Downey Bill Removing Red Tape for Practicing Nurses Approved by Assembly

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Assemblywoman Joann Downey applauded the State Assembly’s passage Thursday of her sponsored legislation (A-1597) which aims to simplify and reduce regulations on licensed nurses by entering New Jersey into the interstate Nurse Licensure Compact.

Currently, nurses are required to obtain a separate license for each state that they choose to practice in.

For example, a nurse who lives in New Jersey and works in both New Jersey and Delaware must obtain and maintain separate licenses for both states. Similarly, a nurse who lives and works in New Jersey and moves to California after obtaining a new job would need to obtain a new license to practice nursing in California.

Under this bill, nurses would only need to obtain a nursing license from their original state of residence to practice nursing in any other state that has signed onto the compact. For example, if New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland are party to the compact, a nurse licensed in New Jersey would be able to work in all three states without obtaining additional qualifications or complying with licensing regulations in the other two states.

“Requiring nurses to obtain a new license for every single state that they might practice in is the definition of an undue burden,” said Downey (D-Freehold). “Not only does current law punish nurses who work across state lines while wasting state funds on redundant administrative costs, it also discourages nurses from moving to New Jersey for work when they could find employment in another of the thirty-plus states that have already signed onto this compact. By making it easier to practice nursing in New Jersey, we can reduce the nursing shortage we currently face and improve outcomes for patients and nurses alike.”

While practicing nursing in a specific state that has entered the compact, nurses must still follow all of that state’s relevant laws and regulations while working. Each of the states can revoke a specific nurse’s privilege to practice in that state, and can take any other actions to protect the health and safety of their own citizens.

Current member states of the NLC include Texas, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Georgia, Florida, New Hampshire, and 26 others.


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