(The Center Square) – A new law in Pennsylvania is making it easier for foreign nurses to obtain certification in the state, expanding the potential pool of healthcare workers as the state faces a shortage of nurses.
Act 22 updates nursing licensing requirements by allowing the State Board of Nursing to approve graduates of international nursing programs to sit for the RN exam. As long as the education they received outside the United States meets state board standards, graduates can obtain a license much faster than before.
“Now more than ever, we must work to ease the unnecessary burdens of those seeking to serve on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Rep. Brett Miller, R-Lancaster, wrote in a legislative note.
The legislation is another effort to reduce bureaucratic hurdles that make it harder for healthcare workers to get licensed and approved to work in Pennsylvania. Since the pandemic, the legislative and executive branches have abolished some problematic excessive health care restrictions.
In April, Democratic Governor Tom Wolf signed into law a similar bill for physicians that reduced clinical residency requirements from three years to two for graduates of international medical schools. And last year, Pennsylvania joined the Nurse Licensure Compact to allow nurses licensed in other states to begin working in Pennsylvania immediately, because The Center Square Previously reported.
These actions were welcomed as a way to improve the working conditions of other nurses and attract more people into the health field. However, other problems remain. Long waiting times because licensing has caused frustration and can slow down medical practices and hospitals hiring nurses.
The Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners backed Bill 22, one of the few changes the industry group would like to see.
CPNP has asked the General Assembly to approve expanded scope of practice legislation to ensure nurses are allowed to do the work they were trained to do, such as The Center Square Previously reported. They also want to see a chief nursing officer created in Pennsylvania and the approval of nurse practitioners and physician assistants to order home health services.
. pennsylvania makes it easy for to get a license for foreign nurses state