Some Arizona Nursing Licenses In Limbo Due To Social Distancing

Published: Saturday, April 4, 2020 - 11:39am

As health care systems prepare for a possible influx of patients due to COVID-19, some nursing students are being told they can’t take their certification exams due to social distancing. 

Megan Condo is a nurse practitioner student at the University of Arizona who was all set to go to New York to help in the state’s overloaded hospitals — until her March exam date fell through, leaving her license out of reach and one less health care provider on the front lines.

"You want to help people, I want to help the community of course," Condo said. "But you also want to help the health care community — your brothers and sisters who are on the front lines. We’re basically leaving them stranded."

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing says it is changing how licensing exams are administered. It plans to reopen a limited number of testing sites to comply with social distancing, and until at least July, exams themselves will be modified.

"The decision to reopen these centers speaks to the unprecedented need for nurses and their importance in the health care system during this time of global pandemic," its website said. 

To combat a potential shortage in Arizona, the Arizona State Board of Nursing is issuing temporary emergency licenses to nurses from other states with at least 960 hours of practice over the past five years.

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