Missouri has now joined 23 other states in a compact that aims to ease the impact of nurse shortages in the US.

Missouri’s now part of a national system that allows nurses licenses to be recognized in other ‘compact’ states. That, of course, will be convenient for nurses who move from state to state. But Lori Scheidt, the Director of the Missouri State Board of Nursing, says with the help of new technology, this will also allow nurses to do much more where they are.

“According to all the laws the practice is where the patient is, not necessarily where the nurse is at the time that care is given. So to promote and help with telehealth, we really needed this law in place,” Scheidt said.

With ‘telehealth’ and’ telemedicine’ nurses can work with patients that may not even be in the same state.

“There are some companies that have ICU monitors that may be in another state. Electronically, they monitor patients that are in ICU units. So it’s really a second-level patient safety for those patients that are in ICU units, and they see really good outcomes for that,” Scheidt said.

Scheidt says that added efficiency will help as hospitals combat nurse shortages nationwide. She says this compact was started in the late 90’s, and faced some opposition at first. But technology Helped calm those fears, in the form of an online nurse registry.

“You know if I have a nurse that’s here in Missouri and she’s working with an Arkansas license, I need to be able to check that Arkansas license. You can do all that through this website and it also tracks any discipline from any other state,” Scheidt said.

She says it’s similar to the way a driver’s license is valid in other states, most of the time states are operating on the same guidelines.

“When the patient was across state lines, they had to prove the same qualifications over and over again. RN and OPN licensure is pretty standard across the nation, you have to have graduated from an accredited program and taken a national licensure exam to show entry-level confidence,” Scheidt said.

AUDIO: Ryan Famuliner reports [:63 MP3]