North Carolina Board of Nursing

Laws & Rules

Badge Law, License Required, and Exceptions

General Assembly of North Carolina
an Act to Protect Patients’ Rights by Requiring Name Badges or Other Identification for Health Care Practitioners

Medicine and Allied Occupations - Health Care Practitioner Identification.
G.S. 90-640 reads as written:

§ 90-640. Identification badges required

(a) For purposes of this section, "health care practitioner" means an individual who is licensed, certified, or registered to engage in the practice of medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, or any related occupation involving the direct provision of health care to patients.

(b) When providing health care to a patient, a health care practitioner shall wear a badge or other form of identification displaying in readily visible type the individual's name and the license, certification, or registration held by the practitioner. If the identity of the individual's license, certification, or registration is commonly expressed by an abbreviation rather than by full title, that abbreviation may be used on the badge or other identification.

(c) The badge or other form of identification is not required to be worn if the patient is being seen in the health care practitioner's office and, the name and license of the practitioner can be readily determined by the patient from a posted license, a sign in the office, a brochure provided to patients, or otherwise.

(d) Each licensing board or other regulatory authority for health care practitioners may adopt rules for exemptions from wearing a badge or other form of identification, or for allowing use of the practitioner's first name only, when necessary for the health care practitioner's safety or for therapeutic concerns.

(e) Violation of this section is a ground for disciplinary action against the health care practitioner by the practitioner's licensing board or other regulatory authority. (1999-320, s. 1.)

Medicine and Allied Occupations – License required.
G.S. 90-171.43 reads as written:

§ 90-171.43. License required

No person shall practice or offer to practice as a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse, or use the word "nurse" as a title for herself or himself, or use an abbreviation to indicate that the person is a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse, unless the person is currently licensed as a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse as provided by this Article. If the word "nurse" is part of a longer title, such as "nurse's aide", a person who is entitled to use that title shall use the entire title and may not abbreviate the title to "nurse". This Article shall not, however, be construed to prohibit or limit the following:

(1) The performance by any person of any act for which that person holds a license issued pursuant to North Carolina law;

(2) The clinical practice by students enrolled in approved nursing programs, continuing education programs, or refresher courses under the supervision of qualified faculty;

(3) The performance of nursing performed by persons who hold a temporary license issued pursuant to G.S. 90-171.33;

(4) The delegation to any person, including a member of the patient's family, by a physician licensed to practice medicine in North Carolina, a licensed dentist or registered nurse of those patient-care services which are routine, repetitive, limited in scope that do not require the professional judgment of a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse;

(5) Assistance by any person in the case of emergency.

Any person permitted to practice nursing without a license as provided in subdivision (2) or (3) of this section shall be held to the same standard of care as any licensed nurse.

August 1999

21 NCAC 36 .0231 Exceptions to Health care Practitioners Identification Requirements:

(a) The licensed nurse or nurse aide II is not required to wear a readily visible badge or other form of identification in the following direct patient care situations:

  1. procedures requiring full sterile dress; or
  2. procedures requiring other protective clothing or covering.

(b) Identification of the licensed nurse or nurse aide may be limited to first name only and level of licensure or listing status when the full name identification may:

  1. place the personal safety of the nurse or nurse aide II in jeopardy; or
  2. interfere with the therapeutic relationship between the nurse or nurse aide and client(s).

(c) In all other situations involving the direct provision of health care to clients, the licensed nurse or nurse aide II shall wear or display a readily visible form of identification to include:

  1. the individual's first and last name; and
  2. the license, approval to practice title or listing title as required by law, or standard abbreviations for such title.

(d) There shall be written agency policy outlining any exceptions to the requirements consistent with Paragraph (b) of this Rule.

History Note: Authority G.S. 90-171.43; 90-171.83(a),(c); 90-178.3; 90-640(a)-(d);
Temporary Adoption Eff. April 15, 2001;
Eff. August 1, 2002.