If new Florida House of Representative member Dr. Joel Rudman has anything to say about it, former military personnel who served as combat medics will get college credit for the lifesaving efforts they made downrange. 


The bill’s goal, which was announced at the Niceville Campus of Northwest Florida State College – is to alleviate the critical shortage of nurses in Nortwest Florida. 


Dr. Rudman filed HB 517 for the legislative session which starts in March. 

The bill, called the Pathway for Military Medics Act, would allow state colleges and universities to grant combat medics credit for the expertise they accumulate while in the service. How much credit exactly, will vary with their experience. “We are putting these skilled individuals on a fast track  to enter our workforce quicker,“ Rudman said, “As a physician, i would go so far as if to say, that in certain circumstances [like] mass casualty events, maybe if it were an acute trauma, you’d actually be better off having [these medics] on the scene than having me.” Representative Rudman credits State Senator Brian Avila for coming up with the idea for the bill and thanked Avila for allowing him to champion the companion bill in the Florida State House of Representatives.

Man speaking from podium
Florida District 3 representative Dr. Joel Rudman speaks to an audience at Northwest Florida State College about HB 571. The bill, if passed, would grant combat medics postsecondary credit for the skills they learned in the military.
Representative Michelle Sallzman and Devin Stephenson listen as Dr. Joel Rudman speak about HB 517

On Capitol Hill…

🎶I’m just a bill🎶


This announcement is just the first part of the process to make the bill law. The bill is off to a good start, though, as it has a companion bill in the Florida State Senate. Next, it’ll get assigned for committees to look it over and give it an up or down vote. Typically, the fewer committees it has got to survive, the better prospects it has. As of this publishing, the bill is not listed on the state house website. 


After surviving the gauntlet of committees on both sides of the state legislature, the bill has to be passed by the Florida State House and Florida State Senate in a general vote.


From here – the governor has to sign or veto it. If the governor fails to sign a bill by July 1st (but doens’t veto it), the bill becomes law automatically.  


Successful state legislators, like Niceville Representative Patt Maney, will get as many as five or six of their seven possible bills passed into law in a legislative session. 


To recap

➡️ HB 571 is here      1️⃣ File a Bill 

2️⃣ Pass it through committees 

3️⃣ Pass a general vote

4️⃣ Governor signs, vetoes, or allows bill to pass through

5️⃣ Bill is law!

Northwest Florida State College Prepares for Additional Nursing Training For This Bill.

If the bill passes in the next house session, Northwest Florida State College will jump into the ring ready to fight. It recently won a $21 million-dollar grant to double the capacity of its nursing program and hopes to leverage that money with this bill to create more trained nurses for our areas hospitals, doctors offices and outpatient clinics. “We’re excited to make this a seamless, clear pathway for students,” said Northwest Florida State College President Dr. Devin Stephenson when asked about implementation at Northwest Florida State College, “It’s a different model, it’s an aggressive model. We operate at the speed of business and not every institution takes on the task of being aggressive and running after it.”

The bill, if passed by the house and senate – then signed into law by the governor – would be effective by July first. After that, the state department of education would make determinations as to what experiences would count for which credits. “We’re taking the politics out of [the credit process],” Rudman said, “there are actual mechanisms in place that already evaluate such credits. We’re basically going to give them the authority to look at everything on a case-by-case basis and decide how much credit each person gets.”

For more about the announcement and Rudman’s goals, our partners over at South Santa Rosa News have more information! 

Dr. Devin Stephenson Speaks to a crowd about the impact HB 571 could have on the nursing shortage arounf Florida and the country. Northwest Florida State College recently earned at $21 Million dollar grant to double the number of nurses they create every year.

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