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Archives - State Agencies - State Board of Nursing

[Authorized: NDCC Section 43-12.1-05]

The State Board of Nursing grew out of the Board of Nurse Examiners which was created in 1915 (S. L. 1915, Ch. 236). The Board consisted of five nursing school graduates who were appointed by the Governor for five year staggered terms. The North Dakota Nurses Association nominated and submitted to the Governor a list of graduate nurses from which the appointments were made.

A member of the Board had to be at least twenty-five years of age, of good moral character, and eligible for registration under the 1915 law. Two of the five nurses had to be teachers or in educational work. The Board elected a president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. The secretary-treasurer position could be held by the same person. Vacancies were filled by the Governor.

The purpose of the Board was to provide for exams, to grant and issue certificates of registration, and to inspect and accredit schools of nursing. A change in legislation in 1939 (S. L. 1939, Ch. 187) required Board members to have five years of experience in nursing education or related experiences. The Board hired a registered and qualified nurse as an inspector of the schools. The inspector could also serve as a member of the Board (S. L. 1939, Ch. 187). The Board accredited a school after inspection, collected a fee for accreditation, and set requirements for the schools. The Board also determined the qualifications for applicants of the nursing schools. 

In 1953, Board members needed only two years of experience before serving. A new duty of the Board was to manage the scholarship and loan fund for nursing students. After assuming responsibility for certifying nursing schools the agency was called the Board of Nursing Education and Nurse Licensing (S. L. 1953, Ch. 268). 

Legislation in 1963 (S. L. 1963, Ch. 307) changed the name of the Board to the North Dakota State Board of Nursing. The Board was composed of seven members, five of whom were registered nurses appointed by the Governor for a term of five years and two were licensed practical nurses who served a four year term and were appointed by the Governor. Board members took the oath of office required of civil officers. The Board also employed an education director of nursing who served as the executive director of the Board.

Changes to the Board in 1977 (S. L. 1977, Ch. 400) specified that members consist of five registered nurses, three practical nurses, and one public member all of whom were appointed by the Governor. Appointments were made for three year staggered terms. The Board met twice a year and offered examinations to applicants. Other meetings were held as needed.   The Governor could remove any member of the Board for cause upon recommendation of two-thirds of the members of the Board (S. L. 1977, Ch. 400). The North Dakota Licensed Practical Nurses Association and the North Dakota Nurses Association submitted the names of three Board applicants for each position and the Governor chose members from that list. This process was repealed in 1981 (S. L. 1981, Ch. 435). 

In 1981 (S. L. 1981, Ch. 435) the Board membership was changed to include five registered nurses, three licensed practical nurses, and one public member. All members served a three year term with a limit of two consecutive terms. Legislation in 1989 (S. L. 1989, Ch. 519) again changed the term. The members now served four year terms with two members retiring each year with the exception of the public member whose term coincided with that of the Governor.  This was changed in 1995 and all members served a four year term (S. L. 1995, Ch. 403).

Other 1995 qualifications for Board membership required that a candidate had to be eligible to vote in this state, must hold an “unencumbered” license, and be a practicing nurse. The public member could not be employed in the nursing profession, or hold a professional nursing license, or have financial interests in any health care entity (S. L. 1995, Ch. 403). The 2003 legislature passed a provision that the majority of registered nurses and the licensed practical nurses on the Board be an active practitioner in a nurse-patient setting (S. L. 2003, Ch. 361).

The Legislative Assembly recognized that the practice of nursing is continually evolving and responding to changes within health care patterns and the assembly would continue to be aware of the existence of overlapping functions within the practice of nursing and other state providers (S. L. 1995, Ch. 403).
An advisory committee was created in 1955 (S. L. 1955, Ch. 283) and was composed of three members designated by the North Dakota Nurse Enrollment Committee to assist the Board in awarding scholarships. It aided the Board in setting the rules and regulations and establishing standard requirements in administering the act. It granted scholarships to students who attended schools of nursing and were studying to be either a registered nurse, a licensed practical nurse, or a professional graduate nurse. It encouraged men and women to enter the nursing profession. Scholarships were established by the 1955 legislature (S. L. 1955, Ch. 283) for qualified residents. In 1987 (S. L. 1987, Ch. 515) the fund was transferred to the Board of Nursing from the State Treasurer but continued as the Scholarship Loan Fund until 1995 (S. L. 1995, Ch. 403) when it was repealed. The Board continued to administer a loan fund for nursing students through the permanent scholarship loan fund that was funded from licenses and registration fees.

Another committee called the Prescriptive Authority Committee was created in 1991 (S. L. 1991, Ch. 454). It included two members from the State Board of Nursing, one of whom was a registered nurse, and a physician appointed by the State Board of Medical Examiners, and one pharmacist appointed by the State Board of Pharmacy. The purpose of this committee was to draft rules for consideration by the Board in the governance of registered nurses who held an advanced registered nurse license and who were authorized to write prescriptions. The committee was abolished in 1995 (S. L. 1995, Ch. 403) when the Board was given jurisdiction over the laws governing advanced practice registered nurses who were authorized to write prescriptions with the stipulation that they notify the State Board of Pharmacy.

