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Senator Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland and Atlantic, listens to testimony during the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee’s hearing on the Opportunity Scholarship Act.

TRENTON – In an effort to help military veterans transition into civilian employment, Senator Jeff Van Drew sponsored legislation to encourage nursing schools to give academic credit to veteran students for medical experience in the United States military. The bill was approved today by the Senate Commerce Committee.

“Military veterans have the training and experience for a vast array of jobs in the civilian workforce. Especially in the health care field, where workers will be in high demand in the coming years, we should provide the help necessary to ease transition into the field for those with experience,” said Van Drew (D-Cape May, Cumberland, and Atlantic). “By encouraging nursing schools to give academic credit for training in the military, we will help not only our state but also veterans seeking work when they return home.”

Military veterans are well-trained to fill private sector positions in high demand and high growth occupations due to their training and experience. However, it can be difficult to translate their skills and knowledge to employment due to credentialing required in many fields. A registered nurse typically must receive a diploma from an approved nursing program and must pass the National Council of Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.

The bill (S-1991) would direct the Board of Nursing to encourage nursing schools to consider granting a nursing student, who served in the United States military, academic credit toward the student’s nursing degree for the student’s prior training and experience as a Naval Corpsman or Army Medic. Although a medic or corpsman’s experience is related to nursing, his or her training is not equivalent to the training received in a nursing program but his or her experience could translate to academic credit toward a nursing degree and this bill would encourage schools of nursing to grant credit for this experience.

The Commerce Committee approved the measure by a vote of 6-0. It now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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