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Nursing rules: Giving local schools a choice

January 21. 2018 8:46PM

Should school nurses also be certified as teachers?

Many local districts incorporate their school nurses into the academic program, using them as part of their health and science curricula.

But some schools just want a nurse, someone to handle the day-to-day demands of runny noses and scraped knees, as well as provide immediate care in an emergency.

Under rules that were supposed to start in 2016, new school nurses would have to be certified by the New Hampshire Board of Education, which admits it knows nothing about certifying nurses.

The Legislature is debating HB 1217, a bill sponsored by Rep. Greg Hill, R-Northfield, to repeal the new rules, giving each district greater control over whom they hire to care for their students.

Adding a layer of bureaucracy during a nursing shortage makes no sense.

The New Hampshire School Nurses Association supports the new rules, though current members are not covered by them. They present a bureaucratic barrier to new nurses applying for school positions, without doing anything to improve the quality of care they would provide. Many professional organizations lobby for tougher certification requirements, so long as the current practitioners are grandfathered in.

The Legislature can and should correct its mistake by passing HB 1217.

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