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Should NH continue to require school nurses to have a bachelor’s degree and 3 years pediatric experience?

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On Wednesday, January 17 a House committee hosted a public hearing on a bill to change requirements for school nurses.

A few years ago New Hampshire approved stricter qualification requirements for school nurses, including the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree or higher in nursing
  • 3 years experience in pediatric nursing or related nursing areas
  • Certification from the state Board of Education

The new requirements were implemented in 2016.

Eliminating the requirements?

Now Rep. Gregory Hill is sponsoring a bill to remove the requirements altogether. Under that bill, HB 1217, a school nurse would only have to be a registered nurse licensed in New Hampshire.

In favor of keeping stricter requirements

Supporters of continuing to require a bachelor’s degree and pediatric experience note that in rural areas, sometimes a school nurse is a child’s only health care provider, which justifies a higher standard for school nurse qualifications.

Others argue that the new requirements should be given more time before they are repealed, especially since they have the support of the N.H. School Nurses Association.

Opposition to stricter requirements

However, those in favor of Rep. Hill’s move to repeal the stricter requirements argue that they make it too difficult to find qualified school nurses.

“There was a feeling prior to (the new rules) that we had under-qualified school nurses. Now, because of the new qualifications, we have schools without school nurses. That is not an overall advance.”

- Rep. Dan Itse

Do you think school nurses should have a bachelor’s degree and three years experience? Let us know your opinion in the comments below.


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I don't believe they should have to have a bachelor's degree, a registered nurse should be enough. I have worked side by side with bachelors, masters and associate level nurses and it is not the degree that makes them a better nurse, it is the way they practice. Just because someone has a higher level of education does not mean it will translate to being better at their job. If a district hires a nurse that is not doing his or her job let them go. Not having a bachelors degree does not make someone less capable for the job. Also, part of the requirement is to certify the nurse so if someone can pass the certification that should be enough.


I wholeheartedly agree with your comments. As an RN (now retired), the level of degree (BSN, MSN,etc.) has absolutely no reflection on how a nurse practices (how well OR how badly)! Thank you for your comments!


I am a registered dietitian, and worked in hospitals and in a pediatric practice. Nurses in a school should be those who have experience in pediatrics, and have listening skills, and empathy for the young children and growing teens they are serving. No need for upper level education, but years of experience are necessary.

Mark Stewart

COMPETENCY, not formal schooling, should be the requirement for any public service. A bachelor's degree, even one in nursing, includes a lot of time spent on social studies, math, music, and fine arts. Experience under the tutelage of practicing nurses yields the best "credential", and testing helps certify a nurse's competency. Ironically, I am an educator. My firm, Ivy Bound Test Prep, helps propel hundrds of students to college each year. But one's experience in college has little to do with the practical aspects of nursing and the very different (including social and emotional aspects) of SCHOOL nursing. NH has a school shortage in talented staff. We will gain more and better nurses by dropping this needless requirement.

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