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Chapter 410-8 REGISTERED NURSING EDUCATION PROGRAMS

Rule 410-8-.01 General Requirements

(1) Rules for nursing education programs shall provide reasonable and uniform standards within which flexibility and creativity, based upon prevailing educational principles, are possible.
(2) A parent institution is defined as an educational institution that is part of the University System of Georgia, the Technical College System of Georgia or a nonprofit postsecondary institution. The board reserves the right to approve any parent institution outside of these categories.
(3) The course of study for initial licensure may be offered through an approved combination of on site, distance learning, or online teaching/learning strategies. Clinical learning activities may not be offered exclusively through electronic modalities.
(4) The majority of learning activities in practice settings must be taught by nursing faculty members according to Rules 410-8-.05 and 410-8-.06.
(5) A parent institution shall grant degrees and maintain the locus of control and fiscal responsibility for the planning, implementation, teaching, and evaluation of the nursing education program.
(6) All nursing education programs must be accredited or show satisfactory progression, as determined by the Board, towards accreditation by December 31, 2020 by a national nursing accrediting body recognized by the Board.
(7) Board representatives shall conduct scheduled site visits to nursing education programs within six months of a national nursing accreditation site visit. At its discretion, the Board may schedule site visits more frequently. A nursing education program may request a site visit.
(8) Representatives of the parent institution and/or the nursing education program shall be notified of any Board meeting at which action is to be taken relative to the program and shall be sent documentation of the action(s) in writing.
(9) Representatives of the parent institution and/or the nursing education program may appeal any board action within 90 days of written notification.
(10) To be approved as first-time writers of the licensing examination, applicants must have graduated from a nursing education program with Initial, Full or Conditional Approval at the time of graduation.

Rule 410-8-.02 Nursing Education Program Approval

(1) Developing Programs.
(a) The Board may grant Developmental Approval to a proposed nursing education program when compliance with Rules 410-8-.12 paragraphs (1) through (3) has been documented.
(b) The Board may grant Initial Approval to a nursing education program with Developmental Approval when compliance with Rule 410-8-.12(4) has been documented. Initial Approval is required prior to the enrollment of at least twenty (20) students in the first nursing courses.
(c) The Board may continue Initial Approval prior to the graduation of the first class when review of materials specified in Rule 410-8-.12(3)(c), the most recent annual report, and most recent site visit report, and program responses to it document compliance with the rules.
(d) The Board may grant Full Approval to a nursing education program with Initial Approval when review of the most recent annual report, the most recent site visit report, and program responses to it document compliance with the rules. At least eighty (80) percent of all graduates must pass the licensing examination as first-time writers within one (1) calendar year of the graduation date.
(e) If the program is not eligible for Full Approval after graduation of the first class, Conditional Approval may be imposed according to Rule 410-8-.02(3).
(2) Established Programs.
(a) The Board may continue the Full Approval of a nursing education program for any period up to ten (10) years. Approval is based upon documentation of compliance with rules relating to annual reports, the most recent site visit report and program responses to it, a passing percentage of at least eighty (80) percent of all first-time writers on the licensing examination over the four (4) most recent calendar years and documentation of accreditation by a national nursing accrediting body recognized by the Board.
(b) A nursing education program, with Full Approval, must submit a written assessment and plan of action for review by the Board if the passing percentage of all first-time writers on the licensing examination is less than eighty (80) percent in a calendar year.
(c) A nursing education program, with Full Approval, must submit a written evaluation of the plan of action for review by the Board if the passing percentage of all first-time writers on the licensing examination is less than eighty (80) percent for a second consecutive calendar year. A site visit by Board representatives will be scheduled.
(3) Conditional Approval.

At any point during the initial approval period for developing programs or within the four-year approval cycle for established programs, the Board may impose Conditional Approval on a nursing education program for reasons, including but not limited to, the following conditions: review of any annual report reveals noncompliance with the rules; review(s) of the most recent site visit report(s) and program response(s) to it reveal continued, documented noncompliance with the rules; and/or the passing percentage of first-time writers on the licensing examination was less than eighty (80) percent for two (2) consecutive graduation cohorts and/or the four-year average was less than eighty (80) percent.

