The state’s Division of Consumer Affairs will begin issuing thousands of temporary licenses to health care program graduates in an effort to shore up medical staff taking part in the state’s COVID-19 response, Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Tuesday.
For thousands of recent graduates at nursing, physician assistant, pharmacy respiratory care therapy programs, that means they can obtain a temporary license without having to take an exam – with many testing facilities closed during the pandemic.
“We cannot afford to have otherwise qualified health care professionals sidelined during the COVID-19 crisis waiting for an opportunity to take the exams they need to become licensed,” New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Tuesday in a statement.
Licenses would automatically expire at the end of New Jersey’s current public health emergency, which Murphy declared in March, and people would have 90 days from the opening of any available testing centers to take an actual licensing exam.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the state reported a total of 130,593 COVID-19 cases and 5,328 hospitalizations.
That still marks a large drop from the hospitalization peak in mid-April, according to State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli.
As of Tuesday, the state also issued 18,000 short-term licenses to out-of-state health care workers and 600 licenses to recently retired doctors, nurses and other workers, Grewal said.
The state also just started awarding licenses for overseas doctors, Grewal added.
“We need them in the field as soon as possible to assist those who have been working around the clock to stop this pandemic,” Grewal added.