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Many agencies and individuals are involved with nurse competency, but within this cooperative effort, state boards of nursing have the unique role of assuring the public, through the issuance of licenses, that nurses are competent. The purpose of the board of nursing, as defined by public lawmakers, is to protect the public. There are public members on most boards. Boards of nursing are involved with nurse competency at the time of the nurse's initial entry into practice, on an ongoing basis at the time of license renewal, when the nurse reenters practice after a time of voluntary absence, and after disciplinary action of the nurse. The participation in continuing education activities is one major method for nurses to meet continued competency requirements.