April 3, 2014
House Bill 1059 by Representative Cary Pigman (R-Sebring) passed by unanimous vote in the Education Appropriations Subcommittee. The bill addresses a negative student outcome trend for declining statewide nursing license examination pass rates. The bill would require all professional nursing programs - those with bachelor's degree or associate degree level nursing graduates who are eligible to take the registered nurse license examination - to be accredited within five years by a specialized nursing accrediting agency. The bill would also exempt nurses who are certified in their area of specialty practice from Board of Nursing continuing education requirements. An amendment by Committee Chair Eric Fresen (R-Miami) was adopted that would require nursing program graduates to take the nursing licensure examination within 6 months following graduation and would allow the Board of Nursing to extend probationary status by one year. The bill will now be referred to the Education Committee for consideration. The Senate companion - Senate Bill 1036 by Senator Denise Grimsley (R-Sebring) - was amended in the Senate Chamber by Senator Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) to require nursing program graduates who delay taking the nursing licensure examination by more than one year following graduation to take a licensure examination preparatory course that is approved by the Board of Nursing. The bill is now pending final consideration in the Senate.