Senator Moorlach Sends Letter to DCA and BRN Calling for Action on Nursing Graduation Requirements

Thursday, April 2, 2020

COSTA MESA - Following Governor Newsom’s executive order granting authority to the Department of Consumer Affairs to waive licensing and education requirements for healthcare professionals, Senator John Moorlach sent the following letter requesting action to allow 14,000 nursing students to graduate on time:

March 31, 2020

Director Kimberly Kirchmeyer, Department of Consumer Affairs
Acting Executive Officer Loreta Melby RN, MSN, Board of Registered Nursing
1625 North Market Blvd
Sacramento, CA 95834

Dear Director Kirchmeyer and Acting Executive Officer Melby,

As I am sure you are aware, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-39-20, giving the Director of the Department of Consumer Affairs the authority to “waive any of the professional licensing requirements and amend scopes of practice in Division 2 of the Business and Professions Code, and any accompanying regulations.” The order went on to specify “Professional licensing requirements should be interpreted broadly to effectuate the purposes of this executive order, and they include, but are not limited to, the examination, education, experience, and training requirements necessary to obtain and maintain licensure.” In accordance with this order, I ask that you use this authority to amend the licensing requirements that are preventing 14,000 nursing students across the state from graduating, becoming licensed, and assisting with the COVID-19 response efforts.

The California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 16, Section 1426 (g)(2), requires that nursing courses that satisfy clinical hour requirements facilitate 75% of clinical hours in a “direct patient care” setting. In other words, in order for nursing students to satisfy their graduation requirements, they must spend 75% of their required clinical hours in a supervised patient-care environment. The other 25% of clinical hours may be conducted in a simulated environment. Unfortunately, due to the COVID- 19 outbreak and the associated strains on hospitals and care providers, supervised instruction for nursing students in hospital and clinical settings is no longer possible. This means that thousands of nursing students are not going to be able to satisfy their graduation requirements and enter into the workforce in the coming months.

In addition, many nursing students are signing up to participate in the Health Corps initiative recently announced by the Governor. It is critical that the Board of Registered Nursing quickly issue guidance allowing for students participating in this program to utilize those hours towards their clinical hour requirements.

I am joined in these requests by the UC system, the CSU system, our state’s private post-secondary nursing schools, and the community college nursing programs across our state. I urge you to take action immediately and ensure California nursing students are able to quickly become licensed, help treat patients, and save lives. 

Very truly yours,

Senator John M. W. Moorlach
37th Senatorial District

View the full letter here (pdf)