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OSBN Response to COVID-19

The global spread of COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) is a rapidly evolving situation.  The Oregon State Board of Nursing is working diligently to support the state's coronavirus response while maintaining its mission to protect Oregonians.  

The following information provides guidance to OSBN licensees and new applicants regarding our efforts to assist those nurses and nursing assistants on the frontlines, and those wishing to rejoin the fight.

​During the Governor's declared state of emergency, per ORS 678.031(4), the Oregon Board of Nursing may allow nurses and nursing assistants licensed in good standing in another state or US jurisdiction to provide care in Oregon under special provisions.  
  • Non-Oregon licensed nurses or nursing assistants who wish to work in Oregon to meet the COVID response must be on the registry list maintained by OSBN prior to being placed on staff. The application for the nurse or nursing assistant is available on our online licensing system.  You must create a user account to login and submit the request​.
    • Non-Oregon licensed nurses or nursing assistants who wish to work in Oregon to meet the COVID response must be on the registry list maintained by OSBN prior to working in Oregon.
    • When the Governor's emergency declaration ends on June 30, 2022, the OSBN will no longer issue emergency authorizations.  All existing emergency authorizations will expire.
    • Any nurse or nursing assistant practicing in Oregon after June 30, 2022, must have a current Oregon nursing license or CNA certificate.  Applications for an endorsement license or certificate are available on our online licensing system.
    • A nurse practicing in Oregon without authorization from OSBN shall be subject to a civil penalty for practicing nursing without a license in Oregon as indicated in OAR 851-045-0100. 
  • Employers with emergency staffing needs in other departments due to the COVID response may hire non-Oregon licensed nurses/nursing assistants who have been granted emergency authorizations and are on this list.  
  1. New Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Requirement for Vaccination for Healthcare Providers and Healthcare Staff​

  2. FAQ: OHA Healthcare Provider and Healthcare Staff Vaccine Rule

  3. Delta Variant Staffing Concerns
    The latest surge of COVID patients is sadly reminiscent of the beginning of the pandemic and putting great strain on nursing and other healthcare staff.  The OSBN has received word that many nurses are being put in situations where they don’t feel they have the “knowledge, competency, skills, and abilities” to carry out their patient assignments, and are concerned this may impact their nursing license.  The Board understands these concerns.  For those licensees who may be experiencing these worries, here are some things to keep in mind:
    •  The OSBN has jurisdiction only over the nurse’s license, not nurse/employer issues such as staffing numbers, facility policy disputes, or HR matters.  
    •  The OSBN can only act on complaints it receives.  If we don’t receive a complaint regarding a nurse’s practice, they won’t hear from us.  
    •  If it does receive a complaint, the OSBN can investigate only if it has the proper jurisdiction, authority, and information regarding a situation.  Vague accusations about a nurse or nurse administrator submitted anonymously usually can’t be pursued.
    •  Each investigation is conducted solely on its merits, on a case-by-case basis.
    •  It is entirely the nurse’s prerogative to accept assignments for which they have the knowledge, skills, and ability to perform safely.

  4. ​Scheduled Ongoing Safety Evaluation of an Existing Delegation 
    The RN's scheduled ongoing evaluation of the continued safety of an existing delegation may occur electronically.  This means that the RN who has delegated the performance of the client's health-related procedure to an assistive person may assess their client, and evaluate the assistive person's continued ability to safely perform the delegated procedure on the client, via an electronic modality. The RN must continue to generate thorough, clear, accurate, and timely documentation of these processes and outcomes.

  5. ​​The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have issued rule changes and waivers intended to deliver expanded care and provide flexibility to the health care system during COVID-19.  The regulatory changes are intended to make it easier for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to get tested for COVID-19 and further expands beneficiaries' access to telehealth services.  Most notably, the additional changes allow nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and physician assistants to, “provide home health services, as mandated by the CARES Act."  These practitioners can now order home health services, establish and periodically review a plan of care for home health patients, and certify and recertify that the patient is eligible for home health services.  Please visit the CMS website for a list of waivers that apply to APRNs.
​Healthcare workers in Oregon can support their community's response to COVID-19 by registering with the State Emergency Registry of Volunteers in Oregon (SERV-OR) and their local Medical Reserve Corps.  Visit the SERV-OR website to learn more and register

If you intend to volunteer only during this pandemic situation, consider applying for a nurse emeritus license

  1. Clinical Replacement Options for Nursing Education Programs 
    The Oregon State Board of Nursing is your partner in confirming that entry-level nurses have met criteria for initial practice. We understand your concerns when faced with the prospect of closed campuses and students being denied access to facilities for clinical practica during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

    On December 30, 2020, the Board approved a waiver of the clinical component requirements of Divisions 21 and 61 until the end of Winter Term 2021.  The Board determined that while this waiver exists, program graduates are allowed to apply for licensure or certification and sit for testing exams, including the NCLEX.  Also, while this waiver exists, it will be assumed that programs graduating candidates for testing and licensure/certification have prepared their graduates for entry level practice.

  2. Clinical Replacement Options for Nursing Assistant Training Programs 
    During the current state of emergency, a nursing assistant training program may use a variety of methods for replacing students' clinical experiences. Please see the Board's information on clinical replacement options. 

  3. After making a number of changes to enhance the safety of those taking the test, NCLEX test delivery at Pearson VUE test centers resumed on March 25th at a limited number of test centers in major metropolitan areas across the United States, including Oregon.  Learn more here National Council Licensing Exam (NCLEX)

  4. Headmaster is still conducting nursing assistant exams across Oregon.  You can learn more about the  safety measures being used here: nursing assistant testing

  5. Guidance from the NCSBN Regarding Unvaccinated Nursing Students.

​The OSBN deferment of license renewals has ended.  Beginning November 1, 2020, licensees whose renewals were deferred have 30 days to pay their full renewal fees before being assessed a late fee.  Individuals with an expired license or certificate are not eligible to practice in Oregon.

Licensees (LPN/RN/CNS/CRNA/NP) whose renewals were deferred* and who did not renew their licenses by December 1, 2020, are subject to a $100 late fee.
  • Deferrals were applicable to licenses that were active as of March 24, 2020. 
  • $100 delinquent fees were waived until December 1, 2020.
* Licensees with birthdates in even years between March 24 and October 31. 

Employers Needing Exemptions for Long-term Care Facilities, Emergency Departments, ICUs, and Cardiac Care Units:  Oregon law (ORS 678.031(7)(f)) allows long-term care employers to request licensure exceptions for non-Oregon nurses in emergency staffing situations.  Staffing agencies and nurse applicants are not eligible to initiate the request for licensure exception.  The nurse applicants must have an endorsement or reactivation application on file with the Board prior to approval. Employers and nurses granted authorization under this provision will not be placed on the emergency authorization registry; the employer will be notified directly by OSBN staff that they have been approved.  Please complete and submit the exception request form.

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