News & Announcements
Virginia Board of Nursing: To All Board of Nursing Licensees
On March 12, 2020, Governor Northam issued Executive Order No. 51 declaring a state of emergency for the Commonwealth due to the novel COVID-19. In response to that Order, on March 19, 2020, Dr. David Brown, Director of the Department of Health Professions, waived certain Board of Nursing regulations with the goal of removing certain regulatory barriers to assist with education, testing, practice and workforce issues.
Information regarding these waivers is located here.
VNA Legislative Update: 2021 Wrap-up
Last weekend marked the conclusion of a VERY successful legislative session for the Virginia Nurses Association The safety protocols associated with COVID-19 forced a virtual session unlike anything we have experienced, but we changed our approach, organized, and spoke with a loud voice on so many important issues. Thank you to all of the members of the Virginia Legislative Nursing Alliance for working to develop a unified Nursing Public Policy Platform
The big news - we protected our frontline COVID-10 healthcare heroes! HB1985 from Delegate Chris Hurst passed the General Assembly, giving a retroactive workers compensation presumption to healthcare workers involved in the diagnosis and treatment of COVID patients, meaning if they COVID-19 on the job, they receive workers compensation benefits without having to prove a specific exposure. We are one of only seven states to pass this type of legislation, and it is a HUGE win for nursing:
The legislation applies to all cases looking back to the start of the pandemic on March 12, 2020.
The bill requires a diagnosis from a physician, nurse practitioner, or PA and a positive COVID test, except that prior to July 1, 2020 when testing availability was limited, a positive test or a diagnosis is sufficient to receive workers’ compensation benefits The patient must also present or have presented with signs and symptoms of COVID-19 that require medical treatment. A healthcare worker must avail themselves of an employer offered vaccine once available in order to maintain the benefit of a presumption, unless their physician determines in writing that it would pose a significant risk to their health.
We had many other victories for nursing!
Funding the Virginia Preceptor Incentive Program - Item 295 #3c $500,000 included in the budget.
The final budget agreement included $500,000 to incentivize preceptors to offer clinical education opportunities for Advanced Practice Registered Nursing students The Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority is tasked with designing the details of the program and grants, and VNA will work with the authority to do so.
Reducing Unnecessary Practice Restrictions
HB1737 passed the General Assembly and was signed by the Governor on February 25th. The bill reduces from 5 years to 2 years the amount of time that a nurse practitioner must practice under a collaboration agreement before transitioning to autonomous practice
HB1817 passed the General AssemblyThe bill allows Certified Nurse Midwives to practice autonomously without a collaboration agreement after 1000 hours of practice.
Prescriptive Authority for Clinical Nurse Specialists
HB1747 passed the General Assembly The bill provides that CNS will be licensed to practice jointly under the Boards of Medicine and Nursing and allows the CNS prescriptive authority upon meeting the requirements of the boards.
Career Fatigue and Wellness Program for Nursing
SB1205 and HB1913 passed the General Assembly. These bills allow certain protections for nurses and nursing students to confidently and confidentially participate in a peer to peer based career fatigue and wellness program
Registered Nurses in Schools
While legislation requiring registered nurses in public schools was not adopted, Senate Finance Chairwoman Janet Howell included language in the budget directing a work group to make recommendations on how to achieve RNs in schools:
Item 137 #4c The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall convene a workgroup to make
recommendations on the desired qualifications and training for school personnel providing health services in schoolsThe workgroup shall include at least: (i) three local school division representatives, including one superintendent; (ii) two members of a local school board; (iii) school personnel providing health services, including contracted personnel from a local health department, personnel with varying levels of nursing credentials, and personnel without nursing credentials; and (iv) two members of the Board of EducationThe recommendations shall be submitted to the General Assembly no later than October 1, 2021. Such recommendations shall detail any necessary legislative or budgetary changes to implement the recommendations.
Additionally, the budget includes $50 million in state funding to support increasing the number of specialized student support positions per 1000 students, including nurses.
Item 145 #2cThis amendment funds the state's share of three specialized student support positions per 1,000 studentsSpecialized student support positions, consistent with Senate Bill 1257, include school social workers, school psychologists, school nurses, licensed behavior analysts, licensed assistant behavior analysts, and other licensed health and behavioral positions.
Study of Advanced Practice Registered Nursing Oversight
The budget includes language directing the Department of Health Professions to study oversight of APRN and recommend any changes based on what other states do and recommendations of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing:
Item 309 #3c The Department of Health Professions shall study and make recommendations regarding the oversight and regulation of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs)The department shall review recommendations of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, analyze the oversight and regulations governing the practice of APRNs in other states, and review research on the impact of statutes and regulations on practice and patient outcomes The department shall report its findings to the Governor and General Assembly by November 1, 2021.