State Nursing Associations’ Letter to the State Board of Nursing
February 18, 2021
The undersigned organizations request to be placed on the State Board of Nursing (SBON) meeting agenda on March 15, 2021 to discuss the following concerns and ongoing challenges.
As organizations for licensed nursing professionals in the Commonwealth, we have been contacted by our members with difficulties related to initial licensure and/or renewal application processes. In 2020, members have increased their communication regarding unanswered or unresolved issues, specifically lack of support from the SBON and inability to reach the SBON. In fact, members’ calls to the SBON are not connected or on hold for hours. In turn, they contact their membership organizations to intervene.
We have numerous examples where an employer has suspended a nurse due to a lag in new or renewal applications. For instance, a nurse was hired to serve on the front lines in Philadelphia during the pandemic; however, it took almost two months before the SBON returned the nurse’s calls to assist in a minor application issue. These unacceptable delays are preventing qualified licensees from treating patients in the Commonwealth, particularly during a national pandemic.
The BPOA 2018 Review of State Professional and Occupational Licensure Board Requirements and Processes stated that, for Boards under BPOA jurisdiction, the average processing time for license reactivations was 6.8 days. The SBON’s average was 43 days – before COVID. Yet the SBON website’s Nursing Guide boasts that “on average, renewal licenses for RN are issued within three calendar days.”
As noted, we request to be added to the March 15th agenda to discuss the following:
- Hiring additional staff to process licenses during the next biennial renewal period
- Establishing a committee to investigate and propose solutions to licensure issues
- Providing briefings on the SBON’s efforts to improve processing times for all types of licenses under its jurisdiction at every public SBON meeting
- Reorganizing the SBON’s website to clarify licensure processes and accurately display average processing times for initial and renewal applications
- Ensuring that no phone call, voicemail, email, or letter from a licensee goes unanswered
We value the relationships we have developed and are sensitive to the challenges presented by COVID-19. Yet this is no longer sustainable for the citizens of Pennsylvania. If you wish to speak with an organizational representative, please contact PSNA Government Relations Specialist Noah Logan (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Pennsylvania Association of Nurse Anesthetists
- Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners
- Pennsylvania State Nurses Association