New law will allow graduating nurses to start practicing sooner


            STATE HOUSE — A new law sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Valarie Lawson and Rep. Stephen M. Casey will allow graduate registered nurses to begin practicing before taking their national licensing exam.

The legislation (2024-S 2083, 2024-H 7826), which was part of the Senate’s HEALTH Initiative of legislative priorities, was signed by the governor Tuesday after passage by the General Assembly.

“This is an easy step we can take to help out with the nursing shortage in the short term and make life easier on new nurses and the hospitals that employ them,” said Representative Casey (D-Dist. 50, Woonsocket). “We did the same thing during the pandemic by executive order, so we know that it works.”

Said Senator Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence), “It’s important to consider all the tools we have available to us to ease the shortage of health care workers in Rhode Island. 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.”

The law allows graduate nurses to begin practicing before taking and receiving results from the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), the licensing examine developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, provided that they are licensed within 90 days.

Advocates for the law point out that graduating registered nurses undergo weeks of extensive training and supervision by experienced nurses when they begin their new jobs. Requiring them to have passed this exam before starting that training only delays new hires from making an impact in Rhode Island’s short-staffed medical system.

“The Hospital Association of Rhode Island extends its gratitude to Senator Lawson and Representative Casey for their leadership in championing this important legislation,” said M. Teresa Paiva Weed, president of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island. “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. 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.


A New Mexico judge has dismissed manslaughter charges against Alec Baldwin in his "Rust" trial. Baldwin was rehearsing with a prop gun on the movie set when it went off, firing a live round and killing cinematographer Hutchins in 2021. On Friday, the judge agreed with the defense that the prosecution withheld evidence about on-set ammunition, and ruled the case cannot be re-tried.       President Biden is trying to reassure voters he's up for the job. Speaking to supporters in Detroit, he addressed the issue of his age, saying "I promise you, I'm OK." This comes as he faces more calls from Democrats to drop his re-election bid over concerns about his mental fitness.        A historic heat wave is still scorching the West. Millions from California to Colorado are expected to deal with triple digit temperatures into the weekend. Las Vegas hit six days in row of temperatures at or above 115 degrees yesterday. Today, Vegas will see 115 again, while Phoenix could hit 116 and Sacramento could see 111.        AT&T believes a hacker has stolen records of calls and texts from almost all of its wireless customers. The company announced this morning that the stolen data doesn't include the content of calls or texts, or personal info like Social Security numbers or birth dates. It does include which numbers a customer interacted with, and data like how long a call lasted. AT&T said it's working with law enforcement and at least one person has been apprehended.        A judge is dismissing Rudy Giuliani's bankruptcy case. The judge in the case says the ex-New York City mayor was evasive with his assets. The move now allows creditors, including two defamed Georgia election workers, to collect what they're owed from the former mayor.       It's on to the finals at Wimbledon. In men's semfinal action today, three seed Carlos Alcaraz defeated five seed Danill Medvedev in four sets to advance to the final. Meanwhile four time champion Novak Djokovic [[ jow-kuh-vuhch ]] beat 25 seed Lorenzo Musetti in straight sets to also advance. Alcaraz will take on Djokovic in the final on Sunday. Tomorrow, seven seed Jasmine Paolini will take on Barbora Krejcikova [[ krech-ee-kova ]] in the women's final.