North Carolina Nurse Practice Act

Learn more about the NC Nurse Practice Act

Newspaper article from Raleigh News and Observer

  • Wyche, M.L. (1938) The history of nursing in NC.  UNC Press: Chapel HIll, NC
  • "North Carolina bill became a law March 2, 1903"  (1907) American Journal of Nursing 7(4): 274.
  • Pollitt, P & Miller,W. (2010) North Carolina: Pioneer in American nursing.  American Journal of Nursing. 110(2). 
  • Shannon, M.L. (1975) Nurses in American history: Our first four licensure laws.  AJN 75(8) pp 1327-1329.
  • NC Laws Related to Nursing Practice

   Nurses' Certificate issued by the North Carolina Board of Nurse Examiners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Nurse Pracitce Act - on left is as proposed by the NCSNA on right is as the act passed and was signed by the governor.

 

Section 1:          
That after Jan. 1st, 1904, any nurse who is not less than twenty three years of age, and holds a certificate of training in an incorporated general hospital, showing that he or she has had not less than twelve lectures from the Medical Staff or Superintendent during each year of his or her training; or in a hospital or sanitarium, provided the hospital is a general one and not special, that is, one which accepts and treats medical, surgical and obstetrical cases; or holds a certificate of two years training, in theory and practice, from a State Hospital for the Insane; showing that he or she has attended said number of lectures; and has also attended medical and surgical cases in the hospital, and has practical instruction in obstetrics outside of the hospital, under competent teachers, or instructors; or holds a certificate from a special hospital, showing not less than two years training and attendance upon the sad number of lectures, and who shall also have taken a post graduate course, of not less than six months in a general hospital; or any nurse who can furnish proof of four consecutive years of experience in a hospital where systematic instruction in theory and practice has been given, even if then hospital did not issue diplomas at the time of his or her training, shall be eligible for license and registration as a trained nurse.
 
Section 1:
That any nurse who may present to the clerk of the Superior court in the State on or before December 31, 1903 a diploma from a reputable training school for nurses conducted in connection with a general hospital, public or private, in which medical, surgical, and obstetrical cases are treated, or in connection with one of the three State Hospitals for the insane, or who shall exhibit a certificate of attendance upon such training school for a period of not less than two years, or who shall present a certificate signed by three registered physicians stating that he or she has pursued as a business the vocation of a trained nurse for a period of no less than two years, and is in their judgment competent to practice the same, shall be entitled to registration without examinations, and shall be registered by the clerk of Court in the manner hereinafter provided.
Section 2:
That until Dec. 1st, 1903, any nurse who does not come within the above provisions, but who has had five years of nursing experience, and who can furnish proof of good moral character and professional ability and who can pass the examination by the State Board, shall be eligible for license and registration.
Section 2:
On and after January 1, 1904 registration as a trained nurse shall be made by the Clerk of the Court solely upon a presentation to him of a license from the State Board of Examiners of Nurses as created and provided by this act.
Section 3:
That it shall be the duty of the Superior Court Clerk of any County, on presentation of a certificate duly signed by three physicians, residing in North Carolina, certifying that the nurse applying for license is to their knowledge competent, having had necessary experience or training and is of good moral character, or who holds a certificate or diploma from a general hospital, together with a certificate of good moral character, to register the date of registration with the name and evidence of the application in a book to be kept for this purpose in his office marker ‘Register of Trained Nurses,’ and to issue to the applicant a certificate of each registration under the seal of the Superior Court of such county, Provided, such application be made within twelve months from the date of the ratification of this Act. The said clerk shall be entitled to collect a fee of fifty cents for such certificate. After the expiration of 12 months from the ratification of this Act, upon presentation of a certificate from the State Board of Examiners, hereinafter provided for, it shall be the duty of the Superior Clerk of any County to register and issue a certificate to the applicant, as provided in Section 3.
Section 3:
There shall be established a Board of Examiners of Nurses composed of five members, two physicians and three registered nurses to be elected by the Medical Society of the State of North Carolina and the North Carolina State Nurses’ Association respectively, to be known by the title of ‘The Board of Examiners of Trained Nurses’ of North Carolina. Their term of office shall be three years. Three members, one of whom shall be a physician, shall constitute a quorum, and a majority of those present shall be a deciding vote. They shall each receive as compensation for his or her services while engaged in the work of the Board four dollars a day and actual traveling and hotel expenses, the same to be paid out of money received from license issued, and in no case to be charged upon the Treasury of the State.
Section 4:
That there shall be established a State board of Examiners of Trained Nurses, consisting of seven members, three physicians appointed by the President of the State Medical Society and four licensed nurses, belonging to the North Carolina State Nurses’ Association, and appointed by their President, whose duty it shall be, after the expiration of twelve months from the ratification of this Act, to examine all applicants for license as trained nurses as to their qualifications and competency. Three members of this Board shall constitute a quorum and a majority of those present shall decide upon the qualification of the applicant. Candidates will be examined in elements of anatomy, physiology, medical, surgical, obstetrical and practical nursing, invalid cookery and household hygiene. The said Board shall be elected for three years and hold an annual meeting at time and place to be determined upon by the Board. In case of a vacancy from any cause, this Board or a quorum thereof, is empowered to fill such vacancy.
Section 4: 
The said Board of Examiners is authorized to elect such officers and frame such by-laws as may be necessary, and upon the occurrence of a vacancy is empowered to fill such vacancy for the unexpired term.
Section 5:
Each application for examination shall be accompanied by One Dollar, and upon the issuing of a certificate, another dollar shall be paid, which fees shall go towards defraying the expenses of the Board. If the application, on examination, shall be found competent and qualified, the Board shall issue a certificate to that effect, which, upon being exhibited to the Clerk of the Superior Court of any County, shall entitle the applicant to license and registration as provided in Section 3.
 
