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ANCC Accreditation Criteria Review: Quality Outcomes 2a (QO2a)

Whether you are an accredited provider such as i3 Health or you are an educational partner working with an accredited provider, it's still important to understand the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) criteria that underlie nursing continuing professional development (NCPD) activities. This is part of a periodic series of posts looking at what each criterion means in general and what it might mean for you.

The fourth and final set of ANCC accreditation criteria focuses on quality outcomes (QO). While we tend to think of quality at the clinical or institutional level, in this case, the ANCC is looking at the quality of the NCPD program. There are 3 criteria within this set. QO2 is divided into 2 parts.

Criterion QO2a states:

Identify at least 1 quality outcome the Provider Unit has established and worked to achieve over the past 12 months to improve Provider Unit operations. Identify the metrics used to measure success in achieving that outcome.

Drawing on the overall evaluation process described in QO1, QO2a asks providers to show how they work to improve their program. As a reminder, an activity is an individual educational intervention while a program is the aggregate of all of those interventions. So when we're looking at program improvement, we're looking at the whole, not individual activities.

To achieve this outcome, a provider only needs to provide 1 quality outcome. This is one of those criteria that's easy to overthink. Don't. A single sentence is all that is required. What is one goal the provider has set for their program? That's it. That is all this criterion is asking for. It may be tempting to go into detail on how this goal will be met, but that is not what this criterion is looking for. It doesn't even have to be a goal that was achieved.

As educational providers, we should always be looking for how our programs can be better. Criterion QO2a is a way to show that this is part of your standard practice. QO2b will expand on the single sentence provided as an answer to QO2a. 

Other Posts in This Series

ANCC Accreditation Criteria Overview

Organizational Overview 1 (OO1)

Organizational Overview 2 (OO2)

Structural Capacity 1 (SC1)

Structural Capacity 2 (SC2)

Structural Capacity 3 (SC3)

Educational Design Process 1 (EDP1)

Educational Design Process 2 (EDP2)

Educational Design Process 3 (EDP3)

Educational Design Process 4 (EDP4)

Educational Design Process 5 (EDP5)

Educational Design Process 6 (EDP6)

Educational Design Process 7 (EDP7)

Quality Outcomes 1 (QO1)


ACCME (2022). Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education. Available at:

ANCC (2021). Writing to the ANCC NCPD Accreditation Criteria Self-Learning Guide. Available at:

ANCC (2021). ANCC NCPD Accredited Provider Applicant Journey Guide. Available at:

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Notes from the 2023 Alliance Annual Conference
ANCC Accreditation Criteria Review: Quality Outcom...