing education. This program is managed collaboratively by ANCC the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).

Goals are to support inter-professional collaborative practice (IPCP) through inter-professional continuing education, and to streamline the accreditation processes. Inter-professional education (IPE) is designed to address the professional practice gaps of the healthcare team using an educational planning process that reflects input from all professionals who make up the team. The education is designed to change the skills/strategy, performance, or patient outcomes of the healthcare team.

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What is the Practice Transition Accreditation Program (PTAP)?

PTAP sets the global standard for nurse residency and fellowship programs that transition registered nurses (RNs) and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) into new practice settings. PTAP provides a road map for organizations to develop new residency or fellowship programs, or to evaluate the quality of their existing programs. These include the following types of transition programs: RN residency, RN fellowship, and APRN fellowship. Residencies or fellowships that meet PTAP criteria exhibit excellence in the domains of development and design, nursing professional development, organizational enculturation, practice-based learning, program leadership, and quality outcomes.

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What is the Nursing Skills Competency Program (NSCP)?

The NSCP is a credential awarded to courses designed to validate a nurse's competence for a defined skill or skill set. The focus of this recognition is on the course, not the organization or individual providing the course. Courses must be designed according to ANCC criteria, which specify selection of qualified faculty and demonstration of validity and reliability in the evaluation process.

Observation of nurses successfully using the skill or skill set in practice is also required. Individuals successfully completing a recognized course receive a certificate of completion that indicates they are competent in the skill or skill set for a prescribed period of time. The NSCP credential does not award individual nursing certification.

Learn More
Find an Accredited Competency Course

Content Integrity

Commercial Interest Organization

ANCC defines an organization as having a commercial interest (known as a Commercial Interest Organization)* if it:

  • Produces, markets, sells or distributes health care goods or services consumed by or used on patients;
  • Is owned or operated, in whole or in part, by an organization that produces, markets, sells or distributes health care goods or services consumed by or used on patients; or
  • Advocates for use of the products or services of commercial interest organizations.

Commercial Interest Organizations are ineligible for accreditation and may not be a provider or co-provider of an educational activity.

An organization is NOT a Commercial Interest Organization* if it is:

  • A government entity
  • A non-profit (503(c)) organization
  • A provider of clinical services directly to patients, including but not limited to hospitals, health care agencies and independent health care practitioners
  • An entity the sole purpose of which is to improve or support the delivery of health care to patients, including but not limited to providers or developers of electronic health information systems, database systems, and quality improvement systems
  • A non-healthcare related entity whose primary mission is not producing, marketing or selling or distributing health care goods or services consumed by or used on patients
  • Liability insurance providers
  • Health insurance providers
  • Group medical practices
  • Acute care hospitals (for profit and not for profit)
  • Rehabilitation centers (for profit and not for profit)
  • Nursing homes (for profit and not for profit)
  • Blood banks
  • Diagnostic laboratories

Complete accreditation criteria, definitions, and application information are available for download here:
ANCC Primary Accreditation Provider Application Manual

ANCC Primary Accreditation Approver Application Manual

*Reference: Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) Standards of Commercial Support, August 2007. The ANCC definition is intended to ensure compliance with Food and Drug Administration Guidance on Industry-Supported Scientific and Educational Activities and consistency with the ACCME definition.

Commercial Support

Commercial support is defined as a financial or in-kind contribution given by an organization that is a commercial interest organization. An organization that provides commercial support may not participate in planning the educational activity.

Receipt of commercial support contributions must be documented on a commercial support agreement. Learners must be informed of any commercial support received for an educational activity prior to the start of the educational activity (required disclosure).

Conflict of Interest (COI)

COI is defined as an affiliation or relationship of a financial nature with a commercial interest organization that might bias a person's ability to objectively participate in the planning, implementation, or review of a learning activity. The potential for conflicts of interest exists when an individual is able to control or influence the content of an educational activity and is in a financial relationship with a commercial interest organization, the products or services of which are relevant to the content of the educational activity.

