New Bill to Create Boost in School Nurse Workforce

Friday, February 14, 2020

SACRAMENTO, Calif – Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson (D-Carson) introduced AB 2175, which will improve access for aspiring school nurses in California by authorizing local education agencies (LEAs) to offer credentialing programs. 

By 2030, California will face the nation’s largest shortage of nurses. School nurses, in particular, serve an important role in addressing children’s medical needs, including providing treatment for diabetes, monitoring significant allergies, offering support related to social and emotional health, and other responsibilities. However, accessibility to school nurse-specific programs is limited and costly. Further, school nursing candidates are subjected to increased licensing requirements beyond the typical accreditation process, exacerbating the challenges to obtain a nursing credential. These barriers have resulted in a 2500:1 student-to-nurse ratio in California.

“By opening the credentialing process to local educational agencies, we are reimagining equity in the nursing profession and creating the opportunity for more school nurses to be available throughout California,” said Assemblymember Gipson. “Our school health departments remain understaffed while aspiring school nurses cannot afford to pursue their needed credentials. Factors such as student loan debt and proximity to nursing programs bar members of my community from accessing the two existing programs available to them. AB 2175 will establish an affordable avenue for individuals to receive their school nursing credentials, removing significant barriers for school nursing candidates and increasing access to these programs.”

California’s shortage of registered nurses has made the job market for employers of nurses extremely competitive. Most LEAs lack adequate funding to compensate their nursing staffs, making the path to a career as a school nurse more costly and less financially rewarding.

“There is a shortage of nurses in California which makes it difficult to properly staff schools,” said Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner. “We are pleased to work with Assemblymember Gipson on this legislation that would allow school districts to offer complete school nurse education programs and put more qualified nurses in our schools.”