Nursing boards, including the Ohio Board of Nursing, are legally responsible for enforcing their state’s nurse practice act. They establish standards for safe nursing care and issue licenses to practice nursing. They monitor compliance with state laws and are empowered to take action against licensees who have exhibited unsafe nursing practice. Nursing boards oversee education requirements, rules for licensure, and define the scope of nursing practice in their state (NCSBN, 2018a).
Nursing scope of practice and responsibilities vary from state to state. Because of this, nurses in the United States are responsible for knowing the regulatory requirements for nursing and the nurse practice act in every state in which they are practicing (NCSBN, 2018a).
Guiding Principles of Boards of Nursing
Nursing boards are responsible for:
- Protecting the public
- Ensuring the competence of all practitioners regulated by the board
- Ensuring due process and ethical decision making
- Sharing accountability
- Engaging in strategic collaboration
- Developing evidence-based regulations
- Responding to the marketplace and healthcare environment
- Understanding the globalization of nursing
Source: National Council of State Boards of Nursing, 2018a.
The Ohio Board of Nursing (BON) is both a regulatory board and a state government agency. Its chief responsibility is to implement and enforce state laws related to nursing licensure, nursing practices, nursing education, and Ohio nursing schools.
The Ohio BON was established by the Ohio state legislature through enactment of a law, which mandates its structure and functions. Board members are public officials and their meetings and most of their records are open to the public. Members of the Ohio BON may be appointed by the governor or the state legislature. Individual healthcare practitioners must pay licensure fees to the BON in order to practice legally in the state of Ohio (OBN, 2016).
The powers and duties of the Ohio Board of Nursing are defined in Chapters 4723.02 and 4723.06 of the Ohio Revised Code. The overall mission of the board is “to actively safeguard the health of the public through effective regulation of nursing care” (Ohio BON, 2016).
Licensees and certificate holders regulated by the Board include registered nurses, advanced practice registered nurses (certified nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, and certified registered nurse anesthetists), licensed practical nurses, dialysis technicians, medication aides, and certified community health workers (OBN, 2016).
Eight registered nurses, four licensed practical nurses, and one consumer make up a thirteen-member board appointed by the governor. Of the eight registered nurses on the board, one must be authorized to practice as an advanced practice registered nurse. The consumer member of the board, who is not a nurse, is appointed to represent the interests of consumers of healthcare. The board elects one of its registered nurse members to serve as the supervising member for disciplinary matters (OBN, 2016).
The Board regulates over 297,000 licenses and certificates, an increase from 223,000 in 2009. Nearly 17,000 of those are Advanced Practice RNs (APRNs) and over 48,000 are licensed practical nurses (LPNs). In fiscal year 2017, newly licensed registered nurses totaled 14,237 (OBN, 2018a).
As of October 31, 2017:
- 71% of RNs with an active license are between the ages of 18 and 55 years
- 29% of RNs with an active license are over age 55
- 89.3% reported their race/ethnicity as White/Caucasian
- 6.1% reported their race/ethnicity as African American/Black
- 91% are female; 9% (17,615) are male
- 5% reported being proficient in a language other than English
- 11% reported an association with U.S. Armed Forces (OBN, 2018a)
The duties of the Ohio Board of Nursing differ from those of the Ohio Nurses Association (ONA) and other professional nurses associations. Boards are responsible for legal regulations, while associations are responsible for professional regulations, standards of professional practice, the promotion of quality nursing, legislative advocacy, collective bargaining, and public protection. Associations and specialty organizations such as operating room nurses, emergency nurses, critical care nurses, nephrology nurses, and other specialty groups are nongovernmental organizations and membership is voluntary.
Associations and regulatory boards have a long history of close collaboration. Associations have traditionally set forth the nature and scope of the profession and used that as the basis for influencing the law regulating practice. These laws are then enforced by the regulatory board.