Licensing and registering nurses was another responsibility of the Board including issuing a special practice license as needed [NDCC 43-12.1]. Other classifications under the jurisdiction of the Board were: 1) The registered nurse who had been required to be licensed and registered since the first legislation regulating the nursing practice in 1915 (S. L. 1915, Ch. 236). 2) The practical nurse classification came under the authority of the Board in 1955 (S. L. 1955, Ch. 283) and with appropriate qualifications became a licensed practical nurse or LPN (S. L. 1963, Ch. 307). 3) The advanced practice registered nurse was first licensed in 1991 (S. L. 1991, Ch. 454). Persons who continued their education qualified for this classification of advanced nursing skills. They were authorized to write prescriptions and until 1991 the Board regulated those who could write prescriptions (S. L. 1991, Ch. 454). This classification was eliminated in 1995 (S. L. 1995, Ch.403). 4) The specialty registered nurse was first licensed in 2001 (S. L. 2001, Ch. 372). They received additional education in a specific area of medicine. 5) The assistant to nurses came under Board regulation and in 1991 was required to be registered (S. L. 1991, Ch. 453). They were unlicensed persons who assisted nurses with duties that did not require the skills of a licensed nurse. In 2001 (S. L. 2001, Ch. 372) the assistant nurse was renamed unlicensed assistive persons and they had to register with the Board.

Other licenses issued by the Board that were no longer applicable included a licensed transitional nurse (S. L. 1995, Ch. 403), a temporary license (S. L. 1989, Ch. 519), and a limited practice nurse. Reciprocity could be applicable to nurses licensed in another state if they met all of the qualifications found in state law. The Board renewed all licenses and registrations, but the licensee had to show proof of having completed the required amount of continuing education (S. L 2003, Ch. 361). The Century Code listed exceptions.

The powers and duties of the Board have changed many times since regulation of the nursing practice was established in 1915. The chief function of the Board was to regulate the nursing profession by examination, licensure, registration, and to provide for continuing education, professional standards, and disciplinary action of those engaged in the practice of nursing. The Board also set and enforced laws and regulations for nursing practices and collaborated and consulted with the statewide nursing associations. It collected fees, received all money, and paid the expenses. It also collected and analyzed data regarding nursing education, nursing practices, and nursing resources. The Board established a registry of individuals who had been licensed and registered, and it conducted and supported projects pertaining to nursing education and practices. The Board has continued its responsibility for adopting rules of standards for in-state nursing education programs (S. L. 2003, Ch. 361) and has established programs for the rehabilitation of nurses with workplace impairment [NDCC 43-12.1].

Changes in 2013 involved the composition of the State Board of Nursing, qualifications of the Board  members,  and duties of the the members. Other changes were made to licensing and registration requirements and duties of licensees and registrants.  Additionally there were changes to criminal history record checks, disciplinary proceedings, initial licensure and registration, and nursing education programs.  According to the Century Code [NDCC 43-12.1-03] a license or registration is required by any person who provides nursing care to a resident of this state and issued by the State Board of Nursing.  A person may not use the title "nurse" or be referred to as a "nurse" unless the person has a current license or is accepted by the Board.   Definition abbreviations designate the appropriate license for individuals who practice in the state: APRN-means an advanced practice registered nurse who is qualified to use the applicable title for a certified nurse practitioner, certified registered nurse anesthetist, certified nurse midwife, or certified clinical nurse specialist; SPRN signifies a licensed specialty practice registered nurse; RN is a licensed registered nurse; LPN means a licensed practical nurse; and a Registered unlicensed assistive person may use a title identified by the employer.


1915       The Board of Nurse Examiners was created and five Board members were appointed.  The purpose was to regulate the practice of nursing (S. L. 1915, Ch. 236).

1939       Nurses as Board members had to be registered and needed to have a minimum of five years of nursing experience. The Board elected officers and met annually (S. L. 1939, Ch. 187).

1953       The Board was renamed the State Board of Nursing Education and Nurse Licensing.  The Board employed an inspector who could also act as director of nursing education (S. L. 1953, Ch. 268).

1955       A scholarship fund for nursing students was established (S. L. 1955, Ch. 283).
1963       The Board added licenses for the practical nurse program. The Board name was changed to North Dakota State Board of Nursing and it added two licensed practical nurses to the membership. Board members could serve no more than two consecutive terms. Schools were accredited by the Board (S. L. 1963, Ch. 307).

1977       One public member and three licensed practical nurses were added to the Board along with the five registered nurses. Additional Board duties included granting student loans (S. L. 1977, Ch. 400).

1981       The Governor was no longer required to fill appointments from a list of recommendations from the state nursing associations (S. L. 1981, Ch. 435).

