Practice before taking the NCLEX? Nurses in Rhode Island can

Nurse graduates in Rhode Island can now begin to practice before taking and while awaiting NCLEX results, but they must become licensed within 90 days, according to a new state law.

The bill was signed into law June 29 by Gov. Daniel McKee, as part of the Rhode Island Holistic Enhancement and Access Legislation for Total Health (HEALTH) Initiative.

The impetus for the initiative was brought on by a statewide need for more nurses.

"Allowing registered nurses who have graduated their programs to begin their on-the-job training before their test results is one of those tools, one that nurses and health care facilities have been asking for," Ms. Lawson said in a June news release.

The law has also received support from the state's hospital association.

"By allowing nursing graduates to practice pending the results of their NCLEX, this law provides a critical buffer that helps bridge the gap between academic preparation and full licensure," M. Teresa Paiva Weed, president of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island, stated in the release. "This change will not only bolster our health care workforce but also support new graduates as they transition into their professional roles, reducing administrative delays that currently hinder immediate employment and practice."

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