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Henrico Citizen: House, Senate approve standardized nursing program in community colleges

Ryan Hudgins - 2.24.23

A bill that would standardize the nursing curriculum in the Virginia Community College System passed the House unanimously in a 99-0 vote on Monday.

The bill, SB 1172, proposed by Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico, also passed the Senate unanimously in a 29-0 vote on Feb. 6.

The legislation requires the system to work in collaboration with the Board of Nursing, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and representatives from for-profit and private not-for-profit institutions to standardize the core curriculum for all registered nursing degrees in the Commonwealth, Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, said during the House Education meeting on Wednesday.

This bill would make the classes and credits stackable, transferable and universally accepted, according to the legislation. SB 1172 was created to make it easier to get registered nurses in the field, Dunnavant said during the Post-Secondary and Higher Ed House subcommittee meeting last week.

By 2030, the need for new registered nurses is expected to be over 1 million because of current staffing shortages, according to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association.

“[The bill] is a means of aligning the core curriculum for RN classes across the state of Virginia, and the different programs that offer RNs, so that these credentials are reportable and interchangeable between different academic opportunities,” Dunnavant said during the House subcommittee meeting.

Currently, students have to repeat classes if they change programs.

“Let’s make this fast, efficient and easy for students and also the least expensive so that there is no misdirected repeat payment for a class,” Dunnavant said during the meeting.

This registered nurse core curriculum would be called the “Passport Nursing Program,” according to the legislation. The bill requires the System, the Board of Nursing, SCHEV, the Virginia Nurses Association and others to create a work group to develop the Passport Nursing Program.

With this bill, the work group must determine and define what classes count towards the core curriculum and develop a system so that all credits are accepted across all programs. The work group must submit its report to Gov. Glenn Youngkin by Nov. 1.

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