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April 2004 Bulletin

The Art of Licensing…and Going Paperless in the 21st Century

Webster's Dictionary defines license as the official or legal permission to do or own a specified thing. It is also proof of the permission granted. When an individual chooses to practice the profession of nursing, there are certain requirements that must be met in order to safeguard the life and health of the people of Maine. "The State Board of Nursing is the state regulatory agency charged with protection of the public health and welfare in the area of nursing service. In order to safeguard the life and health of the people in this State, an individual who for compensation practices or offers to practice professional nursing or practical nursing in this State shall submit evidence that the individual is qualified so to practice and that individual must be licensed." (The Law Regulating the Practice of Nursing, 32 M.R.S.A. § 2101.)

To be licensed means that the individual has met the requirements in order to be able to practice nursing. The nurse, thus, has the legal and official permission necessary to practice. Licensure for registered professional nurses (RNs) became mandatory in Maine in 1959, and licensure for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) became mandatory in Maine in 1969.

How could a person know if an individual was in fact licensed to practice as a nurse?
In order to show evidence that a nurse was licensed (in other words, had the official and legal permission to practice), that individual was awarded a wallet card (often referred to as 'the license') to demonstrate that in fact, the Board of Nursing had indeed reviewed the evidence the person submitted upon application and determined that requirements had been met. This wallet card served as the proof that permission had been granted to practice as a nurse.

In May, 2002, the Board of Nursing established on its website a mechanism for the public to ascertain whether or not an individual was licensed as a registered professional nurse, licensed practical nurse or was approved as an advanced practice registered nurse (and in what category). This serves as evidence that the person has permission to practice and reveals the current status of that permission (such as whether it is active, lapsed, suspended, inactive, revoked). Since that time there have been nearly 100,000 "hits" on the verification of licensure feature.

The Board determined that when it procured a new licensing system consistent with technology, it would go to a "paperless proof of licensure" system. That day has come! We have contracted for a new system and are in the process of software development and conversion. What this means in practical terms is that an individual will be awarded an official document upon initial licensure in Maine and then upon renewal, simply have that proof of permission to practice (the 'license') posted on the Board's website. Wallet cards will no longer be needed and will no longer be issued.

These are exciting times for Maine nurses as we turn a corner in history. This revolution in the "way we do things" is likely to occur as early as October 1, 2004. There are many advantages to going paperless: the status of a license may be verified at any time anywhere on line; there is no loss of a wallet card either through theft, misplacement, or destruction; identity theft is minimized.

Look for more information in a future Bulletin as we march boldly toward this new day in nursing regulation history.


Attention! Employers Of And Nurses Who Hold TN, H, J Or O Visas

Please read carefully and share this information with any Canadian nurses or any other foreign nurses who are in your employ or with whom you work. (Bulletins mailed to Canadian and foreign addresses often are returned to the Board office; thus, your cooperation in this matter is important.)

Most facilities that employ Canadian nurses are already aware of the requirements that recently became effective for obtaining a visa. The following information is being provided in the event that you are not aware of the requirement to obtain a VisaScreen Certificate in order to obtain an occupational visa in the United States.

If you wish to obtain (or renew) an occupational visa in the United States, you are required by federal law (the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996) to obtain a VisaScreen Certificate. The federal rule to implement this law did not become effective until September 23, 2003 with a waiver until July 26, 2004.

The VisaScreen Certificate is issued after a complete evaluation of a professional's credentials to verify that he or she meets minimum federal requirements. You must obtain this certificate before the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) - formerly called Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) will issue an occupational visa to live and work as a nurse in the U.S. The International Commission on Healthcare Professions, a division of the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS), administers this screening process, called the "VisaScreen®: Visa Credentials Assessment". The VisaScreen program consists of three parts:
1. a credentials review of your entire professional education and all registration/licensure that you have held and currently hold
2. successful completion of EITHER the CGFNS® Certification program or the NCLEX®-RN® (for registered professional nurses), and
3. successful completion of a group of English proficiency examinations.

Visit the CGFNS website at www.cgfns.org or write to ICHP, Attn: VisaScreen, 3600 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19104-2651 for further information and/or assistance regarding the VisaScreen Certificate.

For more information regarding immigration requirements, contact your local immigration office. The Board cannot assist you with immigration issues.

For further detail on the immigration requirements please see the following web sites:

A press release announcing the change can be found at http://uscis.gov/graphics/publicaffairs/newsrels/newReq072903.htm

An explanation of the change can be found at http://uscis.gov/graphics/publicaffairs/questsans/hcworkers072903.htm

The immigration rule can be found at http://uscis.gov/graphics/publicaffairs/factsheets/healfs.htm

What the Board CAN do to assist you:
The Board can make you eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX®®) if you choose to sit for NCLEX®® as part of the certification process.
If you do choose to take the NCLEX®® as part of your immigration process, the Board will "make you eligible" to sit for the examination EVEN THOUGH you may already hold a Maine nursing license. Please submit:

" a fee of $50.00 U.S. dollars for processing
(check payable to TREASURER, STATE OF MAINE)
" the completed application (on our web site or available by mail)
" a current passport size photograph of yourself, signed and dated on the back

You will also have to apply to NCS Pearson who administers the examination. The cost to NCS Pearson is $200.00 U.S. dollars. A test bulletin which explains the process may be downloaded from www.ncsbn.org . You may also register on line with NCS Pearson at www.vue.com/NCLEX® (considerably quicker than by mail.)

