The Pennsylvania Association of Nurse Anesthetists (PANA) has joined with the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association (PSNA) and the Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners (PCNP) to urge the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing (SBON) to add us to the March 15 agenda to discuss urgent concerns and challenges regarding licensing.
READ THE FULL TEXT OF THE FEB. 18 LETTER HERE.
Members have been contacting the associations to report difficulties related to initial licensure and/or renewal application processes. In 2020, members increased their communication regarding unanswered or unresolved issues, specifically lack of support from the SBON and inability to reach the SBON. In fact, members’ calls to the SBON are not connected or left on hold for hours. In turn, they contact their membership organizations to intervene.
The organizations have numerous examples where an employer has suspended a nurse due to a lag in new or renewal applications. These unacceptable delays are preventing qualified licensees from treating patients in the Commonwealth, particularly during a national pandemic.
The BPOA 2018 Review of State Professional and Occupational Licensure Board Requirements and Processes stated that, for Boards under BPOA jurisdiction, the average processing time for license reactivations was 6.8 days. The SBON’s average was 43 days --- before COVID. Yet the SBON website’s Nursing Guide boasts that "on average, renewal licenses for RN are issued within three calendar days."
A request was made to discuss the following:
· Hiring additional staff to process licenses during the next biennial renewal period.
· Establishing a committee to investigate and propose solutions to licensure issues.
· Providing briefings on the SBON’s efforts to improve processing times for all types of licenses under its jurisdiction at every public SBON meeting.
· Reorganizing the SBON’s website to clarify licensure processes and accurately display average processing times for initial and renewal applications.
· Ensuring that no phone call, voicemail, email, or letter from a licensee goes unanswered.
We will keep you informed about any response we received from SBON and updates on the March 15 meeting.