Nevada will fast-track out-of-state nurses needing licensing

Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 4:15 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Washoe County’s Health District reported 1,000 cases of RSV locally since October 2022. While many patients recover within two weeks or so, children seem to suffer from the worst RSV has to offer. Hospitals particularly those with pediatric intensive care units say an increase in pediatric patients has put a strain on their facilities.

Late last week Governor Sisolak called the state board of nursing to see if there was something that could be done to fast-track nurses who want to come to Nevada from out of state and help take care of patients.

There was a brainstorming session with a fast-track concept the end result.

“Help facilitate licenses if a facility is in need of a nurse immediately,” says Cathy Dinauer, Executive Director with the Nevada State Board of Nursing. “Their contact will be the Nevada Hospital Association. They will call us. We are standing by ready, and then we will simply put that application in the front of the queue. And we are still following all components of the law.”

Such a work around is a first for Nevada. The fast-track concept was not used when nurses were needed to help hospitals out after the 2017 “Route 91 Harvest” shooting in Las Vegas. Nor was it used during the COVID Epidemic.

Dinauer says she sees the recent concept as a band aid solution at best and says the only way to respond to this or any other disease outbreak or disaster that might emerge is to get Nevada into the Nursing Compact.

“If we were part of the compact, we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” says Dinauer. “Because immediately you would have a nurse from another state that would come to Nevada would not have to apply for licensure. They wouldn’t have to apply in Nevada because they already have it in another state.”

If Nevada were to be part of the compact, like other participating states, we would accept the licensed nurse as he or she has met certain uniform requirements. Dinauer is happy she and the board found a solution to fill certain positions during this RSV crisis. But she says it’s only a temporary solution.

The only way to permanently fix it she says, Nevada needs to be part of the Nursing Compact.

That decision is up to the Nevada State Legislature. They’ll take up the issue at next year’s session.