Senate approves bill on ailing nursing schools

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Senate has approved a measure requiring nursing education programs to be nationally accredited within five years of accepting students.

The bill (SB 1036) passed the Senate on Friday with a vote of 38-0. It is in response to legislation in 2009 and 2010 that loosened the licensing process for new nursing schools, which resulted in a drop in test scores among graduates of programs that opened since then.

The measure also allows nurses currently certified by one of the two top accrediting agencies in the U.S. to be exempt from the current biennial continuing education requirement.

The bill still must be approved by the House.

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