The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSB) is a US non-profit organization whose board members are the State Licensing Boards, medical college accreditation agencies, nursing school representatives, physicians, psychologists, nurses' representatives, public health professionals, administrators and other health care administrators. It is an unpaid, membership organization. The NCSBN publishes a monthly magazine, the “Nursing Times”, which is circulated among its members and has online access to over 80% of the articles available in its archive. The NCSBN also distributes a bimonthly magazine, “RN Review,” which is distributed to registered nursing students and to nursing professionals who have passed the licensing examination for RN licensure.
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing has responsibility for the licensing of nurses and other medical health professionals. Registered Nurses (RNs) must meet a minimum educational requirement, obtain an operating license from the state board and pass a licensing exam, before they are allowed to take their RN licensing examination. The first year of training is considered the Professional Nurse (PN) course, after which at least two years of training in an accredited nursing school may be added to the RN license. Each state has its own rules and regulations governing the continuing education in nursing of registered nurses who apply for licensing.
Every state board of nursing has different rules about continuing education for nurses. Many state boards of nursing require licensed practical nurses (LPN) to complete an additional two years of education after they receive their RN licenses. After that period of time, an LPN should enroll in an approved nurse practitioner school to become a licensed nurse anesthetist [LVN] or nurse anesthetists [LVN]. All nursing schools provide a basic overview of the subjects included in the curriculum. An LPN cannot begin practicing until he/she passes the NCLEX-RN [licensing exam for RNs].
Some states encourage LPNs to continue their education by permitting them to take a second RN degree course. In this way, a nurse can pursue a career related to his/her current education and certification. For example, a nurse might train for six years as an x-ray technician [R] and then pursue graduate studies in radiology, so that she could become an x-ray technician while continuing her education as a nurse. There are many aspects to the continuing education requirement in this situation, but the main one is that the RN would have to complete 16 credit hours from a licensed institute of nursing.
The state nursing board also requires all licensed nurses to complete a minimum number of hours of continuing education each year, in order to maintain their license. This is usually done by participating in an approved nursing program, through a hospital, college or other institution. The amount of time that must be devoted to this process is specified in the state regulations. Completion of the required education does not necessarily mean that a nurse has met all the requirements for licensure, as certain licenses are based on completion of more study than credit hours.
It should be noted, however, that all nursing programs, whether they are designed to fulfill the state nursing board's continuing education requirements or other requirements, must meet national quality standards. Even if a nursing program fails the NCLEX-RN licensing exam, it will still prepare its graduates for the licensing exam. Students should not attempt to meet the passing score on the exam before they have completed the required number of credit hours. It is not possible to predict how successful a nursing program will perform on the licensing exam, and it is . . . . . . unknown whether passing will be based on NCLEX scores or on the number of hours spent on study. Nevertheless, any good nursing program will prepare its students well for the licensing examination.