Lawmakers move forward with bill that would help veterans with medical experience become nurses in S.C.

Lawmakers move forward with bill that would help veterans with medical experience become nurses in S.C.
If passed, the Nursing Degree Opportunity Act would help these veterans with relevant military experience transition into a civilian nursing job and make it quicker for them to get their license. (Source: WIS)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - South Carolina, like other states, is facing a nursing shortage right now.

According to a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, South Carolina could be short more than 10,000 nurses by 2030.

"We are looking at a shortage of nurses,” said South Carolina Nurses Association CEO Judith Thompson. “That's not new news."

Thompson believes a bill the House passed earlier this month could help fill some open positions, especially with baby boomers retiring.

"There are several other states around that have done this because they know they were going to have a nursing shortage," she said.

Earlier this month, the House passed the Nursing Degree Opportunity Act. This bill would give colleges and universities in South Carolina the option to create a Veteran Associate of Science in Nursing degree program and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program.

These programs would be tailored for military veterans who have backgrounds in healthcare, like medics and corpsmen.

"People are retiring here and coming back home from the military and this enables them to do what they want to do next," Thompson said.

If passed, the Nursing Degree Opportunity Act would help these veterans with relevant military experience transition into a civilian nursing job and make it quicker for them to get their license.

“Which is not a bad thing since they already have skills they have learned and can put them to good use,” Thompson added.

The bill has been sent to a Senate Medical Affairs Committee.

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