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Nursing compact bill before state legislature

Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 4:42 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Since Governor Sisolak’s emergency declaration nearly a year ago, 1,000 out-of-state nurses have entered Nevada to practice. While they don’t have a Nevada license to do so, that declaration allows them to work here with some paperwork.

“Concerning because all that is required is for them to fill out a waiver,” says Cathy Dinauer, Executive Director with the Nevada State Board of Nursing. “It does not require them to do any sort of background check or follow the same guidelines that we would have if we were in the nursing compact,” she says.

Dinauer says once the declaration is removed, these same nurses will have to jump through many more hoops to continue practicing here.

But if Nevada decides to become part of a 34 state compact, the nurse will only have to have one license from a state in that compact. It means the nurse will be able to practice freely in the other 33 states.

“It addresses some of our needs,” says Assemblyman P.K. O’Neill representing District 40. “Right now the governor has allowed an emergency act under COVID. This allows it permanently. We have a huge nursing shortage in Nevada. This should address it,” he says.

Assemblyman O’Neill has sponsored Assembly Bill 142 which, if approved, would move Nevada into the nursing compact. Our state is one of ten states and territories considering such legislation.

Benefits include more access to nurses during times of emergency either long lasting or immediate. Nurses would also be able to participate in telehealth medicine without having to leave their licensing state.

For nurses it means more mobility and less expense to practice in more than one state.

Two years ago, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) testified against the nursing compact bill. According to the SEIU, it would allow hospitals and others to hire additional nurses in times of a strike.

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