Section 5:
At meetings it shall be their duty to examine all applicants for license as registered nurse, of good moral character, in the elements of anatomy and physiology, in medical, surgical, obstetrical and practical nursing, invalid cookery and household hygiene, and if on such examination they be found competent to grant each applicant a license authorizing her or him to register, as hereinafter provided, and to use the title ‘Registered Nurse’ signified by the letters R.N. The said Board of Examiners may in its discretion, issue license without examination to such applicants as shall furnish evidence of competency entirely satisfactory to them. Each applicant before receiving license, shall pay a fee of $5.00 which shall be used for defraying the expenses of the Board.
Section 6:
The State Board of Examiners of Nurses shall have the power to revoke any certificate or license issued in accordance with this Act by a majority vote of said Board for gross incompetency, dishonesty, habitual intemperance, or any act derogatory to the morals or standing of the profession of nursing as may be determined by the Board, but before any license or certificate shall be revoked, the holder thereof, shall be entitled to no less than twenty days notice of the charge against her or him, and of the time and place of the hearing and determining of such charges, at which time and place she or he shall be entitled to be heard. Upon the revocation of any certificate or license, it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Board to strike the name of the holder thereof from the roll of registered nurses, and to notify the Superior Court Clerk of the County where the holder is registered, and upon receipt of notice the said Clerk shall cancel such registration. It shall further be the duty of said Secretary of the Board to demand of the holder to surrender the certificate or license held by him or her.
Section 6:
The Clerk of the Superior Court of any county upon presentation to him of a license from the said Board of Examiners, shall register the date of registration with the name and residence of the holder thereof in a book to be kept in his office for this purpose and marked ‘Register of Trained Nurses,’ and shall issue to the applicant a certificate of such registration under the seal of Superior Court of the County, upon the form furnished him as hereinafter provided, for which registration he shall be paid 50 cents by the applicant.
Section 7:
Any person who shall procure a license under this Act by means of any false and fraudulent representation or by the production of false certificate or testimonials, or who shall refuse to surrender for cancellation a certificate of registration or license which shall be revoked under the provisions of Sec. 6, shall be guilty of misdemeanor.
 
 
Section 7:
It shall be the duty of the North Carolina State Nurses’ Association to prescribe a proper form of the Certificate required by this act, and to furnish the same in sufficient quantity suitably bound in a book and labeled ‘Register of Trained Nurses’ to the Clerk of the Court of each county in North Carolina.
Section 8:
In all appointments of nurses in hospitals under the control of the State, County or City, preference of employment in regard to future vacancies shall be given to registered nurses, provided that nothing herein contained shall be construed to interfere with the employment of pupil nurses, and no pupil nurse who has had less than two years’ training shall be sent out to take charge of a private case.
Section 8:
The said Board of Examiners shall have power after 20 days notice of the charges preferred and the time and place of meeting and after a full and fair hearing on the same by a majority vote of the whole Board, to revoke any license issued by them for gross incompetency, dishonesty, habitual intemperance, or any other act in the judgment of the Board derogatory to the morals or standing of the profession of nursing. Upon the revocation of a license or certificate the name of the holder thereof shall be stricken from the roll of registered nurses in the hands of the Secretary of the Board, and upon notification of such action by the said Secretary by the Clerk of the Court from his register.
Section 9:
It shall not be lawful for any Hospital, Sanitarium or Training School in the State of North Carolina, whether incorporated or otherwise, to issue diplomas, certificates or any other credentials certifying to the competency of their pupils as trained or graduated nurses, unless they have had the instruction, training and experience provided for in Sec. 1 of this Act.
Section 9:
Any person procuring a license under this act by false representation or who shall refuse to surrender a license which has been revoked in the manner prescribed in Section 8, or who shall use the title ‘R.N.’ without first having obtained license to do so, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be fined not more than $50.00 or imprisoned not exceeding 30 days.
Section 10:
This Act shall not be construed to affect or apply to the gratuitous nursing of the sick by friends or members of the family, or to any person nursing the sick for hire who does not, in any way, assume to be a registered or trained nurse.
Section 10:
Nothing in this act shall in any manner whatever curtail or abridge the right and privilege of any person to pursue the vocation of a nurse, whether trained or untrained, registered or not registered.
Section 11:
Every person who shall duly receive license in accordance with the provisions of this Act, shall be known and styled a ‘Registered Trained Nurse,’ and it shall be unlawful after twelve months from the passage of this Act, for any person to practice professional nursing of the sick as such without a license from the State, or to advertise as, or assume the title of trained nurse, graduate nurse, or to use the abbreviation of T.N., G.N., R.N., and R.G.N., or any other words, letters or figures to indicate that the person using the same is a trained, registered or graduate nurse.
Section 11:
That this act shall be in force from and after its ratification.
Section 12:
That this act shall be in force and effect from and after its ratification.