On Wednesday, September 7th 2016, the District of Columbia Board of Nursing assembled for its bimonthly meeting to discuss relevant issues, challenges, and progresses. In attendance were Chairperson Cathy Borris-Hale, RN, Executive Director Karen Scipio-Skinner, RN, as well as consumer member Vera Mayer, who retired from her role as Senior Advocate here at Iona Senior Services in 2009. Topics discussed during the open session included the recent closure of Medtech Colleges in the Washington, D.C. area, revisions to RN/LPN regulations, and updates on licensing applications and requirements. Several board members also shared their highlights and experiences from the recent National Council of State Boards of Nursing annual meeting, which they attended in Chicago.
Nurse consultant and member of the Education/Practice Committee Bonita Jenkins reported on the abrupt closure of Radians College, located in Northwest D.C, which has been training students in accredited nursing programs since 1991. The closure of Radians College, one of three Medtech schools closing in the Washington metro area, came following a failure to gain Title IV recertification, which grants federal student aid funds from the U.S. Department of Education. According to the Department, Medtech was found to be misrepresenting student data, which is a clear violation of federal regulations. Given only a 30-day notice that the school was ceasing operations, the over 200 nursing students from Radians were left scrambling to find comparable nursing education programs, as well as financial aid support. Luckily, many students have been relocated to Stratford University School of Nursing in Falls Church, Virginia, and others are seeking potential opportunities at Howard University and the University of the District of Columbia.
Relevant to the Long Term Care Coalition was the Board’s discussion of Nursing Assistive Personnel (NAP) regulation and nursing delegation, particularly in relation to medication aide certification (MAC). Currently in D.C., as in many U.S. states, Home Health Aides (HHA) are not allowed to administer medications to their clients without additional MAC. It is an ongoing effort by members of the LTC to pressure the D.C. Council to give Home Health Aides the training and certification to be able to administer medications to their clients, with the appropriate delegation from a licensed nurse. This provision would allow HHEs to provide more comprehensive care to their clients, who in turn are able to remain in their homes rather than transition to a nursing home facility. It also enables registered nurses to engage in more skilled work, with the confidence that HHEs can be delegated as medication aides. The LTC will continue to partner with the D.C. Board of Nursing in implementing NAP regulations that promote the best health outcomes for the District’s seniors.
The next D.C. Board of Nursing meeting is on November 6th – we encourage everyone to attend, and keep an eye out for more updates to come!