Rhode Island Joins National Nurse Licensure Compact to Tackle Healthcare Worker Shortage

Governor Dan McKee announced a groundbreaking move Thursday – Rhode Island’s inclusion in the national Nurse Licensure Compact. This development opens the doors for nurses with Multi-State Licenses from 41 participating states to seamlessly work in Rhode Island, and reciprocally, allows Rhode Island nurses to practice in any of those states.

Highlighting the critical role nurses play in the state’s healthcare landscape, Governor McKee expressed, “Nurses are the backbone of our state’s healthcare facilities. Amid the current national healthcare worker shortage, we are doing everything we can to make it convenient and attractive for them to work in Rhode Island.”

Rhode Island Executive Health and Human Services Secretary Richard Charest emphasized that this strategic move is part of a broader initiative under Governor McKee’s leadership to strengthen the healthcare workforce. Charest stated, “Under Governor McKee’s leadership, we are focused on implementing changes that strengthen our healthcare workforce through education, recruitment, licensure, and retention. The national Nurse Licensure Compact lessens the administrative burden on nurses and gives our state access to more licensed professionals.”

The impact of this compact is significant for registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) in Rhode Island. Three distinct groups of individuals within these license categories will experience changes:

  1. Rhode Island Residents with Rhode Island Licenses: Those currently licensed in Rhode Island with the state as their primary residence will apply for a Multi-State License upon renewal (due on March 1, 2024, or March 1, 2025).
  2. Compact State Residents: Nurses licensed in Rhode Island with a primary residence in a Compact State will receive a Multi-State License during renewal. Their single-state Rhode Island license will then be changed to inactive status.
  3. Non-Compact State Residents: Nurses licensed in Rhode Island with a primary residence outside a Compact State will continue working in Rhode Island with a single-state license. Their license status remains unchanged, and renewal will proceed as scheduled.

Interim Director Utpala Bandy, MD, MPH, assured that nurses practicing under a Multi-State License will adhere to the same high professional standards as those with a single-state license. Dr. Bandy emphasized the goal of reducing administrative hurdles, ensuring qualified nurses can promptly provide care in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island’s entry into the Nurse Licensure Compact marks a proactive step towards addressing the challenges posed by the ongoing healthcare worker shortage, aiming to facilitate seamless mobility for nursing professionals and enhance the overall quality of healthcare services in the state.




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