Board makes exception, current online nursing students allowed to get licensed
BATON ROUGE- Dozens of nursing students from an out-of-state online college will be able to take Louisiana's licensure exam. Excelsior College based in New York offers a registered nurse program in Louisiana without an on-the-job training component known as clinicals.
In April, the Louisiana State Board of Nursing toughened regulations to require all nursing students to complete more than 1,000 hours of clinicals, but the board chose to make an exception for the Louisiana students currently enrolled in the Excelsior program.
The 328 students now have until July 2022 to complete coursework and pass the state's licensure exam.
"They do not meet the same standards as every other program we license in the state of Louisiana," said nursing board Director Karen Lyon.
Students in Excelsior's program who are near graduation planned to appeal to the board at Thursday's meeting.
"If they don't figure out a way to work with us, then I would have to get my license in another state," said student Kimberly Honea.
Honea, an Avoyelles Parish mother has been working in the medical field for a decade and took the online program to meet her schedule.
"I would basically have to start over otherwise," she said Wednesday.
According to Excelsior officials, the program gives students an opportunity for a non-traditional route to becoming nurses.
"The mission of ours is to provide an opportunity to those students that are otherwise unable to attend a traditional brick and mortar school and many times that's because they have work and family responsibilities," said Mary Lee Pollard, the Dean of the School of Nursing for Excelsior College.