Nevada has seen a recent spike in the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), as well as flu, COVID, and other respiratory illnesses. This is leading to an influx in the hospitalization of pediatric patients. Pediatric hospitals across the state are at or near 100% capacity according to the Nevada Hospital Association. Due to the increase in pediatric patients being hospitalized, the state is now in need of additional pediatric nurses.
Nevada is not currently part of the Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC). This means that all nurses interested in working in Nevada must apply for a separate individual state license, regardless of permanent residence. Currently, Nevada has no legislation pending regarding joining the eNLC. Out-of-state nurses must apply for a temporary license until their background check clears. According to Cathy Dinauer, Executive Director for the Nevada State Board of Nursing, this process normally takes several days to complete.
The State of Nevada is now fast-tracking the process to approve temporary nursing licenses. An application can be processed within a couple of hours for “any nurse a facility deems necessary to assist with the current pediatric crisis,” according to Meghin Delaney, a spokesperson for Gov. Steve Sisolak’s office.
The Nevada Hospital Association is the point of contact for any facility needing to fast-track a pediatric nursing application. According to the association, “It will take some time before measurable relief to the immediate nurse staffing shortage occurs,” even with the fast-track process. Nonetheless, Cathy Dinauer maintains the Nevada State Board of Nursing wants to “stand ready” and “eliminate as many barriers” as possible.
The fast-track process is the result of a mutual agreement between Gov. Sisolak and the Nevada State Board of Nursing as a solution to help with the current problem. Cathy Dinauer stated, “If we were part of the compact, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.” She maintains this is only a temporary fix, and the only way to permanently fix the nursing shortage in the state is for the State of Nevada to join the compact license.
However, nursing unions oppose legislation to permit Nevada to join the compact. Gerard Brogan, Director of Nursing Practice for National Nurses United, disagrees with Dinauer that joining the compact is a solution to the nursing shortage in the state. He also says the nursing union will continue to oppose legislation to join the compact going forward.
Gov. Steve Sisolak has not issued an emergency directive waiving the requirement for temporary nursing licensure at this time.