Benner’s Novice to Expert Theory: A theory by Dr. Patricia Benner that explains how new hires develop skills and a holistic understanding of patient care over time, resulting from a combination of a strong educational foundation and thorough clinical experiences. Benner’s theory identifies five levels of nursing experience: novice, advanced beginner, competent, proficient, and expert.
Licensure: The process by which a State Board of Nursing (SBON) grants permission to an individual to engage in nursing practice after verifying the applicant has attained the competency necessary to perform the scope of practice of a registered nurse (RN). The SBON verifies three components:
- Verification of graduation from an approved prelicensure RN nursing education program
- Verification of successful completion of NCLEX-RN examination
- A criminal background check (in some states)
NCLEX-RN: The exam that nursing graduates must pass successfully to obtain their nursing license and become a registered nurse.
NCLEX-RN Test Plan: A concise summary of the content and scope of the NCLEX that serves as an excellent guide for preparing for the exam. These plans are updated every three years based on surveys of newly licensed registered nurses to ensure the NCLEX questions reflect fair, comprehensive, current, and entry-level nursing competency.
Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC): State legislation that allows nurses to practice in other NLC states with their original state’s nursing license without having to obtain additional licenses, contingent upon remaining a resident of that state.
Nurse residency programs: A transition process that provides additional professional development for newly licensed nurses. These programs vary from institution to institution, but many start around the time the new graduate ends their orientation with a preceptor and continue to provide routine support throughout the year.
Orientation: A structured transition process when hired into a new position that may last from one to four months but can be longer depending on the specialty (e.g., Intensive Care or Labor and Delivery). Orientation is based on the new nurse’s demonstration and completion of competencies. During this time the novice RN will work with a preceptor to experience all the aspects of the role.
Portfolio: A compilation of materials showcasing examples of previous work demonstrating one’s skills, qualifications, education, training, and experience.
Preceptors: Experienced and competent RNs who serve as a role model and a resource to a newly hired nurse. These nurses have the knowledge, skills, and the ability to coach the new RN into the nursing role and answer questions while also evaluating a new hire’s performance and providing feedback for improvement.
Resume: A document that highlights one’s background, education, skills, and accomplishments to potential employers.
Temporary permit: A permit issued by the State Board of Nursing (SBON) that allows the applicant to practice practical nursing under the direct supervision of a registered nurse until their RN license is granted.