Provisions regulating nursing were first enacted in 1921. The State Board of Nursing Registration and Nursing Education was created in 1952. The name was changed in 1964 to the Arizona State Board of Nursing. Current statutory authority is found at A.R.S. §§32-1601 through 32-1667.
The purpose of the Board is to promote the safe and professional practice of nursing in Arizona. The Board licenses, certifies and regulates registered nurses, registered nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, registered nurse anesthetists, licensed practical nurses, nursing assistants, and certified medication assistants. The Board also conducts examinations and approves educational programs.
The Board consists of eleven members appointed to five-year terms by the Governor. Qualifications to serve on the Board are found in A.R.S. §32-1603. The Board is required to appoint an executive director to perform administrative duties, employ personnel, issue and renew licenses, and enter into agreements with licensees for programs to treat chemical dependency.
The Board of Nursing Fund consists of fees collected by the Board pursuant to A.R.S. §32-1643. Ten percent of the monies are deposited into the state general fund and ninety percent is deposited into the Board of Nursing Fund.
Laws 1921, Chapter 70 established the State Board of Nurse Examiners, consisting of five graduate nurses appointed by the Governor to five-year terms. The Secretary of the Board also served as the treasurer and as the inspector of all schools of nursing in the state. The Board was required to meet at least twice a year in order to conduct examinations for those applying for certification to practice professional nursing in the state. The measure outlined the powers and duties of the Board, established minimum age and educational requirements for licensure and prescribed a ten dollar fee for an initial license. Licenses expired annually and could be renewed without examination for a fee of one dollar. The measure also authorized the Board to adopt administrative rules and established grounds for disciplinary action and penalties.
Laws 1922, Chapter 35 required Board income and expenditures to be paid into, or from, the state general fund as required by the State Financial Code.
Laws 1923, Chapter 52 allowed registered nurses to administer anesthetics under the direction of a licensed physician or surgeon.
Laws 1952, Chapter 39 repealed and rewrote statutory provisions related to nursing. The measure changed the name of the Board to the Arizona State Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Education; established Board powers and duties; delineated provisions for registered nurses and licensed practical nurses; provided for accreditation of schools of nursing; and established disciplinary procedures, judicial review, appeals, violations and penalties. The measure also created the Practical Nurse Committee as an advisory body to the Board and prescribed the Committee’s responsibilities.
Laws 1964, Chapter 99 changed the name of the State Board of Nurse Registration and Education to the State Board of Nursing; modified qualifications for board membership; amended licensing requirements; increased fees; and prescribed unlawful acts and penalties.
Laws 1977, Chapter 170 increased Board membership to seven, adding two public members.
Laws 1982, Chapter 174 established the ‘registered nurse practitioner’ with the authority to prescribe and dispense drugs. A second measure was adopted that year, which increased Board membership to nine, adding two licensed practical nurses. The measure also modified qualifications for board members; amended powers and duties of the Board; and revised licensing requirements. See Laws 1982, Chapter 190.
Laws 1983, Chapter 105 authorized the Board to approve all new schools of nursing. The measure outlined the application and approval process as well as record keeping requirements regarding coursework.
Laws 1984, Chapter 245 made a number of changes to Board authority related to establishing qualifications for license applicants who are graduates of a foreign school of nursing and do not hold a license from another state; providing for biennial renewal of licenses; and allowing the Board to conduct investigations on its own motion.
Laws 1990, Chapter 55 established the position of Executive Director of the Board and prescribed compensation, powers and duties. The measure also established qualifications for nurse aides; and provided for staggered renewal of biennial licenses.
Laws 1991, Chapter 43 authorized the Board to establish a rehabilitation program for licensees who are chemically dependent. Note: Subsequent legislation established confidentiality requirements for those who participate in chemical dependency treatment programs. The measure also modified requirements for licensure as a licensed practical nurse.
Laws 1992, Chapter 308 replaced the title of nurse aide with nursing assistant and established qualifications and certification for nursing assistants.
Laws 1995, Chapter 255 required the Board to adopt rules related to licensing and certification of clinical nurse specialists. The measure also created the Study Committee on the Administration of Medications by Nurses to evaluate the effects and review the impact of allowing nonlicensed personnel to administer certain medications in various health care delivery settings. The committee consisted of legislative members and was required to submit a report of findings and recommendations to the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives by December 31, 1995.
