JRCNMT Statement on COVID-19
The JRCNMT is closely monitoring the latest information regarding the COVID-19 virus and considering its potential impact on programs and site visits.
We are aware that:
- institutions are preparing action plans to keep students, faculty and staff safe;
- programs are considering alternate methods for didactic course delivery; and
- clinical affiliates are taking steps that may impact clinical education accessibility.
Programs must follow their institution’s directives and make decisions that are best for them and their students. It is the prerogative of programs to provide temporary accommodations for their students in extenuating circumstances. JRCNMT clinical requirements are competency-based. There is no minimum number of clinical hours stipulated in the accreditation standards, though institutions are expected to deliver the program advertised to students. As accommodations are considered, it is important to be mindful of potential consequences for students in terms of finances, degree completion, certification eligibility and future employment. Plans and accommodations should be implemented that do not place the program’s accreditation in jeopardy.
A program must contact the JRCNMT to report institutional implementation of a contingency plan. The notification should include details of what is being done at the program level with respect to didactic and clinical education. Development of a plan does not require reporting to the JRCNMT – only actual implementation should be reported. Notification allows the JRCNMT to proactively monitor the plan’s impact on the program’s accreditation compliance. This information will also inform the JRCNMT on any steps it should take to support programs during this unique situation.
At this time the JRCNMT plans to proceed with scheduling summer accreditation site visits. If the virus remains active in the summer, site visits may be delayed but it is too early to make a decision on this issue.
Please contact the JRCNMT if you have questions. We encourage you to access the most current information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov/Coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
Affiliate Visits by Program Faculty
Since clinical affiliates are limiting access to mitigate spread of COVID-19, the JRCNMT understands that clinical coordinators may not be permitted into affiliates for routine visits. Programs are expected to maintain communication with affiliates according to Standard D3.1j but can do so through phone calls or videoconferences through May 2021. Notes of each session must be maintained, as is required with regular in-person affiliate visits.
The JRCNMT will review this practice in May 2021 to determine whether it will be extended later into the year.
Update - June 29, 2021
Programs are expected to resume in-person clinical affiliate visits at facilities where it is permitted. For affiliates still prohibiting in-person visits, the program should continue to conduct those visits by telephone or videoconference and retain notes of the sessions.