(4) Granting of Full Approval for a Nursing Education Program on Conditional Approval.
(a) The granting of Full Approval will require documentation of outcome measures, including but not limited to NCLEX-RN results, on an annual basis until compliance with conditions identified in Rule 410-8-.02(3) is documented.
(b) The granting of Full Approval may be for any period of time up to ten (10) years as determined by the board. If Conditional Approval has been imposed for noncompliance with the identified four-year passing percentage on the licensing examination, the Board at its discretion may grant Full Approval for one (1) year. The one (1) year approval is based upon the program having documented evidence of at least two (2) most recent consecutive graduation cohorts of a passing percentage of at least eighty (80) percent of its first-time writers in each calendar year even though the four-year average is not eighty (80) percent.
(5) Withdrawal of Approval.

The Board may withdraw the approval of a nursing education program on Conditional Approval when continued, documented noncompliance with the rules fails to be corrected within a time period specified by the Board. In order for students, who are currently enrolled in at least one nursing course when approval is withdrawn, to be eligible for licensure upon graduation, the nursing education program must submit a written plan for their completion of the program or for their transfer to another approved nursing education program. Prior to the actual date of withdrawal of approval, the nursing program will continue to have time-limited Conditional Approval so that students will be identified as having graduated from an approved program and be eligible for licensure by examination.

(6) Reinstatement of Withdrawn Approval.
(a) Representatives of the parent institution and/or the nursing education program may appeal in writing to the Board for reconsideration of withdrawn approval within ninety (90) days of written notification.
(b) Upon written request, representatives of the parent institution and/or the nursing education program may appear before the Board to review its findings regarding program deficiencies and/or the adequacy of the program's plan of action.
(c) After documentation of compliance with rules, as determined by the Board, a nursing education program may petition the Board in writing for reinstatement of approval status and permission to enroll students.
(d) If approval is not reinstated, the parent institution must comply with all rules for the development and implementation of a new nursing education program.
(7) Reconstitution of a Nursing Education Program.
(a) If a program, which has had its approval withdrawn, decides to develop and implement a reconstituted (new) nursing education program, it must document compliance with Rule 410-8-.12. At its discretion, the Board may not require the fee for new programs and the feasibility study if Conditional Approval has previously been imposed on the program.
(b) The average passing percentage of the first class must be at least eighty (80) percent. If compliance with this rule is not documented, approval will be withdrawn.

Rule 410-8-.03 Organization and Administration

(1) The nursing education program must be an integral part of a parent institution accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
(2) The relationship of the nursing unit as a program, department, division, school, or college to the parent institution must be delineated on a current organizational chart in accordance with the structural or functional plan of the parent institution.
(3) The nurse administrator shall assume authority and responsibility for the administration, planning, implementation, and evaluation of the nursing education program. This will include oversight of and budgeting for the program, selection and evaluation of qualified faculty, and evaluation of program outcomes. A percentage of time for, and description of, administrative responsibilities and must be identified. The Board must be notified within 30 days of a change in the nurse administrator.
(4) The minimum length of a nursing education program shall be six (6) academic quarters or four (4) academic semesters, each of which shall include nursing courses with learning activities in classes, simulated settings, and practice settings.
(5) If a nursing education program has an accelerated option for students who have earned a baccalaureate or higher degree in another discipline, or a bridge program for healthcare professionals, the minimum length of study as identified in Rule 410-8-.03(4) may be shortened as approved by the Board. The course of study must be comparable to that required for prelicensure students graduating from the same nursing education program. Healthcare professional means a licensed practical nurse, paramedic, military medical corpsman, or respiratory therapist.
(6) Adequate financial resources shall be provided for the effective operation of the nursing education program and the professional development of faculty.
(7) A faculty/student ratio of at least one (1) full-time nursing faculty member for each twenty (20) students enrolled in the nursing education program (including audited courses) shall be maintained.
(8) The nursing education program shall have a plan for continuous quality assessment and improvement which includes, but is not limited to: organization and administration; curriculum; faculty; students; performance of students and graduates; and educational facilities and resources.
(9) Implementation of the plan for continuous quality assessment and improvement, findings, and relevant actions and/or decisions shall be documented.
(10) All information, course materials, and documentation pertaining to the nursing education program shall be accurate and current.

