January 26, 2023

Matsikoudis and Sauickie bill helping veterans transition to licensed practical nursing careers heads to governor

TRENTON, N.J. – New Jersey veterans with certain medical training may soon be able to transition to licensed practical nursing careers more easily, thanks to a bill passed by the Assembly Thursday and sponsored by Assemblywoman Michele Matsikoudis and Assemblyman Alex Sauickie.

“Transitioning to civilian life can be difficult, but this legislation will remove some of the barriers veterans face when trying to apply their military training to rewarding careers. New Jersey can recognize the value of their training while helping qualified candidates fill positions in a field that is experiencing shortages,” Matsikoudis (R-Union) said. “This measure 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.

“New Jersey veterans deserve to be credited for their service and education,” Sauickie (R-Ocean) said. “While fixing the state’s nursing shortage is going to take several thoughtful measures, this is an easy step in the right direction and it furthers efforts to make New Jersey the best place to live if you are a veteran.”

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 to become a licensed practical nurse by the New Jersey Board of Nursing. Typically, a student would need to spend a year at nursing school to be eligible to sit for the licensing exam.