Governor Signs Bills into Law September 16

On September 16, 2020, Governor Murphy signed the following bills into law.:

A4476/S2790  – Establishes certain requirements concerning State’s preparedness and response to infectious disease outbreaks, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

A4481/S2787  – Establishes New Jersey Task Force on Long-Term Care Quality and Safety

A4482/S2758  – Establishes minimum wage requirements for certain long-term care facility staff; establishes direct care ratio requirements for nursing homes; requires nursing home care rate study.

A4547/S2813  – Authorizes temporary rate adjustment for certain nursing facilities; appropriates $62.3 million.

NJ Student Nurse Strong Initiative

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) has launched the NJ Student Nurse Strong Initiative. Through this program, nursing students may seek summer employment at long-term care facilities as temporary nurse aides. This is an opportunity for nursing students to assist New Jersey’s most vulnerable populations.

If you are in the Externship Program for the Helene Fuld Grant, please contact Nancy Bohnarczyk () for details. This is a team-based approach, and provides supervision in long-term care facilities.

Emergency Graduate Licensure

From https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/COVID19/Pages/Emergency-Graduate-Licensure.aspx:

To meet the increased demand for health care professionals during the current state of emergency and public health emergency, the State of New Jersey is licensing graduates of nursing education and training programs located in New Jersey within the last six months, and graduates of physician assistantrespiratory care therapy and pharmacy education and training programs who located in any state within the last 6 months.

Until further order of the Division, the following four classes of licensee will be granted temporary emergent graduate license:

    1. Nurses who have graduated from programs in Professional Nursing and Licensed Practical Nursing who have not yet taken the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN);
    2. Physician Assistants who have graduated from physician assistant education programs accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant Inc. (ARC-PA), or its predecessor or successor, who have not yet taken the applicable licensing examination;
    3. Respiratory Care Therapists who have graduated from education programs for respiratory care practitioners accredited by the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) or its successor, who have not yet taken the applicable licensing examination;
    4. Pharmacists who have graduated from schools or colleges of pharmacy who have not yet taken applicable licensing examinations. 

    Additionally, the Division is waiving fee submission and criminal history background check requirements for all four groups of health care graduates.  Those licensed under this program will be required to sit for an examination within 90 days of the date their respective examinations become readily available to be taken.

Nurse Graduate Licenses

The New Jersey Collaborating Center for Nursing has created a job board to match new nurse graduates (RNs and LPNs) with employment opportunities all across New Jersey. For more information, visit www.njccn.org/jobs/.

Governor Murphy and Attorney General Grewal Announce Recent Graduates of Health Care Programs Can Now Join the Fight Against COVID-19 While Waiting to Take Licensing Exams

05/05/2020
Emergency Graduate Licenses Open Door for Thousands of Recent Grads to More Quickly Join New Jersey’s Ranks of Nurses, Physician Assistants, Pharmacists, and Respiratory Care Specialists

TRENTON – Acting on a commitment to further expand New Jersey’s health care workforce in response to COVID-19, Governor Phil Murphy and Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced today that recent graduates of nursing, physician assistant, pharmacy, and respiratory care therapy programs who have not yet been able to take and pass their licensing exams will be granted temporary emergency licenses. The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs will begin accepting applications for the emergency graduate licensure program today.

“From the onset of this crisis, our goal has been to eliminate any roadblocks that prevent qualified health care professionals from joining our frontline response efforts,” said Governor Murphy. “Today’s action allows thousands of recent graduates to quickly join teams on the ground currently fighting COVID-19.”

“We cannot afford to have otherwise qualified healthcare professionals sidelined during the COVID-19 crisis waiting for an opportunity to take the exams they need to become licensed,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We need them in the field as soon as possible to assist those who have been working around the clock to stop this pandemic.”

“Recent graduates of nursing, pharmacy, physician assistant and respiratory care therapy programs will be welcome in our hospitals to assist patients and relieve frontline health care workers,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “It’s a perfect match.”

“This program is an example of our many efforts to increase the number of qualified healthcare professionals available to provide care for New Jersey residents during this emergency,” said Paul R. Rodríguez, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “We are giving graduates an opportunity to put their years of training to use when they are needed most, during the peak of what may be the most serious healthcare crisis of their lifetimes.”

The emergency graduate licensure program is open to individuals applying for licensure within six months of graduating from the following programs:
• Accredited registered professional nursing (RN);
• Practical nursing (LPN);
• Physician assistant;
• Pharmacy education and training located in New Jersey; and
• Accredited respiratory care therapy education and training located in any state.

Individuals will not be eligible for the emergency graduate licensure program if they have failed the relevant licensing examination and will be dropped from the program if they fail the exam after receiving an emergency graduate license.

With the exception of respiratory care therapists, graduates licensed through this program will be eligible to work only under supervision in an acute care facility licensed by the New Jersey Department of Health. Respiratory care specialists will also be authorized to work under supervision in field hospitals.

The program will end automatically at the conclusion of the COVID-19 state of emergency and public health emergency. The Division may choose to end the program earlier if it determines that it is no longer necessary. In that case, the Division would give licensees 90 days to pass their examination and 120 days to obtain standard licenses.

The Division has waived application fees for the emergency temporary license.
Graduates can apply for a temporary emergency graduate license online on the Division’s website.
For more information on the Division’s program, please click here.
Qualified health, mental health, and related professionals interested in volunteering can visit: www.covid19.nj.gov/volunteer

Access to Care in New Jersey: Making the Case for Modernizing Legislation

NJCCN Researchers Edna Cadmus, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN; Pamela B. de Cordova, PhD, RN-BC; Susan Weaver, PhD, RN, CRNI, NEA-BC, and Arun Ravichandran, MS published their research on the role of APNs in addressing access to care in the Journal of Nursing Regulation. “Access to Care in New Jersey: Making the Case for Modernizing Legislation” is available at https://www.journalofnursingregulation.com/

Executive Order to Suspend Restrictions for APNs and PAs

Governor Murphy has issued an executive order suspending certain restrictions on the scope of practice for APNs and PAs during the state of emergency and public health emergency declared on March 9, 2020. Under these emergency orders, APNs and PAs temporarily will be able to practice with greater autonomy, including independent authority to prescribe controlled dangerous substances (CDS) when appropriate.