Rule 410-8-.04 Curriculum

(1) The nursing education program shall be consistent with the mission/purpose, outcomes, and policies of the parent institution and the established and emerging standards of nursing education and practice.
(2) Faculty shall develop the curriculum so that the philosophy/assumptions, outcomes, written plan for its organization and development, teaching/learning strategies, assessment of outcomes and policies are internally consistent.
(3) The curriculum shall be inclusive of courses in humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and nursing which are offered in a logical and supportive sequence appropriate for collegiate study. Courses in the natural sciences must have class and laboratory components.
(4) The curriculum must be balanced in terms of semesters/quarters, contact hours, and student workload.
(5) The curriculum must be inclusive of learning activities in class, simulated settings, and practice settings, in reality-based situations, incorporating caring and the promotion, maintenance, and restoration of health or end-of-life care with people of all age groups who have commonly occurring acute and long-term physical and mental health problems, illnesses, and experiences.
(6) Practice-based learning activities shall occur in diverse settings representative of the continuum of health care and with opportunities for students to engage in learning activities that enable the goals of the curriculum.
(7) The curriculum shall be inclusive of current and emerging issues in nursing, health care, and society.
(8) Teaching/learning strategies, activities, and interactions must include opportunities for praxis, reflection, critical thinking, clinical reasoning, and decision-making.
(9) Teaching/learning strategies, activities, and interactions must facilitate the transition to professional practice by incorporating concepts, including but not limited to: accountability; the provision and coordination of care; advocacy; and collaboration.
(10) In a prelicensure baccalaureate program, learning activities in research, community health nursing, and management/leadership shall be included.
(11) Various strategies shall be used in the assessment and evaluation of student outcomes.
(12) Students enrolled in a nursing education program leading to initial licensure may participate in cooperative internship experiences or programs. Academic credit may be awarded provided that the relationship between the academic and employment aspects of the course is clearly delineated consistent with Rules 410-8-.04; 410-8-.05(10); 410-8-.05(11); 410-8-.06(2), 410-8-.07(5) and 410-8-.08.

Rule 410-8-.05 Faculty

(1) A nursing faculty member includes any registered nurse, appointed by the parent institution, regardless of the institutional designation, who is engaged in teaching/evaluation in classes, simulated settings, and practice settings.
(2) The nurse administrator and nurse faculty members of any nursing education program must be currently licensed as registered nurses in Georgia and authorized as advanced practice registered nurses (if applicable) from the initial date of appointment.
(3) Faculty who are assigned to practice settings in another state or country shall comply with the relevant nurse practice act in that jurisdiction.
(4) The nurse administrator, who is appointed with the authority and responsibility for the development, administration, and evaluation of the nursing program(s) within the nursing unit, must have at least one (1) earned graduate degree in nursing and at least three (3) years of teaching experience in a nursing education program leading to initial registered nurse licensure or completion of a higher degree in nursing.
(5) Any registered nurse, appointed by the parent institution, who is engaged in teaching/evaluation in classes, simulated settings and practice settings, must hold at least a baccalaureate or higher degree in nursing.
(6) For any given academic term, the nursing education program must be able to provide evidence that at least the majority of faculty members are full time and that at least three-fourths of individual full-time and part-time faculty members hold one (1) or more earned graduate degrees in nursing.
(7) A full-time faculty member with only a baccalaureate degree in nursing must be able to provide documentation of progress toward an earned graduate degree in nursing, have experience in the area of responsibility, and be directed by a faculty member with at least one (1) earned graduate degree in nursing.
(8) Faculty members shall have the graduate nursing education, expertise, and professional development necessary to enable the goals/outcomes of the curriculum.
(9) For any course with a nursing title and number, a qualified registered nurse faculty member must be the coordinator.
(10) Faculty members must be available to direct, coach, mentor, and critique students engaged in learning activities in classes, simulated settings, and practice settings.
(11) Effective August 1, 2018, a faculty/student ratio of at least one (1) registered nurse faculty member providing direct supervision for no more than eight (8) students engaged in direct patient care in inpatient practice settings must be maintained to provide for the safety of patients/clients, students, and faculty members.
(12) Faculty members shall participate in and document the development, implementation, and evaluation of the nursing education program.
(13) Policies in effect for nursing faculty, including workload, shall be consistent with those in effect for all faculty appointed by the parent institution.
(14) The process of selection, approval, and role development, and delineation of responsibilities of full-time and part-time faculty members shall be documented.
(15) Out of state nursing education programs that have faculty and students engaged in learning activities in Georgia practice settings must comply with the Georgia Registered Professional Nurse Practice Act.
(16) An international nursing educator, who is not licensed as a registered professional nurse in Georgia and who is participating as an exchange visitor in a nursing education program, may direct, coach, mentor, and critique students engaged in learning activities in classes and simulated settings under the following conditions:
(a) Responsibility for any course, in which the international nursing educator participates, must be assumed by a faculty member appointed by the parent institution;
(b) Monetary compensation to the international nursing educator must not be provided by the parent institution;
(c) Until licensure by examination has been granted, the international nursing educator must not be involved in actual, interactive learning activities with students and patients/clients in practice settings; and
(d) In advance of the exchange period, the Board of Nursing must be notified of the academic and regulatory credentials of the international nursing educator for a one-time period not to exceed all or part of a quarter or semester.

