Dear Speaker Cutler,
On behalf of the membership of the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association (PSNA), which represents the interests of the Commonwealth’s 224,000 registered nurses (RNs), I am writing to inform you that PSNA supports the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), Pennsylvania Senate Bill 655. This bill would enter Pennsylvania into the NLC and allow RNs to obtain multistate licenses and practice in 34 other states. SB 655 will preclude nurses from the cumbersome, costly burdens associated with applying for additional licenses in these compact states.
PSNA had been opposed to Pennsylvania joining the NLC due to issues like the potential for significant lost licensure revenue for the State Board of Nursing, uncertainty over licensure requirements, and public safety concerns. However, changes have occurred since PSNA adopted that position. In 2015, the NLC was amended to include safeguards like mandatory FBI and State Police background checks and fingerprinting. Additionally, there are standard licensure requirements among NLC states, ensuring that nurses at the bedside will follow the same licensing guidelines.
PSNA’s Government Relations Committee surveyed 15 state affiliates of the American Nurses Association (ANA) on their nurses’ experiences with the NLC. The results of the survey were overwhelmingly positive. Reservations initially expressed by some groups, such as significant lost revenue to the State Board of Nursing or public safety concerns, have not materialized. Revisions, in combination with feedback from Pennsylvania RNs and other state nursing organizations, were instrumental in PSNA’s decision to support the NLC and Senate Bill 655.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the need to lessen the regulatory burdens on nurses. Pennsylvania’s entrance into the NLC through SB 655 would allow RNs to deploy quickly during future public health emergencies. Additionally, nurses would be able to provide telehealth nursing services in other NLC states without obtaining additional licenses.
This bill will make it easier for nurses to provide a higher quality of care to more patients at a pivotal time in our history. Please join us in supporting Senate Bill 655 – Pennsylvania’s nurses depend on you.
Noah C. Logan
Government Relations Specialist, PSNA