Laws 2001, Chapter 101 enacted the Nurse Licensure Compact which is an agreement between states allowing nurses to obtain a single license and to practice in those states that are part of the agreement. The enactment allowed the Governor to withdraw from the compact if another state party to the compact changes its licensure requirements.
Laws 2002, Chapter 203 was an omnibus bill, making numerous changes to Board statutes. The measure authorized the Board to approve nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialists and also made changes to the powers and duties of the Board, Board compensation, license fees, and licensure provisions.
Laws 2005, Chapter 330 created the Arizona Partnership for Nursing Education Demonstration Project in order to increase the capacity of Arizona’s nursing education programs and address the state’s nursing shortage. The measure established the Nursing Education Demonstration Project Fund and appropriated $4 million in fiscal years 2005-2006 through 2009-2010.
Laws 2009, Chapter 150 was an omnibus measure that made a number of changes to Board statutes, including increasing the number of Board members from nine to eleven; modifying responsibilities of the Board and Executive Director; and revising investigative authority.
Laws 2010, Chapter 90 established the certified medication assistant program, outlining requirements, qualifications, certification, reciprocity and disciplinary actions.
A licensed nurse may delegate, to a licensed nursing assistant or to a student, the task of administering certain medications. Specific limitations apply. The licensed nursing assistant must be certified by the Board as a medication assistant and a student must be in an approved medication assistant program.
Laws 2012, Chapter 132 allowed the Board to delegate to the Executive Director the authority to require a licensee, certificate holder or applicant to undergo mental, psychological or skills examinations. The Executive Director may also be authorized to order other examinations to detect the presence of drugs or alcohol.
Laws 2015, Chapter 262 required the Executive Director to maintain a registry of licensed nursing assistants and certified nursing assistants.
Laws 2017, Chapter 80 established certified nurse midwives as a practice group, outlined educational and certification requirements and clarified their scope of practice.
A second measure in 2017 expanded a certified nurse anesthetist scope of practice to include issuing a medication order for controlled substances, to be administered by a licensed, certified or registered health care provider. See Laws 2017, Chapter 182.
Laws 2019, Chapter 87 allowed a clinical nurse specialist to prescribe and dispense pharmacological agents if specific requirements and criteria are met.
Laws 2019, Chapter 195 allowed the Board to authorize its executive director to issue licenses, certifications, registrations, preceptorships, reinstatements and waivers to eligible applicants who meet the requirements identified in the statute. The measure also addressed temporary licenses. Section 32-3124.I states: “This section applies to a health profession regulatory board to the extent that this section does not conflict with the board’s current statutory authority relating to temporary licensure.” https://www.azleg.gov/legtext/54Leg/1R/laws/0195.pdf The Board may adopt rules to carry out the new provisions.
An additional measure adopted in 2019 required the Board to regulate the unauthorized practice of the profession by investigating complaints and referring verified complaints to the county attorney or attorney general for prosecution. See Laws 2019, Chapter 227.
- Arizona Revised Statutes §§32-1601 through 32-1667
- Arizona Administrative Code §§R4-19-101 through R4-19-815
- Session Laws
- Laws 1921, Chapter 70
- Laws 1922, Chapter 35
- Laws 1923, Chapter 52
- Laws 1952, Chapter 39
- Laws 1964, Chapter 99
- Laws 1977, Chapter 170
- Laws 1982, Chapter 174 and Chapter 190
- Laws 1983, Chapter 105
- Laws 1984, Chapter 245
- Laws 1990, Chapter 55
- Laws 1991, Chapter 43
- Laws 1992, Chapter 308
- Laws 1995, Chapter 255
- Laws 2001, Chapter 101
- Laws 2002, Chapter 203
- Laws 2005, Chapter 330
- Laws 2009, Chapter 150
- Laws 2010, Chapter 90
- Laws 2012, Chapter 132
- Laws 2015, Chapter 262
- Laws 2017, Chapter 80 and Chapter 182
- Laws 2019, Chapter 87, Chapter 195 and Chapter 227
- Arizona State Board of Nursing website: https://www.azbn.gov/
Related Collections at Arizona State Archives
- Record Group 066 – Nurses’ Association
- Record Group 144 – Board of Nurse Examiners
- Manuscript Group 026 – Arizona State League of Nursing Education