NJ Gov and AG Announce Recent Health Care Grads Can Work While Waiting for Licensing Exams

NJ Governor Phil Murphy (left) and AG Gurbir S. Grewal (right) on May 5, 2020. (Screencap NJ Office of the Governor)

Governor Phil Murphy and Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that recent graduates of nursing, physician assistant, pharmacy, and respiratory care therapy programs will be granted temporary emergency licenses, and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs will begin accepting applications for the emergency graduate licensure program.

“From the onset of this crisis, our goal has been to eliminate any roadblocks that prevent qualified health care professionals from joining our frontline response efforts,” said Governor Murphy. “Today’s action allows thousands of recent graduates to quickly join teams on the ground currently fighting COVID-19.”

“We cannot afford to have otherwise qualified healthcare professionals sidelined during the COVID-19 crisis waiting for an opportunity to take the exams they need to become licensed,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We need them in the field as soon as possible to assist those who have been working around the clock to stop this pandemic.”

The emergency licensure program is open to individuals within six months of graduating from an accredited registered professional nursing (RN), practical nursing (LPN), physician assistant (PA), and pharmacy program located in New Jersey, or an accredited respiratory care therapy education and training located in any state.

Individuals who have failed the relevant licensing examination will not be eligible.

Graduates licensed through this program will be eligible to work only under supervision in an acute care facility licensed by the New Jersey Department of Health. Respiratory care specialists will also be authorized to work under supervision in field hospitals.

The program will end automatically at the conclusion of the COVID-19 state of emergency and public health emergency. The Division may choose to end the program earlier, and would give licensees 90 days to pass their examination and 120 days to obtain standard licenses.

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