Regional Council 5 News
Why Nurses OPPOSE “Nurse Licensure Compact”
A WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING
Supporters of this bill have been very loose with the facts in advocating for this measure.
They have portrayed scenarios to support the bill that do not exist!
- Nurses licensed to practice in Massachusetts do not need Compact.
- There is already a process in place for disaster response - it does not require Compact.
- Spouses of military personnel can already receive expedited licensure - does not require Compact.
- Out-of-state RNs can already secure a license in a timely manner.
THERE IS NO URGENCY FOR THIS BILL
This bill is really about removing Massachusetts RN’s from the care setting and using technology to have an RN in Kentucky, Mississippi or Oklahoma be responsible for the care of patients. Massachusetts patients deserve better. This will also allow health care employers to outsource RN jobs to states with lower standards and lower pay scales.
IT WOULD DECREASE RN LICENSING STANDARDS
Massachusetts has high standards for nursing licensure. We should not weaken those standards by unilaterally rubber-stamping licensure from RNs in states that have no continuing education requirements or background checks. This would put Massachusetts in a race to the bottom.
IT WOULD ALLOW BAD NURSES TO KEEP WORKING
The media has documented numerous cases in which RNs with penalties and criminal charges against them move from state to state through the loose ties of the interstate compact to avoid job loss and prosecution. Additionally, each state has different standards on what criminal activities can (and can’t) bar you from being licensed.
SOME STATES HAVE NO CONTINUING ED REQUIREMENTS
Health care is evolving quickly. It is imperative that registered nurses, particularly in specialty areas, are trained and prepared to meet today’s health care needs. Massachusetts has high standards in this regard. We do not want to see nurses without this training and education practicing in Massachusetts hospitals. In recent years the Massachusetts legislature has mandated additional CE courses- it is contradictory to pretend these CEs are not vital to the practice of nursing.
COMPACT PUTS AN UNFAIR BURDEN ON NURSES
Compact requires premature posting of unproven information- information that may be false and which is prior to final action. Compact would allow disparate treatment of nurses for the same harm, as Compact dictates that the home state will make the final decision when there is a difference of opinion between two states on how to discipline a nurse. So if two nurses involved in an incident in Massachusetts under Compact have two different home states, discipline which may be meted out for the same harm or error could easily differ because it will ultimately be determined separately by the two (or more) states.
Compact would also be confusing and more difficult for patients needing to lodge a complaint against a practitioner. It is logical that home states will be more likely to take aggressive disciplinary action against nurses who have treated state citizens. The follow-up investigations of negligence, incompetence or fraud are very difficult if respondents are located across the country. The issue of geographic boundaries is a serious one. It is unclear how the Compact model can adequately protect the public, particularly when the Commonwealth (as well as the public) has no means of determining in which of 50 states a nurse is practicing at any point in time.
BIG $MONEY$ BENEFIT$ FROM COMPACT
Instead of our state Board of Registration in Nursing (BORN) conducting appropriate licensure background checks of prospective RNs in MA an outside third-party would now rake in big revenue from taking this over, yet having limited background and review of prospective RNs.
Additionally, hospitals and other health care employers would use Compact to outsource nursing care to other states- and replace bedside nurses with out-of-state call centers.
We take our role as front-line health care providers seriously. Every day RNs give everything they have to help people. When something is not right we speak up. This bill will harm patients and endanger care. Please do not co-sponsor nursing interstate license compact legislation.
Let your State Representative and State Senator know you OPPOSE NURSE LICENSURE COMPACT
You can find your elected official here: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/wheredoivotema/bal/MyElectionInfo.aspx