CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. —
A snag in a Georgia law is keeping at least 100 nurses from working.
There is a problem with House Bill
475, which was passed in 2009. The bill makes a distinction between regionally and nationally accredited schools. State Rep. Sharon Cooper sponsored the legislation.
“I would say that I’m very sorry for what happened. It’s a glitch in the law,” Cooper said.
Cooper told Channel 2 Action News someone in the Senate changed the language in her original bill.
On Monday, Channel 2’s Erica Byfield spoke with a nurse who was unable to obtain a license in Georgia because of the problem.
“It makes me sad I can’t do what I went to school for. I busted my
tail, and I can’t even do it,” Jennifer Dotson said.
Dotson is a mother of five. She graduated from ATA College in Louisville,
Ky., as a licensed practical nurse. Dotson and her family moved to Georgia in August when her husband got a new job.
She said she submitted her application to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office shortly
afterward. Dotson told Byfield it took several weeks to get a response. Eventually, someone with the Georgia Board of Nursing called her on the phone.
“She said ‘Mrs. Dotson, I’m sorry, but the reason your application is still pending is because the s
tate of Georgia, because you did not go to a regionally accredited school, we cannot license you,'” Dotson said.
Cooper said she is working on changing the law.
“I have the legislation sitting on my desk,” Cooper said.
She said the law was originally drafted to make sure anyone who graduated from an online institution had the proper training.
“I think people need to realize that the board was acting in good faith trying to protect the patients of Georgia,” Cooper said.
The legislature does not meet again until early January. Therefore, Dotson and other nurses are being asked to hold on for a few more months. Dotson told Byfield she is not sure if she can.
“I have to have something to help. I’m looking at maybe Christmas being a problem,” she said.