1987       Legislation approved funds for the nursing scholarship loan fund and established rules for granting scholarships (S. L. 1987, Ch. 515). New laws were added for penalties and disciplinary action. Complaints against nurses had to be presented in writing to the Board (S. L. 1987, Ch. 516).
1989       Board members were appointed to four year terms and the term of the public member had to coincide with the Governor’s term in office (S. L. 1989, Ch. 519).   

1991       A new subsection was added to the Century Code on the duties of the Board relating to the licensing of nurse assistants (S. L. 1991, Ch. 453). Laws on prescriptive practices were defined and advanced registered nurses were authorized to write prescriptions after giving notification to the board of pharmacy. The Prescriptive Authority Committee was formed (S. L. 1991, Ch. 454).

1995       The laws of nursing practices and licensing were rewritten.  A change removed the requirement that the public Board member’s term had to coincide with that of the Governor.  Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses no longer needed to have five years of experience prior to serving on the Board. The Prescriptive Committee was repealed. Licensing was required for the transitional nurse program (S. L. 1995, Ch. 403).

1999       An act provided that a licensed nurse could delegate the administration of medication in specific circumstances. The Board in conjunction with other entities reported to the Legislative Council and made recommendations regarding the administration of medications (S. L. 1999, Ch. 376).

2001       The Century Code was amended regarding the reporting of injuries (S. L. 2001, Ch. 379). Registered nurses in specialty practice were regulated by the Board. The nurse assistants name was changed to unlicensed assistive persons (S. L. 2001, Ch. 372).

2003       A mandate required that the majority of nurses on the Board had to be engaged in a nurse-patient setting. Guidelines were set for the Board to follow when adopting standards for in-state nursing education programs (S. L. 2003, Ch. 361).

2007       Four new subsections were added to the Century Code relating to the requirements for license renewal in nursing education, practice standards, licensure, and continuing education. Out of state students could be accepted upon meeting the continued competency and licensure requirements as established by the Board [NDCC 43-12.1-10]. The Board issued and renewed registrations for unlicensed assistive persons and the Board could issue limited licenses (S. L. 2007, Ch. 361).

2009       Legislation added a new section to the Century Code relating to disciplinary action against an unlicensed assistive person practicing without following registration procedures. A  Legislative Management study was requested to enable the State Department of Health to administer the registry for unlicensed assistive persons, nurse assistants, and certified nurse assistants (S. L. 2009, Ch. 362). Also the Century Code was amended and an appropriation of funds was allowed for the medical loan repayment program (S. L. 2009, Ch. 363). Legislation created a new section to the Code [NDCC 50-24.1] concerning medical assistance services as administered by advanced registered nurse practitioners (S. L. 2009, Ch. 429).                               

2011       Legislation concerning long term care added a new chapter for a registry for nurses’ aides. Also definitions were added to exempt those supervising in nursing interventions from regulations set up by the State Board of Nursing.  Other exemptions included selecting those who may administer medications and determining exemptions from the Health Care Trust Fund (S. L. 2011, (Ch. 195). An act amended the Code related to prescriptive practice standards for advanced practice registered nurses (S. L. 2011, Ch. 309).

2013       Legislation amended the Century Code relating to definitions concerning advanced practice registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, and special practice registered nurses.  Also addressed were requirements for licensing and registration, the qualifications of Board members, and composition and duties of the State Board of Nursing. The initial licensing and registration, disciplinary procedures, and nursing education programs were also included.  Sections of the Code relating to nursing practice standards and continuing education were repealed (S. L. 2013, Ch.321). Additionally a new section concerned the administration of medications in primary and secondary schools, those exempt from the Nurse Practices Act, and the exemption of  the nurses’ aide registry as a requirement for administering medication in primary and secondary schools (S. L. 2013, Ch. 154). Legislation also amended administration of medications in correctional facilities (S. L. 2013, Ch. 98).

2017       At the request of the State Board of Nursing a new section to the Century Code was added [NDCC 43-12.4-01] regarding the Executive Director of the State Board of Nursing and implentation of a multistate compact for the licensing of nurses (S.L. 2017, Ch. 287). Laws relating to criminal history record checks were amended and applications for initial licensure and registration included new additions to guidelines, general information, and jurisdiction of laws (S.L. 2017, Ch. 288). 


30356 Administrative Files
30357 Nursing Aid Project Records
30697 Minutes
30698 Nursing, State Board of. Register of Nurses Card File
31306 Nursing Scholarship Committee Minutes
31307 Nursing School Accreditation Files
31308 Nurse Training School Records
31309 Audit Reports
32290 Nursing Board, State. RN/LPN, Record of Licensure by Date
32291 Nursing, Board of. Administration, Entry into Practice


Gray, David P. Guide to the North Dakota State Archives, 1985.
North Dakota Century Code.
North Dakota Secretary of State Blue Book.
North Dakota State Legislature Session Laws.

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