SOURCE: NCSBN

December 11, 2008 13:00 ET

NCSBN Celebrates 30th Anniversary

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - December 11, 2008) - Founded in 1978 as an independent not-for profit-organization, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing Inc. (NCSBN®), www.ncsbn.org, marked the milestone of reaching its 30th anniversary this year.

NCSBN's membership is comprised of the boards of nursing in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and four U.S. territories -- American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands. These boards of nursing protect the public by ensuring that safe and competent nursing care is provided by licensed nurses and NCSBN is the vehicle through which the boards act and counsel together on matters of common interest.

NCSBN member boards are charged with the responsibility of providing regulatory excellence for public health, safety and welfare. They recognize that the best way to guard the safety of the public is to ensure that nurses entering the workforce have the necessary knowledge and skills to practice. U.S. boards of nursing regulate more than 2.9 million licensed nurses, the second largest group of licensed professionals in the U.S.

"NCSBN had humble beginnings when it opened its doors in Madison, Wisconsin with one employee and a $10,000 budget," remarks Laura Rhodes, MSN, RN, NCSBN board of director's president, "but it had very lofty ideals." NCSBN can trace its roots to the American Nurses Association (ANA) Council on State Boards of Nursing. The reason for its creation arose out of recognition that in order to guard the safety of the public, the regulation needed to be a separate entity from the organization representing professional nurses.

NCSBN recognizes that it is imperative that nurses entering the workforce have the necessary knowledge and skills to practice. One of NCSBN's primary objectives is devoted to developing a psychometrically sound and legally defensible nurse licensure examination consistent with current nursing practice. The NCLEX-RN® and NCLEX-PN® Examinations developed and administered by NCSBN are constantly and rigorously evaluated to keep pace with the rapidly evolving health care environment.

A very significant moment in NCSBN history came on April 1, 1994, when NCSBN became the first organization to implement computerized adaptive testing (CAT) for nationwide licensure examination. Since then, more than 2.4 million U.S. candidates for nurse licensure have taken the NCLEX exam via CAT. The increasing global nature of the world and influx of internationally educated nurses into U.S. nursing practice led NCSBN to the decision to offer NCLEX testing abroad for the first time in 2005. Since then, nearly 63,000 international nurse licensure candidates have taken the NCLEX in the 10 countries where it is now offered.

With help from the nursing education community, NCSBN created the Learning Extension to help students, nurses and nurse educators meet their educational goals. The Learning Extension currently offers 35 online courses covering a wide range of topics for nurses and nurse regulators. Since its inception in 1998, the Learning Extension has reached over 134,000 nurses in 120 countries.

NCSBN recognizes that health care is a constantly evolving field. In order for nursing regulation to keep pace in this rapidly changing environment, NCSBN has adopted numerous position statements, guiding principles and model acts and rules for use by member boards of nursing. In recent years, these include: the approval of the NCSBN Model Practice Act, which includes the authority to conduct criminal background checks; the adoption of the proposed standard for drug screening results; approving position papers, "Working with Others: Delegation and Other Health Care Interfaces" and "Nursing Education Clinical Instruction In Pre-licensure Nursing Programs;" and enacting the Model Act and Rules For Delegation, the Nursing Assistant Regulatory Model and the Model Process for Criminal Background Checks.

In 2008 NCSBN welcomed its first international associate member. This new membership category is designed to provide a forum by which nursing regulatory bodies from around the globe can join in a dialogue regarding issues of common concern. Additionally, all members are able to share information and knowledge in a multicultural exchange of thoughts and ideas.

NCSBN works collaboratively with other nursing and health care organizations as well as local, state, national and international government agencies aiming toward realizing its vision of building regulatory expertise worldwide.

"We always have been and always will be proud to be on the forefront of nursing regulation," concludes Rhodes.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. (NCSBN) is a not-for-profit organization whose membership comprises the boards of nursing in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories.

Mission: The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), composed of Member Boards, provides leadership to advance regulatory excellence for public protection.

National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc.
111 E. Wacker Drive, Suite 2900
Chicago, IL 60601-4277

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