O’Scanlon: Failure to Utilize Extremely Valuable Human Resources Needs to Be Immediately Rectified. Failure to Do So Could Cost Lives. Governor Needs to Act Now.
Today, Senator Declan O’Scanlon called on Governor Murphy to begin permitting recently graduated nurses and any inactive or recently expired EMS personnel to be allowed to contribute in the fight against COVID-19.
“As the Governor knows and has said, we need all hands on deck,” said O’Scanlon (R-13). “This should be a no brainer. This is something that should have happened weeks ago and yet we keep getting told it’s just around the corner.”
Recently, through Executive Order 112, Governor Murphy permitted the state to allow out-of-state and retired nurses and doctors to work in New Jersey.
Nursing schools in the state are expediting the graduation of students in their final semester to help in the fight. However, those nursing students that graduated prior to the pandemic and who were waiting to take their nurse licensing exams were not permitted to be hired during the COVID-19 crisis.
“I understand the administration has been trying to get the old nurse permitting system back online to help with this situation, but we don’t want to take so long as to have it miss the surge. Let’s get it done,” said O’Scanlon.
“We are also missing a huge opportunity to permit EMS personnel who have recently let their certifications expire or who have been inactive to join the cause,” O’Scanlon continued. “This has the potential to get hundreds of extra EMTs and Paramedics who are ready, willing, and able to aid in this crisis. Adequate staffing is as big a concern as personal protective equipment and childcare. Heads should roll if we didn’t get this done in time.”
Doctors, nurses, and virtually every other profession in the State, are governed by the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Attorney General’s Office. However, the New Jersey Department of Health is the regulatory body for EMS. To be permitted to be reactivated, EMTs would have to take 24 hours of class and a test, and paramedics would have to take a minimum of 48 hours, and as high as hundreds of hours of retraining, however, all classes and testing centers are currently closed.
“The Department of Health is extremely busy these days. However, they have emergency powers to get this done. The Governor needs to act, or the Legislature will,” O’Scanlon concluded.