During the 2008 session of the Georgia legislature, a bill was passed that requires all applicants for licensure by endorsement to have graduated from a nursing education program approved by the Georgia Board of Nursing or which meets criteria similar to, and not less stringent, than those established by the Board. This bill went into effect on July 1, 2008 and is codified in O.C.G.A. §43-26-7(c).
The Board takes seriously its duty to protect the public health, safety and welfare and the duty to ensure that nursing curricula should meet stringent, board-approved standards required by the recent changes in the law. Applicants for licensure by endorsement must graduate from schools whose curricula are no less stringent than those standards established by the Board. The Board is not unsympathetic to the plight of the students who have been adversely affected by this new law, but the Board has a duty to uphold the law and is currently doing so.
The Board has established rules that state the requirements for board-approval for nursing education programs. These rules can be found on the web here (See Chapter 410-3, Nursing Education Programs): http://rules.sos.state.ga.us/cgibin/page.cgi?g=GEORGIA_BOARD_OF_NURSING%2FNURSING_EDUCATION_PROGRAMS%2Findex.html&d=1 The Board may waive rules, but only when doing so will not contradict the law. If the Board waived a rule so that applicants whose education did not meet board criteria are issued a license, the Board would be breaking the law and endangering the public’s health, safety and welfare. The Board has a mandated duty to protect the public under O.C.G.A. § 43-26-2, which states, “The purpose of this article is to protect, promote, and preserve the public health, safety, and welfare through legislative regulation and control of registered professional nursing education and practice. This article ensures that any person practicing or offering to practice nursing or using the title registered professional nurse, as defined, within the State of Georgia, shall be licensed as provided in this article.”
As nontraditional student I am acutely aware of the need to have the flexibility in class scheduling. As a nurse I understand that there are a large number of nurses who will be retiring in the next 10 years increasing the nursing shortage. The number of new grads is considerably less that the number of current nurses leaving the profession. The safety of our patients needs to be addressed with either issue lack of nurses or lack of experience in the field. First of all we need to investigate innovative ways to recruit and retain high quality nurses. Second of all we need to protect our profession and the skills require in order to have a safe and effective practicing nurses. This bill states that in order to apply for a nursing license by endorsement that you had to have graduated from a school with a comparable curriculum to those with in the state of Georgia. This means that schools who do not require clinical hours would have to change the set curriculum to include clinical hours. Currently there are schools that advertise No campus attendance, No waiting list, and Academic Success Guaranteed. I don’t know about you but I had to apply to nursing school, I waited and waited to find out if I got in, they only took so many students, there were qualifications that each student had to meet. Once we got in we were not guaranty academic success, we had to work for our grades, we had to pass test, and we actually had to know the information being taught we did not pay for our grades. As a nursing student I could fail if I did not know how to place a foley using sterile technique, give a medication correctly, or complete a sterile dressing change just to name a few. As a currently practicing RN I have no problem having students follow me, precepting a new grad, or assisting a coworker in a new procedure, but I understand that they have some basic knowledge and have practiced somewhere before they come to me. I am all for nontraditional schools, providing education to student nurses I just feel that there should be some standards for all nursing schools part of that being clinical hours. Please leave comments on you opionin I want to here from students who have graduated from some of these nontraditional programs tell me why they are just as good as schools who require clinical time. Let me know if you think that student nurses need clinical time.