Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett recently signed into law several bills amending regulations governing professionals in nursing, driver’s education and engineering.
House Bills (HB) 469 and 470 amend the Practical Nursing Law to restrict the use of the title “nurse” to licensed registered nurses and practical nurses. Employees who provide health care services under the direction of a professional or practical nurse may be designated “nurse assistive personnel.” According to the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association (PSNA), the laws are designed to assure quality patient care and “avoid inaccurate or even dangerous advice that could be given to a patient by an unlicensed professional.”
PSNA Chief Executive Officer Betsy Snook praised the law, saying, “The General Assembly and the Governor understand that the misuse of the title ‘nurse’ can pose a serious threat to patient care, trust and safety. We applaud their overwhelming support of this legislation.”
Governor Corbett also signed Senate Bill 743, which amends the Public School Code of 1949 to allow private driving trainers to teach in the classroom without being state-certified teachers. Current law allows school districts to contract with private driving trainers only for behind-the-wheel instruction.
Senator John Rafferty, who sponsored the legislation, said there is a shortage of certified teachers qualified to teach driver’s education. As a result, many school districts no longer offer the class.
Finally, the Governor signed HB 1054, which amends Act 25 of 2010 to introduce a “retired” license for engineers, land surveyors and geologists. To qualify, applicants must certify to the registration board that they have retired from practice. Retired licensees are exempt from continuing education requirements and may use titles such as “professional engineer (retired)” or “retired professional land surveyor.”
All of the bills take effect 60 days after signing, or on July 8, 2012.