TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblywoman Michele Matsikoudis and Assemblyman Alex Sauickie, honoring the legacy of the late Assemblyman Ron Dancer, sponsored a bill that would allow veterans with certain medical training to more easily transition to licensed practical nursing careers. They celebrated its passage in the Assembly on Monday.
“I’m especially proud to see this bill advance in the Assembly, because I know how much the late Assemblyman Dancer cared about helping our state’s veterans,” Matsikoudis (R-Union) said. “This legislation will allow veterans with medical backgrounds to pursue rewarding civilian careers in a field that desperately needs dedicated professionals right now. It is a win-win.”
According to health officials and educators, there are not enough students currently enrolled in nursing schools to compensate for the large numbers of nurses who will be leaving the workforce soon, which is estimated to be about 20% to 30%. The shortages in nursing are being exacerbated by Covid burnout and early retirements. New Jersey will have the third largest nurse shortage in the country by 2030 — a shortage of more than 11,000 people, reports the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.
Under the bill (A2722), veterans who completed nursing, medic, health care, medical technician or similar programs while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces would be recognized as meeting certain education and training requirements by the New Jersey Board of Nursing. Typically, a student would need to spend a year in a licensed practical nurse program at a nursing school before they could sit for the licensing exam.
“Addressing the state’s nursing shortage is going to take several thoughtful measures. Applying military experience to licensed practical nursing requirements is just one of them, but it is an important step in the right direction that properly recognizes the service and education of the men and women who serve our country,” Sauickie (R-Ocean) said. “I’m honored to sign onto this bill and carry on the good work of Assemblyman Dancer.”
Dancer introduced the bill on Feb. 14, 2022.