The Nurse Planner for the educational activity is responsible for evaluating if any individual in a position to control content of the activity has a relevant relationship with a commercial interest organization, and if so, resolve the conflict of interest.

For complete definitions, processes, and actions related to conflicts of interest:

Download the ANCC Content Integrity Standards for Industry Support in Continuing Nursing Educational Activities [pdf]

Joint Providing

Joint providing or joint providership is defined as two or more organizations working together to plan an educational activity. The provider of the activity is the organization that awards ANCC contact hours. The joint provider(s) are the other organizations working with the provider. A commercial interest organization may not be a provider or joint provider of an educational activity.

The provider of the educational activity retains overall accountability for:

  • Determining educational objectives and content
  • Selecting planners, presenters, speakers, faculty, authors, and/or content reviewers
  • Awarding contact hours
  • Recordkeeping procedures
  • Evaluation methods
  • Management of commercial support or sponsorship

Details related to the collaboration are documented in a joint provider agreement. Learners must be informed if the educational activity was joint provided (required disclosure).

Accreditation vs. Certification

What Is Certification?

Please Note: Accreditation applies to organizations. Certification applies to individuals. Questions about continuing education (CE) requirements for nursing certification should be addressed to ANCC Certification Program at certification@ana.org or 1.800.284.2378.

Learn more at the ANCC Certification Center

Can CE Be Used for License or Certification Renewal?

Contact the appropriate licensing or certifying body. For questions about ANCC certification please visit the ANCC Certification Center or address questions to certification@ana.org or 1.800.284.2378.

Contact Hours (CNE Credit)

How To Award Contact Hours (CNE Credit)

There are three ways to award ANCC contact hours (continuing nursing education (CNE) credit) for successful completion of continuing nursing education activities. An organization can:

  • become an Accredited Provider of continuing nursing education,
  • become an Approved Provider through a constituent and state nursing association, or
  • seek and receive Individual Activity Approval for an educational activity from an ANCC Accredited Approver.

Note: A commercial interest organization is not eligible to award CNE credit. To determine if your organization holds a commercial interest download Evaluation of an Organization as a Commercial Interest [pdf]

Accredited Provider
Organizations may apply to become an Accredited Provider of continuing nursing education. This organizational credential enables an organization to plan and present as many educational activities as it chooses throughout the period of accreditation, domestically and internationally.

An Accredited Provider must have a currently licensed registered nurse who holds a graduate degree, and either the graduate degree or baccalaureate degree must be in nursing. Initial applicants may receive accreditation for up to two years, and re-accrediting applicants may receive accreditation for up to four years. View fee schedule. Complete application and 2015 accreditation criteria are available our manuals. Downloadable here: 
ANCC Primary Accreditation Provider Application Manual

ANCC Primary Accreditation Approver Application Manual

Find ANCC Accredited Providers

Approved Provider
Organizations may apply to become an Approved Provider through a constituent or state nurses association (C/SNA) that is an ANCC Accredited Approver. This organizational credential enables an organization to plan and present as many educational activities as it chooses throughout the period of approval. An Approved Provider is required to have a currently licensed registered nurse who holds a baccalaureate or higher degree in nursing.

An Approved Provider must target at least 50% of its educational activities within its local geographic region (see Boundary Rule for Approved Providers under the Eligibility). Each C/SNA has its own application process and fee schedule. An approval period is no longer than 3 years.s

Find ANCC Accredited Approvers 
Organizations listed as state nurses associations may approve providers.

Individual Activity Approval 
Organizations may submit individual activities to an ANCC Accredited Approver to have a specific educational activity approved for two years. Each Accredited Approver sets fees and review time. Some Accredited Approvers offer an expedited review process for a higher fee. 

Each educational activity must include a qualified nurse (Nurse Planner) in planning, implementing, and evaluating the educational activity. The qualified nurse must hold a current, valid nursing license as an RN and a baccalaureate degree or higher in nursing.

Find ANCC Accredited Approvers 
Any organization listed as an ANCC Accredited Approver can approve an individual activity.

