North Carolina Nursing in 2002

North Carolina Nursing 100 Years Later

The North Carolina Nurses Association is the professional association for all registered nurses in the state. It is a state affiliate of the American Nurses Association. NCNA members can participate at the national, state and local level through a system of districts. In addition, 23 specialty nursing organizations are Organizational Affiliates of NCNA and bring their particular viewpoint to the issues surrounding nursing practice in the state.

Throughout its 100 years of representing nursing in the state, NCNA has led the way in many legislative changes which benefit both registered nurses and the patients they care for.

  • North Carolina became the first state (and remains the only state) to have an elected Board of Nursing.
  • The scope of practice of certified nurse midwives was written into law.
  • Funding was secured for the North Carolina Nursing Scholars Program to address the nursing shortage.
  • The North Carolina Center for Nursing was created to study nursing manpower issues and to provide for recruitment and retention strategies.
  • Legislation was passed which enables advanced practice registered nurses to receive direct reimbursement from insurance companies for their services.
  • A collaborative practice bill was passed which enables advanced practice registered nurses to form a corporation with physicians and other health care providers.
  • Certified school nurses employed by the Department of Public Instruction were placed on the Department's certified salary schedule.
  • Legislation was passed which requires all health care providers who deliver direct patient care to have their credentials on their name badges.
  • Advanced practice registered nurses could be listed on HMO provider panels.

For many years, NCNA has led a coalition to increase the number of school nurses with the goal of having a school nurse in every school. Currently, there are counties who have no school nurses while others have a ratio of one to every 3500 students. School nurses not only care for many chronically ill students, but are seen as experts in identifying children with specific health care needs

In 2001, newly-elected Governor Mike Easley declared the first decade of the 21st century as the Decade of the Nurse. The proclamation honors the 92,000 registered nurses in North Carolina for their role in advocating for proper health care for citizens when those citizens cannot speak from themselves; and for their role in providing for the health and well-being of their patients while often placing their patients' needs above their own.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of professional nursing in North Carolina. The celebration will start with a gala reception and premiere showing of North Carolina Nurses: A Century of Caring on October 14 at the BTI Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh. It will continue in 2003 with a large gathering of nurses and nursing students to commemorate the 1903 passage of the first Nursing Practice Act in the United States. Through the past 100 years, North Carolina nurses have had a lot to celebrate and be proud of.

And now the association is issuing another "call to the profession." North Carolina is moving into another nursing shortage. Many hospitals and long term care facilities are already feeling the shortage. NCNA will continue to work with the NC Center for Nursing on their recruitment and retention efforts and with the NC Hospital Association to try to make North Carolina hospitals the "best places to work in the United States." It's an exciting and challenging time to be the spokesperson for professional nursing in North Carolina.

If you would like more information about the North Carolina Nurses Association, please call 1-800-626-2153.