Rule 410-8-.06 Learning Activities with Preceptors

(1) Learning activities with preceptors may be included in a curriculum on a limited basis.
(2) The student shall be enrolled in the course in which the learning activities with preceptors occur and shall not be compensated by the practice setting during this time.
(3) The process of selection, approval, and role development of preceptors shall be documented.
(4) The preceptor shall be currently licensed as a registered nurse and authorized as an advanced practice nurse (if applicable) according to the Georgia Registered Professional Nurse Practice Act or the statute in the state/country in which the practice setting is located.
(5) The preceptor for a registered nurse student may be a non-nurse provided that the designated faculty member serves as the co-preceptor.
(6) The preceptor shall be educated at preferably the same or higher level as the student and have at least one year of work experience in the practice setting in which the learning activity occurs.
(7) The preceptor shall have the education and/or expertise to enable the learning goals of the student.
(8) The preceptor shall be selected collaboratively by the designated faculty member and the registered nurse responsible for nursing care in the practice setting.
(9) The preceptor shall interact with no more than two (2) students at any given time.
(10) Each student and preceptor shall have a readily available, designated faculty member who is responsible for the learning activities in compliance with Rules 410-8-.04 and 410-8-.05(10),(11).
(11) The designated faculty member shall meet with students and preceptors prior to and throughout the learning activities to clarify roles, learning goals, and the assessments of outcomes.

Rule 410-8-.07 Students

(1) Policies for nursing students shall be comparable to those for all students enrolled in the parent institution except in such instances where the nature of the nursing major may require variance. Students must be high school graduates or have documented equivalent education.
(2) Current, accurate, consistent, written information, including but not limited to, the course of study, admissions, options for advanced placement, acceleration, part-time study, articulation, progression, graduation, health requirements, the potential for criminal background checks and expanded medical profiles, and appeals shall be published.
(3) Students shall have opportunities to evaluate learning activities, full-time and part-time faculty members, preceptors, educational resources, and practice settings.
(4) Any registered nurse, who is a student in a baccalaureate or higher degree nursing program, must be currently licensed according to the Georgia Registered Professional Nurse Practice Act in order to engage in any actual, interactive learning activities with patients/clients.
(5) An applicant who has graduated from an international nursing education program and is required by the board to satisfy a curricular deficiency in an approved nursing education program in order to establish eligibility for licensure by examination must be considered as an unlicensed student.
(6) Any registered nurse, who is a student with learning activities in practice settings in another state or country, shall comply with the relevant nurse practice act.
(7) The process for verifying the current license or certificate of any student who holds a health-related license or certificate must be documented.

