AB 1722 – Authorizes Local Educational Agencies To Hire Licensed Vocational Nurses If Credentialed School Nurses Supervise Them

CATEGORY: Public Education Matters
CLIENT TYPE: Public Education
DATE: Dec 06, 2023

Existing law requires the governing board of a school district to give diligent care to the health and physical development of pupils, and authorizes the governing board of a school district to employ properly certified persons for that work, such as a school nurse.  To meet the minimum qualifications to be a “school nurse,” an employee must be currently licensed as a registered nurse and have a credential in school nursing.

This bill authorizes a local educational agency (LEA) to employ a licensed vocational nurse, as long as a credentialed school nurse supervises the licensed vocational nurse.  However, a licensed vocational nurse may not perform work beyond the approved scope of practice pursuant to the Vocational Nursing Practice Act.  A LEA may hire a licensed vocational nurse and have a school nurse at another LEA supervise the licensed vocational nurse.  Both LEAs must enter into a written agreement that describes the duties of each nurse, includes a communication policy between the nurses, financial arrangement, including extra compensation for the school nurse acting as a supervisor, and provides indemnification for the credentialed school nurse for supervisorial liability.

An LEA may only hire a licensed vocational nurse if a diligent search has been conducted for a suitable credentialed school nurse each school year.  The bill defines a diligent search as including, but is not limited to, distributing job announcements, contacting college and university placement centers, and advertising in print or electronic media.  The LEA must seek approval from its governing board or body before hiring a licensed vocational nurse and must submit a declaration to the governing board that describes the diligent effort, states that the recruitment for a credentialed school nurse was not successful and that hiring a licensed vocational nurse is necessary to fulfill a critical need.  The LEA electing to hire a licensed vocational nurse must certify to the State Department of Education, upon penalty of perjury, that the LEA made a diligent recruitment effort to hire a credentialed school nurse was made.

This bill also encourages county offices of education to establish networks of credentialed school nurses for employment by local educational agencies and to provide mentoring opportunities for licensed vocational nurses.

The bill requires the Department to, on or before January 1, 2028, submit a report to the Legislature containing a list of the LEAs that have used that authority, as provided.  The bill would repeal these provisions on January 1, 2029.

Existing law requires the governing board of a school district to provide for the adequate testing of the sight and hearing of each pupil enrolled in the schools of the school district to be given only by specified persons, including, among others, certificated employees of the school district or of the county superintendent of schools who possess the qualifications prescribed by the Commission for Teacher Preparation and Licensing.

This bill expands the personnel that may provide sight and hearing testing to allow those tests to be additionally given by certificated employees, registered nurses, or licensed vocational nurses, under the supervision of a credentialed school nurse of the LEA and by qualified health supervisors.

Existing law requires a school nurse or other authorized person to appraise the vision, including near vision and color vision, of a pupil during kindergarten, or upon first enrollment or entry of that pupil in a California school district at an elementary school, and in grades 2, 5, and 8.

This bill includes far vision in the vision appraisal. To the extent this imposes additional duties on school districts, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

(AB 1722 adds Education Code Section 49426.5.)

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