Recency of practice and emergency registration: preparing for surge capacity in the time of COVID-19

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Mary Chiarella
David Stewart


emergency registration, care workforce, recency of practice, surge capacity


The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a huge strain on the health workforce globally, with nurses being at the forefront of patient testing, tracking, and care. Among the healthcare workers who provide direct care for people with suspected, probable, and confirmed COVID-19, nurses – who make up the majority of many health workforces - appear to account for much of the total the number of COVID-19 associated infections and deaths, despite widespread under-reporting. Enhancing workforce surge capacity of the nursing workforce is vital for many health systems to respond effectively to outbreaks. However many nations do not have a large enough and currently registered nursing workforce. In an effort to protect the public, the nursing profession, and trust in the profession, it is essential that consideration be given to several key elements in developing a framework for emergency registration. This paper describes the approach and framework developed for the International Council of Nurses and communicated to national nursing associations to guide temporary emergency re-registration of nurses who have been away from practice.

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