Code of Conduct for Certified School Nurses (NCSN), Certifying School Nurses with NBCSN-Issued Credentials and Emeritus Credential (NCSN-E)


The National Board for Certification of School Nurses (NBCSN) endeavors to assure the public that nationally certified school nurses (NCSNs) meet professional standards of knowledge and skills. Additionally, NBCSN has established certain principles to ensure that the school nurses it certifies are upholding appropriate standards of professionalism and ethics in practice. The NBCSN’s Code of Conduct for Certified School Nurses (NCSN), and  Certifying School Nurses with NBCSN-Issued Credentials including Emeritus Designation (NCSN-E) outlines principles that all certifying school nurses and school nurses holding an NBCSN credential are expected to uphold. Failure to uphold these principles may be cause for disciplinary review.

Disciplinary actions taken at the conclusion of that review may include formal censures, fines, suspension, revocation of certification or eligibility for certification or NCSN-E designation and/or other actions deemed appropriate by NBCSN. Disciplinary actions may be reported to the applicable state licensing board or other legal enforcement authority, the federal government, the school nurse’s employer or other interested parties, including individuals seeking information about the school nurse’s NCSN certification or NCSN-E designation, as solely determined by the NBCSN and in compliance with NBCSN’s information disclosure policy. This Code of Conduct represents some, though not necessarily all, of the behaviors that may initiate review under NBCSN’s Policies and Procedures for NCSN Disciplinary Matters, page 37.

Principles of Conduct

Certified or certifying school nurses shall protect the integrity of NBCSN-issued credentials and of the processes by which those credentials are earned and awarded. Certified or certifying school nurses and school nurses with the NCSN-E designation shall not engage in cheating or other dishonest behavior that violates exam security (including unauthorized reproducing, distributing, displaying, discussing, sharing or otherwise misusing test questions or any part of test questions) before, during or after an NBCSN examination.

  • shall not engage in irregular behavior, as defined in NBCSN’s Policies and Procedures for School Nurse Disciplinary Matters.
  • shall not employ deceptive means, including submitting to the NBCSN any document or testimony that contains a misstatement of fact or omits a fact to obtain, attempt to obtain or assist others in obtaining or maintaining an NBCSN credential.
  • shall not manufacture, modify, reproduce, distribute or use a fraudulent or otherwise unauthorized NBCSN certificate shall not falsely represent themselves in any way to be a Nationally Certified School Nurse (NCSN) or a NCSN-E or otherwise use or assist others in using fraudulent credentials, as set forth in in the NBCSN’s Policies and Procedures for School Nurse Disciplinary Matters.
  • shall promptly inform NBCSN when possessing knowledge or evidence that raises a substantial question of cheating on or misuse of questions from an NBCSN examination, fraudulent use of an NBCSN card, certificate or other document or misrepresentation of NBCSN certification status by a school nurse or any other individual.

Certified or certifying school nurses shall comply with all applicable laws, regulations and standards related to their professional role, including but not limited to those governing clinical practice. Certified or certifying school nurses:

  • shall respect appropriate professional boundaries in their interactions with students and families, and others.
  • shall avoid behavior that would pose a threat or potential threat to the health, well-being or safety of others apart from reasonable risks taken in a student’s interest during the delivery of health care.
  • shall not disclose student confidential information, publicly disclose information about a student that the school nurse learned as part of the school nurse’s practice, nor disparage any student in a public setting, (including through social media) based on information observed or learned in the school nurse’s practice.
  • shall recognize and understand their professional and personal limitations.
  • shall practice without impairment from substance abuse and shall practice without impairment from cognitive deficiency or mental illness that, even with appropriate reasonable accommodation, adversely affects their practice.
  • shall maintain and demonstrate the ability to engage in nursing professional role activities appropriate to their education, experience, and position.
  • shall behave in a manner that is lawful and ethical, and that upholds accepted standards of professional practice.
  • must report to the NBCSN any adverse regulatory or credentialing action within 30 days of revocation, suspension, surrender, lapse, loss or denial of or any restrictions imposed on a license, authorization, or credential to practice as a health care provider (including authorization to practice as an employee of the federal government or in a jurisdiction not requiring licensure), whether such adverse action is by decision, consent order, stipulation, or agreement.
  • must report to NBCSN within 30 days convictions, guilty pleas or no contest pleas to felonies and certain misdemeanors, as described more fully in the Policies and Procedures for NCSN Disciplinary Matters.

School nurses with the NCSN-E designation shall not use the NCSN-E designation in any clinical setting or in the context of any clinically-related interaction, including clinical volunteer service.