 

How to Find Organizations that Award CNE?

An organization accredited or approved to award ANCC continuing education credit must use the appropriate ANCC accreditation statement on its materials for learners. To determine if an organization is awarding ANCC continuing education credit:

Contact the provider of the educational activity and ask if the provider is awarding ANCC contact hours.

Look for an ANCC Accreditation statement, such as:

  • Company ABC is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.
  • Company ABC is an approved provider of continuing nursing education by (name of Accredited Approver) an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.
  • This activity has been submitted to the (name of Accredited Approver) for approval to award contact hours. The (name of Accredited Approver) is accredited an approver of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.
  • This continuing nursing education activity was approved by (name of Accredited Approver), an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

Find an ANCC Accredited Organization

Content

What Content Is Eligible for ANCC Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) Credit?

The definition of CNE states: "Those learning activities intended to build upon the educational and experiential bases of the professional RN for the enhancement of practice, education, administration, research, or theory development, to improve the health of the public and RNs' pursuit of their professional career goals" (2015 ANCC Primary Accreditation Application Manual for Providers and/or Approvers). 

Providers must develop educational activities that address a gap in knowledge, skills, and/or practices for the professional registered nurse. Content chosen for educational activities must be evidence-based or based on the best-available evidence, and the educational activity must be planned independently from the influence of commercial interest organizations.

Continuing education may be awarded for content provided through orientation, skills training, BLS, ACLS, PALS, or similar if the content addresses a gap in knowledge, skills, and/or practices for the target audience.

Content developed by a commercial interest organization may NOT be used in educational activities awarding ANCC contact hours.

Logos

Commercial Interest Organizations
Logos of a commercial interest organization are not permitted within or associated with the content of an educational activity with the exception of required disclosure to learners. Logos of a non-commercial interest organization are permitted at the discretion of the Provider.

May Previously Developed Content Be Used?

The Nurse Planner is responsible for adhering to and complying with the Primary Accreditation. Per the ANCC Primary Accreditation Provider Manual (page 25), “Content that has previously been developed may also be identified as appropriate to include within the educational activity. If previously developed content is incorporated, the Nurse Planner is responsible for ensuring the content meets the criteria for best available evidence and is appropriate in relation to the identified practice gap, and that permission to use the content has been obtained as applicable”.

The Nurse Planner and the Planning Committee must adhere to the following guidelines when incorporating previously developed content into educational activities:

  1. Verify that the previously developed content meets the definition of continuing education as described by the ANCC Accreditation Program in Chapter 3 Educational design Process.
  2. Professional Practice Gap
    - Identify previously developed educational content that validates the professional practice gap.
  3. Learning Outcomes
    - Develop learning outcomes independent of any prior outcomes or objectives for the content and/or provide evidence to support why the previously developed learning outcomes do not require modification.
  4. Evidence supporting the Professional Practice Gap
    - Provide evidence that the previously developed content is current, evidence-based, and meets current standards or practice guidelines.
  5. Assessing and Analyzing for COI
    - Ensure that previously developed content is permissible for use. b. Ensure the previously developed content is objective and unbiased; and excludes any promotional influence.

The Nurse Planner and Planning Committee may not provide a previously developed educational activity and award continuing nursing education credit without complying with these guidelines. Failure to adhere to these guidelines may result in loss of accreditation status.

Updated 2/22/2017

Eligibility

Boundary Rule For Approved Providers

The boundary rule applies to approved providers only, not individual activity applicants. An organization must apply to ANCC if more than 50% of its activities are marketed to nurses in multiple noncontiguous regions, regardless of the marketing method (Internet, flyers, print advertisement, or similar).

The actual audience make up (from local or multiple regions) does not determine whether the organization must apply to ANCC. How the organization markets its activities is the determining factor. The audience make up, however, may provide evidence for the Accredited Approver in order to make an appropriate decision. The marketing method also does not determine whether an organization must apply to ANCC, but may provide additional evidence.

Example #1: An organization provides 100 activities annually and advertises them within a 5 hospital system using a web-based link on its intranet. Only nurses from the local state attend.

