MNA Legislative Update: National Nurse Licensure Compact Bill

6 Mar

MNA and NNU RNs turned out last night to testify in opposition to the proposed National Nurse Licensure bill.

Act Now:  Contact your legislator through MNA’s Grassroots Action Center

Last night the Senate Health and Human Services Committee heard the National Nurse Licensure Compact Bill. In 2011, Gov. Mark Dayton removed or vetoed the National Nurse Licensure Compact language from the Health and Human Services Omnibus Bill. When asked “What’s different this year? What concerns of the Governor’s have been resolved?” the chief author, Senator Chris Gerlach (R) from Apple Valley, responded by stating there are more supporters this year. At first glance, one can tell that the growing number of supporters is corporations as this would make it possible for corporations to bring in nurses from other states who have differing, or lower standards for nursing care than Minnesota nurses.

The Minnesota Nurses Association opposes the National Nurse Licensure Compact because:

  • It will offer Minnesota nursing jobs to non-Minnesota nurses.
  • It forces Minnesota to relinquish local control of nursing practice to an appointed National Board of compact administrators.
  • It puts patients safety at risk in multiple ways.

MNA President Linda Hamilton, Vice President Bunny Engeldorf and NNU President Jean Ross all testified last night in opposition to this bill.

Minnesota Nurses stand ready and willing to work with the Minnesota Board of Nursing and employers to explore Tele-health/Tele-nursing issues to address patient continuity of care. However, MNA nurses remain firm in their belief that National Nurse Licensure is NOT the answer for Minnesota.

The committee voted and passed the bill out of committee on a party line vote. The bill now moves to Senate Finance. If the bill moves to the Senate floor you will be contacted to call your legislator and ask them to vote “no” to protect Minnesota jobs, our state’s rights and to protect patient safety.

Finally, the audio/video archived hearing information and link with be posted as it becomes available. Stay tuned to the MNA Blog for more updates!

2 Responses to “MNA Legislative Update: National Nurse Licensure Compact Bill”

  1. Gerard Balan April 20, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

    It’s times like this when I see why I have such a love/hate relationship with unions like the MNA. On one hand, I respect the work the MNA has done in advocating for safe staffing levels. On this issue, however, they couldn’t be more disingenuous. Every nurse has to take the NCLEX, a long validated certification exam that assesses whether a prospective nurse is safe enough to practice. The quality of the nurse is really dependant on the individual rather than what state they’re from or where they practice. A National Nurse Compact makes sense because it does make it easier for nurses to relocate and for employers to find nurses to meet the demand for undesirable positions, such as those in rural areas. I personally went through this when I relocated from Massachusetts to a small city in Wisconsin where some of my patients had to drive 1-2 hours just to see me because they live in sparsely populated, rural towns. However, it took a staggering three months for my license to convert over. A similar process happened when I moved again to Minnesota, but mercifully it did not take as long.

    If you have a nursing license, I don’t see why you can’t practice in whatever state you please without having to jump through hoops and pay extra fees. I truly believe that the real reason the MNA opposes a national compact is because it would give hospitals and other employers the option of recruiting out-of-state nurses to meet staffing demands. It’s all about reducing competition, not about patient care. To say that the quality of nursing in Minnesota would decrease if we let in out-of-state nurses in is actually incredibly insulting…and untrue.

    And before you dismiss my concerns above as the rantings of right-wing conservative, I am happy to share that I am a Democrat that leans left and am fired up to help get the President reelected this Fall.

    Gerard Balan, CNP
    Adult General and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

    • mnnurses April 23, 2012 at 10:37 am #

      Gerard – Thanks for taking the time to put together a response and share your thoughts!

      There are a lot of moving parts and issues at play here.

      Here’s one example: Right now Minnesota is also trying to pass Criminal Background Checks (CBC) with fingerprints for many health professionals, and the Board of Nursing is especially pushing this. If we do pass this, the compact would not allow us to do CBC with fingerprint checks on nurses from other states EVEN if they come from a state without a CBC. The compact prohibits it, which in our eyes is not in the best interest of patient safety.

      Also, stories like this one should give us pause as well when it comes to nurses jumping from state to state.

      We appreciate your thoughts and insight, and thanks for taking the time to share your opinion here!

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