1. Accreditation. Accreditation is the recognition that an institution maintains standards requisite for its graduates to gain admission to other reputable institutions of higher learning or to achieve credentials for professional practice. The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality. (http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/Glossary.aspx)

  2. Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). A nurse who has completed an accredited graduate level education program preparing him/her for one of the four recognized APRN roles; who has passed a national certification examination that measures APRN, role and population focused competencies and who maintains continued competence as evidenced by recertification in the role and population through the national certification program; who has acquired advanced clinical knowledge and skills preparing him/her to provide direct care to patients, as well as a component of indirect care; however, the defining factor for all APRNs is that a significant component of the education and practice focuses on direct care of individuals; whose practice builds on the competencies of registered nurses (RNs) by demonstrating a greater depth and breadth of knowledge, a greater synthesis of data, increased complexity of skills and interventions, and greater role autonomy; who is educationally prepared to assume responsibility and accountability for health promotion and/or maintenance as well as the assessment, diagnosis, and management of patient problems, which includes the use and prescription of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions; who has clinical experience of sufficient depth and breadth to reflect the intended license; and who has obtained a license to practice as an APRN in one of the four APRN roles: certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), certified nurse midwife (CNM), clinical nurse specialist (CNS), or certified nurse practitioner (CNP). (Consensus Model for APRN Regulation) 

  3. Assistive Nursing Personnel. Unlicensed individuals who assist nursing staff in the provision of basic care to clients and who work under the supervision of licensed nursing personnel. Included in, but not limited to, this category are nurse aides, nursing assistants, orderlies, attendants, personal care aides, medication technicians, and home health aides.

  4. Certification. The voluntary process by which a non-governmental entity grants a time–limited recognition and use of a credential to an individual after verifying that he or she has met predetermined and standardized criteria. It is the vehicle that a profession or occupation uses to differentiate among its members, using standards, sometimes developed through a consensus-driven process, based on existing legal and psychometric requirements. (NOCA Guide)

  5. Conditional Approval of Nursing Programs. The status given to a nursing education program when it is not meeting the criteria set forth in regulations.  The nursing program is given a reasonable period of time to submit an action plan and to correct the identified program deficiencies.  (National Council of State Boards of Nursing)

  6. Disease Specific Care Certification. Designed to evaluate disease management and chronic care services that are provided by direct care providers such as hospitals and home care vendors, as well as health plans and disease management service companies. Organizations may seek certification for clinical programs for virtually any chronic disease or condition.

  7. Foreign Educated Nurse (FEN). A nurse who has graduated from a nursing education program in another country and may or may not be licensed to practice in a jurisdiction of the United States. (Other terms: International Nurse Graduate, Foreign Nurse Graduate)

  8. Institutional Accreditation. Institutional accreditation normally applies to an entire institution, indicating that each of an institution’s parts is contributing to the achievement of the institution’s objectives, although not necessarily all at the same level of quality. (http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/Glossary.aspx)

  9. Letter of Reprimand/Admonition. A legal disciplinary procedure whereby a licensee has been admonished for not adhering to accepted standards of practice.

  10. Licensed Practical/ Vocational Nurse (LPN/VN). An individual who holds a current license to practice as a practical or vocational nurse in at least one jurisdiction of the United States.

  11. ​​Licensure. The process by which an agency of state or territorial government grants permission to an individual to engage in a given profession upon finding that the applicant has attained the essential degree of competency necessary to perform a unique scope of practice. Licensing requirements define what is necessary for the majority of individuals to be able to practice the profession safely and validate that the applicant has met those requirements. This regulatory method is used when regulated activities are complex, require specialized knowledge and skill and independent decision-making.

  12. ​Licensure by Endorsement. A nurse licensed in one jurisdiction becoming licensed in a second jurisdiction by meeting any additional requirements for licensure in the second jurisdiction.

  13. Licensure by Examination. An individual who, having met all other qualifications for licensure, qualifies for licensure by passing an examination offered by a jurisdiction of the United States.

  14. Licensure by Waiver. An individual qualifying for licensure without having graduated from a state- approved nursing education program, usually as part of a designated set of waiver criteria. The individual may or may not have taken and passed a licensure examination.

  15. Limited License. A credential issued to a nurse which allows the nurse to function in a restricted capacity which may relate to the manner or setting in which the nurse practices (e.g., could apply to either physically challenged or disciplined nurses).

  16. New Licensee. A newly licensed person in one jurisdiction who was not previously licensed at that level in any other jurisdiction.

  17. No Longer Actively Licensed. Includes those RNs, LPNs, or LVNs whose license is lapsed, inactive, revoked, or suspended.

  18. Nurse Licensure Compact. A mutual recognition model of nurse licensure that allows a nurse to have one license (in his or her state of residency) and to practice in other participating states (both physical and electronic), subject to each state's practice law and regulation. Under this model, a nurse may practice across state lines unless otherwise restricted. (National Council of State Boards of Nursing)

  19. Probation. A disciplinary action taken by a board of nursing in which the licensee's practice is conditioned for a given period of time or until specific requirements are met.

  20. Professional or Specialized Accreditation. A nongovernmental process that is concerned with programs of study in professional or occupational fields and assesses the extent to which programs achieve their stated mission, goals, and expected outcomes. In addition, consideration of the program's mission, goals, and expected outcomes is of importance in determining the quality of the program and the educational preparation of members of the profession. (American Association of Colleges of Nursing)

  21. ​Program Approval. The official recognition of nursing education programs which meet standards of approval established by a state regulatory board (e.g., nursing, medicine, etc.)

  22. ​Registered Nurse (RN). An individual who holds a current license to practice within the scope of professional nursing in at least one jurisdiction of the United States.

  23. Reinstatement. The reactivation of a previously lapsed, inactive, or suspended license to practice nursing. (National Council of State Boards of Nursing)

  24. Revocation. A disciplinary action taken by a board of nursing which nullifies a license.

  25. Suspension. A disciplinary action taken by a board of nursing which temporarily bars the licensee from nursing practice.

  26. Temporary or Interim Permit/License. A provisional authority to practice nursing issued to an individual seeking active license status.

A. Regulatory Terminology

Interagency Collaborative on Nursing Statistics

Nurses, Nursing Education, and Nursing Workforce: Definitions *

Copyright ©  ICONS