Is a compact the answer to Nevada’s nursing shortage?

Published: Apr. 7, 2023 at 7:20 PM PDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -It’s estimated Nevada has 5,000 fewer nurses than it should; and that’s just to make a national average.

A solution could have Nevada becoming part of a nursing compact. But some would argue Assembly Bill 108 which would place our state in the compact is not as advertised.

This isn’t the first time Executive Director of the Nevada State Board of Nursing has come to lawmakers to encourage them to make our state part of a nursing compact

“The compact provides public protection and access to care through the mutual recognition of one state based licensed that is enforced locally, and recognized nationally,” testified Dinauer.

At this point there are 39 states in the compact with 10 states considering entry.

It allows nurses who are licensed and in good standing in their home state to practice in any other compact state. Dinauer says these nurses could come into Nevada during emergency situations or when there’s a disease outbreak and help out. While in a compact state though, these nurses must abide by that state’s nursing laws.

AB 108 had plenty of support.

“Looking at this bill it will increase access to nursing care for Nevada patients,” said Nicki Aaker, President of the Nevada Nurses Association. “Especially in those rural and frontier counties.”

“I think other nurses given the opportunity will come here,” said traveling nurse Timothy Squier. “When we have a shortage. The same way as other states are going to have a shortage or a need during an emergency, we will be able to go there.”

“Ground hog day or Deja vu all over again,” said Assemblyman PK O’Neill.

O’Neill was referring to the fact this bill has been presented in front of lawmakers for years and the opposition against it remains the same. That opposition has helped kill the bill over the years.

Those against the nursing compact talk about what the bill won’t do, and how it’s a union buster.

“We need to be discussing working conditions,” said Grace Vergara-Mactal with SCIU Local 1107. “Right now, the grueling working conditions of nurses is the number one barrier to be addressing the nursing shortage.”

“So, what, how is that incentivizing native Nevadans?” Asked Mark Ellison with the Communication Workers of America Local 9413. “It is going to lower the pricing. You are going to make less wages plain and simple. That’s economics.”

Observers have said of all years, the 2023 session may be The Year where Nevada becomes a member of the nursing compact.

The Assembly Committee on Commerce and Labor took no action this afternoon on AB 108.