  • Eligible to be an approved provider because the organization markets all activities to nurses within a local region.

Example #2: An organization provides 100 activities annually and advertises 60 of them through a national publication. Only nurses from the local state attend.

  • Not eligible to be an approved provider because the organization is marketing greater than 50% of activities to nurses in multiple regions.

Example #3: An organization provides 100 activities annually and advertises 10 of them through a national database of CE activities. Nurses from multiple regions attend the 10 activities. Nurses from the local area attend the other 90 activities.

  • Eligible to be an approved provider because the organization is marketing less than 50% of activities to nurses in multiple regions.

Example #4: An organization provides 100 activities and only advertises in a small, local nursing publication. Nurses from the local area attend.

  • Eligible to be an approved provider because the organization is marketing all activities to nurses within a local region.

Example #5: An organization provides 100 activities annually and states that it advertises them only within a small, local nursing publication. Nurses from multiple regions attend.

  • Requires further investigation. Nurses attending from multiple regions seem to contradict small, localized advertising

To view the HHS Regions and Boundary Map visit: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Region Map

International Organizations

Organizations outside the US may apply to become ANCC Accredited Providers and to have individual educational activities approved by an ANCC Accredited Approver.

View Benefits 
Learn How to Become Eligible
Learn How to Apply
Find Accredited Approvers
Email ANA Accreditation Program 

About NARS

The ANCC's Nursing Activity Reporting System (NARS) is a web-based portal designed to streamline and support the collection of program and activity data from Accredited Providers, Accredited Approvers, and Approved Providers (Providers approved by an ANCC Accredited Approver Unit). The ANCC uses the information in NARS to evaluate/support provider accreditation criterion which is a part of the educational design process for initial accreditation, reaccreditation, and progress report reviews (refer to chapter 4 of the provider/approver manual). In addition, the ANCC will use data from NARS to produce annual reports as a service to ANCC Accredited Organizations and other stakeholders. This system will replace the current Annual Reporting. All Providers and Approvers accredited directly by the ANCC are required to use NARS. Providers approved by a Constituent State Nursing Association (C/SNA) or Federal Nursing Service (FNS) (Approved Providers), should check with their Approver Unit for details.

Nursing Activity Reporting System (NARS)

Convension terms for description of activity characteristics in database to ANCC terms

Please read each activity type definition carefully and choose the best option to categorize your activity. Please note that some activities that are blended may need to be recorded as separate activities and this information is listed in each description.

ACRONYM CURRENT TERM ANCC HELP TOOL
S Synchronous Live
A Asynchronous Enduring
B Blended Blended

 

ACRONYM

NARS TERM

ANCC HELP TOOL

One of the following Activity Type Codes:

Code Key:

 

C Course

A course is a live educational activity where the learner participates in person. A course is planned as an individual event. Examples: annual meeting, conference, seminar.

For events with multiple sessions, such as annual meetings, accredited (approved) providers report one activity and calculate the hours of instruction by totaling the hours of all educational sessions offered for CNE credit. To calculate the numbers of learners, accredited (approved) providers report the number of learners registered for the overall event. Accredited (approved) providers are not required to calculate participant totals from the individual sessions.

If a course is held multiple times for multiple audiences, then each instance is reported as a separate activity.

RSS

Regularly Scheduled Series

A regularly scheduled series (RSS) as a course that is planned as a series with multiple, ongoing sessions, e.g., offered weekly, monthly, or quarterly; and is primarily planned by and presented to the accredited (approved) provider's professional staff. Examples include grand rounds, tumor boards, and morbidity and mortality conferences.

Accredited (approved) providers report each RSS as 1 activity. In addition, accredited (approved) providers follow the following guidelines:

The cumulative number of hours for all sessions within a series equals the number of hours for that activity and each nurse is counted as a learner for each session he/she attends in the series.

