The Compact is an agreement between states that ties the party states to the provisions as outlined in the compact (Evans, 2015). Different states have laws that vary, which makes it difficult for professionals such as nurses and doctors to practice across the states. Registered nurses who work on volunteer for Red Cross, travel nurses, nurses working temporarily for summer camps, nurses doing telephone triage, and nurses working for healthcare teams that provide services over the internet, often face work challenges. Most of the services of these healthcare professionals involve provisions of services across the states. It is with consideration of these challenges that the state of New Jersey developed the S103 bill that allows it to enter into compact with other states.
The compact enables the nurses to practice in his/her state and the other state(s) that is part of the compact (Evans, 2015). The compact currently has a total of twenty five (25) member states. These include the states in the Middle Atlantic Area, which include Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Maine, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. The S103 would allow New Jersey to issue multistate license, thus authorizing the state home nurses to practice in compact member states.
The S103 bill was initially tabled in the Assembly (as Bill 3917), with Moriarity and Conaway as its sponsors. The bill was also tabled with the Senate as bill 103, with Senate sponsors being Senators Joseph Vitale and James Whelan and Senator Fred Madden as co-sponsor (LegiScan, 2016)
. Both the Assembly and Senate bills were introduced and referred to the committee. The bill is currently in the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.
Issues Raised by the Bill
The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) shall allow the nurses to practice both physically or electronically in other remote states, which are members of the NLC. The NLC will help in eradicating regulatory restrictions from remote states owing to different practice laws. These uniform licensures promote public safety and health benefits. Through the NLC, patient access will be increased, care continuity for patients regardless of the state and facilitation of discipline cases across the state boundaries. However, the major challenges of the Nurse Licensure Compact are the technology and new practice modalities, which makes the nurse licensure laws of the individual states more complex.
Stakeholders and their Influence
The major stakeholders include the healthcare providers, including advanced practice registered nurses (the New Jersey State Nursing Association), compact advocacy collations, the non-governmental organizations, the healthcare insurance providers and the state communities. These stakeholders exert great influence on the healthcare policies, shaping the way healthcare is provided. The healthcare insurance providers are keen to ensure the mobility of the patients under their coverage, while the patients are keen to access healthcare services without state restrictions. All these stakeholders hold substantial influence in shaping the bill though its enactment and legislation.
Challenges, Problems and Next Steps
The major challenges/problems in adoption of the NLC are the retrieval of the criminal records of the applicants and practice modalities. The individual states should make criminal background checks for registered nurses before their application for the NLC licensure. These include obtaining the finger prints of the applicants and retrieval of their criminal records from the Federal Bureau of Investigations and other security agencies. The states should also ascertain the professional prequalification of the applicants prior to the application for NLC licensure.