Rule 410-8-.08 Employment of Unlicensed Students and/or Graduates Prior to Licensure

(1) Unlicensed students, in conjunction with faculty members and/or preceptors, are exempt from licensure during the practice of nursing that is an integral part of a curriculum in a nursing education program.
(2) Students, who are not otherwise licensed or certified, shall be employed only as unlicensed nursing personnel. They shall not represent themselves as nursing students nor assume responsibilities within the scope of practice of a registered nurse.
(3) Graduates, who are not otherwise licensed or certified, shall be employed only as unlicensed personnel prior to licensure. They shall not assume responsibilities within the scope of practice of a registered nurse.
(4) The registered nurse supervising employed unlicensed students and/or graduates prior to licensure is referred to Rules 410-8-.08(2) and 410-8-.08(3) regarding job responsibilities.

Rule 410-8-.09 Performance of Graduates

(1) Acceptable performance on the licensing examination for each nursing education program shall be a passing rate of at least eighty (80) percent of its first-time writers in any given graduation cohort.
(2) A passing percentage of at least eighty (80) percent of all first-time writers on the licensing examination over the four (4) most recent years must be maintained.
(3) Noncompliance with this Rule may result in a change in approval status in accordance with Rule 410-8-.02.

Rule 410-8-.10 Educational Facilities, Resources, and Practice Settings

(1) The parent institution shall provide for and maintain facilities, resources, and services for the effective development and implementation of the nursing education program.
(2) Classes, simulated settings, equipment, and supplies should facilitate the learning goals of the curriculum.
(3) Adequate storage space, with security as appropriate, must be provided for supplies, equipment, and materials.
(4) Comprehensive, current, and pertinent print, non-print and electronic and non-print learning resources must be available for faculty and student needs.
(5) Office and meeting space, with appropriate furnishings and equipment, must be provided for the nurse administrator, faculty members, and staff.
(6) Administrative personnel and support services must be available to meet the needs of faculty members and students.
(7) The parent institution shall maintain a written agreement with any agency that provides educational facilities and resources for the nursing education program which delineates the responsibilities of all involved parties.
(8) Any practice setting affiliating with a nursing education program must have documented approval by appropriate regulatory bodies (if applicable).
(9) Any practice setting affiliating with a nursing education program must have available and appropriate personnel, facilities, and resources to enable collaborative planning, implementation, and evaluation of learning activities.
(10) The parent institution shall maintain a written agreement with each practice setting in which actual, interactive learning activities occur that delineates the responsibilities of involved parties.

Rule 410-8-.11 Reports

(1) Annually by July 1, each nursing program with enrolled students must provide the board with requested information pertaining to the time period between July 1 of the previous year and June 30 of the current year.
(2) The board must receive written reports by a specified date for review at a designated board meeting. Reports include, but are not limited to: advance site visit information; program responses to site visit reports; offering of a nursing course(s) at an off-campus site prior to implementation; new tracks within an approved prelicensure program; and development of major curricular or program changes prior to implementation.
(3) A written explanation must be provided to the board by any eligible program without graduating students.

