Spotlight: The National League for Nursing

11 Jan, 2024

From its inception, the National League for Nursing (NLN) has endlessly pursued the betterment of nurse education. Its work brings resources and opportunities for nurses and educators to help push forward the healthcare field.

Its history goes back over 125 years to the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. A group of superintendents at the fair formed the organization under its first name, the American Society of Superintendents of Training Schools. They had three goals in mind:

  • Higher minimum entrance requirements
  • Improvement of living and working conditions for pupils
  • Increased opportunities for post-graduate and specialized training

These goals were in response to what was deemed as “prevailing chaotic conditions in nursing education and practice.”

Through the years, the NLN has adapted and continued to push for higher standards of nurse training. To achieve its goals, NLN created many different groups, such as the Nurses Associated Alumnae of the United States (which in turn created The American Journal of Nursing) and the American Federation of Nurses.

The NLN took a huge step forward with standardizing nurse education in 1917, when the organization, now under the name The National League of Nursing Education, published Standard Curriculum for Schools of Nursing. This work served to guide the establishment of standards for nurse training within schools. The NLN revised the work until 1937, when it published the final version, which preludes the formation of an accreditation program for registered nurse education.

Since then, the NLN has been instrumental in pushing for higher levels of nursing education, creating the accreditation bodies, the Accreditation Commission for Education In Nursing (ACEN) and the Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (CNEA).

The NLN aims to create a space that empowers nurses and educators. As their website states:

“Dedicated to excellence in nursing, the National League for Nursing is the premier organization for nurse faculty and leaders in nursing education. The NLN offers professional development, networking opportunities, testing services, nursing research grants, and public policy initiatives to its 40,000 individual and 1,200 institutional members. NLN members represent nursing education programs across the spectrum of higher education, health care organizations, and agencies.”

In 2002, the NLN formed a foundation to “raise, steward, and distribute funds that support the mission and activities of the NLN.” They named the foundation The NLN Foundation for Nursing Education. In 2016 they formed an advisory council bringing guidance of members from all backgrounds and expertise to help support their mission.

This year, NLN ask Davin Healthcare CEO and Owner, David Theobald, MS, RN to join the advisory council.

“It’s an extreme honor to serve as an advisory council member for the National League for Nursing,” David said. “The deep roots and history of being part of the first nursing organization that been around since 1893 is both inspirational and exciting. “

“It’s humbling to be part of something bigger while having a voice and opportunity to collaborate with like-minded professionals dedicated to supporting the nursing profession and the future of healthcare.”

We’ve only highlighted a small amount of the work that the NLN has done and continues to do. Visit the NLN website ( to learn more about its history and work. While you’re there, take a few moments and consider becoming a member to help support furthering nurse education.

*All information and quotes for this blog came directly from the NLN website:

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