Legislation signed May 11 restores prior certification requirements for school nurses to ensure they are qualified to care for students.
The new law, P.L. 2017, c. 70 (A-1256 / S-1381 (Caride / Bateman), was prompted by a State Board of Education’s decision in 2013 to reduce the minimum requirements in order to address a school nurse shortage. That regulatory change, codified at N.J.A.C. 6A:9-13.3 and 6A:9A – 13.4, reduced credit requirements for a school nurse endorsement from 30 to 21 semester hour credits, and reduced credit requirements for a non-instructional school nurse endorsement from 21 to 15 semester hour credits. The amendments also eliminated the requirement that a candidate complete a minimum of 6 credits in a college supervised school nurse practicum, half of which is completed in a school nurse office and the balance of which is completed in a classroom.
The new law codifies the minimum hours as required by the 2013 regulations, but reinstates the previous requirement that a candidate for a school nurse endorsement must complete a college-supervised school nurse practicum experience in a school nurse office and a classroom. The law also requires school nurse endorsement candidates and non-instructional school nurse endorsement candidates to complete coursework in the fundamentals of substance abuse and dependency, as well as any other subject area deemed appropriate by the State board.
NJPSA supports this measure.