The CNMI Board of Nursing reported yesterday that it is currently three to four months behind in processing applications for nursing licenses, mainly because of a perennial lack of staff and an influx of applications that happens per year.
The board has already hired three new staff to resolve the delay and they are hoping to catch up with application processing by the end of November, according to office manager Carol Fleming.
She said her office has a set a one-month deadline to complete the processing.
In a meeting of the board yesterday at the CDA Building in San Jose, Fleming said the board’s office received over 900 applications for licensure in 2017-2018 and the number of applications doubled the next year.
“We are overloaded and overwhelmed, but I am glad that the board approved to hire the new staff to help,” Fleming said.
She clarified that the office staff only processes applications and that board decides on approvals to provide licenses.
The board handles certifications and renewal for nurses, nursing assistants, and hospital technicians for the CNMI. The office also handles testing for the National Council Licensure Examination, as passing the exam is a requirement to become a nurse in the CNMI and the U.S. mainland. The board also administers the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools certification program.
Board chair Roca Sablan said that the Board of Nursing has been trying its best to approve as many licenses as possible and will be entertaining a total of 1,500 licensees soon.
“We can only approve as [many] as we can, since we only meet [on] a quarterly basis,” Sablan told Saipan Tribune. One thing that the board is trying to prevent is fraud. She said they try to verify the applicants’ credentials through college courses and high school courses. High school courses were added specifically for foreign students, due to some countries not implementing the K-12 education system.
The board has announced that all of its applications are available on its website at nmibon.info and you may contact their offices at (670) 233-2263 for more information about Board of Nursing licenses. They are open from Monday to Friday at 7:30am to 4:30pm.