NC House eases the requirements to be a school nurse to deal with staffing shortage

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Travis Long/

Staffing shortages could lead to changes in who is allowed to serve as a nurse in a North Carolina public school.

The N.C. House unanimously passed a bill on Thursday that would eliminate the requirement that school nurses have to be nationally certified. House Bill 382 would allow non-certified registered nurses who have at least two years of experience in a hospital or health clinic to serve as school nurses.

“This would basically expand the types of nurses that can work as employees in our schools,” said Rep. John Bradford, a Mecklenburg County Republican and one of the bill’s primary sponsors.

The bill now goes to the Senate.

Change requested by CMS

The legislation was requested by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system at a time when many schools in the state don’t have nurses. Schools often share nurses.

Bradford said nationally certified nurses are typically those who have a bachelor’s degree. He said the bill would open up eligibility to nurses who have two-year degrees and three-year diplomas.

Nationally certified nurses would be paid more than nurses who aren’t certified.

Two of the bill’s primary sponsors are registered nurses, including Rep. Carla Cunninham, a Mecklenburg County Democrat.

“We thought at this point in time we would look at how we could get a nurse in every school without pushing, pushing, pushing trying to get a bachelor’s of science nursing degree,” Cunninhgam said.