Should NH continue to require school nurses to have a bachelor’s degree and 3 years pediatric experience?
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Others argue that the new requirements should be given more time before they are repealed, especially since they have the support of the N.H. School Nurses Association.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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