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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: March 31, 2022 01:59 PM
From: Representative Dawn W. Keefer
To: All House members
Subject: Nursing Board & Licenses
For almost 3 years, I’ve been fielding hundreds of complaints and concerns from recent nursing school graduates in my district regarding the lengthy processing times and lack of response from the State Board of Nursing to simply be authorized to sit for their state nursing board exam.  This has caused extreme frustration and unnecessary stress on our constituents, especially those who are seeking to serve on the frontline during a worldwide pandemic.

Unfortunately, review and approval times at the State Board of Nursing are not improving.  In fact, they seem to be getting worse.  We cannot afford lengthy delays in getting more health care providers licensed at a time when we’re experiencing unprecedented workforce shortages and increased demands for frontline healthcare workers, while we navigate the challenge of health care provider burnout.

Therefore, in the near future, I plan to introduce legislation to amend the Professional Nursing Law that removes the process by the State Board of Nursing to review and approve applications for the ability to take the state board nurse licensure exam.  Nursing programs are required to be accredited by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Administrators of these accredited programs transmit the appropriate information and documentation of nursing students who have successfully completed their accredited program to the State Board of Nursing.  It seems to me that the process of reviewing and verifying the completion of a state accredited program, where the administrators have already attested to a student’s successful completion of the course work required for the program’s accreditation, is redundant and unnecessary, especially when the reviewing board is already challenged with timely licensing.  

This change would alleviate the State Board of Nursing of unnecessary duties, freeing them to facilitate board exams and license processing in a timelier manner.
This efficiency will benefit prospective nurses, desperate employers and consumers vying for healthcare.  Our constituents, and anyone trying to find employment in the Commonwealth, who have spent countless hours, effort and money getting an education should not be stuck in a holding position for months simply due to inaction by a state licensing department.

Please consider joining me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB2590