Out-of-state RNs can now practice in Maryland and certain qualified nursing students are fast tracking graduation, according to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s (R-MD) September 2021 announcements. The Old Line State’s steps will help increase the workforce and curtail the nursing shortage.

According to a statement from the governor’s office, the initiatives provide hospitals with maximum flexibility to mitigate staffing shortages as the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the healthcare workforce.

“While our hospitalizations [of patients who tested positive for COVID-19] remain well below all of our pandemic surge capacity triggers, we are taking proactive steps to maximize the ability of our hospitals to increase their nursing workforce,” Hogan said.

The Maryland Department of Health’s notice says that “RNs or licensed practical nurses who hold a current active license in any other state or jurisdiction may render nursing care,” and the Maryland Higher Education Commission instructed Maryland’s nursing programs to “allow the earliest graduation possible for qualified nursing students.”

The governer’s announcement contained additional flexibilities to increase the workforce, including encouraging hospital leaders to use student nurses to the maximum extent feasible and recruiting nursing staff from nurse licensure compact states. The notice also permitted nursing and physician students to render certain types of care under supervision without a license.

“We have worked closely with our hospitals, healthcare associations, and many others in the state on this solution that will further our ability to continue to provide quality care to Marylanders,” Maryland Health Secretary Dennis Schrader said. “Nurses and nurse students have been invaluable in our fight against COVID-19 and so much more, and these steps will ensure that hospitals can use all available nursing solutions.”