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Legislators Contemplate Eliminating RN Prerequisite for Nursing Board’s Executive Director

Credits: WAMU

Maryland lawmakers are considering legislation to amend the requirements for the executive director of the Maryland Board of Nursing. The law mandates that the executive director must hold a registered nursing license (RN), among other qualifications.

However, House Bill 1053, proposed by Delegate Anne Kaiser, seeks to eliminate the RN requirement, providing more flexibility in the selection process.

The bill has passed unanimously in the House of Delegates and is now under review by the Senate Finance Committee. Proponents argue that removing the RN requirement would allow the board to prioritize hiring an executive director with solid management, strategy, and leadership experience, as recommended by an independent study conducted by Ernst & Young LLP.

Legislators and Nurses (Credits:

This study highlighted that many Boards of Nursing across the United States have non-RN executive directors and emphasized the diverse expertise within the Maryland Board of Nursing (MBON) leadership to support a non-RN executive director.

The Maryland Department of Health also supports the legislation, with Secretary Laura Herrera Scott emphasizing the importance of finding an executive leader with skills in team management, budgeting, and customer service.

She highlighted that the board comprises mostly nursing professionals who provide sufficient subject matter expertise.

Nurses (Credits: John Wood Community College)

The Maryland Nursing Association opposes the bill, advocating for the retention of the RN requirement. They argue nurses bring unique qualifications and perspectives, including administrative and legal expertise, MBA, JD, or informatics degrees. Catherine Ling, a registered nurse, stressed nurses’ diverse skill sets and ability to fulfill leadership roles within the board.

Nurse practitioner Christine Simon-Waterman echoed these sentiments, emphasizing the symbolic significance of having a nurse at the organization’s helm, particularly for Maryland’s nursing community.

The debate over HB 1053 reflects differing perspectives on the qualifications necessary for the Maryland Board of Nursing executive director.

While proponents argue for flexibility and prioritizing managerial expertise, opponents emphasize the value of nursing qualifications and expertise in leading the state’s nursing regulatory body.

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