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Approval vs. Accreditation

Program approval is an essential part of licensure. It is defined as the official recognition of nursing education programs which meet standards of approval established by boards of nursing. Over the years, NCSBN has studied the approval process in boards of nursing.

Why do boards of nursing approve nursing programs?

Licensure in nursing is a two-pronged system. In order for nursing graduates to be eligible to take the NCLEX, the U.S. nursing regulatory model dictates that the new nurse must show evidence of graduating from a board of nursing approved nursing program. By making students eligible to take the NCLEX, nursing faculty verify that nursing students are clinically competent to safely practice nursing. Therefore, nurse educators have enormous power in the licensure model in the U.S. Boards of nursing rely on each other to make sound program approval decisions so that mobility across jurisdictions can be as seamless as possible.

Related Resources

In 2010-2012, NCSBN again comprehensively studied program approval in boards of nursing and developed some bold recommendations, along with a number of resources for boards of nursing. View the 2010-11 and 2011-12 reports on a preferred model for program approval.

Related Webinar

Future of Nursing Program Approval Webinar
Date: October 25, 2012

Future of Approval Toolkit

This toolkit contains valuable information about program approval and national nursing accreditation, such as:

2011 Education World Cafe Meeting

NCSBN began a dialogue about important matters in prelicensure nursing education, approval, and accreditation at a collaborative meeting in Chicago using the innovative World Cafe' format. The conversation was very insightful, with thought leaders Christine Tanner, Joanne Disch, and Michael Bleich challenging the group to stretch their thinking.

Meeting Resources

Contact the Regulatory Innovations department for questions.

Tags: Accreditation,Approval,Education,NCSBN