For example: Nursing Grand Rounds is planned for the entire year as 1 series. Participants meet weekly during the year for 1 hour each week. The accredited (approved) provider reports the series as 1 activity with 52 hours of instruction. If 20 nurses participated in each session, total nurse participants would be 1,040 (20 nurses per session multiplied by 52 sessions) for that single activity.

IL

Internet Live Course

An Internet live activity is an online course available via the Internet at a certain time on a certain date and is only available in real-time, just as if it were a course held in an auditorium. Once the event has taken place, learners may no longer participate in that activity unless it is again presented on a specific date and time and is only available in real-time. If an Internet live activity is presented on multiple occasions, each event is counted as one activity. Example: webcast.

EM

Enduring Material (Homestudy)

An enduring material is an activity that is printed or recorded and does not have a specific time or location designated for participation. Rather, the participant determines where and when to complete the activity.

Sometimes, accredited (approved) providers will create an enduring material from a live CNE activity. When this occurs, ANCC considers the provider to have created two separate activities – one live activity and one enduring material activity. Both activities must comply with all ANCC requirements.

Enduring materials can be available for less than a year, a year, or multiple years. Each enduring material is counted as 1 activity for each year it is available, whether it is active for the entire year or part of the year. The accredited (approved) provider reports the number of learners who participated during the year. Accredited (approved) providers do not report cumulative data for an enduring material activity spanning multiple years. When reporting the number of participants for an enduring material activity, the accredited (approved) provider should count all learners who completed all or a portion of the activity and whose participation can be verified in some manner. ANCC would not consider individuals that only received the enduring material activity but did not actually complete all or a portion of it to be participants.

IEM Internet Activity Enduring Material

An Internet enduring material activity is an "on demand activity," meaning that there is no specific time designated for participation. Rather, the participant determines when to complete the activity. Examples: online interactive educational module, recorded presentation, podcast.

Internet enduring materials can be available for less than a year, a year, or multiple years. Each Internet enduring material is counted as one activity for each year it is available, whether it is active for the entire year or part of the year. The accredited (approved) provider reports the number of learners who participated during the year. Accredited (approved) providers do not report cumulative data for an Internet enduring material activity spanning multiple years. When reporting the number of participants for an internet enduring material activity, the accredited (approved) provider should count all learners who completed all or a portion of the activity and whose participation can be verified in some manner. ANCC would not consider individuals that only downloaded or accessed the activity but did not actually complete all or a portion of it to be participants.

JN Journal-based CNE

A journal-based CNE activity includes the reading of an article (or adapted formats for special needs), an accredited (approved) provider learner engagement strategy (that may include reflection, discussion, or debate about the material contained in the article(s), and/or a requirement for the completion by the learner of a pre-determined set of questions or tasks relating to the content of the material as part of the learning process.

The ANCC does not consider a journal-based CNE activity to have been completed until the learner documents participation in that activity to the provider.

Each article is counted as 1 activity. To calculate hours of instruction, the accredited (approved) provider specifies the amount of time required to complete the activity. The number of participants reported by the accredited (approved) provider equals the total number of individuals who completed the activity. Each participant is counted once, regardless of how many times they worked on the activity.

For example, an accredited (approved) provider produces a journal that contains an article that is designated as a journal-based CNE activity. Twenty nurses read the article, reflect on the content, and complete questions related to the content of the article. The nurses spend 1 hour on this activity. The provider would report this as 1 journal-based CNE activity with 20 nurse participants and 1 hour of instruction.

MR

Manuscript Review

Manuscript review is based on a learner's participation in the prepublication review process of a manuscript.

TIW Test Item Writing Test item writing is an activity based on a learner's participation in the pre-publication development and review of any type of test-item (e.g., multiple choice questions, standardized patient cases).
CML Committee Learning Committee learning is an activity that involves a learner's participation in a committee process where the subject of which, if taught/learned in another format would be considered within the definition of continuing education.
PI Performance Improvement Performance improvement activities are based on a learner's
participation in a project established and/or guided by a provider in which a learner identifies an educational need through a measure of his/her performance in practice, engages in educational experiences to meet the need, integrates learning into patient care and then reevaluates his/her performance.
ISL Internet Searching and Learning Internet searching and learning activities are based on a learner identifying a problem in practice and then accessing content in search of an answer from sources on the Internet that are facilitated by a provider.
LFT Learning from Teaching Learning from teaching is a descriptive label for a type of activity. (The identification of activity types allows the reporting of data and information on the range of educational formats offered nationally. This helps dispel the myth that accredited CE is mostly lecture, or didactic, in format.)

