(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Wayne DeAngelo, Daniel Benson (both D-Mercer/Middlesex) and Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) to help nursing students get academic credit for training received as corpsmen and medics in the United States military advanced in the Senate on Thursday.
"Military realities, like deployment and relocation, can make meeting credit requirements challenging for soldiers who are going to school," said DeAngelo. "If the medical training received in the military is comparable to what they would learn in nursing school, then the school should be able to grant these students the credits that will help them get their degrees in a timely manner."
The bill (A-2061) would direct the New Jersey Board of Nursing to encourage schools of nursing approved by the board to consider granting a nursing student, who served in the United States military, academic credit toward the student's nursing degree for the student's prior training and experience as a Naval Corpsman or Army Medic. The bill would take effect on the 90th day after enactment.
"Many of these soldiers who are studying to become nurses are not only trained, but have actual field experience," said Benson. "Higher education institutions allow students to gain academic credits through internships. There is no reason why nursing schools could not offer the same opportunity for our men and women in uniform based on their military service."
"The state's nursing workforce faces a projected shortage of thousands of nurses in less than two decades, which will impact patient care," said Vainieri Huttle. "Giving students academic credits for comparable medical training received in the military can help us counter this expected shortage and ensure that there will be adequate nursing professionals to care for patients in the future."
The bill was passed by the Senate Committee and now heads to the Senate President for further consideration. It was approved 76-0 by the Assembly on March 21, 2013.