Rule 410-8-.12 Development and Implementation of New Nursing Education Programs

(1) To obtain approval by the Board for the development of a new nursing education program, the chief administrative officer of a parent institution proposing the development and implementation of a new nursing education program must submit a letter of intent to the Board. The following information must be included:
(a) A completed application signed by the chief administrative officer of the parent institution;
(b) Documentation from the highest governing body of the parent institution granting permission to proceed with development of a nursing education program;
(c) A board-approved feasibility study, completed within one year of the date of the letter, which includes, but is not limited to: rationales for the establishment of the proposed nursing education program documenting an educational need which cannot be met by existing nursing education programs; financial resources; educational facilities and resources; faculty members; resources for electronic and simulated learning; and practice settings;
(d) Evidence of accreditation of the parent institution by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (also referred to as the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) or other regional accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education;
(e) A written plan for the recruitment and appointment of a qualified nurse administrator and faculty members to teach courses across the curriculum; and
(f) The nonrefundable, required fee which does not guarantee any approval status;
(g) Documentation of the appointment of a registered nurse, currently licensed in Georgia, with the graduate nursing education and expertise necessary to develop and implement the proposed nursing education program and assess its outcomes;
(h) Documentation of projected revenue sources (federal, state, private, grants, gifts) and expenditures for five (5) fiscal years to support the development and implementation of the proposed nursing education program. The information must include, but is not limited to: appointment of sufficient qualified nursing faculty members (consistent with Rule 410-8-.05 ); appointment of administrative personnel and support services; and provision of print and non-print learning resources, academic support courses, and educational resources in compliance with Board rules;
(i) A written description for each practice setting proposed for learning activities with a letter of commitment from practice setting personnel to include the possible impact on existing, affiliating nursing programs; and
(j) A five-year timeline for the development and implementation of the nursing education program which includes cohorts of students and faculty members; and
(k) A proposed timeline for initiating and expanding the program.
(2) The nurse administrator and at least two (2) (full-time or part-time) faculty members with the graduate nursing education and expertise necessary to develop and implement the nursing education program and assess its outcomes, must be appointed by the parent institution to submit the following materials for Board review at least twelve (12) months prior to the enrollment of students in the first nursing course(s):
(a) Faculty qualification records for the nurse administrator and faculty members;
(b) Program purpose or mission statement;
(c) Program philosophy/assumptions;
(d) Goals/outcomes of the curriculum;
(e) Written plan for the organization and development of the curriculum;
(f) Curriculum plan, consistent with Rule 410-8-.04, showing the placement, sequence, and credit distribution of all nursing and non-nursing courses;
(g) Syllabus for each nursing course to include the title, credit distribution, prerequisites and corequisite courses, goals/outcomes, and course outline;
(h) Plan for continuous quality assessment and improvement consistent with Rule 410-8-.03(8);
(i) Information specific to the nursing education program, including but not limited to, admissions, options for advanced placement, acceleration, part-time study, articulation, progression, graduation, health requirements, the potential for criminal background checks and expanded medical profiles, and appeals;
(j) A current financial report including expenditures to date consistent with Rule 410-8-.12(1)(h);
(k) A plan for the recruitment of students; and
(l) Current catalog and student handbook for the parent institution.
(m) Any substantive changes since the review of previous reports;
(n) Detailed information for each nursing course in the curriculum consistent with Rule 410-8-.04;
(o) Faculty qualification records for any new faculty members;
(p) A description of any additional practice setting(s) with a written commitment from practice setting representatives to include the possible impact on existing affiliating nursing programs; and
(q) An update on projected enrollment;
(3) Board representatives will conduct site visits to a developing nursing education program as necessary.
(4) Nursing education programs with Initial Approval are required to comply with all Board rules.

Rule 410-8-.13 Discontinuance of a Nursing Education Program

(1) The dean/director shall notify the Board in writing of the intent to discontinue a nursing education program at least one year prior to the discontinuance.
(2) The dean/director shall submit a written plan for discontinuance of the program to include the:
(a) Timetable;
(b) Plan for students to complete the course of study or transfer to an approved nursing education program; and
(c) Provision for permanent retention of student and graduate records.
(3) When a class is not admitted in a given year, the nursing education program must close unless approval has been granted by the Board based on the justification for continuation submitted to the Board.
(4) If a program is discontinued, the parent institution must provide for the completion of the course of study by all currently enrolled students either by continuing courses until those students have graduated, in accordance with 410-8-.02(5), or by transferring them to an approved nursing education program. Prior to the transfer of students, the parent institution must negotiate a written agreement, which delineates all responsibilities assumed by the participating parties. It must be signed by the respective administrative officers and submitted to the Board of Nursing for its review upon request.
(5) The parent institution is responsible for providing for the permanent retention and security of student and graduate records.
(6) If the parent institution also closes, advice should be sought from the Board concerning the permanent safekeeping and availability of records of the nursing education program.