At least 39 states are known to have language in their Nurse Practice Act; either explicit in restricting use of the title "nurse" to only those who are licensed or implicit language restricting use of any words implying the individual is a licensed nurse.
Restricting use of the title "nurse" to only those individuals who have fulfilled the requirements for licensure as outlined in each state's nurse practice act is a protection for the public against unethical, unscrupulous, and incompetent practitioners. Nurse practice acts describe entry level qualifications such as education, practice standards and code of conduct for continued privilege to practice nursing.
As of 12/10/13
Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to include all legislation enacted, but omissions are possible.