The Board of Nursing recognized WHA’s efforts to enact an enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) legislation at their meeting September 14 in Madison. During the meeting, the Board invited Ann Zenk, WHA vice president workforce and clinical practice, to provide an update on Wisconsin’s progress to pass legislation to enact the eNLC. Wisconsin has been in the nurse licensure compact since inception in 2000 and needs to enact eNLC legislation before the end of 2017 to maintain uninterrupted participation.
Zenk updated the board on Wisconsin’s progress in advancing the eNLC. She told the Board draft legislation was circulated for cosponsorship September 5, and now over 90 cosponsors have signed onto the legislation, in large part due to the advocacy work of the legislative authors, direct lobbying and grassroots activity from our state’s hospital and nursing advocates via WHA’s HEAT program.
Zenk noted, “This compact is supported by nurses and health care organizations across the state, including a coalition of 19 health care and nursing organizations that joined in a WHA-led coalition memo to members of the Wisconsin state Legislature.” Zenk shared that “The Department of Safety and Professional Services’ (DSPS) expertise and assistance in assessing the draft was essential and appreciated, as was the Board of Nursing’s support.”
Board of Nursing Chair Sheryl Krause expressed admiration for WHA’s work on the compact, saying “WHA is a great organization and Ann has been working very hard on this since she joined WHA. It is great to see this progress.” Krause also noted the value of grassroots advocacy, like WHA’s HEAT initiative, and how WHA’s HEAT program makes it easy for advocates to contact their elected officials. In a HEAT alert and update, and a Valued Voice article September 8, 2017, WHA members were asked to contact their legislators, and they responded with over 800 emails to more than 120 legislators.
As the bill progresses through the Legislature, it will be important to continue contacting lawmakers to encourage their support of the eNLC. Board of Nursing Executive Director Dan Williams said once the bill is passed, the DSPS will start preparing for a smooth transition period in time for the February licensing renewal period.
For additional information on Wisconsin’s eNLC legislation, contact Ann Zenk at 608-274-1820 or firstname.lastname@example.org.