The coronavirus pandemic has led officials to make changes to regulations that impact nurse licensure. Some changes impact operations, others impact legislation. The medical community describes some of these changes as long-overdue updates while others were simply a stopgap.
What responses impacted the nursing community?
Essentially, the U.S. Constitution provides state authorities the duty to ensure the safety of their communities during emergency situations. This includes emergencies resulting from the presence of dangerous infectious diseases. Some governors reacted by mandating mask use in public places, others also expedited nurse licensure. Overall, 1,618 executive orders and proclamations were issued between the second week of March and the end of April 2020. At least 93 emergency declarations directly impacted access to care, licensure and other dimensions of healthcare.
These orders also impacted operational efforts. Regulatory boards had difficulty operating under stay-at-home orders. Social distancing requirements also made it difficult to move forward with daily functions. Even a shift to digital and remote meetings posed difficulties, as not everyone had sufficient tech systems to meet these needs.
Que regulatory changes. As discussed in a recent publication by Nursing World, some orders included waiving licensure requirements entirely. As such, the full impact varies by state and the emergency orders that were in place throughout the pandemic.
What does this mean for nurses who were impacted by these changes?
The changes may or may not be permanent. Nurses who received licensure as a result of an expedited process due to the pandemic may face additional issues regarding the status of their nursing license in the future. Those in this situation are wise to act to protect their interests.