We want to assist accredited providers who are seeking to further support, facilitate, and recognize the personal professional development associated with the preparation and presentation of education. "Learning from Teaching" activities are essentially personal learning projects designed and implemented by the learner with facilitation from the accredited provider. Guidance has been provided for providers on how "Learning from Teaching" activities can be incorporated into the accredited (approved) provider’s program.

As is the case for all activities, an accredited (approved) provider’s "Learning from Teaching" activities are expected to be developed in compliance with all applicable requirements. "Learning from Teaching" represents a range of activities in which an accredited (approved) provider can facilitate practice-based learning and improvement – where the ‘practice’ could be the person’s professional “teaching practice” or “clinical practice” or “research practice”.

Examples of learning from teaching activities:
  1. A faculty member is asked to give an interactive skills-based workshop on “Sinusitis” designed to address medical students’ inability to evaluate patients appropriately for this condition. The faculty member identifies, through self-assessment, that he/she does not know the anatomy of the sinuses, does not know the pathophysiology of these processes, and does not have a personal strategy in place for taking a history regarding sinusitis or for examining the patient. Therefore, he/she conducts his/her own personal learning project to address these needs—and can then describe what new strategies he/she develops as a result. Also during this process, he/she learns several new skills associated with including x-ray images and 3D-imaging videos in his/her educational presentations using software tools.
  2. To prepare for teaching a skills workshop at a surgical specialty society meeting, physician faculty find that they need to learn how to operate a new laparoscopic device that will be used during the workshop. The specialty society, as an accredited provider, facilitates their training on the new device as a “Learning from Teaching” activity for the faculty prior to their teaching engagement.
  3. An accredited provider makes available a "Learning from Teaching" activity for community learner who have recently been recruited as new faculty for undergraduate and graduate school instruction in the form of "individualized learning projects" where new faculty assess what knowledge and skills they need to teach more effectively, and then makes available training and feedback to improve their teaching skills. It includes one-to-one mentorship and training with educational experts that is scheduled by the learners.
  4. In the process of revising a series of educational seminars provided each year for the orientation of new staff members, an administrator in the risk-management department finds that he/she has to learn and incorporate new medical coding knowledge and strategies that have been published since the last orientation he/she taught. As an accredited (approved) provider, his/her institution makes it possible for his/her to receive credit for his/her “Learning from Teaching” that involves modifications to his/her own coding practices while preparing for the seminars.

 

More frequently asked questions by topic

TOPIC

ANSWER

USER MANAGEMENT

Who can use NARS?

Individuals who are designated as a Primary Contact, Billing Contact and/or leader of an organization Accredited by the ANCC or an ANCC Approved Provider may access NARS with a unique login ID and password. Any of these individuals may add additional users to NARS via the "User Management" tab.The maximum number of users per organization is five.

APPROVER UNITS: Accredited Approvers have the option of entering their Approved Providers activity information OR may grant access to their Approved Providers to upload their own activity data into NARS.  **Accredited Approvers are responsible for entering Individual Activity Applicant data into the NARS system.  Individual Activity Applicants should not log in to the NARS system.**

APPROVED PROVIDERS (providers that are approved by an Approver Unit): Please note that not all Accredited Approvers have elected to grant Approved Providers access to NARS. Please contact your Accredited Approver Unit to for further instructions and to request your login information and details.

Click here to download the most recent version of the NARS User Manual [pdf] 

OPEN AND CLOSED ACTIVITIES

What is the difference between "open" and "closed" activities?

An important concept in NARS is that of "open" and "closed" activities.

