New Ohio law allows prospective nurses to start working with temporary license

A nurse holds swabs and test tube to test people for COVID-19 at a drive through station set up in the parking lot of the Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., Monday, March 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A new law in Ohio is helping get prospective nurses on the front lines sooner.

On Friday, Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill into law allowing temporary nurse licenses during the COVID-19 emergency. Prospective nurses will not need to pass their licensure examination, but they must meet other requirements including completion of a nursing education program and criminal records check. The temporary license would be valid for 90 days after December 1, 2020, or 90 days after the COVID-19 emergency, whichever occurs first.

At Hondros College of Nursing, more than 200 students graduated this month. Normally, it would take about a month to six weeks for them to take their exam and then wait for the results. Under this law, they can hit the ground running once the Ohio Board of Nursing receives confirmation.

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"That barrier is gone so now they can get the licensure and begin working now. It puts nurses out into the field much sooner," said Dr. Carole Sullivan, the campus dean.

Sullivan said the students are well-prepared to enter the workforce. She said they go through simulations as part of their study. They must use critical thinking to work through real-life scenarios.

"We've given them those experiences already," Sullivan said. "They can draw from those experiences."

Marzane Hawthorne is a recent graduate. She said while she is nervous, she is excited to start helping during this critical time.

"It's been a lot, but I'm really excited to go out and help and do what I can," she said. "A lot of nurses, we are caring. This is what we want to do - to do our part and help this community."

Hondros College of Nursing has five campuses across the state. Students can earn a Practical Nursing Diploma and an Associate Degree in Nursing. If you would like to learn more about the college and the programs offered, click here.

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