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ANCC Accreditation Criteria Review: Quality Outcomes 3b (QO3b)

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 three criteria within this set. QO3 follows a similar format to QO2 and is divided into an "a" and a "b". This post will cover the final piece of the standard ANCC criteria: QO3b.

Criterion QO3b states:

Using 1 of the outcomes identified in QO3a, explain how the most recent evaluation process (QO1) resulted in the development and/or improvement of an identified outcome to improve the professional development of nurses, including how that outcome was measured and analyzed.

As with QO2b, this criterion expands on the single-sentence goal described in QO3a. Why was this goal identified? What steps were taken to achieve the goal? How was it evaluated? And, of course, how did it go?

It's important to remember that you aren't required to have achieved the desired outcome. Perhaps you set a goal to increase handwashing rates from 78% to 90%. And maybe your evaluation shows that you've only improved to 85%. Or that you're still at 78%. That's okay. What that shows is that the interventions used didn't work and you need to try something else. What matters is that your program is set up to try to improve the professional development of your learners and that you're evaluating what you're doing to see whether or not you're having an impact.

To achieve this criterion, refer back to the goal you chose to describe in QO3a and provide the details that you left out of that step. And if you find that you wrote too much in QO3a, move it into QO3b. This is the place for the narrative about the goals you set for your learners.

And this is the final criterion required for ANCC accreditation. This series will continue in future posts with a look at the criteria required to achieve accreditation with distinction.

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)

Quality Outcomes 2a (QO2a)

Quality Outcomes 2b (QO2b)

Quality Outcomes 3a (QO3a)


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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