OPEN ACTIVITIES: are those that have a minimum set of data entered for them: specifically, activity name, activity type, activity date, and, if applicable, location. Once these data about an activity are entered, the activity is "open", and is saved to the database.

CLOSED ACTIVITIES: are those activities for which ALL NARS required information has been entered. For example, in order for an activity to be considered “closed” by the NARS system, a provider must enter data about the hours of instruction, physician and other learner participants, providership, whether commercial support was received, and if it was, how much was received and from how many supporters. Once all required fields for an activity contain data, NARS considers the activity "closed".

REMEMBER: "Open" and "Closed" does not refer to the life of the activity and does not mean that the activity is complete or no longer being provided by the provider.

PROVIDER ACTIVITY ID
What is the "Provider Activity ID"?

If your organization assigns an internal code or identifier to each of its CNE activities, you may enter it into this field.

The Provider Activity ID field is optional when entering single activities using the NARS web page interface, however, you will need to enter a value for this field in cases where your organization offers multiple activities in the same format on the same date.

The Provider Activity ID is required for all activities included in batch upload files.

The Provider Activity ID is a code or identifier that your organization creates. It is used in combination with the data in the fields Reporting Year, Activity Type, and Activity Date to uniquely identify your activity records. For this reason, providers SHOULD NOT use their ANCC or Accredited Approver-assigned provider ID number as a Provider Activity ID, since this number would be the same for all activities you provide.

REMS (RISK EVALUATION AND MITIGATION STRATEGIES)
CNE in Support of REMS

The ANCC Accreditation Program supports the role of CNE as a strategic asset to US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS), provided the proper controls are in place to ensure independence. The first REMS to incorporate CNE is the Extended-Release and Long-Acting (ER/LA) Opioid Analgesics REMS, approved by the FDA in July 2012. The centerpiece of the ER/LA Opioid Analgesics REMS is a prescriber education program about the risks of opioid medications as well as safe prescribing and safe use practices. The education is controlled, designed, and delivered by accredited continuing healthcare education providers.

Specific activity related data are required for REMS activities.

BATCH UPLOAD ACTIVITIES
What is a tab-delimited batch upload?

The tab-delimited batch upload enables providers to export multiple activity records at one time into NARS. The tab-delimited batch upload process originates with the use of an MS Excel template which closely mirrors the CNE Activity List used previously by ANCC accredited and approved providers to report activities for reaccreditation purposes.

Organizations that already have their own CNE tracking system and have the ability to match the fields in this system to the fields in the template might elect to use this format. The tab-delimited format might also be a good choice for organizations that provide the same activity in multiple locations throughout the year. In this case, ANCC expects you to count each of these events as separate activities. Because the process originates with a Tab-Delimited Activity File Template, a simple way for you to enter many activities with similar data is to copy data from one row to another.

What is an XML file upload?

XML File Export: XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language, a Web standard that makes it easier for computer systems to exchange data over the Internet. In order to collect information in a manner that is consistent with the data communications standards being adopted by medical or nursing education content providers, NARS includes a data upload tool that accepts XML files formatted to conform with the Medical Education Metrics (MEMS) XML standard created by Medbiquitous. Providers that have CNE activity tracking systems that support exports to XML files may wish to explore this option for uploading data to ANCC. Some technical knowledge of your tracking system and XML may be required.

ANCC NARS XML File Upload Instructions

ANCC NARS XML File Upload Instructions [pdf]. click here

ANCC NARS Tab Delimited XML Template

ANCC NARS Tab Delimited XML template file for Providers batch uploading to NARS [xls]. Click here
ANCC NARS Tab Delimited XML template file for Approver Units submitting Individual Activities [xls]. Click here

Instructions for Creating a Tab Delimited File Using the Excel File Template[pdf]. Click here

ANNUAL PROGRAM SUMMARY
What is the significance of "Reporting Year?"

