The 4 Board of Nursing Focus Areas

There are four main focus areas for nursing boards: education, practice, licensure, and discipline.


The Board of Nursing plays a pivotal role in ensuring the quality and relevance of nursing education programs. It sets standards for nursing curricula, faculty qualifications, and clinical training requirements, ensuring that future nurses receive the necessary knowledge and skills to provide safe and effective patient care. By accrediting nursing programs and collaborating with educational institutions, the Board ensures that nursing education keeps pace with advancements in healthcare and aligns with evolving patient needs.


The Board of Nursing oversees the practice of nursing to safeguard public health and ensure the delivery of competent and ethical care. It establishes regulations governing the scope of nursing practice, including standards of care, delegation protocols, and guidelines for interdisciplinary collaboration. By enforcing these regulations and addressing emerging issues such as telehealth and nurse staffing ratios, the Board promotes accountability and professionalism among nurses while addressing the dynamic challenges of modern healthcare delivery.Each state has clearly written standards of nursing practice that support the Nursing Practice Act.


Licensure is the process by which BONs grant permission to individuals to engage in nursing practice once all of the requirements of skill and competency are met. There are typically three components of nursing licensure:

  • Verification or pre-verification of graduation from an approved nursing program
  • Verification of successful completion of the National Council License Exam (NCLEX)
  • A criminal background check (varies by state)

This division is also responsible for issuing U.S. nursing licenses to internationally-educated nurses.

Board of Nursing Disciplinary Actions

The discipline process for BONs is intended to be a thorough and formal process. The BONs are responsible to protect the public from the risk of harm from nurses in the form of reasonable laws to regulate nursing. These laws are based on the Nursing Practice Act and allow the BONs to issue appropriate levels of discipline, up to and including termination of a nursing license. When violations occur or a complaint is filed, the BON will review the complaint and investigate the complaint. If there is merit to the complaint or a violation has occurred, the BON will go through a series of algorithms to ensure a consistent and reasonable outcome.

There are several disciplinary actions a BON may issue:

  • Monetary fine or civil action
  • Alternative discipline such as that for drug dependency
  • Public reprimand or censure
  • Education, monitoring or remediation
  • Limited license restriction
  • Suspension of license
  • Revocation of license

Contact your own state's Board of Nursing to view specific publications and resources.

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