Nursing graduates can work with health care providers during COVID-19 pandemic, DHEC reports

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Updated: Jul. 17, 2020 at 5:38 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A joint order has been issued by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation’s State Board of Nursing giving nursing graduates temporary authorization to practice in order to assist health care facilities in need of staffing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This joint order with the State Board of Nursing is a vital step towards making sure our hospitals, clinics, and health care facilities have skilled, newly trained nurses available to assist South Carolinians during this prolonged public health crisis,” said Marshall Taylor, DHEC Acting Director. “Through this joint effort with the State Board of Nursing and LLR, we’re able to ensure that more help is on the way for the care and treatment of patients seeking medical care and treatment.”

Previously, graduates were not allowed to work with health care providers without a license. In order to receive that license, graduates have to take the National Council Licensure Examination. However, those testing facilities were closed for several weeks. Under the new joint order, nursing graduates will now be able to work temporarily while waiting to take their exams.

“LLR and its Board of Nursing appreciate DHEC working jointly with us to make this happen,” LLR Director Emily Farr said. “We want to do everything we can to make sure that hospitals and other facilities have access to as many health care workers as possible during this public health emergency.”

Officials said there are more than 85,000 nurses licensed in the state. The joint order could impact about 200 current nursing graduates, which would make them employable by health care providers.

The order will remain in place for the duration of the pubic health crisis unless the order is amended, modified, or rescinded.

You can read the full order below.

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