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06/19/2024 11:02 PM
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: December 2, 2022 11:02 AM
From: Senator Maria Collett and Sen. Lisa M. Boscola
To: All Senate members
Subject: Nursing Licensing Exams
As members of the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee, we have heard countless complaints and concerns from recent nursing school graduates attempting to get licensed and offer patient care here in the Commonwealth. For many of those that call or write, their frustration stems from 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. As a nurse, Senator Collett has experienced this firsthand and is uniquely aware of the problems this creates. The delays have 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 to meet the needs of the moment.  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, we 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. This will be a companion bill to legislation introduced in the 2021-2022 session by Rep. Keefer as  HB 2590
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.  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.
Study after study from the Joint State Government Commission have outlined the dire need for recruiting and retaining high quality nurses and health professionals across the Commonwealth – all before the COVID-19 Pandemic exacerbated widespread workforce challenges, including most notably among the healthcare industry who’s dedicated patient advocates have been working diligently to keep our communities safe for more than two years during this straining public health crisis. 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 and help us get nurses to the frontlines of care when we need them most.
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 us in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as SB905