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Recognizing the out-of-state licenses of professional nurses is an effective way for New Jersey to relieve a severe shortage of certified professionals, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) said today.

The association is supporting legislation that would enter New Jersey into a multistate compact for a mutual recognition system for the licensure of registered professional nurses and licensed practical nurses. A-1547 (Singletary, D-7; Moriarty, D-4) was released today by the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee.

“This bill would simplify the process for out-of-state nurses to work in New Jersey,” said NJBIA Vice President Tony Bawidamann. “This way, nurses only need to obtain a license from the state they reside in to be permitted to work in New Jersey instead of having to go through the whole licensing process again.

“Nurses would still have to be required to meet the qualifications for licensure, and the compact would establish a database on the disciplinary history of all licensees in the participating states,” Bawidamann said.  

The bill is a better alternative to policies that mandate minimum staffing levels. NJBIA had opposed legislation establishing a ratio between patients per certified nursing assistant.

“Like many states, New Jersey needs more nurses,” Bawidamann said.  “Mandating staffing levels doesn’t do any good if we don’t have the professionals to staff the facilities in the first place. This bill makes it easier for professional nurses to work in New Jersey, which will make it easier for us to start reducing our nursing shortage.”   As of 2015, 25 states have enacted legislation agreeing to participate in the NLC.  Although New Jersey entered into a prior version of the multistate NLC, this law expired on Jan. 1, 2007.