COSTA MESA – As pressure has mounted on Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Board of Registered Nursing to take action to allow 10,000+ California nursing students to graduate on time in the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak, Senator John M. W. Moorlach sent the following letter to Governor Newsom seeking executive action on the issue:

March 27, 2020

The Honorable Gavin Newsom
Governor
State of California
1303 10th Street, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Governor Newsom,

In these difficult times, I want to thank you for your leadership and for the various executive actions you have taken to ensure the State of California is ready and mobilized to fight the COVID-19 epidemic. With that in mind, I am writing today to request additional action from your office, with regards to nursing education in California.

The California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 16, Section 1426 (g)(2), requires that nursing courses that satisfy the 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. By maintaining the 75% requirement, we are standing in the way of over 10,000 nurses getting to work and treating California patients.

The solution is simple. in conjunction with actions already taken by the U.S. Department of Education, the Board of Registered Nursing can temporarily reduce the threshold of required direct-care clinical hours to 50% or lower and allow nursing students to finish their requirements in simulation settings at our nursing schools. It is well within your authority to issue this directive via Executive Order and I am formally asking you to take this step to ensure nursing students are able to graduate on-time—at a point in our history when we need them the most.

For this legislative session, I have worked diligently on a piece of legislation, SB 1053, which would ease barriers for out-of-state nurses seeking to practice in California. With that bill, and this effort, I remain focused on ensuring that access to care is not compromised by a lack of nursing professionals.

This effort to ensure nursing students are able to graduate is supported 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 temporarily adjust CCR Title 16, Section 1426 (g)(2).

Very truly yours,

Senator John M. W. Moorlach
37th Senatorial District