PENNSLYVANIA (WHTM) – Pennsylvania is dealing with a severe nursing shortage.

As of September 5th, nurses who hold multi-state licenses through the interstate Nurse Licensure Compact can now practice in Pennsylvania without obtaining a Pennsylvania License.

“It helps with our critical nurse shortage. It helps to bring more nurses into Pennsylvania, licensed practical nurses, and registered nurses to work actually in Pennsylvania or work through a telehealth platform, if that would be available as well. So, we’re able to pull more nurses into Pennsylvania,” said Pennsylvania State Nurses Association President Dr. Deb Cardenas.  

The compact is administered by the National Council for State Boards of Nursing, its n agreement with 41 states and U.S. territories.

“Those nurses who live in a bordering state, Maryland, New Jersey, you know, Ohio, they don’t want to have to pay for, you know, to licenses to practice. So having the ability to only pay for one license in the state, which is their primary state and be able to practice in Pennsylvania without getting an additional license is a very is a is a positive,” said Dr. Cardenas.

Dr. Cardenas says she personally has not noticed a difference since the agreement began earlier this month.

“So, I’ve been receiving many comments that the nurses from other states are happy that they do not have to pay the different licensure fees. So, they’re very excited about that to be able to have just one licensure fee and still be able to practice in Pennsylvania,” said Dr. Cardenas.

But the compact is only partially implemented. Pennsylvania nurses don’t have the ability to receive multi-state licenses. But it is something the department of state is working on.

One of the preconditions that must be met is being able to show that an FBI criminal background has been completed on Pennsylvania nurses. The process requires FBI authorization, the state is still waiting for that.

A U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration reports that by 2030 the demand for LPNs in PA will be higher than the number of available workers by 27.8%