COVID-19 heightened the competition for experienced nurses across the country. Employers both large and small, struggled to find qualified and experienced nurses available to fill critical positions. A solution that allowed the PA General Assembly to act swiftly and bring vital care to PA hospitals and health networks was SB 115, sponsored by Senator Lisa Boscola.
SB 115 provided PA with the authorization to join the National Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) and allowed RNs to obtain multistate licenses and practice in 34 other states. It precluded nurses from the cumbersome, costly burdens associated with applying for additional licenses in these compact states.
Through our stakeholder partnerships in healthcare and recreation, Triad Strategies and its partners educated lawmakers on protections within the NLC, such as mandatory FBI and State Police background checks and fingerprinting and standardized licensure requirements among NLC states. These requirements ensure high quality care and reduce gaps in education. These protections allowed for bipartisan approval of SB 115, now Act 68 of 2021.
Act 68 will help both seasonal and full-time nurses obtain rewarding positions in the Commonwealth. According to the PA Department of Health, Pennsylvania is 4,000 registered nurses short of the minimum necessary to maintain daily healthcare functions. This legislation will bolster our nursing workforce, while ensuring access and quality of care for all Pennsylvanians.