“Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.” —Gilbert Chesterton
Now is a critical time for our generation of School Nurses. What “soul” will we pass on to those who follow us? Although there is variety in our educational preparation as Registered Nurses, we have amassed countless skills and a wealth of knowledge. This expertise will not be taken from us. But we must ask the vital question of ourselves, “How can we best pass on the soul of School Nursing to the next generation?”
More than two decades have passed since NYSASN recognized that the future of nursing will involve increasingly complex health needs. Repeatedly we have supported legislation that will require nurses to receive a Baccalaureate degree in ten years following licensure (with a provision for an extension if necessary). We who currently practice the profession of nursing will not be affected. We will be “grandfathered” in, and our extensive skills will still be necessary and respected.
For all nurses, and especially for School Nurses, the legislation A.3945/S.2145 is essential. The Assembly version, A3945 passed the Ways and Means Committee unanimously. However, it must be passed by the full Assembly and the Senate version S2145 must also be passed by the full Senate before the end of this session in June.
Why This Is Important:
Most compelling of the reasons to support this legislation is the well-documented evidence that indicates improved patient outcomes, decreased morbidity and mortality, and resultant decreased cost as the percentage of Baccalaureate prepared nurses increases. This documentation has been provided by groups which include The National Advisory Council on Nursing Education and Practice, the New York State Board for Nursing and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and consistently demonstrates the undeniable health care benefits to our citizens, the demonstrated decreased cost for our government, as well as advancement of the profession of nursing.
This legislation mirrors the requirements for teachers who must have a baccalaureate degree initially and must complete a Master’s degree within five years. Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists must obtain a Doctorate as the initial degree.
What We Must Do:
Immediately contact your Assembly Representative urging him/her to vote in favor of A3945. Identify yourself as a Registered Nurse and speak from your own experience. You may find your Representative and send an email by clicking on this link which will lead you to a search by address: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/.
Next, contact your State Senator and urge him/her to vote in favor of S2145. You may search for your Senator at https://www.nysenate.gov/find-my-senator.
If we do not encourage our profession to move forward, we will fail to accomplish our mission, “To advance the practice of School Nursing and enhance the educational success of students by promoting quality health service.”
Carol Bumbolow MS, BA, RN
New York State Association of School Nurses