Abbott Waives Regulations to Get More Nurses Into Workforce

Retired and inactive nurses, along with graduate vocational nurses, will be able to practice temporarily

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced Sunday he would sign executive order to waive some regulations and allow more nurses to enter the workforce in order to avoid a shortage.

According to the Texas Board of Nursing website, retired and inactive nurses can temporarily practice. The governor's order eliminated reactivation fees and continued learning requirements for the applicants to speed up the process of issuing permits.

The governor's announcement would allow graduate and vocational nurses, who have yet to take their exams, to temporarily practice.

Out -of-state nurses will be fast-tracked to receive temporary licensing to practice, but they have to be in good standing.

Cindy Zolnierek, the CEO of the Texas Nurses Association said she was pleased to see the waivers.

"Nurses, we’re called to that duty, we want to be where we’re needed and I think we will see a large response from nurses," she said. "We recognize that nurses that are retired may be in the high risk group at being infected and having poor outcomes themselves, so we do want to recognize that, but there’s room for nurses in many different roles to be responsive not all of them have to be hands on care of  infected patients."

The Texas Nurses Association will host a virtual career fair Wednesday to help nurses returning to the work force.

In a statement, Medical City Healthcare said interested candidates could apply for work through their virtual job fair.

The order also allows students in their final year of nursing school to meet clinical learning to exceed the 50% limit on simulated clinical learning.

Dr. Rosalie Mainous, Dean of the Texas Woman's University College of Nursing, said that was important because students have lost all their clinical placements this semester since hospitals are focusing their resources on battling COVID-19.

"We’re going to go to the lab to train now and in order to not violate the Texas Board of Nursing rules and regulations, this order that the governor has given us now allows us to train in the lab as opposed to in the clinical setting," she said.

She's hoping that senior-level nursing students, who are about to graduate, will be utilized to help healthcare workers.

"I think they could really support the front line workers that are trying to fight this terrible virus and I think they could do a number of things, I think they could work phone banks, I think they could work in the drive-thru testing, I think there are many things nursing students can do that can give  support to the healthcare system as a whole," Mainous said.

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