Red tape keeps qualified nurse from treating patients
In Georgia, the Board of Nursing requires applicants submit official transcripts. That’s something you can’t get from a college that no longer exists.
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - They’re considered the backbone of the health care system but there’s not enough of them.
The state of Georgia is facing a nursing shortage. It’s a familiar problem across the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. needs more than 200,000 new registered nurses every year until 2030 to meet the demand.
Fueled by factors like employee burnout and an aging workforce, the nursing shortage is expected to get worse.
But what if we told you there were licensed nurses right here in Georgia who want to work, but can’t?
That’s what happened to Pam Sennet, a licensed nurse in Roswell. She’s been practicing for more than 40 years.
“Never thought that I would move to Georgia, and it would be an issue for me,” Sennet explained.
Sennet moved to Georgia in November 2021. Before that, she was a nurse in both California and Florida. So, what’s the problem? Sennet got her nursing degree from a college in England in the 1970′s. That college has since closed down.
In Georgia, the Board of Nursing requires applicants submit official transcripts, which is impossible to obtain from a college that no longer exists.
Sennet reached out to CGFNS International, the agency that validates credentials for foreign-educated nurses. That was seven months ago.
“And it has been slow going,” Sennet said.
That’s why Sennet came to Atlanta News First Investigates. After verifying her licensing and certifications, we emailed CGFNS International and got a response within two hours. Four hours later, Sennet received an email telling her that her application had been approved.
“Thank you, Rachel, and your team for reaching out. We were able to resolve this quickly thanks to you raising it,” Mukul Bakhski, CGFNS International’s chief of strategy, said.
Bakhshi blames application delays on a backlog, which he says the agency is addressing.
“We have increased our staff quite a bit over the last six months or so and we’re continuing to ramp up,” Baskshi said. “Our applications are double what they were a couple of years ago, so unprecedented volumes of nurses and other healthcare professionals going through this process.”
Sennet has since received her official license from the Georgia Board of Nursing and is ready to get back to work. “My career continues,” Sennet said with a smile.
For nurses who were licensed in another state or country and are trying to find work in Georgia, it can be a difficult process to navigate. If you apply and get denied, you can file a rule waiver with the Georgia Board of Nursing.
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