Once the Board receives the test results, a copy will be mailed to you.
Other health professions (besides nurses) affected by the federal rule: physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists and audiologists, medical technologists, medical technicians, and physician assistants.


Disciplinary Action

Revocation

Jill I. Cote
Waterboro, ME
R040429
Eff. Date: 12/11/03

Ethel M. Landolt
Fairfield, ME
Shubenacdie, NS Canada
R038796
Eff. Date: 12/23/03

Lisa A. Paddock
Bowdoin, ME
R039435
Eff. Date: 01/18/04

Suspension

Stephanie D. Memel
Fairfield Center, ME
R043659
Eff. Date: 12/10/03

Lisa A. Paddock
Bowdoin, ME
R039435
Eff. Date 12/10/03

Mary E. Cooper
Gorham, ME
R036512
Eff. Date: 02/12/2003

Heidi A.Beane
Gardiner, ME
P009983
Eff. Date: 03/10/04

Voluntary Surrender

Ward F. Snow, II
Brewer, ME
R023055
Eff. Date: 12/22/03

Stephanie D. Memel
Fairfield Center, ME
R043659
Eff. Date: 1/18/04

Mary E. Cooper
Gorham, ME
R036512
Eff. Date: 01/18/04

Amanda E. Lane
Dover-Foxcroft, ME
R044495
Eff. Date: 02/12/04

Elizabeth Forsley-Plata
Portland, ME
R037493
P010634
Eff. Date: 03/10/04

Deborah S. Lavine
So. Paris, ME
R035511
Eff. Date: 03/19/04

Sandra J. Merrill
Westbrook, ME
P003248
Eff. Date: 04/12/04

 

 

 

Probation

Brenda J. Thibodeau
Caribou, ME
R038949
Eff. Date: 11/03/03

Patricia E. Lanning
Benton, ME
R030825
Eff. Date: 11/17/03

Melinda A. White
Portland, ME
R045443
Eff. Date: 02/02/04

Frank E. Goodale, Jr.
Wells, ME
R047637
Eff. Date: 04/12/04

Cara Doucette
Van Buren, ME
R047771
Eff. Date: 04/13/04

Glenda L. Knights
Burnham, ME
R041522
Eff. Date: 04/15/04

Censure

Susan M. O'Connor
Bangor, ME
P010462
Eff. Date: 02/12/04

Warned

Debra J. Maki
Levant, ME
R040403
Eff. Date: 02/11/04

Deborah L. Fowler
Hope, ME
R042775
Eff. Date: 04/05/04

Probation Terminated

Susan A. McGowan
Scituate, MA
R043148
Eff. Date: 12/11/03

Daniel D. Melland
Brewer, ME
R040428
Eff. Date: 03/10/04

Other Actions

Joseph St. Denis
Chester, VA
Denied licensure by endorsement

Andrew L. Pratt
Windsor, ME
Denied licensure renewal

Licensees fined from 11/01/03 - 04/14/04 for practicing during lapsed license status: 42

Complaints Dismissed from 11/01/03 - 03/11/04: 30

NCLEX®-RN® Passing Standard Revised for Public Safety

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) voted at its December, 2003 meeting to raise the passing standard for the NCLEX®-RN®, the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. The new passing standard is -0.2800 logits on the NCLEX®-RN® logistic scale, 0.0700 logits higher than the previous standard of -0.3500. The new passing standard took effect on April 1, 2004, in conjunction with the 2004 NCLEX®-RN® test plan.

NCSBN increased the passing standard in response to changes in U.S. health care delivery and nursing practice that have resulted in the increased acuity of patients seen by entry level RNs. After considering all available information, the Board of Directors determined that safe and effective entry-level RN practice requires a greater level of knowledge, skills and abilities than was required in 1998 when NCSBN last established the standard.

The NCLEX®-RN® Test Plan is available electronically for download free of charge or in hard copy for purchase via the NCSBN website. General information regarding NCSBN and the NCLEX®® program is available at www.ncsbn.org .

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) and National Certification

It is the responsibility of APRNs to monitor their national certification expiration date. Any APRN who does not recertify by the expiration date of his or her certification is NOT permitted to practice until recertification has been granted by the appropriate national certifying body AND documentation of that recertification is submitted to the Board office. (Certification is not required for an APRN initially approved by the Board before September 8, 1993.)

It is important to submit the recertification documents to the national certifying body well in advance of your certification expiration date. For example, the American Nurses Credentialing Center requires that the materials be submitted at least 60 days prior to the expiration date of certification and 10 weeks prior to the expiration date if you choose the examination option. The Board will not intercede with the national certifying body on behalf of an APRN to expedite the application process for recertification because the nurse is not timely in submitting the required material for recertification. The Board has no authority or jurisdiction over policies and procedures established by national certifying bodies.

ATTENTION!!

Please contact the Board office if you have in your employ or know the whereabouts of the following licensees: James E. Griffin, Jr., RN, last known address was Portland, Maine;Judy D. Ruszczyk, LPN, last known address was Port Clyde, Maine; and Jeffrey T. Skelton, LPN, last known address was in Portland, Maine.