Discussion: Individual Board of Nursing

Discussion: Individual Board of Nursing

Discussion: Individual Board of Nursing

Discussion: Individual Board of Nursing

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Week 9 discussion This week’s content addressed professional and legal issues, state boards of nursing, advanced practice licensure, regulations, scope of practice, and national certification as an advanced practice nurse. It is your responsibility to look at your individual board of nursing and remain up to date with the changes that are carried out in your state. For this week’s discussion review your states scope of practice and address 3 areas that you were not aware you can do as a licensed provider in your state. Submission Details: Post your response to the Discussion Area by the due date assigned. Respond to at least two posts by the end of the week.

A state board of nursing is the state-specific licensing and regulatory body that sets the standards for safe nursing care, decides the scope of practice for nurses within its jurisdiction, and issues licenses to qualified candidates.

All 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands have boards of nursing that collectively represent the member organizations that make up the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). The NCSBN administers the National Council Licensure Examinations that all state boards require as part of the licensing process:

  • Registered Nurses (including advanced practice RNs) – NCLEX-RN exam
  • Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurses – (NCLEX-PN) exam

California, Georgia, Louisiana, and West Virginia have two boards, one for Registered Nurses (RNs) and one for LPNs or LVNs. One state, Nebraska, has a separate board for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).

How State Nursing Licensure Works

State legislatures pass Nursing Practice Acts (NPAs) that establish state regulations for nurses. The NPA lays out the requirements for licensure and defines the scope of nursing practice. State boards of nursing then put the NPA into practice by setting administrative rules and regulations that further define the qualifications for licensure and the scope of practice. Board rules must be consistent with the NPA and can’t supersede NPA mandates.

All boards of nursing are responsible for evaluating applications for nurse licensure, issuing and renewing nursing licenses, and taking disciplinary actions when needed. Other responsibilities that a board of nursing might take on, depending on the state, include:

  • Authorizing the use of licensing examinations
  • Approving nursing education programs that meet established criteria
  • Offering advice to the legislature about determining the legal scope of nursing practice in the state
  • Regulating nurse aides/nursing assistants and medication aides/assistants working in nursing home and home health care settings

State Nursing Boards and APRN Licensing

Just as every state has its requirements for RN licensing, each state also sets its own requirements for licensing APRNs, while also determining the legal scope of practice for APRNs and establishing the APRN roles and titles recognized in the state.

Variations in state laws for APRNs and the confusion they have created for both nurses and consumers has led a coalition of nursing organizations led by the NCSBN to develop the Consensus Model for APRN Regulation, which is an attempt to standardize APRN licensure requirements and scope of practice nationwide.


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