New Jersey is projected to have the third worst nursing shortage nationwide by the year 2030.
But industry professionals in the Garden State are hoping a measure signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy in late July is what's needed to get supply more in line with demand.
Making it easier for nurses to relocate to New Jersey, the state joins dozens of other states in the Nurse Licensure Compact, which grants nurses who obtain a license in their home state the permission to practice nursing in any other state that's part of the compact.
"Currently, nurses are required to be licensed in each and every state in which he or she chooses to practice," said state Sen. Troy Singleton, D-Burlington, a sponsor of the measure. "This alleviates a major professional barrier in an industry where there is constant demand, especially with our aging population."
Prior to this bill's signing, New Jersey was projected by RegisteredNursing.org to fall 11,400 nurses short of demand by 2030.
Judy Schmidt, CEO of the New Jersey State Nurses Association, said the move will help nurses save money and time. In some states, it could take up to nine months to receive a license after applying, she said.
"It also helps us with telehealth. We're doing a lot more virtual healthcare," Schmidt said.
The signed bills include background checks and fingerprinting for multistate licensing, which earlier versions did not include.
More than 30 states already participate in the Compact, including Delaware and Maryland. New York and Pennsylvania are not part of the agreement.
"Pennsylvania does have legislation pending; New York has not started their legislation yet," Schmidt said, noting the addition of bordering states would make the sharing of nurses even simpler.