Annually, ANCC aggregates the activity data that is reported by providers and publishes an Annual Report that provides information to the CNE community about the size and scope of the CNE enterprise. The “Reporting Year” tells ANCC in which Annual Report the activity belongs. Most providers operate on a calendar year basis, and for these providers the Reporting Year is equivalent to the year of the Activity Date (For instance, Activity Date = September 1, 2010, and Reporting Year = 2010).

However, certain providers, such as some hospitals and medical and nursing schools, operate on an academic year calendar, and may need to pay special attention to the “Reporting Year” field for each activity they enter. For instance, if a provider offers a Regularly Scheduled Series that begins September 1, 2010 and ends June 1, 2011, the Activity Date would be September 1, 2010, and the Reporting Year may be either 2010 or 2011, depending on how the organization chooses to aggregate their data for purposes of the Annual Report.

What do I need to know about the "Attestation" section of the Program Summary tab?

Each year, the ANCC collects, summarizes, and publishes information about the CNE enterprise. At the conclusion of each Reporting Year, a provider is required to submit information about their activities that took place during the year.

To complete this reporting process, providers are required to attest that their data entry for the current Reporting Year is complete—as an indication to the ANCC that the organization data is ready to be reviewed and included in the information that ANCC compiles and publishes about the CNE system each year. After all activities for the Reporting Year are completed and Closed, and the income and expense information on the Program Summary tab is verified, a provider must attest that its NARS data reporting is complete for this Reporting Year by clicking on the button at the bottom of the Program Summary tab that says, "I Attest that Data is Complete for the [current] Reporting Year."

Once this button is clicked, providers will no longer be able to add or modify activity and program summary data for that Reporting Year. If a provider finds that they do need to make any edits to this information after clicking the Attestation button, they will need to contact the ANCC program office at NARS@ana.org

Pharmacotherapeutics Contact Hour Requirements

Information for re-certifying ANCC Certified Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) and Nurse Practitioners (NP), effective January 1, 2014:

  1. 25 of the 75 required contact hours must be in pharmacotherapeutics.  Important note: If you double category 1, there is NO requirement to double the number of pharmacotherapeutic hours.
  2. These 25 pharmacotherapeutic hours do not need to be formally ANCC accredited/approved, provided the certified nurse meets the requirements for Category 1 contact hours.  (That requirement is: at least 51% of the total number of contact hours must be in your certification role and specialty and at least 50% must be formally ANCC accredited/approved.)
  3. If an educational program includes pharmacy content, please refer to equivalency tables to determine the number of pharmacotherapeutic hours that could be counted towards re-certification. Align calculation with the agenda or content (e.g. 60 minutes of a 2 hour presentation was devoted to pharmacotherapeutics = 1 contact hour).
  4. The educational presentation or conference agenda may be submitted as evidence to validate the contact hour calculation. A narrative note describing pharmacology content within agenda may be necessary to validate content.
  5. The same hours submitted to renew certification may be submitted to a State Board of Nursing for re-licensure.
  6. Pharmacotherapeutic content does not need to be presented by a nurse for the hours to be eligible for re-certification however the presenter must have content expertise in pharmacology.

Providers:

  1. If a provider is developing content to meet the ANCC pharmacotherapeutic hour requirement, content must specifically address pharmacotherapeutics.
  2. Pharmacotherapeutic content does not need to be presented by a nurse for the hours to be eligible for re-certification however the presenter must have content expertise in pharmacology.
  3. When developing the content for an educational activity, it is recommended that the provider delineate the number of pharmacotherapeutic contact hours.
  4. Existing continuing education courses/programs that include pharmacotherapeutic content may be reviewed to calculate the appropriate number of pharmacotherapeutic contact hours.
  5. When a speaker develops content for an educational activity, it would be advised that pharmacotherapeutic contact hours contained within the presentation be calculated at that time.

**Pharmacotherapeutic content may include but is not limited to drug specific information, safe prescribing practices, safe medication administration, prescribing methodologies, new regulations or similar content.

Recordkeeping Requirement

Activity file records must be maintained in a retrievable file (electronic or hard copy) accessible to authorized personnel for 6 years.

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